Schools w/ Highest Savings Potential, 2020

Read this first:  Please do not evaluate schools or Directors on this Discussion Board or pose questions that solicit such responses. Do not hijack the topic of this Discussion Board. If your wish to ask questions about your suitability for employment, please use our Open Forum.

High salaries don’t always mean high savings potential. What could sound like a high-dollar job offer based on where you currently live, might, in fact, turn out to be bare subsistence living in another part of the world.

I learned this lesson when I came onboard at the American School of Kinshasa, DR Congo.  The year was 2002. Food, gasoline, and everything in-between was triple the price I was accustomed to paying. I’d been duped by a sly-talking school Director. Hidden taxes and cost-of-living expenses quickly turned what appeared to be a wonderful salary, into peanuts. ‘Buyer’ beware! 

Speaking rhetorically, does anyone enter the teaching profession to become rich? We all, however, want to live a comfortable lifestyle and sock away some coin for the future. With that in mind, it’s highly suspect when International Schools neglect to make salaries readily known. And, what of schools that stall right up to the night before a Recruiting Fair to make pay scales available? You can be sure they’re not waiting to wow you with a spectacular salary!

ISR asks:  Which schools, in your experience, provide salaries that allow for a lifestyle we’d all like to become accustomed to while also saving for the future? Which schools pay enough to kinda enjoy life but not enough to save a cent? Which schools keep you just above the poverty level?

Please scroll down. Name your School. Then, tell colleagues about the standard-of-living and savings potential inherent in the salary at your school.

 If you wish to go beyond the scope of this topic and compose an in-depth look at your school,  Click HERE to send a School Review


Is ‘No Housing’ a Deal Breaker?

Caught up in the excitement of an overseas job offer, educators may be willing to overlook the inherent expenses and disadvantages of accepting an International teaching position that does not include furnished housing in the deal.

Security deposits add up fast! Think: apartment, utilities and internet. Shopping for household items such as a bed, couches, lamps, tables, and all the small stuff we take for granted back home (can opener, knives, forks, etc.) is not cheap. Before you know it you spent a full month’s salary, or more!

Schools know full well the costs associated with setting up complete households from scratch. They also know the legal and financial problems that often arise when dealing with local landlords who refuse to return security deposits and/or refuse to maintain their properties. Schools that choose to place the entire housing burden on teachers new to a country are schools that ISR feels take advantage of unsuspecting educators. As such, this may be a very telling indicator of what, if any, support you can or cannot count on from your school in the future, both in the classroom and outside of school.

The situation is further compounded when schools only pay a 10-month housing allowance, forcing teachers to pay out-of-pocket for the summer months or move out of their apartments. Apparently such schools place profit over the well-being of teachers. Additionally, teachers preoccupied with finding a place to live are not in a position to give 100% to their students. Everyone loses, except the school, which, of course, profits.

Is a lack of school-supplied housing a deal breaker? ISR recommends that teachers carefully weigh the pros, and especially the cons, of accepting a Contract that does not include furnished housing, or at least a stipend to cover deposits, furnishings and a school-trusted agent to personally help you find an apartment. Getting picked up at the airport upon arrival into your new country, dropped off at a hotel and told, “We’ll see you the first day of school,” has prompted many an educator to take the next available flight out.

Comments? Please scroll down to participate

Best Schools for Professional Development

pd48724094In terms of Professional Development, ISR’s School Reviews reveal there are two extremes to what international schools offer their faculty.

Schools with a focus on Professional Development often offer fully paid trips to 3-day conferences that include keynote speakers, classes, workshops and social/networking activities that round out the event and unite international teachers.  Some PD-oriented schools pay for flights to the venue, reimburse for accommodations, and offer an additional per diem for meals.  We’ve heard of schools that also offer grants to attend courses around the world during the summer months and allow teachers to pick and choose which program would benefit them most. Other schools pay for teachers to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree. Regardless, it appears that most schools offering excellent PD include the details in the signed contract or handbook of benefits.

Of course, the opposite extreme and utter lack of PD opportunities is found at some international schools. These schools won’t even grant you time off from teaching to attend a workshop or conference on your own dime.  Such schools actually discourage teachers from advancing their knowledge and skills.  Worse yet are schools that dangle the promise of opportunities for PD at interview time but refuse to include them in the contractual agreement. You can guess what happens next.

Keeping with our mantra of Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed, we’d like to invite you to share your experiences regarding Professional Development at your school. We encourage you to include the name of your school in an effort to help as all find the best PD opportunities available.

Consider these questions:

– Does your school provide opportunities for Professional Development? If so, what “strings” are attached, if any?

– Does your school keep its word and follow through on what was originally offered and contracted regarding Professional Development? Were PD promises that were made at interview time fulfilled?

– Apart from Professional Development, what does your school do to keep teachers current and up-to-date with advances in educational thought  (IB and AP classes, for example)?

– In your opinion, does the inclusion of contractually-offered Professional Development appear to be increasing or decreasing?

We hope you’ll join in the discussion and Share your experiences with schools that do, and do not, offer international teachers Professional Development.

For-Profit vs Non-Profit $chool$

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 – 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.

Comments outside the scope of this blog or that evaluate schools will be removed.

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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.

Best and Worst School Benefit Packages


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.

Comments outside the scope of this blog or that evaluate schools will be removed.


The realization that you can’t dine out because your school salary is too small in relation to the local economy can be, at best, depressing—even more so if you’re putting in long hot days in overcrowded classrooms with no air conditioning or wifi and seriously lacking adequate teaching materials. On the other hand, many international educators live like royalty, perhaps enjoying a maid, a nanny or cook, a driver, finely furnished housing, comprehensive health insurance, a complimentary car and strong savings and travel potential. Yes, many such schools do still exist in today’s worldwide economic downturn. All you have to do is find them!

Few schools, however, advertise their pay package, and recruiting venues usually release participating schools’ benefit information mere hours prior to the event. Many an international teaching candidate has dropped a school from their prospect list at the last minute, realizing a dip into savings would be needed just to make ends meet at the particular school.

Which schools offer international educators the opportunity to live in the style to which we would all like to become accustomed? Which schools will keep you just above the poverty level? The Best & Worst of International School Packages Blog is the place for International Educators to share and compare information on what potential schools realistically have to offer.