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Moving from Government School to International School

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by bahn_farang, 15 May 2017.

  1. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    No doubt many have made the change from government to international school.

    A friend of mine is thinking about the change and asked me what it was like. Since I have never made the change thought I would ask people on this forum.

    1) What was the biggest challenge?
    2) Any regrets?
    3) If you could rewind time, would you do it again?
    4) What advice would you give someone who is thinking about the change?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. Wangsuda

    Wangsuda Nonentity Staff Member

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    REVIEW everything you know about the subject you will teach. The interview and screening process can be hard, especially if you're competing against those with first world experience or those more educationally qualified. Make sure you are at the top of your game.
    Nope. I would have started at the international level.
     
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  3. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    Just my 2 cents worth....

    An international school (as in a member of ISAT) is not much different than a well run private school. (eg: an internationally accredited private school but not a member of ISAT and licensed as a Thai school rather than international school - yes, they exist).

    1) The biggest challenge we see with new (to us) teachers who have been in language centers or public schools is they are well off the expectations and are usually unaware of the required paperwork. The standards that they commonly produce are well below expectation (for any number of reasons).

    2) No, not regrets per say. They are different jobs with different expectations and different remuneration.
    Some days I don't like the work but come payday.... I forgot why I don't like the work.
    The rest of the time, I do like the work. I get to move above and beyond the mindless drudge that edutainment in public schools so often amounts to.

    3) No, I would have done it sooner. Why? See #2.

    4) If you managed to do the B.Ed or PGCE and survived the practicum / NQT then there is no advice necessary. You (should) know exactly what you are in for.

    If you did a Dip.Ed / Dip.T / PGCEi without the observed and critiqued practicum (instead you had your co-worker sign off on a portfolio for the course) then perhaps you might want to spend a few weeks doing observations at an international school during your vacation break. When you do the observations, look at them with an eye to improving your own practice and reflection on what you used to do, how you did it and your motivations for doing it that way.
    Assessments are more than just doing exams every other month. Assessments for learning and assessments of learning are both required, are not the same thing and should be done on an ongoing basis.
    You can also talk to the teacher about the other "stuff" that gets done outside of the classroom time.
     
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  4. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Are you specifically talking about in Thailand?

    I worked in a public/government school in Korea for four years, and now finishing my third year in an international school in China. There are quite a number of differences. I have no regrets as I learned quite a lot in the public system and also learned how to deal with a different culture than my own. I was the only native English speaker in the public school. Only a few Korean teachers spoke English. I guess that would be the biggest challenge along with the textbook that was made by the government. The book was very basic and focused on rote learning. I was lucky in that I had some leeway to how I taught the textbook. I taught grades three to six and I only saw one class, once a week, which isn't near enough to learn much English.

    I taught 22 classes a week, but had to be there for forty. I had a lot of down time which I sort of liked, but often felt bored. Classes were very big and not much room for movement.

    Working in an international school is different in so many ways. The curriculum is so much better and the children are learning more by inquiry and student-centered learning. Most of the staff are from western countries and the language of instruction is English. I teach various nationalities and we celebrate those differences. I work forty hours a week and teach about 30. I also have to attend many grade level meetings. So, I don't feel like I have a lot of prep time. I teach small class sizes, but many children (54 in total, but not all at once).

    I have no regrets, because my experience in Korea taught me that I loved teaching English and honed my teaching skills and patience (haha!). I left because I was frustrated with the system. I wanted to teach a more western curriculum in a more English speaking environment that was more professional.

    My advice to someone thinking of going to an international school is to go for it! I didn't have a lot of home country experience (just a few years of substitute teaching) , so I was lucky to get into an international school teaching EAL. I got in because I have a B.Ed, but also four years of teaching ESL. You will get more support and get paid more in an international school. You will have more holidays and benefits.
     
    Last edited: 15 May 2017
  5. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    1) getting and staying legit
    2) sure ... regrets are part of life
    3) it's not marriage, so of course


    4) Know your worth before getting your hopes up for a massive payday. As the person will be local hire they will not command the salary of a foreign hire. Apply to at interview at several inters. Ask questions (lots of questions). Ask to talk to rank and file teacher. You want to get a feel for the atmosphere of the school.
     
  6. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Well-Known Member

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    I think ttompatz has hot the nail right on the head with his reply to you. Check out the school's status and its credentials - specifically in terms of the curricula they offer. Don't be fooled by what they say - for instance there's a difference between a school that wants to obtain IBO accreditation, that is an IBO candidate school, one that is seeking authorisation and one that is a fully fledged IBO World School.

    Many schools in China and in Thailand and presumably elsewhere call themselves 'international schools' but are in fact nothing but pale imitations. They are often owned by people who are looking to cash in and walk away with fast money; many really don't understand that there are significant differences between running a school and a ceramics factory. Proper internationals don't skimp etc ..... they look after their teachers.

    I work for a highly suspect outfit in China, a real bunch of chancers ...

    None whatsoever. I doubled my money at the drop of a hat. Truth is that it is not a significantly better school than the bilingual where I worked in Thailand. In fact Thailand was a good preparation for the rubbish I've had to deal with here.

    As it stands another, real international school has just made me an offer which is beyond my wildest dreams. It really is best described as the golden hand cuffs. Triple my Thai salary with all the trimmings including annual flights to my 'home of record', health insurance, etc .... and this is for all of us, not just me - non-working mum and two kids. Unfortunately my current employers are being ****s and refusing to release me from my current contract - just to mess me around. But I am working it and I reckon it's going to be ok. A pretty amazing development on the eve of my 59th birthday.

    Now I doubt if I would be in the frame for this new job without the experience, so no regrets. Plus I had to get out of where I was in Thailand. However bad experience is not necessarily bad experience!

    If I could rewind time I would have gone for teacher training and full QTS as a young university graduate way back when. Hell I didn't but no regrets though. [/QUOTE]

    Again ttompatz's advice is spot on. You'll need to be at the top of your game. If you are good enough to be offered a job in a real international school, they'll expect you to deliver and be self-motivated.

    Now I am curious, is your friend really you?!!!!
     
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  7. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Why would people be fooled? Most true international schools state their accreditation on their website if they are a true IS. A school that is an IB Candidate school is still using the IB curriculum, but they have not got their paperwork yet. So in a sense they are still using the IB curriculum in an infancy stage. I hope things work out for you, portnoy.
     
  8. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    And by the way, my advice even though it isn't in Thailand can be applied to any public or international school. Honest and a personal experience.
     
  9. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    No not me (not yet anyway)
     
  10. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    ^
    That was my first thought too
     
  11. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Well-Known Member

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    Quite easy to be fooled IMHO. I wasn't - but my circumstances dictated I had to generate income. So I took a risk. Having said that I knew exactly what I was doing and getting involved with. Things have happened in my new job that I didn't ever expect, but I am still batting, still happy and still optimistic. Unfortunately I sailed a little too close to the wind at times in my misspent yoof so I don't quite have the margins others might have.

    A final point of advice to the OP - this whole business of relocation and 'promotion' has wreaked havoc on my studies - I have registered for the UCL/Institute Of Education MA, completed the tuition for one module but have a major assignment outstanding. The good news is that I have five years to complete so not fatal. But this is definitely the sort of thing that might upset the apple cart. Most teaching jobs are front-loaded in the sense that there is a lot to be done in the first year which can be used again and usually can be modified and adapted.

    But I would like to know when you bahn-farang intend to make the transition!
     
  12. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Initial plan is to finish my masters in sep/oct 2018, move to uk to get QTS, followed by PhD in that order. Whether the PhD is done in UK or Thailand not decided.

    Exactly why I plan to stick to one thing at a time!
     
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  13. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    Solid plan. the payoff will be immense.
     
  14. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Good luck! It sounds like a good plan!

    I am also starting my M.Ed. in September with a big move and new school to handle. Many people I know have studied for a distance Master's and have done it successfully. I was told it is all about time management and taking as few courses per semester as possible (I'll be taking one). I'll have less than five years as I deferred my program already for a year. Shall be a challenge anyway. Best of luck to you, I'm sure it can be done, even if it takes awhile.
     
  15. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    The key to completing the masters is to get ahead of your reading.
    That is ALWAYS the place that MA candidates fall down.
    Your MA is not like your undergrad. It is not just about taking courses and achieving a passing grade.
    Think "baby PhD with smaller research" and/or comprehensive exams + an independent study (baby thesis).
    Good luck to both of you.
     

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