Benefits Package for International School Teacher

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NeonMango
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Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by NeonMango » Tue, 04 Jan 2022 5:21 am

Hi, I am an art teacher with 5 years of teaching experience in the US but have no international experience and no experience teaching IB, MYP, DP, etc. I am hoping to begin my international teaching career next year and have been in the process of applying and interviewing with different schools. I am in the final steps towards receiving a formal offer from a brand new school opening up next year in Singapore. I am very interested in the country. The superintendent, who I interviewed with, seems like a great person to work under. The only thing that is keeping me from accepting right away (I was given until Jan 10 to decide) is the benefits package which I'm not sure how good or bad it is. I know that a new school will have a smaller benefits package than a more established school but I'm curious to read any feedback from people that have worked/lived there.

The package includes:
* 60k USD salary
* 1,800 USD monthly housing stipend
* Worldwide health insurance - except for in the US, no dental/no vision
* Flight to home country at the start/end of employment - does not mention yearly flights
* Up to 1,800 USD shipping reimbursement
* No retirement contribution

I know Singapore can be expensive but I have no personal knowledge about the country since I've never been. I've tried to do as much research as possible but any information would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your insight and for taking the time to share your knowledge!

RobSg
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by RobSg » Tue, 04 Jan 2022 7:17 am

Hi-
Many international teachers have a goal to teach in Singapore, and if you do not get the school you want in Singapore initially, it can be a stepping stone to other schools.

I've been gone a few years, but still have some ex-colleagues who teach there. I'd say that the $1800/month for housing is not enough for a nice condo, and so some of your salary might need to pay for the rest of it if you want a nice place to stay. However, most Singaporeans live in HDB flats which can also be quite comfortable. I lived in an HDB flat in Singapore for almost 7 years after I retired, and loved it. That's an option.

Your salary comes out to about S$6,750/month, which might be slightly lower than the two or three best International Schools there, but still good. I think you'll do fine on that, and save. During my time there, I ate at hawker centers and enjoyed the food very much, and a lot of hawker food is pretty tasty.

Taxis can be expensive if you use them everyday, and so I relied mostly on the MRT (subway). They go everywhere you want to go.

My school was great, but mostly you are in a very safe city, and for your first international experience, it's the best. Travel from Singapore is inexpensive to neighboring countries. After I retired from my school, I got a teaching job in Saigon, Vietnam and still kept my home in Singapore. I flew back every weekend on Tiger Air, and at the time it was very inexpensive to do that.

The pandemic certainly has put a damper on travel, and so you initially will be limited on the travel.

Best of luck in your decision.

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Addadude
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by Addadude » Tue, 04 Jan 2022 9:03 am

With that housing allowance, I would recommend sharing an apartment with others.

Salary-wise, it's not great for an expensive place like Singapore - but you'll survive. Whether you can save anything will be based on your lifestyle. If you adopt local eating habits, don't shop much and are a teetotaler, you might well be able to save. If you like fine dining, shopping and indulging in alcohol, saving will be a challenge.

As RobSg has mentioned, the big plus for Singapore, easy and cheap travel around the region, is not happening at the moment and nobody knows when things will truly open up again.

If they don't mention yearly flights then you're not getting them. So bear this in mind if you plan to fly home every year - those long haul flights can be very expensive, especially now.

The other thing you need to consider is your social life: it's pretty tough for singles at the moment with gatherings limited to a maximum of 5 and bars closing by 10:30 pm.

Quite a few things to consider before you make your final decision.
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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PNGMK
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by PNGMK » Tue, 04 Jan 2022 6:55 pm

The package includes:
* 60k USD salary
* 1,800 USD monthly housing stipend
* Worldwide health insurance - except for in the US, no dental/no vision
* Flight to home country at the start/end of employment - does not mention yearly flights
* Up to 1,800 USD shipping reimbursement
* No retirement contribution


This is pretty much what my wife makes as an International School teacher in Singapore - there is a tiny (2%?) contribution to a retirement fund.

You're not being ripped off. ONE thing I do note missing - and that is contributions towards Professional Development - my wife gets US$1000 binanually towards PD (such as courses). Check on that as it does help to stay current.

You should get flights back every contract renewal (2 years typically for newbies and then annually for contract renewals).

Most single teachers co-share a condo to save costs. You don't need a car. No Dental / Vision is no big deal as that is cheap enough here. Don't ship anything if they'll let you claim it as cash instead - just buy/beg/borrow second hand stuff and/or rent a furnished place. There is SO much stuff junked here yearly at my wife's school that you really don't need anything except clothes and your education supplies.

You absolutely must be vaxxed for Covid19 now and accept that you'll need to take the boosters. When that came in my wife's school lost a bunch of teachers.

If you're chronically ill or prone to illness just don't go back stateside - I know some US teachers who have been out here for decades and don't go back in case their whatever (*usually related to being fatties) breaks out.

Something to keep in mind. If you marry out here you can end up losing these benefits and being put back on a 'local' deal. The exception is if you marry a fellow teacher in the same school it seems. Just live in sin instead.

Also teachers with a Masters at my wife's school do get a slightly higher salary and HOD tend to get a bit more as well.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

markanthonus2021
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by markanthonus2021 » Tue, 04 Jan 2022 7:08 pm

thanks for the information

nelyanne
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by nelyanne » Tue, 11 Jan 2022 12:46 pm

1800 USD/month (=2400 SGD) is more than enough to rent a nice 1 bedroom apartment in a condo.
Bring as much clothes as you can, as buying any nice pieces here is super tough and/or expensive. The choice is very limited (a lot of low-quality, polyester stuff).
Avoid the local food from the hawker centres, it can ruin your health and/or lead to obesity.
Forget about travelling around the region, having friends/family members from US visiting you, attending any events (like networking, concerts, etc). Many attractions are still closed. The mask is mandatory almost everywhere including outdoors (unless you exercise), so going for a walk is a nightmare.
Because of the group size limit, it is almost impossible to do some sports (like soccer, dragon boating). May be also hard to book any group classes like yoga or body pump. The night life is not-existing.

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PNGMK
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by PNGMK » Tue, 11 Jan 2022 12:49 pm

Nely is realistic.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

Lisafuller
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 13 Jan 2022 2:44 am

nelyanne wrote:
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 12:46 pm
1800 USD/month (=2400 SGD) is more than enough to rent a nice 1 bedroom apartment in a condo.
Bring as much clothes as you can, as buying any nice pieces here is super tough and/or expensive. The choice is very limited (a lot of low-quality, polyester stuff).
Avoid the local food from the hawker centres, it can ruin your health and/or lead to obesity.
Forget about travelling around the region, having friends/family members from US visiting you, attending any events (like networking, concerts, etc). Many attractions are still closed. The mask is mandatory almost everywhere including outdoors (unless you exercise), so going for a walk is a nightmare.
Because of the group size limit, it is almost impossible to do some sports (like soccer, dragon boating). May be also hard to book any group classes like yoga or body pump. The night life is not-existing.
You’re spot on.

Lisafuller
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Re: Benefits Package for International School Teacher

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 13 Jan 2022 2:46 am

I concur with much of what has been said, but I will add that sometimes it’s not about how much you’re earning, it’s how you spend it that makes all the difference. If you are committed to living a more frugal lifestyle and refrain from splurging unnecessarily, you should be able to put away quite a bit each month and get yourself a nice place. Otherwise, sharing an apartment is not a bad idea, unless you’re set on having your own personal space (which is what I would do, personally).

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