Two to four years of teaching at an international school in Bangkok is a big commitment, so it’s essential to do your research and find a school that meets all your requirements. Moving abroad to teach can be an enjoyable experience, but only if you end up in the ideal educational institution. Don’t jump at the first offer or sign-up to more than you bargained for. We’ve put together six tips to help you find the best school possible and make the selection process easier.
1. Diligent Research
First and foremost, know that international schools vary greatly, so it’s important to match your experiences, requirements and preferences with the right one. You will need to spend considerable time researching the school online and in-person (if possible). In particular, you will want to find out about their size, ethos, teaching approach, curriculum, examination system, demographics, teaching ratio, on-site resources and facilities, travel opportunities (i.e., sports trips), location and so forth. From a personal perspective, also investigate their compensation package (salary, flights, housing, schooling, etc.), career advancement prospects, training opportunities and whether there is overtime and holiday work required.
2. Accreditation Check
Top international schools should be accredited by one or more of a select group of recognised accreditation bodies: International School Accreditation (ASIC), Council of International Schools (CIS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Council of British International Schools (COBIS), International School Quality Mark Accreditation, New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and Council of British International Schools (COBIS). Check out each school’s website, if they are accredited, it will clearly be listed there and the logo displayed. You should also look to see if they have local accreditation, for example, an international school in Bangkok will need to be approved by the Thailand Ministry of Education. And lastly, be wary of any school that is still in the ‘applying for membership’ phase, these could be a ruse to appear more accredited than they are (or ever will be!). A reputable recruitment agency will be able to help you vet schools and give you unbiased advice about which school best suits your particular set of circumstances.
3. Faculty Familiarisation
A great international school recruits faculty – both locally and internationally – who share their common goals and ethos and display a diverse range of values and experiences. Regardless of your personal and professional background, staff are generally required to exhibit the following four characteristics:
- They love working with students and recognise that all learners are unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.
- They are willing to participate in extracurricular programmes and are excited to share their passions and interests with the school community.
- They are experts in their chosen academic field, typically holding advanced degrees and training in key programmes, such as the IB and ESL.
- They are committed to making the school the best it can be and are keen to contribute to the local community.
Thanks to the interconnected world of social media, it’s relatively easy to find international teaching staff these days. Why not reach out to a few working at the school(s) on your shortlist and ask them some questions. They have probably been in your shoes at some point in their career and won’t mind answering a few questions. Of course, take what they say with a grain of salt as every person’s perspective will be different. Beyond the school, ask them about the lifestyle and cost of living in the school’s location too. This is undoubtedly a great way to get some personal, on-the-ground intelligence and perhaps put your mind at ease on a few points.