Host National Principal Vs Foreign Hire — Is One Better Suited for the Position?

August 30, 2012

Dear Dr. Spilchuk / ISR On Line Consultant

The issue of the principal being a host national as opposed to foreigner is a big debate here. As I am the only educator on the School Board, I battle sometimes about prioritizing the schools needs. As a result, I have been requested to write an analysis of the qualities of a successful international school, mainly the characteristics of a successful international school principal. I tend to stress the need for a native English speaker and a qualified foreigner in that position; solely because we haven’t found a host national who fulfills the leadership role properly AND speaks competent English

I’d like to know what qualities are the most valuable in a principal: e.g. nationality, language silks, educational background, good relations with the teachers, academic knowledge leadership skills, competing skills,  social networking, business skills, administration skills, etc. If you can give me  a prioritized list or general description, I would really appreciate it…Click HERE to read complete statement & Dr. Spilchuk’s response.

Scroll down to share your opinion on this topic.

The 1st Few Weeks @ a New School OR With a Change of Director/Admin

August 23, 2012

The new academic year is under way. Some of our colleagues are new to their schools and others are returning to the same school, but with a new director/admin at the helm. How you’re treated the first few weeks at your new school or by a new director/admin will set the tone for the academic year to come. Here are two scenarios for new teachers to consider. Which category describes your experience?

Outstanding Experience: You were no doubt greeted at the airport, then wined, dined and shown the local sights and school campus over the following days. With support, you quickly began to know the “ropes” and started to feel at-home with your new living arrangement and classroom. Most importantly, you’re well on your way to forming relationships with colleagues, students and parents—those little, school-sponsored socials are real ice-breakers. Relocating has been exciting, exhilarating!

Poor Experience: When your new school tells you to go find a house and “We’ll see you the first day of school,” you know you’ve made a mistake. Some of our colleagues are sadly discovering that what they were promised at interviews has yet to materialize and probably never will. Starting the year with the feeling you’ve been taken advantage of by a smooth talker is an awful feeling, especially when your career is at stake, your family is miserable, and you’ve signed on for two lo-o-ong years…

Returning teachers who find a new director and/or administrator in place will find the occasion one for celebration or mourning. We all know a school’s character and overall atmosphere is strongly affected by the people running the show. Schools with great reviews can suddenly go “south” when new leaders take charge; while the opposite can also certainly be true when a focused leader takes the helm of a poor school.

ISR hopes the first weeks as a new teacher OR your first experiences with a new administration at your current school are rewarding and the prelude to an excellent year of international teaching. While those first days of reception to a new school or admin are fresh and foremost in your minds, we encourage you to share your experiences  and first impressions with colleagues who can benefit from your candid comments.

Want to discuss this topic with other international educators? Scroll down to comment.

For-Profit vs Non-Profit $chool$

August 16, 2012

If you had to pick between working at a For-Profit School or a Non-Profit School, which would you choose? Is one really that different from the other?

The general consensus seems to be that For-Profit Schools are run by greedy owners and subject to the demands of wealthy parents who expect, even demand, their children will earn As and Bs in every subject. This may be true of some schools, but teachers are increasingly reporting similar situations at Non-Profit Schools. An international educator recently commented:

“I really thought I would be treated right by accepting a position at this non-profit school. Surprise, surprise. Yes, the school is considered a non-profit on paper, but in reality the director is pulling down a huge salary. The board members are all local business people and their positions are very well paid. We even have a local consultant who makes big money. Everyone here is making big salaries…everyone except the teachers. We’re desperately short on books and supplies and you have to fight for every dime they owe us. Non-profit? I don’t think so!!

Twenty years ago most International students were expats attending Non-Profit Schools. These schools were subsidized by embassies and global corporations and provided an accredited education for the children of their employees. Today, however, 80% of all students enrolled in International schools are the children of wealthy host country nationals, and these schools are largely For-Profit Schools. International Schools = BIG business!

We’re all familiar with the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” and this may now be the case when comparing For-Profit Schools to Non-Profit Schools. Do you have something to share that could help shed light on this subject? Or maybe you have a question that could be answered by a seasoned overseas educator? We invite you to join us here on the For-Profit vs Non-Profit Schools Blog.

Schools w/ High Savings Potential

August 2, 2012


Please do not evaluate schools or directors on this blog or pose questions that solicit such responses. We ask that you stick to the topic of school benefits packages.

Please do not hijack & change the topic of this blog by asking questions that do not pertain to the topic. We have numerous other blogs and ask that you choose a blog where you question is a good fit. To ask questions about your personal suitability for employment please use our forum.

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It’s no secret that the cost of living is on the rise in every corner of the globe. What was once an inexpensive, fun & funky locale may today be far overpriced. Take Romania for example: when the Euro was ushered in to replace the long standing Lei, prices sky rocketed and spending power sank proportionately. When Mexico suffered the tumble of the Peso, international educators discovered their local bank accounts depleted by 50% and the value of the local-currency portion of their paychecks had been cut in half.

No one can predict the future, but you can certainly try to put yourself in a situation that is productive from a professional, as well as financial, perspective. If money is not a concern  for you, read no further.

For teachers who have spent time overseas, you already know savings potential is not directly dependent on salary. It’s the cost of living that makes or breaks your pay check. Parts of Africa pay fabulous salaries, but Cheerios cost $15US a box and a burger at the local restaurant tops $20 before fries & drink. A great salary on paper may not be so good after all.

The question is, where are the top places to teach and sock away some money? If you’re after the inside word on a particular school or area of the world, we encourage you to take advantage this ISR Savings Potential Blog. Here’s the place to ask questions and get answers. For those of us lucky enough to be teaching and living in what we consider to be a favorable economic situation, this ISR Savings Potential Blog is the place to share your good fortune with others in search of the same.