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Posts Tagged ‘traveling’

Survey results are in: Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have had the most success at IB conferences.

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IB conferences/workshops can prove to be a very motivating and enlightening experience.  Isn’t that what going to conferences is all about?  Most people might say that teaching is viewed as a career, and with careers comes professionalism.  Many international school teachers aspire to be the best professionals in the field.  The IB (PYP and MYP too) teachers definitely have similar aspirations as well; to learn more and more about the new ways of thinking and teaching using inquiry.  They are also looking to learn more about how to make their students’ thinking visible.

But like many workshops that you may attend at international school teaching conferences, the benefit of the workshop you attend greatly depends on the instructor that you get.  It can also be said that the success of your workshop depends on the people that attend it as well.  So many different factors come into play, but when all of them line up correctly, you are most likely in for an enlightening experience.  Those types of workshops can really inspire you throughout the rest of the conference and stay with you when you return back to work.

In terms of staff development benefits, the IBO requires that the teachers working in approved/accredited schools get on going PD in the IB philosophy and latest strategies on how best to instruct students in their inquiry programme. Instead of using your own PD monies to attend IB workshops, very often the school will take the costs involved out of their own monies.

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work.  Knowing about the professional development allowance (or lack there of) can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what you can expect in terms of you getting the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences while you work there.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Benefits Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Professional development allowance details.

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Taken from International Community School Addis Ababa (35 Total Comments) school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Mef Int’l School Istanbul: “IBO certified IBDP and PYP training provided. Outside speakers such as Virginia Rojas brought in to provide in house PD.”

Another member said about working at Western International School of Shanghai: “Most teachers don’t get any out of school PD their first year of contract. Depends on the needs of the school.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at American School of Barcelona: “The PD amount is 390 Euros a year. You can roll over this amount for 3 years. But the reality some people get more, it is not so clear cut on who gets what amount and who gets to go to what PD opportunity.”

If you are currently a member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about the PD allowances at your international school. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

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Survey results are in: How many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools?

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted expect to keep working abroad at international schools for at least 1-3 more years.

For many of us, I suppose teaching abroad at international schools is a temporary circumstance in our lives.  Some of us have international school colleagues that move abroad to teach, and after their one and only international school posting, they are now living and happily working back in their home countries. Sure, there is a chance of them moving abroad again, but it likely to not happen again.  Many people look for stability in their lives, and many people ultimately find that stability back in their home countries.

For other international school educators, when they start working at international schools, they can’t seem to get enough of this life.  Working at international schools and moving from country to country can be very addictive.  10 total people out of 23 voted that they will be working at international schools 7-10 more years and even maybe for forever!  The salaries/benefits, work conditions and standard of life must be quite attractive for these people. If things are going well and you are not having to worry about money, why not choose to stay working at international schools?  It is nice to not have to worry about paying for housing or any utilities for example.  It is also maybe nice to not have to clean your house or wash your clothes as you may be able to hire a house keeper to do those things for you in your current position.  These people might have met their partner while living in their host country and now have decided to stay abroad for the long term!

Then there are the teachers that have made the all-important (and possibly difficult) decision to make this year their last one (3 people in our survey have said that this is what their future holds for them).  To say goodbye to the international school teaching world is sometimes not an easy decision to make.  Livin’ the ‘good life’ will soon be ending for you, and you may not ultimately want things to end.  Also, the anticipation of reverse culture shock is not necessarily welcomed with open arms.  Cringe!

On the other hand, your current situation might just be a very bad fit for you, enough of a bad fit that you have decided to not take the risk of working at another international school.  A very negative experience at one international school might have you come to the realization that this life really just is not a good fit for you.

Moving back home has it pros and cons, and one must look at them carefully.  One reason to not move back to many of the states in the United States is that the job market for teachers is not so good right now.  There are many, many teachers applying for one position still right now.  Hopefully as the U.S. economy improves, more money for staffing and for school districts in general will become available which may lead to more jobs for prospective teachers.  I think the same thing is happening at many international schools right now.  Many international schools are looking for and actually finding more families with children to attend their school.  More students typically means a higher need for more staffing.  How nice would it be if the power was back in the candidate’s hand at the recruitment fairs; more options and opportunities for us!

There are many factors to consider when deciding to stay abroad or move back home.  Knowing about what kinds of teachers work at an international school and the average staff turnover rate can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what others are doing who maybe from the same country and situation as you.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a School Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Khartoum International Community School: “You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time.”

Another member said about working at Tsinghua International School (Beijing): “Can’t really comment too much on this as things may have changed. When I was there lots of staff were from North America, but what could be called “old Chinese hands.” They’d lived in China a long time. Other staff were Chinese with American passports. All were great, but at the time, not many were what you’d think of as north American trained teachers. Very high turnover when I was there.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Colegio Granadino Manizales: “The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer.”

So how many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools? Please share what your plans are!

Stay tuned for our next survey topic to come out in a few days time.

Traveling Around: Myanmar (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

Traveling Around: Myanmar

Can you relate?

• Carrying all of your spending money around with you, including money for hotels and inner country flights, in US dollars, because there are no ATMs, and credit cards are not excepted.
• Making sure that this cash is only brand new, crisp bills, because otherwise, they will not be excepted.
• Feeling like you are in India or Bangladesh, because Myanmar borders both of these countries.
• Seeing Burmese people wearing a white powder on their face, and discovering it is actually their traditional sun screen and moisturizer.
• Realizing that this is such an exciting moment to be in Myanmar due to their fledgling democracy and the recent release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
• Talking to amazing locals, who are so happy that you have chosen to visit their country, especially after years of tourists bans.
• Traveling by horse and cart……because this is an actual mode of transportation in Bagan, Myanmar!
• Using a paper ticket! No e-tickets in this country.
• Actually going to the airline company to buy this paper ticket, and then waiting as the agent hand writes each ticket!
• Visiting Bagan, where there are more than 1,200 temples which sounds amazing until you realize that this country used to have more than 13,000!
• Being super impressed by the service at the airports, considering that tourism is just starting up again.
• Trying the traditional food, which is shared style, and the food keeps coming until you are full!
• Sadly, seeing a neighborhood slum right next to a brand new high end grocery store. Seems very wrong.
• Arriving in Heho, traveling one hour by car, and then one hour by boat, to Inle lake, and realizing it was worth every minute of travel.
• Staying in cottages on stilts which are right in the middle of the lake.
• Seeing the milky way at night.
• Hanging out at the Strand Hotel

Currently we have 6 international schools listed in Myanmar on International School Community:

• Yangon International School (10 Comments)
International School of Myanmar (10 Comments)
International School Yangon (6 Comments)
Total Learning Academy (9 Comments)
Myanmar International School Yangon (8 Comments)
Yangon Academy (0 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world and how you are coping with any culture shock.  If we choose your “Can you relate?” experience, International School Community will give you a coupon code for 1 free month of premium membership!

Survey results are in: Where are you spending your ‘extra’ money while teaching abroad?

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are spending their ‘Extra’ money on traveling, clothes and food.

I guess it comes as no surprise that international school teachers are traveling a lot.  If we have the time and means to do it, then we often take advantage of this time in our lives (because it might not last for ever!).  We love the fact that we are getting more time for holidays throughout the school year (than maybe you would be getting in your home country).  Some international schools are also celebrating up to three countries’ national holidays!  Being that many of us don’t have family living where we are currently living in the world, there is sometimes no good reason to stick around our host city during our vacation time.  When holiday time comes around, we are all asking each other “Where are you traveling to?”

At one point in my international school teaching career, I was traveling so much that I was averaging 12 new countries a year!  New countries!  And I was at a placement with the lowest salary of my teaching career.  I guess then it all depends on your location in the world and how well that city’s airport is connected to other cities in the world.  Sometimes the cost of living in the city can play a factor as well to how much money you have left over for traveling.  If you pay rent in your current placement, having a roommate too can help you put more of your earnings towards traveling instead of a higher monthly rent that you would be paying if you were living by yourself.

There are many factors to consider.  Knowing about all this information about traveling before you sign a contract can quite important then…that is if traveling is one of your top priorities while living abroad.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Travel Section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile that discusses this very topic.  There are four topics in this section:

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there.

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country.

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train.

There have been many comments and information submitted in the Travel Section on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at American School of Barcelona: “It is easy to get to almost every European city from Barcelona for a decent price. You do have to shop around and it is better to book ahead. A flight from Barcelona to the east coast of the USA at Christmas costs around 500-900 Euros.”

Another member said about working at American School of Asuncion: “It is very difficult to travel on a regular weekend, since Asuncion is basically in the middle of nowhere, and flights to the closest cool cities (Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro) are expensive. It is also becoming more and more pricey with the Visas required for Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. They range from $60-140.”

Another member submitted a comment about the traveling opportunities while working at Kodaikanal International School: “KIS is fortunate in having a fully staffed Travel Office to coordinate student, staff and community travel. Our travel partner ‘Around the World Travel’ is an India-wide agency with decades of experience in providing national and international travel options to and from KIS.”

We also have other comments and information topics in the City Section of the school profile pages that are related to clothing and food.  One of these topics covers the best places in your host city to find good deals on clothing and other shopping.  We all can benefit from hearing about places that are good to go to versus spending time and energy going to ones that aren’t so good in our host city.

For those international school teachers that put going out to eat a lot as a top priority while living abroad, there are also topics that discuss the best places in the city to go out to eat.  We even have a topic that is about restaurants that appeal to the expat community living in that host city (we all want a little ‘familiar’ food every now and then!).

Some of us spend our ‘extra’ money buying imported goods.  Typically the food sold in the local expat grocery store is at a very high price, prices you would never pay if you were living in your home country.  But because of the ‘extra’ money that many international school teachers have while living abroad, we can afford buying these products. Well we can often buy these high-priced products, but maybe not live on these products!

So what are ou spending your ‘extra’ money on while living abroad?  With the appeal of being able to travel to most places in the world and being able to go out to eat more often, it is indeed difficult to save your ‘extra’ money at times.  According to the survey results though, there are some international school teachers that are saving their money.  Some schools actually force you to save in a way, when they transfer part of your salary into your home country bank account while they transfer another part into your local bank account.  Typically you can live on the money transferred into your local account, letting you save the money in your home country bank account very easily and make is ‘less accessible’ to spend too!

To save or not to save…that is the question!

Blogs of international school teachers: “Art Teach Travel.”

Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 21st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Art Teach Travel”  Check out the blog entries of this school teacher who has lived and worked in the United States for many years teaching art.  She has aspirations to join the international school community in the very near future.  She has written some great insight related to the different kinds of international school recruitment fairs currently on offer to people looking for a job at an international school.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

ISS (International Schools Services)

“Since 1955, International Schools Services (ISS) has been dedicated to providing international students access to a premier Western education. It is difficult for ISS to give me data regarding how many art positions are available each year because, unlike UNI, they have continual, year-round recruitment fairs at various locations around the world. Currently, ISS has five recruitment conferences scheduled in 2012-13 to include Philadelphia; Nice, France; Atlanta; Bangkok and San Francisco. There will be more posted as dates are confirmed.

In 2010, a variety of schools, in countries such as China, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, UAE and Vietnam, needed art teachers but each year the represented schools and countries are varied. There is no way to predict how many schools from how many countries will need art teachers each year. When I recently inquired there were 11 positions most recently available…”

I think about this too. For most teachers looking for a job at an international school, in any given year, always must take a gamble.  The gamble is just how this blogger described: you never know what vacancies are going to be available the year you decide to look for a job abroad (and in the city or country you most want to work in).  Some more experienced teachers in the international school community do tend to wait until the right job comes up (usually found out through their extensive network of international educator colleagues) and then they decide to leave their current school.  However, there are a number of teachers that don’t have that luxury and they take a big chance that the perfect job will present itself the year they decide to look. Going to the recruitment fair is fun though really.  If you are luckily, you have many interviews to consider at the fair.  I think I went to about seven interviews at the last recruitment fair that I attended.  They say to even go to the ones that you are pretty sure you are not interested in…because “you never know.”  Also, it is quite interesting to learn more about the many different international schools around the world and what they are doing and have to offer.

It is good to check how many positions are available on the recruitment fair’s website before you get to the fair, but it is also good to know that things can change very quickly.  The vacancies listed on their website can change….a lot, so be prepared as you are walking around during the first round robin session and checking out their vacancies posters. Though on the other hand, if you have contacted a school beforehand and they have shown interest in you about a vacancy, still go up to the table and get the latest update (if you don’t see the vacancy listed on the poster), as you never know what has happened and the position might indeed be available again in a day, a week, etc…

Should I stay or should I go? (Part 1 of 3)

“So now, years later, I’m asking the same question: Should I stay or should I go? This time, I’m talking about my job, the Dallas art scene, my home in Texas and my country. I’ve been exploring how to combine my love of teaching with my love of adventure and travel. Teaching art in an international school may be my way to do that.

Although there are many educational placement companies, I have narrowed my search down to three: UNI (University of Northern Iowa), ISS (International Schools Services) and SA (Search Associates). Although I’ve never taught internationally, I have read many others’  personal accounts through various forum blogs…”

Waiting for the right time to enter the international school community can take awhile for some people.  Taking the risk of leaving your current job in your home country, leaving your friends and family, and then ultimately leaving your home country itself is quite the challenge.  I remember my teacher friends being ready years before me.  I had many things that I had to deal with first, and it took me six years (after I first started teaching with my teaching license) until my life was ready to finally go to a recruitment fair.  I don’t remember thinking that staying (in my current job and home country) really was option anymore…once I had finally made my decision to teach abroad.  Luckily, things worked out well and I got the job of my dreams at the first recruitment fair that I had ever been to, with no prior international school teaching experience.  I think the “power” was definitely in the candidate’s favor back then!

Now I am currently at my third international school, and I still ask the questions to myself “Should I stay or should I go?” Even though most contracts are for two years, it is always good to stay a little bit after that initial contract and sometimes there is a nice financial incentive to stay longer too!  Your school in your home country probably wouldn’t be offering you any bonuses to stay with them!  One of the many perks teaching at international schools versus teaching in your home country.

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1245+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

Traveling Around: Iceland (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

Traveling Around: Iceland

Can you relate?

• Being amazed at how many tours were on offer for tourists to go on.
• Realizing I was there a too short of time to see everything I wanted to see.
• Having the feeling of actually wanted to return to this country, which doesn’t happen in every country I visit.
• Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon and enjoying the beautiful ‘moon-like’ scenery that surrounded it.
• Not really understanding what it is like to try and sleep during the ‘midnight’ sun of countries this part of the hemisphere…not easy.
• Meeting some interesting people on my day trips, and then seeing them again on the bus that goes to the airport.
• Taking a risk with a short time constraint to find a recommended restaurant, finding it, very much enjoyed the food, and then making it successfully to my destination on time.
• Checking out the beautiful sky and clouds patterns each day and trying to figure out if it is true the sky truly looks different in different parts of the world.
• Getting the chance to see the tectonic plate divide and where the North American plate and Eurasian plate meet each other.
• Having a good time listening to all the old stories and myths of Icelandic culture and history.
• Realizing that Iceland is indeed the land of TROLLS!
• Seeing a bunch of geysers, one that could blast upwards of 2-3 stories.
• Sneaking up to some wild common seals and just being in awe of being that close to wild animals (being that I normally live in a big city).
• Eating a picnic on a beautiful coast just listening to the sounds of the birds nearby, the relaxing sound of the ocean waves, and nothing else!
• Finding the Iceland horses (basically found everywhere on the SW side of the Iceland) quite unique and beautiful to watch.
• Walking over a side of a cliff on the coast and not realizing that I was walking over a bridge of rock with nothing but water underneath all of us!
• Learning about the Arctic Tern bird and how protective they are of their space/area; a few of the people in our tour (including myself) were actually attacked by this bird.

Currently we have 1 international school listed in Iceland on International School Community:

International School of Iceland (12 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world and how you are coping with any culture shock.  If we choose your “Can you relate?” experience, International School Community will give you a coupon code for 1 free month of premium membership!

Traveling Around: Almaty, Kazakhstan (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

Traveling Around: Almaty, Kazakhstan

Can you relate?

• Seeing locations in a city that the Amazing Race teams did a challenge at.
• Noticing how amazing it would be to live next to a majestic range of mountains.
• Buying souvenirs that you normally wouldn’t buy because you are trying to make your current international apartment your “home”
• Being happy that the location that you are currently living in has much, much less pollution.
• Interrupting (in a respectful way) a important culture event that the locals were participating in.
• Talking with the local dried-fruit and nuts man at the green market in the center of town and buying some amazing dates from him.
• Meeting a lot of the expat international school teachers that live in the city and realizing how much fun they are having living abroad in a (very) foreign country.
• Laughing a bit as you walk through a mall and watching people skate around the indoor ice rink in the atrium.
• Passing by much of the produce at the local grocery stores because of its poor quality.
• Feeling grateful to have old work-friends in cool and unusual places around the world.
• Waiting for minutes, hours, and even days for the government to turn on the heat so you can take a hot shower.
• Eating at the main expat restaurant for some good-ole western food.
• Sitting in a cool section of a local restaurant and having some excellent, moreish local food.
• Checking out the very important opera house, but unfortunately not being able to buy a ticket to see a show.

Currently we have 10 international schools listed in Kazakstan on International School Community. They are:

• QSI Almaty International School (4 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world and how you are coping with any culture shock.  If we choose your “Can you relate?” experience, International School Community will give you a coupon code for 1 free month of premium membership!