Assess if an International School is good,
before You Say “Yes!”
Teachers seeking adventure and new frontiers often choose to work in international schools. But with so many options, how do you find out what it’s really like beyond brochures and impressive websites?
My partner and I experienced this dilemma ourselves as teachers. We first went overseas before there was internet and basically went on trust after meeting the head of school at a recruitment fair. We stayed 10 years, so it was a great fit, but we went in ‘blind’.
These days there are many opportunities to confidently assess an international school before you sign on the dotted line, however, there are also many schools calling themselves ‘international’ that may not live up to the expectations associated with the term.
Reasons why some schools might not be truly “international”
- Location: While the school may be outside of their home country, the student body and faculty might predominantly be from one cultural background, making it less diverse than expected.
- Curriculum: The curriculum may not be truly international, offering mainly the national curriculum of the host country rather than a globally-focused program.
- Accreditation: The school may be accredited by a lesser-known organization or lack proper accreditation altogether, raising concerns about quality and standards.
- Mission and vision: The school’s stated mission and vision may not reflect a commitment to international perspectives or cultural exchange.
- Teacher qualifications: The teaching staff may not possess the qualifications or experience expected for a truly international school environment.
Research to discover if an international school is ‘good’
Do your research to discover if a school is accredited by a reputable organization like the Council of International Schools (CIS) or the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). it indicates that their documentation, policies, and procedures have been carefully reviewed.
1. Go Beyond Accreditation: While accreditation is crucial, dig deeper. Check online forums, alumni networks, and teacher review sites for unfiltered experiences. Consider factors like class sizes, teacher support, and professional development opportunities.
2. Interview Like a Pro: Research the school’s mission, curriculum, and leadership. Prepare insightful questions beyond “salary and benefits.” Ask about faculty diversity, student well-being programs, and communication channels.
3. Scrutinize the Contract: Don’t rush! Understand housing benefits, termination clauses, and leave policies. Ask for clarification on anything unclear. Remember, a well-written contract protects both parties.
4. Embrace Technology: Utilize video calls with current teachers and leadership. This provides valuable insights into school culture and the “human element” beyond written descriptions.
5. Trust Your Gut: After research, interviews, and due diligence, listen to your intuition. Does the school resonate with your values and career goals? Do you envision yourself thriving in their environment? Trust your gut – it’s often right!
6. Attend a job fair: Meet school heads in person, observe presentations, and ask targeted questions during interviews. Discover if their vision aligns with yours. Ask personalized questions and get insights that you can’t find online.
Ask your associate
It’s often hard to tell if an international school is good, especially when it comes to assessing quality beyond the surface. As a global recruitment agency with extensive experience, Search Associates advisors have thoroughly vetted the school, and have either visited them or can ask another associate for more information.
1. Rigorous School Vetting: We thoroughly assess every school in our network, ensuring they meet high standards in areas like:
- Facilities: Up-to-date infrastructure, resources, and learning environments.
- Leadership: Strong leadership team with a clear vision and focus on teacher well-being.
- Culture: Inclusive and supportive environment promoting professional development and cultural exchange.
- Community: Thriving student and faculty community that fosters a sense of belonging.
2. In-Depth School Information: We provide insights through:
- Direct communication with school leadership: We discuss school culture, curriculum, and faculty support in detail.
- Teacher testimonials: Gain real-life perspectives from current and past teachers about their experiences.
4. Ongoing Support: Our partnership doesn’t end with placement. We offer:
- Mentorship: Connect with experienced international teachers for ongoing guidance and support.
- Resources: Access our network of professionals, cultural resources, and helpful information.
- Community: Join our vibrant online community of international educators to connect and share experiences.
Choosing the right international school is a life-changing decision. By partnering with Search Associates, you gain access to our extensive expertise, in-depth knowledge, and personalized support, ensuring you navigate the process with confidence and find the perfect “fit” for your unique journey.
A good recruitment agency goes beyond finding you a job – they help you find a fulfilling career path.