As a parent, looking for supplemental learning resources for one’s child can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, as there are so many excellent resources out there. That said, with so many choices, how can you ensure you are making the right decision? Here are some tips to help!
Before beginning to browse, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind, that way you know your limits.
Search for freebies first. There are many websites like ours out there that offer a selection of either free online resources or free printable resources. Here are a few sites to help you get started:
Prior to purchasing your own subscriptions to online resources, find out what your child’s school is using to see if permission is granted for at home use as well. For example, my daughter’s school has a subscription to IXL math which she is able to access from home for extra practice.
In addition to accessing school subscriptions, you can always ask your child’s teacher for other recommended resources that would be appropriate for your child and that would tie into the learning happening in your child’s classroom. When selecting additional learning materials, the goal should always be to support and enhance what is happening at school so as not overwhelm your child.
If between the freebies and the school resources you are still looking for supplemental materials, sign up for a free trial (if there is one being offered) before purchasing a subscription. In this way, you can ensure that the resource is a good fit for your child and one they will enjoy using.
Once you have taken all recommendations into account and explored trial offers, you are ready to make your purchase(s)! Be sure to check the pricing, as sometimes better deals are offered if you sign up for a year vs. paying month to month.
Are you a parent that has recently shopped for learning resources? Have any other tips you would like to share? We’d love to hear them!
Other Tips for Parents
Wondering if you should sign the contract you received from the international school you recently applied to? Here are some things to consider before you do!
If you haven’t already read reviews on the working conditions before applying to the international school, it’s worth checking some out before you sign the dotted lines, and the websites below are a good place to start.
International Schools Review
International School Community
International Schools and Information
Alongside reading school reviews, it’s also a good idea to check how the salary they are offering compares to other international schools in the area; if it’s significantly lower, this could be a red flag.
Double check your expected working hours and holidays as some schools will require you to run after school activities during the week or to help run programs over the holidays. Make sure you know what the expectations are and if you are okay with them.
Does the school have a dress code? If so, are you willing to comply with what they are asking?
Provided housing or housing allowance should be written into the contract and it’s a good idea to connect with some of the teachers who are already working at the school to find out what the living conditions are like – is the provided housing acceptable? Is the allowance enough to pay rent for decent accommodation?
It’s common for international schools to offer added perks for teachers, some of the most common being:
If the school isn’t offering any of these, you may want to reconsider signing the contract.
That the school helps get a valid work visa for you before you go is a huge one. I cannot count the number of times I have seen teachers being asked to work without the proper work visas until all the documents are in order – this can sometimes take up to 3 or 4 months. During this time a teacher can only hope that there are no surprise visits from the immigration department to the school checking that each staff member is cleared to work.
In addition to all of the above, it’s also wise to find out how much you will be taxed – will it just be the local tax you need to pay or tax in your home country as well? If there’s a possibility that you will be taxed in your home country as well, you may wish to look into whether declaring non-residency is an option for you and if isn’t, ask yourself if what you earn after taxes will be enough.
Have you recently accepted a job at an international school? Have any other advice for teachers before they sign their contracts?
Other Tips for Educators
You’ve landed your dream job at an international school, and after the initial excitement has worn off you realize you are about to start a whole new life in a different country and have no idea what your living situation will be or what you should bring with you. From having worked and lived in Qatar, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Indonesia – here is what I have learned:
Connect with other expats who have lived or are living in the country to find out what items you should bring with you. From my experience, even though you can find grocery stores carrying imported items, they tend to miss a few comforts from home and these items can range from certain spices you love to cook with, to gluten-free products, to your favorite candy bars or coffee, etc.
Health and Hygiene
It’s also a good idea to find out what health and hygiene products are available and to stock up on your favorite brands from home, including deodorant, shaving gel, creams, shampoos, razors, etc. Although you will find such products in the local pharmacies and salons, the quality isn’t always up to par. Also, ladies, make sure to bring a year’s supply of tampons as these cannot always be easily found.
Again, you can find locally made pain killers, cough medicines, etc. in the pharmacies; however, given that the product descriptions aren’t always in English and the quality isn’t always the same as back home, make sure to stock up on your favorite brands – Tylenol, Advil, Buckley’s etc. The last thing you want is to get sick and have to guess which medicine to take. If you have school-aged children it’s also recommended that you bring lice shampoo – you never know when an outbreak may occur and I have learned it is better to be prepared.
Do your homework on what makeup products and brands the country you will be moving to carries. Even if you find your brand, it’s worth checking to see if they carry the colors you like. As I came to realize, although you can find MAC in South East Asia, the colors they offer cater to the Asian market so the eyeshadow colors I like to use were not available.
Bring as much as you can! From my experience, your favorite clothing brands will cater to the local market; therefore, you might not find products that suit your taste. Additionally, prices tend to be more expensive than what you would pay back home.
Before going, make sure to check what teaching supplies are missing at the school. There may be certain materials or resources you love to use in your classroom that you may not find in the country. Best to stock up on these items before you go.
Remember to research what the electrical sockets and voltage are before going so you can stock up on adaptors; otherwise, you may arrive and realize you can’t charge your phone or your laptop!
If you are shipping furniture, make sure to bring enough linens as the bed sizing abroad often differs from that back home. King, queen, single, etc. mattresses are often different measurements; therefore, local sheets will not fit mattresses you bring with you.
These are the lessons I have learned from my travels abroad. Are you an international educator? Any other tips you would like to share for those about to embark on their journey?
Other Tips for Teachers