International Schools Review
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Teaching in Singapore

Teaching in Singapore

Postby luminescence » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:28 pm

I'd like as much insight as possible into teaching at international primary schools in Singapore. I am interested in a position as either an Early Years (Reception/Prep) Teacher or Primary Teacher (up to Year 4). I have an Australian teaching qualification and have taught in the UK for a couple of years (and a few years before that in another country but I did not have my teaching degree then). Some of my student teaching placements were in IB schools but they were only for a couple of months and not as a paid teacher, so not sure if this counts towards having IB experience (will my exposure be enough of a convincer that I have some idea of this style of learning?).

Someone on this forum mentioned not being able to get a work permit to teach at an IS in Singapore if you don't have 5 years of teaching experience. I can't see any mention of this on official government pages - is this true?

Do IS in Singapore prefer teachers to apply for jobs directly or do they prefer that teachers go through agencies. Will salary/package be similar with either method or is one more lucrative than the other?

Do the IS tend to hire a lot of Supply/Relief Teachers in Singapore? If I follow my husband and move there without a job lined up for myself (he will already have his - non-teaching), I am wondering if this might be a good way to get into schools and get a full time job when one becomes available.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby Rob » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:20 pm

Hi-
I spent 25 years there, and the last year I was there as a relief teacher before leaving for other countries. My situation was unique, but in your case, I think your best bet is to wait until you arrive in Singapore. Visit the best schools (Singapore American School and United World College), and state that you want to be a relief teacher. They always need relief teachers, and will arrange the employment pass or work permit. I believe you would be limited to only being a relief teacher at one or two schools using the permit, but you will be kept busy. The compensation at SAS was approximately S$180-200/day for being a relief teacher.

You could certainly apply for a position from where you are now, but most likely you would be treated as a local hire, since your husband has accepted a position there already. Also, schools want to feel comfortable hiring someone who is not compelled to break a contract due to a spouse's relocation, and that's why most schools would be hesitant hiring you full time.

There are also some local schools that cater to international primary/pre-school students. Lorna Whiston School is one of them. You might do a little research on them.

I hope you enjoy your time there.

Rob
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby wrldtrvlr123 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:51 pm

luminescence wrote:
> I'd like as much insight as possible into teaching at international primary
> schools in Singapore. I am interested in a position as either an Early
> Years (Reception/Prep) Teacher or Primary Teacher (up to Year 4). I have an
> Australian teaching qualification and have taught in the UK for a couple of
> years (and a few years before that in another country but I did not have my
> teaching degree then). Some of my student teaching placements were in IB
> schools but they were only for a couple of months and not as a paid
> teacher, so not sure if this counts towards having IB experience (will my
> exposure be enough of a convincer that I have some idea of this style of
> learning?).
>
> Someone on this forum mentioned not being able to get a work permit to
> teach at an IS in Singapore if you don't have 5 years of teaching
> experience. I can't see any mention of this on official government pages -
> is this true?
>
> Do IS in Singapore prefer teachers to apply for jobs directly or do they
> prefer that teachers go through agencies. Will salary/package be similar
> with either method or is one more lucrative than the other?
>
> Do the IS tend to hire a lot of Supply/Relief Teachers in Singapore? If I
> follow my husband and move there without a job lined up for myself (he will
> already have his - non-teaching), I am wondering if this might be a good
> way to get into schools and get a full time job when one becomes available.
====================
If your goal/desire is to work full time/have your own classroom then you should be applying to schools now. Generally all int'l schools will have their own preferences about recruitment and you would need to visit individual websites and follow their directions for applying. Most schools will accept direct applications. Since you are limiting your job search to just Singapore joining an agency probably doesn't make sense.

Moat schools are used to spouses being in the country due to their partners work. Many/most will give your application due consideration. Yes, it would be as a local hire but financially you would likely still be better off then working as a relief teacher (and many teachers do not actually enjoy being a substitute). If you do not find a suitable position then you can always look into relief work when you get there.

Any IB experience or training is better than no IB experience or training so your student teaching placements would have some benefit compared to some other candidates. I have not heard about the 5 year experience rule (and I am not in Singapore) but in looking at some school's websites they do not mention a candidate needing 5 year to apply. Google international school/Singapore and start tracking where you want to apply. Then start crafting your CV/letters of introduction etc and apply at will.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby luminescence » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:55 am

Thank you both for your replies. By the sounds of it, I don't have much chance of getting anything but a local contract which means no flights or accommodation allowance. Does anyone think it's likely to get a small increase in salary to account for not receiving these benefits? My reasoning being that we could afford a much nicer apartment if we were to both receive an accommodation allowance and my husband and I are from different countries and his company will only fly me to his home country, not my own.

Do most IS post their salary scales freely online or do you only get a copy of these once offered a job? I have searched for a few schools but not found anything yet.

With respect to supply/relief teaching, do you usually get advanced notice or are you mostly called on the morning when required and need to go in immediately? Is there usually a standard rate of pay for the relief teacher or is it also on a sliding scale dependent on years of experience? Do you typically find that work has already been set when relief teaching and you need to follow the regular teacher's plans or are you expected to bring your own ideas and activities for the day? Sorry for all of the questions but I'd just like to get a clearer picture of what the job might entail if I do decide to pursue it.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby Rob » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:03 pm

You will not get an increase in salary to offset the lack in benefits if you are a local hire. You simply get the salary as shown on the salary scale for the number of years. Don't expect to find salary schedules on-line in Singapore. You are shown the salary schedule only while being interviewed.

As for notification about whether you are subbing or not, often it is the night before or on the morning a sub is needed. Also, if a teacher knows he/she will be absent, then you have more advanced notice.

In the schools I was a relief teacher at, the teacher always had lesson plans prepared. You really do have to stick with them as much as possible.

Being a substitute teacher can certainly lead to being hired as a full time teacher. I've seen that happen a few times.

Rob
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Response

Postby PsyGuy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:06 pm

Your IB experience will count for something ( a little) but not step on the salary scale, especially if it was in PYP. It depends how you spin it and can talk the talk and show more application and implementation than just knowledge of terminology.

There are two types of visas that you can get in SG as it refers to IE. The first is the employment pass (for professionals) which does require somewhere around 5 years of experience (but its part of a decision matrix), the other is called an S pass (for skilled workers) which does not have the 5 years experience requirement (but theres still a matrix).

Different ISs employ different routes to fill vacancies, the upper tier ISs usually use an agency, though they also accept direct applications. There wouldnt be much value to you joining one of the premium agencies (such as SA or ISS) there are only a couple ISs repped by these agencies which you can identify fairly easily and apply directly. The other ISs use various ESOL job boards to fill vacancies. SG is one of those regions where there is a very small middle in their tier hierarchy. Your basically looking at well known ISs or bottom barrel ISs. The middle is mostly the MOE scheme (similar to JET or NET) that hires expats for municipal placement in their DS system.

It will be the same regardless of which avenue you take to recruitment. The lower tier ISs generally offer LH packages and the upper tier ISs offer OSH packages.

I disagree with @Rob, having resided there for 25 years and then going into relief/supply teaching gives you a professional network. It would be a huge risk to resettle in SG waiting for supply/relief work, you just arent a known practitioner, and I dont know any of those ISs that would arrange an employment/S permit for a supply relief teacher. I would agree that you would probably have enough work available to you if you made it work. I would also agree that your going to likely be treated as a LH, with an LH package.

No you wont get an increase on the salary scale for being a LH, you will get what the salary scale states for your band and step, assuming the IS has some formal scale. There are a number of ISs in SG that will just quote the lowest they think you will take or what you are worth to them.

Generally only the elite tier ISs post their salary online since its to their advantage to do so. Many others keep the salary scale private.
Schools generally have two approaches to compensation either they have a 1) Public/Open pay scale/salary ladder, etc. In which case the school determines the contributing factors (usually years of experience and degree level) and your salary is what ever that box says. There can be adjustments/supplements for extra duty assignments, etc. The point of this scale is that everyone with a certain category makes the same. Its "equal" if not fair (fair in my opinion is actually pretty subjective). This is a lot like the "no hassle" car dealership. The price is clearly published and thats just "how much it is".
In the second type 2): Negotiated/Closed (Private tends to be avoided, but still used) you negotiate or discuss a compensation package. This can take several forms in itself, the two most common are the face to face negotiation, usually over the phone or Skype where you politely try to sell your value to the head, and they try to get you as cheaply as possible. The second most common type is the "letter" type which either occurs with the head, or more often with HR, and involves a series of email exchanges. Where they make an initial offer, you counter offer, they "check with the boss" then they counteroffer, and back an forth until you stop seeing progress/change in the offers happening. This experience is a lot more like the traditional "used car" buy experience, where your essentially haggling.
In my experience the open/public approach is the most popular, for two reasons (and different situations). The better schools are interested in fairness, equality and simplicity, its makes payroll easier (especially at bigger schools, which also tend to be the better schools). The second reason, is in schools that really dont care about the quality of their teachers, and they just want the cheapest body in the classroom they can get. They know they pay peanuts, and they dont really care, because anyone whos a decent teacher wouldnt teach there anyway, and likely has better offers.
The Closed/negotiated salary scale is usually found at 2nd tier schools all over the globe, who are usually young schools, have small enrollments, or constant turn around in faculty. For them minimizing costs is very important, as many teachers simply dont stay longer then their initial two year contract before moving on, so investing in faculty is a lost cause for them. Lastly, they just have more of a "paycheck to paycheck" mentality, they dont know what their enrollment will be in the future and with a small school it doesnt take much change in enrollment before they are over budget. For them a good teacher at less cost is better then a great teacher who is more expensive.
My advice to teachers, is that if there is nothing special about your qualifications, then you want the open/public type of compensation determination. If you have something thats special or "adds real value" (not to be confused with perceived value, like your "just a super great teacher") then your likely to benefit from a closed/negotiated compensation package, since the assumption is that you bring more "value" to the table then a comparable teacher.
Trends i see, is that when it comes to closed/negotiated packages, woman tend to get the face to face approach (typically against an assertive male), on the assumption that woman are less comfortable with conflict, and will cave to negotiation stress quickly (there are a couple heads ive met who were proven VERY incorrect in that assumption). Men tend to get the letter exchange typically with what you would infer is a younger female contact at the schools HR department. The assumption that the intermediary (the HR contact) is just the messenger, and little old them has no power to do anything, except relay your demands to the boss. men tend to be less aggressive, in those situation, as they are indoctrinated to yield ld to the female gender, and to exercise restraint when confronted with an inferior opponent.

You generally get notified the day before or the morning of for relief teaching. Supply teaching which is typically longer you get more advance notice.

Supply/Relief ITs usually have a per diem that differs based on one or two factors, typically if you have a degree or not, and if you have an educator credential or not. Some just have a simple set daily rate for everyone. Experience is generally not a factor.
For relief teaching that is short term, typically everything is done for you. All you have to do is baby sit. For supply teaching which is typically longer you have create your own lessons, and assessments, though the IS may have a very rigid structure of what you need to do.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby ShouldIGo » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:19 am

My school is always looking for substitute teacher across the board from PYP through to DP. The daily rates are comparable to that in Melbourne (Yes, I've taught in Melbourne). Since you are already have teaching qualification, the limited experience is really not an issue.

You will be considered a local since you are more likely to be on a dependent visa.

I'm not sure if I am allowed to name the 2 schools here but otherwise PM me.

Good luck!
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby migratingbird » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:45 pm

Psyguy has missed out one other visa option - a Letter of Consent. As your spouse will be working, you will have a Dependent's Pass. People on a Dependents Pass CAN work in Singapore - the company wishing to employ them applies for a Letter of Consent. I know many supply teachers (and expat classroom teachers) working on a LoC. Most supply teachers at my current school are on LoC. You can only do supply at one school, as you can only have one letter of consent.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby luminescence » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:02 pm

Thank you again for the most recent posts. I really do appreciate the information and ideas.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby luminescence » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:03 pm

ShouldIGo wrote:
> My school is always looking for substitute teacher across the board from
> PYP through to DP. The daily rates are comparable to that in Melbourne
> (Yes, I've taught in Melbourne). Since you are already have teaching
> qualification, the limited experience is really not an issue.
>
> You will be considered a local since you are more likely to be on a
> dependent visa.
>
> I'm not sure if I am allowed to name the 2 schools here but otherwise PM
> me.
>
> Good luck!
I can't see how I can PM you on ISS. If you are able to PM me, please do.
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Reply

Postby PsyGuy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:23 am

@luminescence

PMs are disabled on this board you can add your email to your profile and then request a member contact you that way. Click on User control panel near the top under board index, then click on the profile tab, and then edit profile. You can insert your email under interests or one of the other free text entry fields, then click submit.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby luminescence » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:14 pm

Thanks for the tip - I've added my email address to my profile so hopefully @ShouldIGo will check there and message me that way.
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Comment

Postby PsyGuy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:28 am

@luminescence

Checked, you did it exactly right.
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby ShouldIGo » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:15 am

@luminescence,

Sorry haven't been on the site for a bit. Just send you a reply.

Good luck!
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Re: Teaching in Singapore

Postby MillieBee » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:25 am

luminescence wrote:
> I'd like as much insight as possible into teaching at international primary schools
> in Singapore. I am interested in a position as either an Early Years (Reception/Prep)
> Teacher or Primary Teacher (up to Year 4). I have an Australian teaching qualification
> and have taught in the UK for a couple of years (and a few years before that in
> another country but I did not have my teaching degree then). Some of my student
> teaching placements were in IB schools but they were only for a couple of months
> and not as a paid teacher, so not sure if this counts towards having IB experience
> (will my exposure be enough of a convincer that I have some idea of this style of
> learning?).
>
> Someone on this forum mentioned not being able to get a work permit to teach at an
> IS in Singapore if you don't have 5 years of teaching experience. I can't see any
> mention of this on official government pages - is this true?
>
> Do IS in Singapore prefer teachers to apply for jobs directly or do they prefer that
> teachers go through agencies. Will salary/package be similar with either method
> or is one more lucrative than the other?
>
> Do the IS tend to hire a lot of Supply/Relief Teachers in Singapore? If I follow
> my husband and move there without a job lined up for myself (he will already have
> his - non-teaching), I am wondering if this might be a good way to get into schools
> and get a full time job when one becomes available.


Hi, I am in a very similar position to you, having left my teaching job in the UK to join my partner in Singapore. I have a LTVP and did not have time to secure a job before leaving the UK, so I'll be looking at relief/supply work. Just wondering if you have any advice? Did you make the move? Have you been able to find any relief/supply work? If you have any advice or insight it would be greatly appreciated.
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