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international schools vs general schools

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by sunny0, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Which schools are better to work in?

    I would of though international schools tend to provide more opportunities and benefits as they are fee paying schools. So why doesn't everyone just apply for these schools? I have found some decent schools that are non-international ( schools that don't offer IB programmes) but are they actually as good as and rewarding as international schools?

    It's been noticed that international schools are on the increase by over 7% per year, surely that must mean more demand for teachers. I wonder if more experienced teachers would try and fulfil this demand or just carry on working in there current schools.

    Please help me on this!
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    A school that offers the IB is no more an " international" school than one that offers A Levels or whatever the local examination system is.
    There are many schools out there, but in my experience here are the main types:
    1. Truly international.
    If your student body doesn't head for the airport at the end of term then you are not an international school, in the truest sense of the word. In order to be an international school - in my opinion - your student body must be from many different countries. Which means that your school must be a boarding school. Although being a boarding school doesn't make you international...
    There are not really that many of these schools around, UWCs, a number of boarding schools in Switzerland and some dotted around here and there.
    2. International School of Ruritania, British School of Outer Ruritania, American School of Inner Ruritania, etc. etc.
    These are schools that are run predominantly for an expat population who are wanting a British, American, Australian etc. etc. type education for their children. The school population tends to be quite mobile as the students move as their parents are posted elsewhere. Usually tend to be day schools.
    The vast majority of schools you see advertising are these types.
    3. Local State or Private schools
    These are pretty similar to state or private schools in the UK with a similar make up of students.
    Some people have a dislike for profit making schools and some will only ever teach in not-for-profit schools. It is very much a matter of personal taste and outlook.
    Now there are unofficial rankings of schools, but these rankings operate more on a touchy feely level, rather than on any objective level. What is good for me, may not be for you and vice versa.
    Generally the better the school the stricter their requirements for staff. Better qualifications, greater experience, a better teaching C.V. etc. etc. This is usually - but not always - translated into better employment conditions and benefits.
    Remember though, that the elite schools are not necessarily easy places to teach. You have to be on top of your subject and they really do not cater for NQTs.
    Finally a school can be a brilliant place to teach and be a bog-standard comprehensive type establishment, or it can have state of the art equipment and be a nightmare. At the end of the day everything boils down to the management of the school and how they run the place.
    If you like the look of a school then apply for it and see what happens. It may turn out really well or it may turn out pear-shaped.
    That can also be one of the interesting points of international education. At least you will have some great anecdotes to tell.
  3. 4SC

    4SC New commenter

    Could you tell me if all international schools are fee paying? I am thinking of applying to one in Spain, no problem there but I have 2 young children age 1 and 3. I could not afford to send them to the school and pay 12,000 each child. I guess they would have to go a state school with the locals?!
    Can anybody add clarity to the issue?
  4. most international schools in Spain call themselves international but you'll find that 99% of the pupils are Spanish.
  5. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Oh no, not necessarily. Depends very much on where and which school.
    And they should offer to educate your children for free (though they will make a charge for materials) if they take you on as a teacher.
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As the Sage of Walmington-On-Sea has so wisely commented, there has been (and probably always will be) endless debate about what does and what does not constitute an "international" school.
    In my experience, most international schools either offer free or heavily subsidised school places to their teachers' children.
  7. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    When I was at college, an international school was defined as "a school in one country that follows the curriculum of another"
    No idea who the quote was from as I was normally asleep or on the golf course during the Marxist rantings of that particular lecturer
  8. miketribe

    miketribe Occasional commenter

    All the interntional schools in Spain are fee-paying, although there is a growing number of Spanish state schools which offer a "bi-lingual" program in which part or all of the classes are in English. Under Spanish law, all employees are entitled to free education at the school at which they work. As lunarita said, you may end up getting charged for "extras" like lunch, transport, supplies and insurance, but how much depends on the school. Some schools break the law and charge teachers regular school fees. But you would probably be better off not working for a school that has no problem with ignoring its legal responsibilities... What guarantee would you have that they wouldn't ignore other legal responsibilities, like paying holiday pay, etc...
  9. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    And that is how the local Ministry of Education defines us here, lumping together several very different kinds of school for their own perfectly valid purposes...
    .. whereas Karvol posits very rigorous criteria for the Champions League, reducing us to the Swiss finishing schools for the very well-to-do and perhaps one or two outfits in the UK's private sector where an 'overseas' recruiting drive has internationalised the student body... ...but the not the curriculum.. and round the mulberry bush we go again.
    To the despair of the eager taxonomists at Bath and elsewhere, International School is a catch all term that resists definition. Look at our school from one angle, and it will look International - 45 nationalities, the usual earnest muliculturalist activities and curriculum tweaks, the IBDP. Examine it in another light, and it's British: Key Stages and NC levels, sport, house system, traces of public, grammar and comprehensive school to be found everywhere.
    And then half of the children are from Ruritania and the school would be inconceivable without its place in the national community. Many of them do head for the airport at the end of term of course..
    I see no reason why we should worry, and less reason to construct a 'gatekeeping' definition.
    How about...
    "An international school, whatever the exact nature of its curriculum or the ethnic composition of the student body, may be defined as any school training the globally mobile technical commercial and diplomatic elites and/or the children of the national ruling class. Such schools aim to spread and perpetuate western bourgeois liberal values and strengthen the economic and cultural hegemony of capitalism by forming its future middle and upper managers."
    There. That will include Eton, Aiglon, The Anglo-American School of Ruritania and El Colégio Internacional de La Mancha - and like all the best Marxist rants it has a delightful/exasperating hermetic irrefutability.

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