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Posts Tagged ‘working at international schools’

Selecting an international school: Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about if the international school’s teachers are fully qualified or not?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school at which to work.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series, we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

This is not typically a concern with mainstream international schools, but it can be a concern with some newer schools and in certain regions of the world.

pic1104Some might say having qualified teachers from early years all the way to secondary school are essential for an international school to thrive.  Why then do some international schools hire non-certified teachers?  Of course there are many reasons why schools make such choices for their staff.

One reason is that qualified teachers are sometimes hard to come by in some (if not all) countries. Additionally, the more experienced teachers may not be considering positions at less established international schools.  In some parts of the world, the pay is low.  Being that certified teachers seek out positions that value their teaching degrees (that they have worked hard for), they might not even consider working at some schools where the pay and benefits are less than desirable.

Another factor that comes into play is timing.  Some international schools get into “binds” every once and awhile, and sometimes the best choice is to hire a less qualified (or not qualified) teacher to fill the position. That non-qualified teacher is just waiting and waiting for the right moment, when the stars align for them, to finally get that job at the nearby international school versus staying at the “language” school down the road.  Also, when international schools are trying to fill vacancies for the coming school year during not ideal times of the year (e.g. the summer months or even May), they might not have the same pick of qualified teachers as they would have had back in January and February.

Even another reason that international school hire non-qualified teachers could be related to money.  International schools (especially for-profit ones) are always on the look-out on how to save money. Hiring non-qualified teachers can potentially save the school money as they can sometimes pay them less.  If there is a pay scale at the school, they would most likely be on the bottom of it.Mr-Boli-and-Primary-186

Many educators without university teaching certificates are the ones that are already living abroad.  They maybe moved abroad when they got a job at an English-language school or had an interest in “teaching English” in a foreign country.  We are sure that there are some great English-language schools around the world, but most of the teachers at those schools would prefer to work at an international school; mainly because of the better pay and benefits.  More established international schools though won’t consider them because they might not have the exact teaching qualifications that they require. The less established international schools might consider these less-qualified teachers though, especially if they are scrounging to find quality candidates to fill their positions.

It is true that you can be a good teacher, even an excellent one, without a teaching certificate from a university. Experience in the field can definitely equal quality teaching, and parents and other qualified teachers shouldn’t be so turned off to working with them.  If you agree to that statement, maybe we shouldn’t be so caught up in whether an international school has an all-qualified staff.  We all work hard to do the same job, it isn’t as if qualified teachers would work any harder at the school.  On the other hand, it is important to honor the time spent when teachers do go an get diplomas in education.  Many people with university teaching certificates have worked very hard to make teaching their career choice and not just a “job”.  It can be a bit of an “unfortunate circumstance” and a downer when a qualified teacher shows up at their new international school to find out that their colleagues are all “English teachers”!
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On our website we have a specific topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of which international schools have qualified teachers or not.  It is called “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”  Our members have submitted 100s of comments and information in this topic on a number of different international schools listed on our website.  Here are just a few of the comments and information submitted in this topic:

“About 65% North American, 20% European and 15% local and other. All teachers are certified and have at least 4 years’ experience…”MEF International School Istanbul (27 total comments)

“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…”Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 total comments)

“High Staff turnover. Probably 1/3 local hires vs. expats. The qualifications can be low. Many first year teachers with no teaching degree. Most expats are Americans and Canadians. People do not stay here because the taxes are high, the frustration level with the administration is high, and the level of academic rigor is low…”American School Foundation of Mexico City (35 total comments)

“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…”Khartoum International Community School (37 total comments)

“Turn over rate last year was very low. This year is different with several teachers in the Secondary school being pushed out. The school pays on time and there are good benefits. Many teachers in the Secondary school do not have formal teaching qualifications but they have good subject knowledge…”Western International School of Shanghai (57 total comments)

If you are an International School Community member with premium access, log on today and submit your own comments about the international schools you know about!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and automatically get one full month of premium access. You will become a part of our over 1950+ members!

Recently Updated School Profiles #19: Dhahran Ahliyya Schools, Al Ghanim Bilingual School and Mef Int’l School Istanbul

Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

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21 Jan  Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (36 new comments)      Dammam, Saudi Arabia:

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One of the new comments in the school information section: “DAS does have high expectations of its teaching staff. The school is working hard to make the shift to a dual language program and it expects the teachers to participate fully in its efforts. Most of these efforts take place during school hours although, like in good schools everywhere, teachers do take work home to prepare lessons and grade papers. Most teachers have preparation time for approximately one-third to one-half of their time in school. Some of that time is taken up by meetings in the department and everyone has a few assignments of yard duty per week…”

20 Jan  Al Ghanim Bilingual School (15 new comments)      Salwa, Kuwait:

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One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “Although I recommend staying away from this school, if you are even considering working there, make sure that you get the following before making a final decision: 1. A copy of the contract. 2. A copy of the staff manual. If it’s the same staff manual that I received, you’ll find a list of things teachers should not do and the consequences including the number of days pay that will be lost. 3. Your assignment and schedule in writing. (There were teachers who were told that they would be doing one thing, and when they arrived they were told that they would be doing something else.) …”

14 Jan  Mef Int’l School Istanbul (27 new comments)      Istanbul, Turkey:

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One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “A flight every 2 years and at end of contract. 600 USD shipping at beginning and end of contract. Receipts at beginning but not needed when leaving. Free breakfast, lunch and snack…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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.

Selecting an international school: Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?

What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about if the school features a curriculum that is consistent with your future career plans?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?

indexInternational schools teach in many different curricula.  Some of the most common are the UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB curricula. Which curriculum is one that is consistent with your future plans?  Are you comfortable just continuing teaching in the same one curriculum that you have been teaching in your whole teaching career or do you have aspirations to teach and to gain experience in a different curriculum?

Most of us international school teachers start off in a school that teaches in the same curriculum as your home country.  After all, your home country curriculum is what you have the most experience teaching in, and it is also probably the one in which you are the most comfortable.  Also, if you work at a school that teaches your home country curriculum, then you will most likely be teaching alongside others who are just like you (which could make you feel “more at home” while living abroad).

There are definitely international school teachers out there that seek out new experiences though and would be risk takers and seek out to try and work at an international school that teaches in a curriculum of which they are not familiar.  It definitely broadens your skills in teaching once you start having experiences teaching in different curricula.  You may find that your personal teaching philosophy also starts to get modified or solidified even more.  You definitely have more “tools” in your teaching “toolbox.” Not only does teaching in the new curriculum change you, it is the people that you interact with at that new school (who might be from a different country and teaching background than you) that influence how you teach your lessons as well.

imagesIt is nice to have a couple of different experiences noted on your CV that refer to the different curricula in which you have taught.  It is not only good for you so that you grow professionally, but it is also potentially good when job hunting.  Only a few cities in the world have more than 20 international schools in them (Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, etc…) and can offer many different kinds of curricula.

Most cities though only have a handful of international schools (Paris, Chang Mai, Buenos Aires, etc…), mean limited choices for different curricula.  If you are interested in working in a specific city in the world and there are only three international schools in that city, then you can for sure “better your chances” of getting a job there if you have previous experience teaching the curriculum at two or all three of those schools.  It is not a given though that you will automatically get an interview/the job there of course (if you have experience in that curriculum), but it most definitely might put you on their radar.

With the international schools that teach the IB curriculum, some people say that it is getting increasingly difficult to get a job at these schools if you don’t have previous IB experience.  You might have PYP, MYP, and IB as part of your plans in your future teaching career, but many schools are not even considering candidates without previous experience.  There definitely have been candidates though who “got their break” and landed a job at an IB school without previous experience in the curriculum.  Those candidates say that some directors tell them that if you are a good teacher, then it does not matter one bit if you don’t have previous IB experience.  If you are a good teacher in one curriculum, then typically that would mean you are a good teacher in another one (with proper training and PD of course to help you along the way). So, if you are trying to secure a job at an international school that teaches a curriculum that you have no experience in, don’t just give up and not send them your cover letter and CV.  You never know truly who they are specifically looking for and of course they aren’t just considering candidates that have previous experience in the curriculum.  It might just be that they are not getting enough “ideal” candidates and are already considering candidates without previous curriculum experience.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 8.26.11 PMOn our website we have a School Profile Search feature that allows you to search for the schools that teach the curriculum that you are looking for in your next job.  You can search by choosing the following curricula: UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB.  We also have an “other” option to search schools that teach a curriculum that is not one of those eight choices.  When searching our 1340 international schools (updates on 16 January 2013), we have found the following results regarding curricula:

• There are 435 international schools that teach the USA curriculum.
• There are 413 international schools that teach the UK curriculum.
• There are 57 international schools that teach the IPC curriculum.
• There are 306 international schools that teach the PYP curriculum.
• There are 237 international schools that teach the MYP curriculum
• There are 472 international schools that teach the IB curriculum
• There are 29 international schools that teach the Canada curriculum
• There are 647 international schools that teach the “Other/Host Country” curriculum

If you are an International School Community member, log on today and submit your own search for the curriculum that is consistent with your future plans!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1600 members.  Many of our current members have listed that they have worked at over 200 international schools around the world, schools that teach all 8 of the curriculum search criteria. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions and get firsthand information about what it is like teaching in the curriculum at their international school.

International School Community members have worked at over 346 international schools!

At International School Community, networking and gathering information is very easy.  Get answers about schools that you are interested in by clicking on the school profile page link and sending a message to one of the Members of that school on our website.  It’s a great way to get firsthand information!  Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at the following 346 international schools (last updated on 16 December, 2012):

Andorra
Collegi Internacional del Pirineu

Argentina
Lincoln, The American International School

Austria
Danube International School
Vienna International School

Azerbaijan
Baku International School

Bahrain
Bahrain Bayan School
Ibn Khuldoon National School
Naseem International School (Bahrain)

Bangladesh
American International School Dhaka
International School Dhaka

Barbados
The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados)

Belgium
Shape American School

Bolivia
Santa Cruz Cooperative School

Bostwana
Gaborone International School

Brazil
Graded School Sao Paulo
International School of Curitiba
Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador
St. Nicholas School Sao Paulo

Brunei
International School Brunei

Bulgaria
Anglo American School of Sofia
American College of Sofia

Cambodia
Cambodia International Academy
Northbridge International School

Cameroon
American School of Yaounde

Canada
École Internationale Académie de la Capitale International School

Chile
Santiago College

China
Access International Academy (Ningbo)
American International School (Hong Kong)

Beanstalk International Bilingual School

Beijing BISS International School
Beijing City International School
British International School Shanghai – Pudong
Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
Changsha WES Academy 
Chinese International School
Concordia International School (Shanghai)
Delia School of Canada
Discovery College (Hong Kong)
Disney English
Eduwings International Kindergarten
Etonhouse International School Suzhou
Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus)
Hong Kong International School
International Academy of Beijing
International Montessori School of Beijing
International School of Beijing
The International School of Macao
Jinyuan Senior High School
Nanjing International School
Ningbo Zhicheng School International
Qingdao Ameriasia International School
Quality Schools International Chengdu
Renaissance College Hong Kong
Shanghai American School – Pudong
Shanghai American School – Puxi
Shanghai Community Int’l School

Shanghai Rego International School
Shuren Ribet
Suzhou Singapore International School
Taipei American School
Taipei European School
Tsinghua International School (Beijing)
Utahloy International School Guangzhou
Victoria Shanghai Academy
Western Academy Beijing
Western Int’l School of Shanghai
Wuxi Taihu International School
Xiamen International School
Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong)
Zhuhai International School

Colombia
Colegio Bolivar
Colegio Granadino Manizales
Colegio Nueva Granada
Colegio Panamericano 

Columbus School Medellin

Costa Rica
Country Day School
Country Day School Guanacaste
Lincoln School (San Jose)

Cyprus
American International School of Cyprus

Czech Republic
1st International School of Ostrava
International School of Prague

Denmark
Aarhus Academy for Global Education
Copenhagen International School

Dominican Republic
Carol Morgan School Santo Domingo
International School of Sosua
The Ashton School of Santo Domingo

Ecuador
Academia Cotopaxi (American International School)
American School of Quito
Colegio Alberto Einstein
InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil

Egypt
American International School in Egypt
British Columbia Canadian International School
Cairo British School
Egyptian British International School
El Alsson British and American International School
International School of Elite Education
Misr American College
Modern English School Cairo

El Salvador
Academia Britanica Cuscatleca

Ethiopia
Sandford (British) International School

France
Cite Scolaire Internationale de Lyon
International School of Paris
LYCÉE-COLLÈGE KONAN DE TOURAINE-FRANCE

Georgia
QSI International School of Tbilisi

Germany
Berlin Brandenburg International School
Berlin International School
Bonn International School
Heidelberg International School
Independent Bonn International School
International School of Dusseldorf
International School of Stuttgart
ISR Internationale Schule am Rhein in Neuss
John F. Kennedy School Berlin
Leipzig International School
Munich International School

Greece
American Community Schools Athens
International School of Athens

Guatemala
American School of Guatemala (Colegio Americano)

Honduras
American School Tegucigalpa
Happy Days Freedom School

Hungary
American International School Budapest

Iceland
International School of Iceland

India
American International School Chennai
Dhirubhai Ambani International School
Mercedes-Benz International School
Olive Green International School
Pathways World School

Podar International School
Prudence International School and Jr. College
The Pupil Saveetha Eco School
RBK International Academy
Stonehill International School (India)
The Velammal Intenational Residential School
Trio World School Bangalore

Indonesia
Bali International School
Bandung International School
Bina Bangsa School
BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug
Gandhi Memorial International School
Jakarta International School
Jakarta World Academy
Mount Zaagkam International School
New Zealand International School
Sekolah Ciputra
Sekolah Pelita Harapan
Sinarmas World Academy
Singapore International School (Indonesia)
Yogyakarta International School

Italy
Ambrit-Rome International School
American Overseas School of Rome
Bilingual European School of Milan
The Bilingual School of Monza
Green School Verona
International School Florence
QSI International School of Brindisi

Japan
AI International School
ABC International School (Tokyo)
American School in Japan
American School of Tokyo
A’takamul International School
Aoba Japan International School
Canadian Academy (Kobe)
Horizon Japan International School
Nagoya International School
Nishimachi International School
Seisen International School
Tsukuba International School
Yokohama International School

Jordan
The International Academy

Kazakhstan
Haileybury Almaty
QSI International School of Astana
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana

Kenya
Aga Khan Academy Mombasa

Kuwait
A’takamul International School
Ajial Bilingual School

American Bilingual School
American Creativity Academy
American International School of Kuwait
American School of Kuwait
Canadian Bilingual School
Fawzia Sultan International School
Universal American School

Laos
Vientiane International School

Lebanon
International College Beirut

Madagascar
American School of Antananarivo

Malawi
Bishop Mackenzie International School

Malaysia
Australian International School (AISM)
Cempaka International School
Dalat International School
Fairview International School
Garden International School

Kinabalu International School
Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar
Nexus International School

International School of Johor
International School of Kuala Lumpur

Maldives
Iskandhar School

Mexico
American School of Durango
American School Foundation of Guadalajara
American School Foundation of Mexico City
Instituto San Roberto

Mongolia
International School of Ulaanbaatar

Morrocco
Casablanca American School 
George Washington Academy

Myanmar
International School of Myanmar
International School Yangon
Yangon Academy

Nepal
Abraham Lincoln School (Nepal)

Netherlands
American School of the Hague
The British School of the Netherlands
International School Amsterdam
International School Hilversum
International School of the Hague

Nigeria
American International School of Lagos
Day Waterman College

Norway
International School of Stavanger

Oman
Al Batinah International School
The Sultan’s School

Pakistan
International School of Islamabad

Paraguay
American School of Asuncion
Pan American International School

Peru
Colegio Peruano Britanico
Colegio Roosevelt Lima (FDR) [The American School of Lima]

Philippines
Brent School Manila
Cebu International School
International School of Johor

International School Manila
Noblesse International School
Singapore School Cebu

Poland
American School of Warsaw
Wroclaw International School

Puerto Rico
Caribbean School

Qatar
Al Khor International School
Newton International School
Qatar Academy
Qatar International School

Romania
British International School Bucharest
Olga Gudynn International School

Russia
Atlantic International School 
Anglo-American School of Moscow

British International School Moscow
The International School of Moscow

Saudi Arabia
Al Hada International School
American International School of Jeddah
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools
International Indian School Jeddah
International Schools Group
Jeddah Knowledge International School

Serbia
British International School (Serbia)
International School of Belgrade

Sierra Leone
American International School of Freetown

Singapore
Australian International School
Canadian International School (Singapore)

Chatsworth International School
International School Singapore
Singapore American School
Stamford American International School

Spain
American School of Barcelona
Benjamin Franklin Int’l School
El Plantio International School Valencia
King’s College – The British School of Madrid
Mar Azul International School
Sunland International School
The English School of Asturias

Solomon Islands
Woodford International School

South Korea
Asia Pacific International School
Busan Foreign School 
Busan International Foreign School
Chadwick International School – Songdo
Daegu International School
Gyeonggi Suwon International School
Korea International School
Korea International School (Seoul)
Seoul Foreign School 
Seoul International School

Taejon Christian International SchoolChadwick International School – Songdoz

Sudan
Khartoum American School
Khartoum International Community School
Woodford International School

Sweden
The International School of Helsingborg

Switzerland
International School Basel
International School of Berne
TASIS The American School in Switzerland

Syria
Damascus Community School
Icarda International School of Aleppo

Tanzania
International School of Tanganyika
Savannah Plains International School

Thailand
American School of Bangkok
Berkeley International School (Bangkok)
British International School (BIS) Phuket
Chiang Rai International School
Hampton International School
International School Bangkok
International School Eastern Seaboard (ISE)
KIS International School (Bangkok)
Lycee Francais de Bangkok
New International School Thailand (NIST)
Regent’s School Bangkok
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok
Shrewbury International School Bangkok
St. John’s International School (Thailand)

Trinidad and Tobago
International School of Port of Spain

Tunisia
American Cooperative School of Tunis

Turkey
Adana Gundogdu College
Istanbul International Community School
Mef Int’l School Istanbul

Uganda
International School of Uganda

Ukraine
Meridian International School
Pechersk School International

United Arab Emirates
Al Ittihad National Private School
Al Raha International School Abu Dhabi
American Academy for Girls (Dubai)
American Community School Abu Dhabi
American School of Dubai
Cambridge High School Abu Dhabi
Cambridge School Doha
Fujairah Private Academy
Ras Al Khaimah Academy
SRS Dubai
Universal American School (Dubai)
Universal American School in Dubai

United Kingdom
Acs International Schools – Egham Campus
American School of London
International Community School London

United States
Awty International School
Hawaii Preparatory Academy
International Community School (Kirkland)
International school of Boston
International School of Indiana
Lycee International School of Los Angeles
Riverstone International School
Washington International School

Uruguay
The British Schools – Montevideo
Uruguayan American School

Uzbekistan
Tashkent Ulugbek International School

Venezuela
British School Caracas
Colegio International de Carabobo
Colegio International de Caracas (The International School of Caracas)

Vietnam
ABC International School (Vietnam)
Acg International School, Vietnam
American International School (Vietnam)
Canadian International School (Vietnam)
Systems Little House
United Nations International School (Vietnam)
Vietnam American International School

Zambia
American International School of Lusaka
International School of Lusaka
Lechwe International School

Selecting an international school: Tip #6 – How well is the school linked to other international schools?

What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about how well the school is linked to other international schools?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #6 – How well is the school linked to other international schools?

phoca_thumb_l_IMG_9309 Not all international schools are well-linked to other international schools.  Some international schools tend to just do things on their own.  The teachers at those schools typically don’t have much contact with teachers at other international schools.  Sometimes even in a huge city like Shanghai, were there are quite a few international schools, there are smaller schools that just seem to be doing things by themselves and on their own with minimal contact with other schools in the area. The teachers there can become quite content to be on their own and find themselves forgetting that they could be doing more collaboration with other international schools in their city.

These ‘less-connected’ schools could very well be for-profit schools.  Some for-profit international schools have strict or no allowances for teachers to network or attend conferences and workshops for international schools in their area.  Because the school doesn’t encourage this type of connection to the wider international school community, then the teachers there ‘loose touch’ a bit with how other schools are doing things or tackling similar problems.  It is easy to just get used to being isolated and to doing things on your own; forgetting how much collaborating with nearby international schools could be beneficial and important for your career.

Not all international school teachers would choose to work in a less-connected schools.  Many of us would not like to teach in isolation at an international schools that is not well-linked to the wider international school community.  We all know that networking and meeting more people in our international school community helps us learn more about what is going on at other schools; the current trends and best practices for working with third culture kids.  20080318_1191_01

Many international schools are quite well-connected and linked indeed.  These international schools usually do many things to make sure their school is well known in the local and wider international school community.  They might be providing generous PD funds to their teachers so that they can do and go to many events that can in turn help their staff and the school as a whole become more linked to other international schools.  Some schools well send their teachers to check out a specific programme in person at another international school.  Some of the best learning about teaching and running new programmes (or changing old ones) at your school can be had when you can get the opportunity to see how it looks in person at another international school that is already doing those things and having great success at them.  Does your international school promote this type of PD for their staff?

International schools in the same city can either ignore each other as separate entities, or they can create on-going PD moments between themselves and facilitate collaboration and sharing of skills and knowledge.  It takes the effort of administration, most likely, to get the ball rolling (and keep it rolling) so that international school teachers at each school get opportunities to meet, network and to get work together on common goals.  Do you have a good working relationship with the other international schools in your city?

Another way international schools can become well-linked is through the various sports leagues/organizations.  When schools participate and compete with other international schools in their region of the world, their teachers and students become better connected with each other.

International schools can also become linked and connected via the various accreditation organizations that school opt to become members of.  For example, an international school that is a member of the ECIS organization provides certain privileges and opportunities for its teachers.  Working at an international school that is not accredited can may limit their opportunities to become linked to each other.

If you are an International School Community member currently working abroad, please log-on today and submit your comments and information about your school and how it is linked (or perhaps not so well linked) to other international schools.

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1400 members.  Many of our current members have listed that they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions and get firsthand information about how well their school is linked to other international schools.

New Survey: Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

Most international schools will offer some benefits to their teachers.  If you are lucky, your school will offer a benefit that gives you a set amount of money each year to use on a professional development event of your choice.  Many of those international schools will also let you now roll-over your unused PD money into the following year, up to three years worth in total if you need to.  Knowing that going to and attending an international school teacher conference can be quite expensive (e.g. registration costs, flight, hotel, meals, taxi rides, etc.), it is good to know that your school will either pay for you to go to them (all expenses paid) or that you can use your own PD money to go to them (hopefully all expenses paid as well).

If you have the money and the school you work at is open to where you use your PD money, the question then is…where should you go?   There are a nice handful of conferences that international school teachers can go to (EARCOS, ECIS, AASSA, MAIS, AISA, IB, etc.).  They also pretty much offer the same style of conference: a variety of guest speakers show up to inspire the attendees somehow (professionals in education or in topics related to education), and then there are different workshops led by international school teachers themselves (sharing a new strategy, research, best-practice techniques, etc.).  Is there one of these conferences that is better than the others?  We are not for sure.  Mostly teachers just go to the one that is closest to their school.

One thing that does seem for sure is that it seems as if the numbers of attendees at international school conferences is lower than normal as of late (e.g. the ECIS Conference in Nice this year).  There are also less companies signed up to be exhibitors as well.  Some participants at ECIS this year were saying that just a few years back there were 1000s more attendees that showed up.  They also were surmising that because there are so many international school teacher conferences nowadays, there just isn’t enough time and money for all the exhibitors to go to them…and the same goes for the teachers and administrators.

Did you know that some international schools (mostly for-profit ones) will grant you the money to attend a PD event (if it directly relates to the benefit of the school) only if you plan on staying for another two years?  If you decide to leave the school before that two-year deadline, then you must pay back all the money that you used to go to that PD event!  Hopefully there aren’t too many international schools out there that do that to their teachers still.  It is so important that international school teachers are treated as professionals in the field of education.  As professionals, we need to stay up-to-date with current trends and practices, as well as what current research is saying about how to be an effective teacher.  Additionally, it is vitally important for international school teachers to be at these events so that they can network with others that also work in the international school community. Networking can maybe lead to a future job at another international school for you, but it also can help you do the things you need to do in your current placement.  Why do the job by yourself when there are most likely other international school teachers that also need to do that same job?  Two heads are better than one, no?  Then you can share the load and work together on different projects that are of interest to both of you.

So, which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

From the staff at International School Community.