Suggest a Blog Topic

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49 Responses to Suggest a Blog Topic

  1. Jack says:

    Pay-scales and Packages for Admin
    My wife and I have been international teaching for years and now have some kids of our own. It’s clear that we can no longer hit our savings mark per year unless we are at those few select schools. To stay and retire abroad, we MUST hit that mark. So, one or both of us will have to go admin. But wait…we’ve always assumed that Assistant Principals, Principals and Head of Schools are making 1.5 2 and 3 times as much as the teachers, but we have ZERO proof of that. If you have true insight into the pay-scales and packages for admin abroad, please share in this post!


  2. Milton Nieto says:

    I really would like to see an article about what options non native international teachers have out there considering passport restrictions that some countries have. What is the current scenario for non-native teachers?


  3. Staff association and or union representation for teachers. It would be good to compare what is done across the world in international schools. Every school I have taught in is different and we can learn from each other how to deal with administrators.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I want to know more about housing the schools that offer comfortable housing, the best housing. I think that at the end of the day, having a comfortable home, with amenities, maybe a patio or view, make one relax. I read reviews but rarely see comments about housing packages.


  5. RT says:

    I would be interested in reading more about getting or having a Masters degree as a teacher. Some countries where we have trained don’t do them, but many schools reward through your pay for them. I have a 5 year degree in education but I don’t reach masters level. Is it important? Do principals prefer teachers with Masters?


  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to have a blog on ageism in International schools. Many schools recruit very young NQTs who often end up mentoring the following year’s NQTs!!! Older teachers experience is rubbished and when their opinions are voiced a certain ennui can be sensed. A friend actually lost her contract due to an arrogant young newly
    appointed member of the management team who misrepresented her, but was listened to by a poorly qualified weak Principal.


    • Ross says:

      Yes! I think it’s about time this ageism was discussed more openly. Just last week the new HEAD at my school introduced his new senior teacher to all returning staff excluding only me ( over 50!)


  7. dfresshh says:

    I would like some sort of discussion about organizing an international teachers union, a place we can go with legal questions or support. Perhaps some schools already do this. My school had a teachers association the first year that was a good place for teachers to come and talk about various issues. Anything brought up could be anonymously communicated to the director through the teacher rep or possibly to the school board. The new director was able to get rid of it for all practical purposes with severely negative ramifications.


    • Hi dfresshh,

      This is an interesting topic and one that has been brought up over the years. It is not possible to form an international teachers union because each country has its own labor laws and an attorney from, lets say the UK, would have an expensive and difficult time waging legal action from across the sea.

      Forming teacher unions within individual schools is doable and a good thing to do.

      Why not post this question on our forum? I think you;ll get some good response as 100s of teachers frequent the forum daily. I’ll bring this topic up at our Monday meeting as a blog topic and see how the response is to the idea.

      Thanks very much for taking the time to send us your idea.


      Michelle @ ISR



  8. Joy says:

    best cities to work for singles with dependents who want to date


  9. Melissa says:

    It would be great to have a blog post on Masters degrees for international teachers. Schools subsidize masters degree programs such as Framington or SUNY Buffalo. But are these masters degrees worth the hassle and cost? Does it matter that some classes are in person and others are online? Are there any online degrees that would actually be accepted by international schools?


  10. nobody says:

    I think a good blog topic would be about same sex couples and are they discrimminated against by schools and directors? Are there certain schools or parts of the world that would not hire no matter how seasonsed a teacher or couple is?


  11. kento says:

    How about good advice for new international teachers? There is so much great information here about places, salaries, spouses etc., but what about “Getting your first international teaching job”?


  12. Amanda says:

    As a someone who’s getting ready to apply for jobs for 2013, I have a TON of school materials since teaching 1st to 4th grade in the last 16 years. I definitely want to wade through and dump things, BUT…What teaching materials/books do overseas teachers actually bring with them? What is best left at home?


    • At it for awhile says:

      A good general rule is, if you haven’t used something in 2 years, leave it for another teacher. Easier said than done, especially when you consider that your new school might not have the unfettered access to classroom supplies you were promised.

      I consider these items pretty essential, even if I think I’m headed to a well-equipped school:

      assessment kit for leveled reading

      book of fun activities for morning meetings and days our PE teacher is out sick

      my books on classroom management, in case I get stuck

      books of black line masters for practice or days we have a sub

      borders for bulletin boards (even the best overseas schools never seem to have them)

      a FEW favorite classroom books — Silverstein, Lao Tzu, a couple others

      my laptop and an external HD, all with soft copies of my best teacher stuff

      Less essential, but worth bringing if you can afford the room:


      1 world history and 1 science fact book — some schools are woefully under-equipped in these departments and we haven’t got time to search for everything on the internet!

      Stuff I bring everywhere but really should stop because it never gets used:

      craft supplies (giant bag of wine corks, anyone?)

      my entire classroom library, including the low-interest titles, novels with covers held on with tape, etc.

      broken gyroscope

      this list is embarrassingly long, so I will stop here.


  13. At it for awhile says:

    For some teachers, singles especially, relocation can easily be done by checking a few crates onto the plane. For couples and families, a moving company might be necessary. My partner and I have had some good experiences with moving companies and some nightmares. Which companies are solid, which ones should be avoided? What resources out there could help teachers shop for the best company?


  14. Greg Hamer says:

    I’d like to see more information about shipping teaching supplies, and for that matter, personal effects, to different countries.


  15. Oldie says:

    Oldie asks

    How difficult is it to get overseas jobs when one is over 60?


  16. Jane says:

    Suggestion for Blog- What to do about administrators as well as teachers who regularly seek prostitutes and some are age of students they supervise/teach? CEO goes with them sometimes… all are known by recognized recruiting firms.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an idea – seeing as we are allowing totally unaccountable statements about school leaders to be posted – why don’t we go all the way and encourage students, parents, other teachers, and staff members who have bad experiences with their teachers to make the same type of non-accountable statements about any employee of any school. This would be the ultimate in free and open comments about schools and all their employees!


  18. Anonymous says:

    Is there such a thing as affordable, knowledgeable legal advice for international teachers?

    The reason I ask is that, like many teachers who access ISR, we are frequently in positions where we need to leave an institution through circumstances that are neither our fault nor any reflection of our quality of teaching, teamwork and level of commitment.

    I have committed to a school for the last couple of years that has:

    1) not provided a contract in English
    2) provided a brief cover agreement to be signed at job offer, then revealed a set of quite draconian codes of practice upon induction (when teachers are already relocated and can’t realistically rescind) – for example, if I miss a deadline for an agreed non-teaching task, I am liable for a fine; another example, my actual holiday entitlement is substantially shorter than the dated school holidays
    3) not published a payment schedule, sometimes paying staff in 45 day increments (in one extreme example) – these erratic payments come with no warning or offer of support. Indeed, only by threatening to leave have I been offered any explanation or offer of support to help me through these difficult months.
    4) on school trips expected me to share beds with colleagues, and in one case, sleep on the floor!


    • dfresshh says:

      Access to legal advice or the law is essential. Perhaps this could be facilitated & organized with local hires? I would say no way to signing a contract in a foreign language you do not understand. The school should have someone on staff or hire somebody to do the translating…I have had to rough it on some school outings, camping trips, but sleeping with a colleague seems a bizarre unprofessional request indeed


  19. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to talk about the teaching opportunities once a position goes awry.

    My story…
    International teaching was my dream and for years I worked hard to get my foot in the door. When my first position was offered to me, short of traveling to the country, I did as much research as possible, including interviewing the recommended teachers (who were not particularly honest). I accepted a position in a place that ended up being a very poor fit for me (and many others…four of the seven new hires resigned after one year). I fulfilled one year of my teaching duties, but could not sacrifice my safety and well-being for another in this place, and so broke my contract.

    What are my international teaching options now? I heard a “Blacklist” exists – is this true? Have others been in this situation? If so, what do you recommend?

    For whatever it’s worth, I had lived abroad three times before accepting this position, so it wasn’t about an “inability to adapt” – it truly was just a very, very poor fit.


    • Stacy says:

      I would also like some information on what to do once terminated.
      I accepted a position and was really excited about my new school. After two months three male students decided they didnt like me and all hell broke loose! I was reluctantly relieved of my position. Im not sure what to do at this point! I will now have a negative reference from a school I only worked at for three short months. What to do?


    • At it for awhile says:

      I’ve also found myself in a ‘poor fit’ situation — my first overseas position! School politics, national politics, and some poor choices by all involved parties got me the axe. I was suddenly back in my hometown, depressed and thinking that perhaps the overseas life just wasn’t for me.

      Here’s what I did about it: I got on my Associate’s case (he too had made a few bad calls in the situation). He understood my end of the story and helped me secure a new job. I applied hard and heavy to schools all over the world and at home. I was much more cautious this time, knowing that int’l schools hiring mid-year often do so to replace malcontent ‘Christmas runners.’ Didn’t even accept a position until the fall term. Risky, but the job turned out to be a much better fit than the first one.

      Is a partial year a black mark? Yes. It likely will mean you can forget about your ambitions of working for a top-tier school — for now. However, once you’ve ‘paid your dues’ (whether you feel you owe them or not), you can drop that crummy school from your CV in a few years. In the meantime, there are plenty of schools out there that, while not ‘top-tier,’ are at least middle-range and eager to hire a competent teacher even if he or she has a misstep along the way. You’ll find your good fit eventually.


  20. Granby says:

    I would like to suggest a blog topic on the political unrest in Thailand. We are preparing for our move there this summer and I would like to know what the feeling is there and what people’s thoughts are on the situation who are living there now. The media can be so overwhelming and over exaggerated.


  21. isrlover says:

    Flight allowances

    School’s sometimes offer a flight allowance instead of booking the flight ticket for the teacher. The dilemma that arises from taking or being forced to take a flight allowance, is that some schools will pay the flight allowance so late in the year that the teacher (traveller) do not qualify for cheaper tickets and have to pay nearly x3 the amount during the peak travelling period.


  22. John Smith says:

    Topic for discussion

    IB particularly MYP. The official website does not encourage open opinions and criticism.


  23. Kostek says:

    I’d like to see a more organized way of commenting on the benefits blog, including the workload and personal information. Often a person’s experience is unique to their situation, and we need to know that. For example:

    School Name: Hong Kong International School
    Salary range per month: $XXX-$XXX
    Pay currency: Hong Kong Dollars
    Housing stipend amount: $XXX
    Tuition for dependents: Yes
    Relocation allowance: $XXX
    (Other benefits, etc.)
    Workload: Unreasonable
    Savings potential per month: $XXX
    Location Comments: Hong Kong is a great place to live, but it is very polluted…
    Overall Comments: All-in-all the best school in Asia because…

    Single or Married: Married
    Children: No
    Alternative Lifestyle: No
    Years Experience: 6
    Senior citizen: No
    Higher Degree: Masters
    Certification/Licensure: State of Virginia Lisc.


  24. Simon Hill says:

    It would be very interesting to have a blog about American teachers who have taught in a British Curriculum school. What did you like about the British National Curriculum? Anything at all? Did you find the jargon very off putting or was it all quite similar to what you were used to in the States? It would also be interesting to see the other side of the coin, namely Brits who are now teaching across the Pond.


    • Anhar says:

      See some of my other blogs about the salary differences. British and Australian schools pay more than American ones other than that things are similar. I think the level of playground supervision is far less than in US schools where I had to do a duty everyday compared to two a week in British and Australian schools


  25. kim says:

    I would like to know how difficult it is for a non-teaching spouse from South America to get a visa in Asia and Europe. I am a U.S. citizen.


  26. Paula says:

    I’d like to hear from other teachers on religion in international schools. I joined a new school in Eastern Europe this year and religion was not mentioned. When I arrived I found that I was one of only a few of the staff not to attend church or be teetotal and have been left out of the social activities etc. Had I been told upfront this was a requirement I wouldn’t have joined this particular school group.


    • Anhar says:

      yep descrimination on the basis of lack of church attendence is practised by faith based schools. How interesting when the original founders of those religions preached or taught to be open to others and care for all.


  27. nancy says:

    I would like to talk about how international teachers prepare for the inevitable. Turning 50. While it’s easy to get jobs as young teachers, one day they might face limited opportunities.

    How do teachers save for retirement? Do they have second homes they rent out for income? Do they have IRAs or stocks?

    International teachers have great opportunity to save at least 25% of their paycheck. How much do people have socked away, where are people thinking of retiring?


    • Anhar says:

      See the entry above for the teacher who is in this position and dito from me. I’m mistaken for a much younger person of late thirties to early forties and yet if you look at my birth age it is 50. I’m fitter than many who have not taken good care of their health and do not have any health issues but worked with much younger teachers who had major health issues. Surely it needs to be based on passing a medical that is comprehensive and acceptable to schools not on an age limit.


  28. mamanaia says:

    I would like to see a blog discussion on international school supported teaching methodologies. It seems that many an international school is looking for teachers who can teach to a test (IGCSE/A Level/IB DP). Emphasis is placed on academics (though they may make claims of “developing the whole student”. Are there any truly innovative schools out there that support true holistic teaching, inquiry and discovery learning?


  29. Vitzliputzli says:

    I’ve recently become a single parent, and I’d like a blog about good locations/packages/benefits for this situation.

    Single parents have special needs and concerns, and this can vary depending on the gender of the parent as well. It would be helpful to have a forum or blog where we can share information on schools that offer an overall great environment for the kids (without their feeling looked down on as “teacher’s kids”), good packages (usually involving comped tuitions for at least 2 children), good living environment, etc.

    While the package/benefits blog is useful, it still leaves out some points of information that might relate more specifically to being a parent and being a non-teaching-couple employee.


    • Vitzliputzli says:

      Hi again – okay, I’ve got my blog starter ready to go, but can’t find your email to send it to! Please let me know where to send (or post) my opening entry for the single-parent blog.



  30. Jimmy says:

    ISR How about starting up an ISR house swapping section on this site? You could even make some money! I would gladly give up my apartment in Tokyo for a week or two if someone in say New York wanted to swap. Just as long as they were an international school teacher who could be contacted through a school email.


  31. ISR member says:

    I wonder if there is any ISR member who is able to suggest a way, we as teachers, and NOT in Admin positions can source a way of ‘not popular Admin personel’ not being employed at our own school. As I read reviews on this site I can follow the history of one of my current school’s Admin personnel. Interestingly enough, the reviews of this person’s previous school reflect my (and most other staff) views of this person. I have no doubt it is the same person. By why do schools continue to give such people postions of power and make life uncomfortable, difficult and unpleasant for teachers? Is there anyone with any suggestions??


    • Paula says:

      great idea.


    • Anhar says:

      Yes school Heads who treat staff unfairly, play favourites are not acting in appropriate ways like having personal friendships with staff rather than all equal or non at all and then giving preferetial treatment to “friends”. Things that are like adults in positions of power and bringing playground politics and behaviour into the workplace. They get paid well and they need to be very professional. I’m sure some are in these positions because they have been tactically better at playing some promotions game rather than getting there on merit. Some of us like to teach and have not gone after promotion because we want to teach but we should not be at risk by poor administrators with biased management style.


  32. SER says:

    I am interested in finding out what kind of individual health insurance options are available to expats teaching overseas if they are denied health insurance by the company representing their school.


  33. isrlover says:

    Heading: Swine flu paranoia hit Kuwait schools at epidemic proportions.

    Kindergarten and Reception classes (KG1 & KG2) has not yet started the academic year because of a ministerial order to prevent the spread of swine flu. Reception (KG2) classes will now start after Ramadan and KG (KG1) will start only at the beginning of December. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake as December is the start of Winter in Kuwait and the little ones are more likely to catch the flu then. We are now missing out on the essential time allocated to instil basic language skills in these young ones whose parents are probably up in arms by now. Schools also now have to honour their contracts with the Early Years staff who currently just sits around or have to be employed elsewhere in the school.This is a very vulnerable position to be in for those teachers who are currently concerned about job security in a recession climate. What if director’s decide to downscale staff because of class sizes? How will contracts then be honoured?


  34. ISR member says:

    Hugo Chavez is threatening to turn all private schools in Venezuela into public schools. There are a lot of rumors that it might even happen next year. There is a “vote” scheduled this summer on this matter. The government has literally stolen many private companies aleady and many of the families in our school have been affected by this crazy leader. Anyone who can leave Venezuela is making plans to do so.
    Any interest in this topic?


  35. isrlover says:

    Teacher qualifications obtained through a College of Education is not recognised in Kuwait and UK. You spent 4 years training as a teacher at a College of Education only to discover that your teaching diploma is not recognised by the ministry of Education in Kuwait because it does not say “University” or by certain British schools in Britain.

    Schools would rather employ a teacher with a degree that has absolutely nothing to do with Education, just for the sake of that degree and the word UNIVERSITY.


  36. LuapG says:

    I would like to suggest we explore the topic of dealing with situations in which the school director has crumbled under the demands of the parents and now sides with parents against his own staff. Surely there must be something that can be done about this situation,


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