Washington International School
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I worked at Washington International School full-time (more than 3 years)Pros
The Tregaron Campus has a wonderful staff and is teeming with veteran teachers, faculty, and many parents who care and volunteer. Some of the administrators are very effective. Teachers give 110%, and always go above and beyond. I have never met such hard-working teachers who care so much about their purpose in teaching. Lots of parents have high-profile jobs such as international organization regional directors, high-profile economists, and diplomatic posts...so this creates very high expectations for students across the board. Parents are involved.
There's an extremely international feel, though very heavy American presence now that tuition is 3x what it was ten years ago. Some of the (respectful) students and parents are perhaps the best I have encountered in my teaching career of 15+ years. The school has an amazing technology program, and, IMHO, is academically one of the top 10 private schools on the East Coast. The graduating seniors' capacity to write, speak languages, and high levels across all subject areas astounded me. This school produces some of the best and brightest in the Northeast region of the US. I really do miss the amazing staff and a handful of the wonderful parents and students.
Pay is good if you have experience and at least 5-10 years of experience under your belt. The school offers excellent benefits, tech training, professional development, and some vacations (for ex., 3 weeks at Christmas holiday).Cons
Some entitled students, who may never have been told "No" in their lives, can make classroom management difficult for even the best of teachers. Some parents are hovering, demanding, and can be high maintenance (read: they want to, and will, need a lot of your time...and they want to meet "now"). Many teachers experience burnout after a few years due to the levels of demands placed upon them by administration and parents.
There is pressure on the school to bend to parents' demands and keep enrollment retention rates high. Curriculum meetings and bureaucratic procedures have become increasingly common, such as paperwork for disciplinary measures and academic /behavioral issues. Administration does not always recognize or address the needs of the school and staff. Leadership transparency is nowhere near 100%.Advice to ManagementAdvice
1. Listen to and support the teachers. They are the reason that parents continue to send their kids there, and make WIS an extremely competitive school.
2. Allow teachers time to do their work. Eliminate some of the committee meetings and bureaucratic paper-shuffling.
3. Create a 100% transparent environment regarding decisions. Build dialog and get feedback across departments and down into the classrooms.
4. Recognize staff efforts on an ongoing basis--not just at the end of the year party.
5. Allow for 360-degree evaluation. Some of your principals and admin staff desperately need feedback from the teachers, and never get it. Reverse the top-down trend to improve how the school is run...from the bottom up.Doesn't RecommendNeutral Outlook