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We now have over 7000 comments and information on International School Community: Membership Promotion of 20% off all subscriptions!

International School Community is celebrating the over 7000 comments and information which have now been posted on our website!  Currently, we are at 7068!

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 6.57.00 PMInternational School Community’s website launched back in February 2011.  When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 71 posted comments and information.  Lately, during the past 3-4 months, we have been getting between 100-400 new comments and information submitted each month.  We hope this trend continues!  The more members we have, the more people we have sharing what they know about life working at international schools.

To celebrate, all members can use the coupon code, 7000COMMENTS, to get 20% off of their next premium membership subscription.

With the coupon code:
•  1 month is only 8 USD
•  6 months is only 16 USD
•  1 year is only 24 USD!

Take advantage of this special deal now as this coupon code is valid only until 16 February, 2013.

As a premium member, you can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and send a private message to a member to get firsthand information about a school that member has worked at.

All premium members also have unlimited access to view all the comments and information that have been submitted so far on our school profile pages.  Being that the focus of our website is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to promote our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone.  The comments are specifically designed to talk about what an international school teacher would want to know.  International School Community really wants to take writing comments and sharing information about international schools to the next level.  Log-on now to check out who our current members are and the latest comments and information submitted about international schools from all over the world!

We now have over 1000 members on International School Community: Membership Promotion of 50% off all subscriptions!

It is a time of celebration for International School Community as we now have over 1000 members on our website!

International School Community’s website launched back in February 2011.  When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 49 members!  Lately, during the past 3-4 months, we have been getting over 100 people signing up to become members each month.  We hope this trend continues!  The more members we have, the more people we have sharing what they know about life working at international schools.

International School Community’s goal is to be the largest online community for international schools educators.  Our website provides a useful, informative and celebratory environment for networking with other international school teachers and learning about different international schools around the world.

We wanted to create a website that would highlight the ins and outs of the international school educator profession and working at international schools (the benefits, the school itself, the city and travel information, etc.). Most of us got into this field because we strive to explore and experience different parts of the world firsthand.  However, we also got into this field for a multitude of other reasons: career, money, love, etc.

Another major goal for this website is to provide experienced teachers the platform to share what they know so that prospective and seasoned international school teachers can make more informed decisions as they venture out to a new international school.  Making connections and gathering information about international schools in our community has never been easier!  Whether you are looking to make new friends, network with other international school teachers or learn more about the wonderful world of teaching at international schools, International School Community is the place to be.

We want members to provide real information that is specific; information that is related to all the different topics we need to know about before signing a contract. International School Community offers more up-to-date information in a highly organized, easy-to-use manner.

You can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and be able to find a contact to send a private message to so that you can get firsthand information about a school that member has worked at. We also offer a vast amount of information and links related to the world of teaching at international schools and education in general via our blog.  While the focus of the site is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to promote our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone.  Enjoy being an active member on this website and help yourself and others to continue on in the international school community.

We strive to have the largest collection of resources and services for the international teaching community.  International School Community really wants to take writing reviews and comments about international schools to the next level.  So, give us a chance! If you really have an interest in what this community has to offer, we promise you will not be disappointed with us!!

Here are what some of our current members are saying about International School Community:

“It’s really useful…it’s a really good way to find out practical info about schools when you’re looking for jobs. If you are interested in particular schools, you can just contact any member from that school to find out insider info! It’s also good if you just want to find out what life is like for teachers in other cities! Really unique idea!” (An international teacher in China)

“International School Community is a great resource for international school teachers. Whether you are doing research for a new job, or just connecting with other teachers, this site is has a plethora of great information. I especially love that this site has a positive feel to it, rather than a place for teachers to vent. I really recommend registering to be a part of this great idea.” (An international teacher in South Korea)

“You have an amazingly wonderful website and seeing these comments is extremely helpful to me.” (A teacher looking to teach abroad at international schools)

As we move forward making International School Community the website to go to when looking for information about working at international schools, we are currently working on our new website.  It is filled with many updates and new features!  Here is a sneak peak of our new homepage:

Join us today and receive 1 month free of premium membership.  If you are already a member enjoy a 50% off coupon when you renew your current subscription: HALFOFF912.  Just log on to your account, click on the My Account tab, then click on the “renew your subscription” link, enter in the code and you will get 50% off of the subscription you choose.  So, that is only $5 for one month, $10 for six months and only $15 for one year!  (This coupon code and promotion will expire on the 22nd of September, 2012.)

Professional Development Opportunities for International School Educators in Europe

Chapters International – Learning Abroad

The following is a list of upcoming workshops in Europe:

The Emerging Culture of Teaching and Learning
By  Alan November
22nd – 23rd September, 2012, Luxembourg
Price: Euro 575
Our schools are at the beginning of a historic transition from paper as the dominant storage and retrieval media to digital. The traditional technology planning approach of bolting technology on top of the current design of school will only yield marginal results. Contrast this “$1,000 pencil” approach with the kinds of skills that are highly valued in the global economy…Read more about this PD opportunity here.

Concept Based Curriculum and Instruction for The Thinking Classroom
By Dr . Lynn Erickson
29th – 30th September 2012, Cyprus
Price: Euro 575
Lynn Erickson expands our understanding of the conceptual level of knowledge, thinking, and understanding. In this highly interactive session, Dr. Erickson will challenge your mind as she contrasts a three-dimensional concept-based curriculum and instruction model with the worn out two-dimensional coverage model…Read more about this PD opportunity here.

Teaching and Learning through Inquiry
by Kath Murdoch
24th – 25th November 2012, Istanbul
Price: USD 720
In this practical workshop, participants have the opportunity to clarify their understanding of what it really means to use an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning in the primary/elementary classroom.  Over two interactive days, teachers examine the essential elements of inquiry and how these elements can be ‘brought to life’ through quality planning, use of materials, choice of teaching strategies and interactions with students…Read more about this PD opportunity here.

Standard Based Grading and Reporting by Ken O Conor
1st – 2nd December 2012, Warsaw
Price: Euro 500
Day 1:
Nothing really changes until the grade book and the report card changes.”
Curriculum, instruction, and assessment have increasingly become standards-based but parallel changes in grading and reporting have been slow, especially in middle and high schools.
Day 2:
“Nothing really changes until the grade book and the report card changes.” Curriculum, instruction, and assessment have increasingly become standards-based but parallel changes in grading and reporting have been slow, especially in middle and high schools. This session will include a review of eight guidelines for grading and will focus on guidelines for standards-based reporting…Read more about this PD opportunity here.

Creating a  Culture of Thinking
Creating  Places where Thinking is Valued Visible by Dr Ron Richhart
13th – 14th April 2013, Florence
Price: USD 750
The Cultures of Thinking Project is a global initiative under the direction of Dr. Ron Ritchhart, a Principal Investigator and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Learning is a product of thinking.  If we want our students to learn well and develop understanding, we must create cultures of thinking that actively engage students in thinking on an ongoing basis…Read more about this PD opportunity here.

For more information about these workshop contact:
Shonal Agarwal
CEO
Chapters International
Email: shonal@chaptersinternational.com
chaptersinternational@gmail.com

Website: www.chaptersinternational.com

What products do you always stock up on when you return to your home country?

“How many suitcases should you bring home?”  says an international school teacher who is traveling home for either summer vacation or winter break.  Inside though you know what you will end up doing during your trip back home, even though that you it might cost you in the end when you pay for the extra weight of your one suitcase or when you pay the extra fee for an additional suitcase on the airline you are flying on.  Too bad that many airlines are now only allowing one suitcase, even on international flights!

The allure of home products is too strong though.  When living abroad as an expat, it is almost vitally important to have things that are familiar around you and in your new home abroad.  Sometimes I open up one of my kitchen cabinets and because of the many home products that I see, it could be me opening a cupboard in my old home in my home country.  Surely the first and second year abroad you might do this, stocking your cupboards full of home products, but doing this your third or fourth (or tenth or more) year…. is it time to “let go?”

I heard one international teacher say that after eight years of living abroad she now refuses to buy products at home when she can find the exact same thing or something comparable in her host country.  That would most likely save her in the long run on baggage fees, even if the project is a little bit more expensive than in her home country.  Sometimes though we just want to have our favorite brand that we were using all the time when we lived in our home country, even if we can find something exactly the same (minus the brand name that we have “grown to trust”) in our current placement.  This is the dilemma then, to buy or not to buy??!

This year I personally decided to only take one suitcase back home for the summer.  Well if I am being completely honest, I still did bring a carry-on travel backpack…in the hopes that I could squeeze in a few more of my favorite things to take with me on my flight back home. It was very difficult to limit myself.  I keep on repeating in my head “Can I get this where I live now?” If the answer was yes, I reluctantly didn’t buy it.

It is fun shop in other countries.  Exploring grocery stores in other countries is one of my most favorite things to do actually (though I find it equally enjoyable to shop in my old grocery stores at home too)!  You never know what you will find.  Well actually you do end up seeing some products from your home country in foreign grocery stores, but countries obviously have many of their own products.  As you try new products, you are bound to find new favorites.

Sometimes if you see products that look familiar, they have a different language on the packages.  Some even try and display messages in English that seem a bit funny to you.  I’m not for sure the Lays company would put the same phrase “best with cold drinks” on their United States packages…maybe though.  Also, foreign countries have people with different tastes, so you might find potato chip flavors like Chilli Chinese with Schezwan Sauce and Seaweed Pringles….probably wouldn’t be popular flavors in United States.  One thing that is hard to find living abroad is proper potato or tortilla chips; that aisle in a United States grocery store is a long one with many different brands and options.

Another factor to consider when buying foreign products is when you are trying to read the ingredients; this is where many international school teachers draw the line.  Many, many people nowadays need to know exactly each thing that is in a product, and when you have to do this in a second language (in which you likely only know a few words in total) you might find yourself being drawn to bring back more of your home country’s products.  Knowing the ingredients is very important.  Sometimes even on imported products in your host country, the country itself covers up the English ingredients list and puts a sticker over it listing the ingredients in the host language. It is can be frustrating for sure!

Interesting story….I just witnessed an international school teacher lug up three boxes of home country goods to her apartment.  When I asked her where did she get these boxes, she said that you got them from somebody who works at the embassy of her home country.  After living abroad for awhile and meeting embassy workers, we all know one of the perks they get.  They can order home country products in bulk and the embassy will ship it over for them.  I guess this embassy worker had extra and enough to share with an international teacher!  I didn’t see all the different kind of products that were in the boxes, but I do know that I saw some box of those Duncan Hines cake boxes!  You might be able to find easy to bake cake mixes in your host country, but this just might be one of those projects that is only available at grocery stores in the United States.

Go ahead…continue to go home and stock up on all your favorite things.  However, don’t forget to keep your eye out in the local grocery stores where you are living.  Try a few new things every 1-2 weeks.  There are most likely some amazing products that you didn’t know about beforehand.  Some things though you just might want to pass on, like whatever kind of meat this is in the display case and what ever kind of product that is in this stand.  Sometime the risk is too great to try out new (and strange) products and foods!

 

If you are an international school teacher, please share what you stock up on when you return to your home country!  How many suitcases do you bring home?

 

 

Blogs of international school teachers: International Christian School teachers

What a great idea!

How wonderful if all schools had a separate page on their website listing all the personal blogs of its teachers!  Check out their website here.


Hong Kong

We would like to highlight a few of the entries on a couple of these blogs.

This international school teacher’s insight about moving back to your home country after teaching and living in Hong Kong is something we can all relate to:



“I think I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I was happy to be moving back to Canada. There are many things I am looking forward to about going back, foremost among them, being closer to our family, but there are many things I am going to really miss about Hong Kong, especially my job.  In early June I included an article in one of my posts that I wrote in 2005 about what I will miss about Hong Kong.  I’ve learned there is a lot more to a place than you can read about in a book, or see in a television documentary. For the entire six years I lived in Hong Kong I was constantly learning new things about the city I didn’t know before.”

This international school teaching couple’s experience working with Chinese students (as compared to students from the USA) is quite intriguing:

“How do Chinese middle school students differ from US middle school students? You tell an American student that they can sit “anywhere” in the classroom and at least 60% of the students immediately drop to the floor.  They sit on pillows, lie under tables, and tuck into back corners.  Some sit on top of things too – perching on counters, desks, and begging to sit on the teacher’s spinning chair at the front of the room.

You tell a Chinese student that they can sit “anywhere” in the classroom and 30% of the move with tepid enthusiasm to sit near a friend while the rest of them stay where they are.  Those that move take seats… in another desk.  2-3 students may choose to sit on the classroom couch, but nobody takes to the floor unless required to do so by me.

A student of mine explained it to me on Friday by saying that Chinese kids are taught from an early age to fear uncleanliness and germs.  Even as young children many of them play in seats at tables, rather than in groups on the floor.  Therefore, it’s engrained in them from the start to avoid the floor if at all possible.”

If you know of any other great, insightful international school blogs out there or if you have one of your own that you would like for us to highlight, send us an email at editor@internationalschoolcommunity.com.

The Taxi-Lives of International School Teachers

I imagine it’s raining. There are way too many substances in my blood, and I can’t separate my alterations. One moment I’m high as a kite flying on happy bliss, the next I’m weary and tetchy. Did I mention it’s raining? I’m just hardly on my feet – is it true that a giraffe’s offspring learns to walk just hours after it’s born? – If so, I haven’t advanced past my fetus state. It’s colder than yesterday when it was the coldest since the day before; I see where this is going. Then my savior is there. Just two steps away. And inside, relaxed on the backseat, the taxi drives away. The city and all its shining lights merge, as Amsterdam disappears in the background. There’s too much laughter, too many dogs barking, too much purple prose, women in barely nothing, and the men that haunt them. There’s the man selling Chinese proverbs, the woman selling flowers, selling madrigals, selling good time. I usually never take a taxi home, but sometimes nightlife just creeps under your skin, and you just need to get away, get somewhere, and get home. Shake off the cold, the night, the many impressions, the stale smell of balcony smokers, men in Nixon masks, and the women that admire them. And as the taxi stops right outside my door. I swear, next time I’ll take a bus. I won’t drink so much, and when I see the receipt from Taxi Company on my credit card statement, I won’t even remember the taxi ride home.

“I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in the direction we are moving.” Goethe.

I imagine it’s early morning. I’m in my newly ironed suit; my tie matches my polished shoes that match the brief case. There’s a taxi right in front of my compound. I get in, quietly give the driver my destination in English (though he doesn’t speak English very well at all), lean back, and start reading the newspaper. It’s mainly the financials, but I discretely smile at the candor of the comic strip. I never speak to the driver; he’s just here to get me from one destination to the next, smoothly with no major interruptions. It’s the easiest way to get around Shanghai. I sometimes take notion of the skylines, the people on the street, and the people in other taxis, but mostly I just read the paper. When I arrive at the international school that I work at, the driver opens my door, nods, and drives away. During the day there are several meetings around town, several of new taxi encounters, but the same customary every time.

“Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.” Lou Erickson.

I imagine I’m late again. I’ll just tell my friends, “I took a cab.” He’s Armenian; his mother’s mother was an immigrant, who used to live in the Bronx, where she opened a small bakery. His dad was a son of a gun. It’s right next to the Guggenheim. I order a martini and soup. Next stop: my publisher somewhere on Manhattan. Some gypsy cab tries to convince me he’s cheaper, but I know better. She’s from Kansas, not much of a talker, her sign says Ada Mae. She tries to hard to hide the fact she’s not a New Yorker, but I know better. There’s a party tonight at some loft in Soho, “it’s better than New Year, it’s close to the metro, but just take a cab, it’s safer.” It’s the pre-release-party, but some bookstore in Brooklyn has already started selling the book, so I take a cab there, just to see my book in the window. I ask the driver to hold, but he’s very impatient. I eat half a cupcake I buy in some small coffee shop, the décor is very vintage, and I get the address to this flea market in Greenwich Village. If I hail a cab quickly, I can make it before I go home and get dressed for the party. The driver driving me to Soho is from Iraq, I don’t remember his name, but he quoted Mahatma Ghandi, something about happiness and harmony. I only have a few drinks, small talk with an architect who’s designing a new super mall in New Jersey, the florist who did the decoration, my publisher’s ex-wife who just shared a cab with Meryl Streep (they were apparently going in the same direction) and a woman I think I’ve dated a couple years ago. We share a taxi home.

“And a big yellow taxi took away my old man. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchell.

Go ahead and send a private message regarding “transportation and the taxi-life” to one of our members that is currently living in one of the many different cities around the world represented on our website. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 100 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!

Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools

We found an interesting article around the international school community in the city of Mumbai.  It discusses the business side of the international school, the big business sometimes international schools can be to a community.  We have read before that the future of international schools are ones that are actually For-Profit ones.  Why is that a fact for the future of international schools?

Why might there be a resurgence of international schools in a community?  It could be very much related to the new upwardly mobile middle class in a society like as in the case of Mumbai.

Another issue with a resurgence of international schools is finding highly qualified teachers to work at them.  Hiring international teachers can be a big business as well with sometimes many international schools fighting over to get first pick at finding suitable candidates.

Currently there are 9 international schools in Mumbai India on International School Community.  They are: American School of Bombay, RBK International Academy, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, B.D.Somani International School, Oberoi International School , Podar International School, École Mondiale World School, NES International School (Mulund) and Singapore International School (Mumbai).  Overall, we have 39 international schools listed in India.

According to the article, Dhirubhai Ambani International School is the first of this new genre of international school.

Highlights from the article:

Although globally famous as resurgent India’s commercial capital, synonymous with Bollywood, the stock exchange, premier corporates and fashion houses, perhaps because of prohibitive real estate prices, the island city of Mumbai (pop. 13 million) is less than renowned for quality education institutions, particularly its schools. The city’s handful of vintage high profile schools such as Cathedral & John Connon (estb.1860), St. Mary’s (estb.1540), Campion (estb.1943) etc have reigned as Mumbai’s most difficult-to-access secondaries for half a century. Now somewhat belatedly, the city of gold’s school education scenario is about to experience a radical makeover.

During the past four years India’s commercial and entertainment capital has witnessed the promotion of over 35 new genre international schools. Launched with massive budgets ranging from Rs.10-50 crore, Mumbai’s latter-day five-star schools which offer fully-wired campuses bristling with hi-tech equipment and teaching aids, expat headmasters and affiliation with highly reputed offshore examination boards, are beginning to eclipse the city’s vintage secondaries as the first choice of the new upwardly mobile middle class.

The city’s first new genre international school the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, promoted by Nita Ambani (wife of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries (annual sales revenue: Rs.110,886 crore) admitted its first batch of students in 2003. Since then on average in this city of fast-track private enterprise, ten new genre international schools have been promoted every year, dizzy real estate prices and land scarcity notwithstanding.

Indeed, somewhat belatedly some of Mumbai’s most well-known business families the Goenkas, Podars, Somanis, and Ajmeras as well as other private entrepreneurs have hopped aboard the school education bandwagon. Among them: the Podar World School (estb.2004) and B.D Somani International School (estb.2006). Next year, two high profile international schools the Aditya Birla Group promoted New Era School (Cambridge) in South Bombay and Oberoi International School in Goregaon are scheduled to admit their first batches, and in 2009, industrialist and page 3 celebrity Yash Birla intends to open the doors of the Sunanda Birla International School on South Bombay’s plush Napean Sea Road. According to the state government’s directorate of education in Mumbai, over 90 proposals for inaugurating new schools have been submitted in the past two years (2005-2007) and are pending clearance.

Coterminously with the boom in international schools, India’s commercial capital, which is receptive to new ideas including education philosophies, is also witnessing the promotion of alternative schools which abhor conventional school education practices crowded classrooms, uniforms, competitive exams, and authoritarian, omniscient teachers. Started by four parents disillusioned with conventional schools, the Tridha School (estb. 2001) subscribes to the alternative education philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner, the late 19th century Austrian philosopher and educator. Steiner schools aka Waldorf schools, focus on educating and developing the whole child, not just her intellect. In consonance with the Waldorf system, Tridha provides its students a stress-free environment striving for a balance between academics, arts and crafts, music, dance and environment awareness. Tridha is one of three Waldorf schools in India (the other two are in Hyderabad) with an enrollment of 233 students who pay annual tuition fees ranging from Rs.29,000-33,000.

While Mumbai’s international schools are perceived as rendering valuable service by offering students much sought after international certifications, all’s not well with them. Most admit to being confronted with severe shortages of high-quality teachers, a pre-requisite of delivering the globally-reputed syllabuses and curriculums of the CIE, UK and IBO, Geneva. Given their academic rigour and broad-based life skills content, these international curriculums mandate stringent in-service teacher training and continuous skills upgradation programmes. Therefore recruiting, motivating and retaining best teachers has become a top priority of Mumbai’s five-star school managements. And it’s hardly a secret that most of them have signed up recruitment firms and headhunters to poach, purloin and entice the best teachers from schools across the country with unprecedented pay packages, including housing and other perks.

“There’s a drought of quality teachers globally and a severe shortage of new blood in the teaching profession. Therefore international schools are experiencing considerable difficulty in recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Indian teachers trained in India’s new international schools are now being offered jobs abroad and tend to jump ship as soon as opportunity knocks. Therefore the attrition rate in five-star schools is very high. The only option for them is to hire expat teachers, but the government is creating hurdles to importing them. This is to India’s disadvantage,” says Capt. Raj Mohindra.

If you would like to read the whole article, check it out here: