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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!

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Video Highlight: Marymount International School (Rome) (Eithne Gallagher)

There are some international schools out there that have very inspired teachers. Eithne Gallagher would definitely be one of them!

Marymount International School (Rome)

Eithne Gallagher is one of the leading EAL specialists in the international school teaching community.  She has been a presenter at countless conferences and led a variety of workshops related to international schools, mother tongue programming as well as English as an Additional Language teaching philosophy and strategies.

International schools have much to think about with regards to how they create opportunities to help their students maintain their mother tongue/home language.  Having a Mother Tongue Celebration Day is a one idea presented in this video to acknowledge and affirm students’ home languages.

Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – Marymount International School (Rome)

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 29 international schools listed in Italy with 7 of them being in the city of Rome.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

• Bilingual European School of Milan (16 Comments)
• The Bilingual School of Monza (8 Comments)
• Sir James Henderson School (7 Comments)
• International School of Trieste (9 Comments)
• Ambrit-Rome International School (7 Comments)
• International School of Bologna (8 Comments)
• The English International School of Padua (12 Comments)
American School of Milan (13 Comments)
International School in Genoa (10 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Italy, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

Video Highlight: American School of Milan’s Learning Eco-system and “Connect Classroom” (Milan, Italy)

There are so many international schools in Italy.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

American School of Milan

What an interesting initiative at this international school. The concept of a learning Eco-system (and the “Connected Classroom”) sounds like a wonderful dream that became a reality for a school.

There have been 13 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – American School of Milan

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 28 international schools listed in Italy with 5 of them being in the city of Milan.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

Bilingual European School of Milan (16 Comments)
The Bilingual School of Monza (8 Comments)
Sir James Henderson School (7 Comments)
International School of Trieste (9 Comments)
Ambrit-Rome International School (7 Comments)
International School of Bologna (8 Comments)
The English International School of Padua (12 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Italy, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

Which 203 international schools do International School Community members represent? (Update!)

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 203 international schools (last updated on 22 June, 2012):

Afghanistan
American Int’l School of Kabul

Andorra
Collegi Internacional del Pirineu

Argentina
Lincoln, The American International School

Austria
Danube International School
Vienna International School

Azerbaijan
Baku International School

Bahrain
Naseem International School (Bahrain)

Bangladesh
International School Dhaka

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

Belgium
Shape American School

Brazil
Graded School Sao Paulo
International School of Curitiba
St. Nicholas School Sao Paulo

Cambodia
Cambodia International Academy
Northbridge International School

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
Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
Changsha WES Academy
Chinese International School
Disney English
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
Nanjing International School
Qingdao Ameriasia International School
Shanghai American School – Pudong
Shanghai American School – Puxi
Shanghai Community Int’l School

Shanghai Rego International School
Shuren Ribet
Suzhou Singapore International School
Taipei European School
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)

Colombia
Colegio Bolivar
Colegio Nueva Granada
Colegio Panamericano 

Columbus School Medellin

Costa Rica
Lincoln School (San Jose)

Cyprus
American International School of Cyprus

Czech Republic
International School of Prague

Denmark
Copenhagen International School

Dominican Republic
Carol Morgan School Santo Domingo
International School of Sosua

Ecuador
American School of Quito

Egypt
Cairo British School
Egyptian British International School
El Alsson British and American International School
International School of Elite Education
Misr American College

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
Bonn International School
Heidelberg International School
International School of Dusseldorf
John F. Kennedy School Berlin
Leipzig International School
Munich International School

Greece
International School of Athens

Guatemala
American School of Guatemala (Colegio Americano)

Honduras
American School Tegucigalpa
Happy Days Freedom School

Hungary
American International School Budapest

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

Indonesia
Bina Bangsa School
Jakarta International School
Mount Zaagkam International School

Italy
Ambrit-Rome International School
American Overseas School of Rome
QSI International School of Brindisi

Japan
AI International School
ABC International School (Tokyo)
American School of Tokyo
A’takamul International School
Aoba Japan International School
Horizon Japan International School
Nishimachi International School
Seisen 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
Fawzia Sultan International School

Malaysia
Cempaka International School
Dalat International School
Garden International School

Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar
Nexus International School

International School of Johor
International School of Kuala Lumpur

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

Morrocco
George Washington Academy

Myanmar
International School of Myanmar

Nepal
Abraham Lincoln School (Nepal)

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

Nigeria
Day Waterman College

Norway
International School of Stavanger

Paraguay
Pan American International School

Peru
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
Newton International School
Qatar Academy

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
American International School of Jeddah
International Indian School Jeddah
Jeddah Knowledge International School

Serbia
British International School (Serbia)

Singapore
Australian International School
Canadian International School (Singapore)

Chatsworth International School
International School Singapore
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

Solomon Islands
Woodford International School

South Korea
Korea International School
Seoul International School

Sudan
Khartoum American School
Woodford International School

Sweden
The International School of Helsingborg

Switzerland
International School Basel
TASIS The American School in Switzerland

Syria
Icarda International School of Aleppo

Tanzania
Savannah Plains International School

Thailand
American School of Bangkok
Hampton International School
KIS International School (Bangkok)
Lycee Francais de Bangkok
New International School Thailand (NIST)
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

Trinidad and Tobago
International School of Port of Spain

Tunisia
American Cooperative School of Tunis

Turkey
Adana Gundogdu College
Mef Int’l School Istanbul

Uganda
International School of Uganda

United Arab Emirates
Al Ittihad National Private School
American Academy for Girls (Dubai)
Cambridge High School Abu Dhabi
SRS Dubai
Universal American School (Dubai)

United States
International Community School (Kirkland)
International School of Indiana
Riverstone International School
Washington International School

Uruguay
Uruguayan American School

Venezuela
British School Caracas
Colegio International de Carabobo

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

Great Resource: International School – a website about the many international schools in China.

Are you interested in reading about the numerous international schools in China?

Then you might want to check out the “International School!” website.

China is one of the countries where the economy is booming.  As a result, the number of international schools there is also booming.  Many teachers are finding themselves taking a chance on China and having a great time working at an international there.  Many of the international schools there offer some excellent benefits, thus making the choice to live and work an easy one.

China has so much to offer too in terms of culture and travel.  With an endless list of interesting places to visit, international schools teachers will never get bored when wanting to explore the country.

Some people think the language there (Mandarin Chinese) is too difficult to learn and acquire, but after working in China for two years myself, I met and worked with many expats there that had become very highly proficient.

The International School website has many different sections to it.

The advantages of International Schools

“Mr. Kai said that the nationalities of the students in his ACS schools are of more than 69 countries. Fitzmaurice from Nord Anglia said that all the children studying in the three schools in China received one lesson of Chinese mandarin once a week from the first beginning, so that when they leave they can reach the proficient level although they may not speak Chinese quite fluently…(more)”

The system and approval of International Schools

“The international schools for foreigners’ children are set in the name of middle school, primary school or kindergarten. The courses offered, the teaching materials and the teaching plans are determined by the school itself. Generally, the system is the same as that in the founder’s motherland, or the popular IB system, and even the school can set its system by itself.

The NCCT in China provides the authentication service for the international schools. The international schools which are set for more than three years can apply for authentication voluntarily. And each time of authentication is valid for 5 years. The international schools receiving this authentication means that the graduation certificates conferred by the international schools are directly acknowledged by China’s official.

Western Academy of Beijing is the first one to get this authentication and this authentication system is first proposed by Western Academy of Beijing…(more)”

There are also separate pages for the 3 different sections at international schools (Primary, Middle School, and Secondary).  In each section, you can find the following information:  the latest news from international schools in that section, highlighted articles, the latest news that is recommended to read, a list of recommended international schools, articles about the perspective of the students in that section, a FAQ section, a section about when there are Open Days at various international schools, etc.

Primary Schools in China
Middle Schools in China
High Schools in China

Currently there are 106 different international schools listed in China on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.  The cities with the most international schools listed on our website are:

Hong Kong (22)
American International School (Hong Kong) (22 Comments)
Hong Kong Academy Primary School (14 Comments)
International Christian School (Hong Kong) (11 Comments)
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong (11 Comments)

Shanghai (18)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (15 Comments)
Shanghai Community Int’l School (10 Comments)
Shanghai Rego International School (72 Comments)
Western International School of Shanghai (27 Comments)

Beijing (16)
Western Academy Beijing (23 Comments)
International School of Beijing (15 Comments)
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (10 Comments)
Beijing National Day School (12 Comments)

Taiwan (11)
Morrison Christian Academy (3 campuses) (13 Comments)
Ivy Collegiate Academy (7 Comments)

Guangzhou (5)
American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Alcanta International College (6 Comments)

Take a look at the numerous comments and information that have been submitted about these international schools in China!

Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #2 (Hangzhou Int’l School, American School of Bcn & Int’l School of KL)

Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Hangzhou International School

“Salary is in RMB. Salary is around 38000 USD a year for a teacher with a masters and around 8 years of experience. There are no taxes, already paid for by the school.”

American School of Barcelona

“Our reps are in the process of renegotiation our salaries. It is a difficult time in Spain right now, so it is not likely we will get much of a raise. The board is focusing on a new building so staff salaries is low on their list. The are not willing to raise tuition so some teacher benefits might be going away to help pay for the new building.”

International School of Kuala Lumpur

“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com