International Schools, Private Schools, Local Schools, English Schools…Overseas what is the difference?

Okay so in the international market you get hooked into this idea of an international school.
A true international school is a school that has BOTH international teachers AND students.
So many have international teachers ONLY! Nothing wrong with this. The problem comes into play when you have children who stand out like a sore thumb in class and on campus swimming in a sea of local students who look nothing them and do not speak the same language. This really does not become a problem until about middle or high school when teenagers become jerks no matter where you live or language you speak. This is a bigger issue when the children are not well traveled and do not have similar experiences.
Meaning if all you know is Arabic culture you cannot understand Black American culture and why calling someone a N***a is a problem or why you think women cannot think or speak up for themselves. We won’t even discuss homosexuality or just sex in general.

My people it is time to stop using the word N***a. It is toxic and when people of different cultures and nationalities hear it in our music and TV/Movies they think it is okay. Then we wanna get mad….well you say it. If you don’t want others to say it, stop saying it.
It’s exhausting to explain why is should not be said. Same goes for women calling each other B****es and whatnot. You get all upset when a dude does but it flows off your tongue all the time.
STOP! Please for the love of the English Language just stop!

Most well versed adults try to understand others. I raise my daughter to understand other and look at their point of view or culture. That courtesy is not extended. I also raise her to ask questions. This gets her in trouble more often than not because teachers think she is being rude or disrespectful…no she truly wants to know the why.
So if you are in an Asian culture where kids just take your world for it and here is this little black girl asking questions for a deeper understanding, it’s a problem.

Schools love to say they are diverse but diverse to them is white diversity. Nope that is not what I mean. Will my child and I be the only black people on campus? So yes you hire teachers with foreign passports but none of them look like me. How will I be treated as a teacher? Will I have explain myself and show I belong at the table? Will I have more degrees than my boss? Will you micromanage me? Will I be the spokesperson for all things black? How will my child be treated not just by the staff but the other children? Will you address the racism that is bound to happen or will you sweep under the rug and allow me out of my contract to save face? You think your staff ain’t racist but you have never hired a black person to know. You think the kids aren’t but you have never had another black student to know. Being the token black person is exhausting. Being the only American is exhausting. So when a school says they are international I listen for how they explain it.
If the teachers hold passports from other white countries but near a none of them are black….that is just white diversity. If their students were born in another country but raised in the current local country…that is not international. You will find a lot this where people who live in a country with a weak passport, having their child in the UK or US or even Canada for the passport privilege but raise their child in the weak passport country. I had plenty kids in Kuwait who had UK passports but were raised in Kuwait. Same in China….born in America with an American passport but raised in China. When they register for school they use their international passport to throw the numbers to make it seem like it is an international school. ALWAYS look at the school website and social media pages. It will tell you all you need to know.
These schools are considered private schools: schools with international teachers but local students.

Local schools are just that…schools that are nothing but local students. They hold a local passport both parents are local. There are mostly public schools that will hire foreign staff. In most cases your children cannot attend these schools. They will either cover tuition at another school or you homeschool your child or you foot the bill for tuition.

English schools: I don’t want to throw shade but I am so sorry you cannot get a certificate on Groupon and call yourself a teacher. Just because English is your first language you should not teach English. You can and some people find success doing so. However I am a certified teacher who went to university so I will NEVER support Groupon certificates. These jobs are popular in Asian countries. I don’t know what the pay looks like. I don’t know what the benefits are. That is not my journey. I will say Groupon will limit you to Asian countries and teaching English only in those type of “schools”. You could NEVER teach in a traditional classroom setting because you do not have the correct credentials. My degree and license will ALWAYS produce top dollar and benefits.

I’m gonna throw IB schools in here because this is becoming a buzz word with teaching overseas. PLEASE do your due diligence. If you are IB trained and certified you know what to look for. Something that happens is these schools will get these fancy accreditations…I mean go through all the steps and money….and fall off and not keep up with any of it. It becomes accreditation in name only. If you have students in high school make sure that their high school diploma will have value outside of that country. Again a real, tried and true international school will keep up with all of it. These private schools however will fluff with the smoke screen and mirrors. Some schools want to go the IB route but refuse to invest the money to do so. Teachers must be trained. Admin must be trained.
As a teacher do not be afraid to try British, Canadian, Australian schools…trust the standards are not that far off from each other. If nothing else brush up on the lingo for whatever system you are applying to. My early years teachers Reggio inspired classrooms are becoming a thing. Play based, inquiry based, PYP…..schools are leaving common core and rigor. Students are not learning and teachers are not teaching.


International schools: teachers, admin, and students are international/foreign/expat in both passport and location. They were not born and raised in the country they are teaching in.
Private schools: international and local teachers and local students
Local schools: mostly local teachers and admin with a few international teachers and local students
English schools: not my monkey, not my show TEFL, CELTA certificates with so many clock hours