There are so many international schools in the world that it is hard for a new teacher to pinpoint where in the world they want to live/work/thrive.
Starting next week it will be my goal to create a post on the second and last Wednesday of each month about a school that I wish I could work at one day.
I know that different things are important to different people so if you are looking for a potential school, don’t just take my word for it. What sounds great to one person is the worst thing ever for another person. For example: where I work now is a place I love and have worked at for two years, but one teacher left after two months.
Some areas that I will use to evaluate the schools are:
1. What type of school is it? Is it an IB, American, British International, Canadian school? I am an American so I tend to focus my search on these types of schools.
2. Student population? While I would like to try to work at a giant 3000+ student school at one point in my career, I think I work best in a small to medium school.
3. Class size: I believe that the best class size hovers between 12-20 students so each student can get more individual attention.
4. Technology: I love to integrate technology into my lessons via iPad, projectors, Smartboards (I have never been at a school with one in my classroom and I WANT ONE), document cameras, music, cd players, etc. so if a school mentions lots of available tech they will get points from me.
5. Retirement: I have mentioned it a few times on here. I am concerned about retirement so it is my goal to always work at a school that has some kind of retirement program.
6. Overall package: what other perks come with the job? Housing, utilities, round trip (RT) flights each year vs. at the beginning and end of a contract, subsidized lunch, settling allowance, shipping allowance, health care, and tuition assistance for dependents are all things that I regularly search out. If a school provides an interest free car loan or the free use of a car I will highlight that too.
7. City Profile: a big part of being happy at a new school is being happy in the city once you get out of work. Honestly, most days I just get off of work and go the gym and then stay in. However, on the weekends I would like to be able to go dancing, see a movie, visit a museum, and find amazing places to eat.
8. Salsa Dancing: this is probably not something that most people use to evaluate a potential new job, but salsa dancing is a passion of mine. I need to be able to find at least one night of salsa dancing each week for me to consider working at a place. I suggest that if you read this far into an evaluation and you like a school that you replace salsa dancing with whatever your favorite hobby is: rock climbing, scrapbooking, cooking, biking, etc. People need to be able to do what makes them happy!
9. Teachers: Is there a good mix of ages and ethnicities amongst the teachers? Is it really a local school pretending to be international? Are there mostly families or are there other single people who will want to go off and explore with me?
10. Food: I love food so much that gave it its own section (and I wanted ten things)! What is that country/city/state known for cooking up?
So there it is! These are the things that I usually look at when I am evaluating a school. It might seem like a lot to consider, but I have been keeping track of all of these things in a giant excel spreadsheet for a few years now so I feel up to this challenge! Twice a month I will highlight various schools that have been on my wish list.
If you have any suggestions for schools you would like me to highlight, please let me know…because they might be on my list too!