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Old 07.12.2011, 18:52
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Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

Hello all,

Just moved to Geneva with my kids(4 and 9) and doing the usual rounds of school visits. I understand that there is a number of "good" international schools. But can I check if anyone has put their children in a school for a few years where they have found that the teachers have been consistently good from grade to grade?

I have some knowledge of how intl schools work so am kind of determined not to be seduced by beautiful school grounds, friendly headmasters, glamourous-sounding programs, efficient admission staff. Really, at the end of the day, I need my children to feel safe and nurtured so they can focus on their day-to-day learning and this can only happen at the hands of a good teacher.Teachers who are in tune to their children so they recognise children who need help, or those who need more intellectual challenges and teachers who take bullying issues seriously.

I am quite prepared to put up with crappy administrations or any other inconveniences as long as my kids are learning well and happy to go to school. After all, if I am going to pay ridiculous tuition fees every year for a kindergarten program that appears to cost more than my own adult part-time degree program, I would like to make sure my kids benefit well!

Cheers to all.
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Old 07.12.2011, 19:08
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

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I am quite prepared to put up with crappy administrations or any other inconveniences as long as my kids are learning well and happy to go to school. After all, if I am going to pay ridiculous tuition fees every year for a kindergarten program that appears to cost more than my own adult part-time degree program, I would like to make sure my kids benefit well!

Cheers to all.
I understand the first part, you want good education for your children, I consider that a good news.
However:
It's education, not a supermarket. Paying for a school is NOT like paying for online shopping. I am the favorite teacher of all times of some students and I most probably bore others. Does that mean the parents of the first group of student should commend me for Nobel price of education and the parents of the second one have me fired at the same time?
Well... that's the reality of education. All students should get a good education, whether parents are paying or not. There is a cultural issue here: From a continental perspective in general and a Swiss perspective in particular, it's quite shocking to link money with educational demands. Every body has high demands on schools. As citizen. Teachers included, btw...
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Old 07.12.2011, 19:17
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

What you are wishing for is an idealized situation which you will not find anywhere.

Schools - if they are lucky - will generally have a majority of teachers who are excellent. I think most schools have teachers who are excellent, dedicated and have a passion for teaching. They also have teachers who are tired, have lost the passion for teaching and are going through the motions.

Also bear in mind that what you are asking for is quite a subjective thing. Your own background will govern for you what you deem to be a good teacher. When I go to my daughter's school I find the mode of teaching pretty dated. However, my daughter loves it there, the teacher is very considerate towards her needs and is preparing her for life in the Swiss system. Is she a good teacher? My daughter would say yes. I would say "Yes, with reservations".

A school is a living, breathing entity. Some kids dislike a teacher, a lesson, a subject that other kids with very similar backgrounds feel the complete opposite for. You have to take the rough with the smooth. You might not like the idea of this, but it is the reality of every single school in the world.
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:45
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

Please do not misunderstand my last paragraph. I never meant to imply that quality education should only come at a certain price, it should be an entitlement to all. I was just really frustrated that I have to pay 20,000 to 30,000 Fr per year per child to keep my child in an English environment. BTW, with shopping online, is there at least a refund if u r not happy? Not with these schools...

My kids are young, new country, new experiences. Like every other parent, just wanted some indications that teachers were generally good with kids, before we settled on a school. Boring teachers, perferctly acceptable, teachers uncaring about bullying, absolutely not.
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:53
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

How long are you staying for. Friends from the UK lived in Geneva for a few years and sent their kids to the local Swiss schools and said it was the best thing they did. English can be encouraged at home and with meeting other English speaking kids and families. For kids, the opportunity to learn a new language and experience a new culture is so valuable and will serve them so well in the future.

A whole different kettle of fish with older children.
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Old 07.12.2011, 21:07
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

Come on, if there is bullying, work with the school. If you are looking for total safety no risk in life, you'll have a hard time and your kid will make pay you for that in puberty. They love to tease us adults with our weaknesses.
In 15 years of teaching, I've seen everything about bullying except one thing: indifference. But if you expect school to have a magic spell for bullying or any other problem, you are looking ahead of a long series of painful experiences in life, and not only with Swiss school.

Don't make jokes about schooling being an institution you pay for with Swiss (or most continental Europeans, I don't know about the Brits, ask them). It's shocking. Really shocking. Serious: if a parent comes to me with a complaint saying "tax payers" in every second sentence, I send this parent to the director but will not sit down with them until we all reach a mature adult focused on topic discussion. And the director will back me up.

There is no "your country" school in Switzerland because "your country" is not Switzerland and vice versa. Get over it.

However: the matter seems to be that you had bad bullying issues in the past. Fresh start in new school or in new class with open and cooperative approach to teachers and to school authorities in general is the ONLY start possible. No alternative. What develops from this sane start is to be built together and it's hard work for all: no guarantee, just confidence and trust. It's called life. Same with hospitals, btw.
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Old 07.12.2011, 22:24
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

Thanks, Odile. We are only staying for 2 years but that may still be a good suggestion. I had just assumed it would be hard to adapt to the local programme and also maintain some of the English curriculum especially for the older one. But I guess I could consider a local option for the younger one. Thank you! That was really helpful.
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Old 07.12.2011, 23:08
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

The friend in question is a member of this forum and may well choose to share her experience with you. One of our daughters came to CH to join a local state school when she was 12- and within a couple of months she was settled, doing well and almost bilingual. The experience was really positive from all points of view.
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Old 08.12.2011, 00:14
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

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Come on, if there is bullying, work with the school. If you are looking for total safety no risk in life, you'll have a hard time and your kid will make pay you for that in puberty. They love to tease us adults with our weaknesses.
In 15 years of teaching, I've seen everything about bullying except one thing: indifference. But if you expect school to have a magic spell for bullying or any other problem, you are looking ahead of a long series of painful experiences in life, and not only with Swiss school.

Don't make jokes about schooling being an institution you pay for with Swiss (or most continental Europeans, I don't know about the Brits, ask them). It's shocking. Really shocking. Serious: if a parent comes to me with a complaint saying "tax payers" in every second sentence, I send this parent to the director but will not sit down with them until we all reach a mature adult focused on topic discussion. And the director will back me up.

There is no "your country" school in Switzerland because "your country" is not Switzerland and vice versa. Get over it.

However: the matter seems to be that you had bad bullying issues in the past. Fresh start in new school or in new class with open and cooperative approach to teachers and to school authorities in general is the ONLY start possible. No alternative. What develops from this sane start is to be built together and it's hard work for all: no guarantee, just confidence and trust. It's called life. Same with hospitals, btw.

With the exception of your last para, sreriously, what on earth are you going on and on about?

See my original post. The matter is not about just bullying, I did not ask for Lecture 101 Bullying In School, neither did i ask for Schools_That_Live_In_A_Bubble.

I've been lucky enough to have been in a school where my son had outstanding teachers for three grades so was hoping to hit a similar jackpot here. If it does not exist, so be it, just asking, that's all.

BTW, In my 9 years of motherhood, have encountered bullying in 3 different schools and have met wonderful teachers who know how to sit down with students and teach them how to express their feelings and understand how they have hurt the other child's feelings. I have also met other teachers who cannot understand what the fuss is about or as u put it so succintly: indifferent.

Have NEVER resorted to telling schools about how much money I was putting in and do not intend to start, so stop your wild assumptions on the type of parent you think I am.

To anyone else, please see my original post and disregard my last paragraph if it offends. Certainly not my intention.

Last edited by Longbyt; 08.12.2011 at 05:51. Reason: removed the duplicate quote
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Old 08.12.2011, 15:35
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

My son goes to the Institut International de Lancy (http://iil.ch/) and we are very happy with it. He is in the French primary section, but I hear equally good reports from the English primary section, however it does follow the British (rather than US) curriculum. It's not as expensive as some of the other international schools. They are generally quite keen on discipline, so I imagine they would not tolerate any bullying, but we have no personal experience of this. My son loves going to school which is always a good sign. We are based long-term in Geneva - he originally attended the local Swiss village school but we moved him (reluctantly) after 2 years, as he just didn't seem to fit in and was not happy - the school was very small, only 80 kids, from a very small catchment area with many families (nearly all Swiss) who had lived in the area for generations. It sounded ideal but did not work out, as he always felt like an outsider. A bigger school in a more mixed area would have been much better, but we were obliged to send him to the nearest school. Anyway it's all worked out for the best. Also re putting an Anglophone kid in a French speaking school, for every child who is fluent in a few months, bear in mind there is always another for whom it does not work out. From my experience with the expat community here, it is by no means a given that they'll pick up the language in a few months (it's worth noting that girls tend to do better). Also, for the 4 year old, you should think about where you're moving next. Geneva state schools move at a much slower pace at the primary level, and the child could end up behind the rest of the class if, say, you move to the UK. The Geneva English School in Genthod is also supposed to be good; it's a primary school only, but again it follows the UK curriculum so don't know if that suits or not http://www.geneva-english-school.ch/about.php.
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Old 08.12.2011, 17:26
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

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My son goes to the Institut International de Lancy (http://iil.ch/) and we are very happy with it. He is in the French primary section, ............. Also re putting an Anglophone kid in a French speaking school, for every child who is fluent in a few months, bear in mind there is always another for whom it does not work out. From my experience with the expat community here, it is by no means a given that they'll pick up the language in a few months (it's worth noting that girls tend to do better). Also, for the 4 year old, you should think about where you're moving next. Geneva state schools move at a much slower pace at the primary level, and the child could end up behind the rest of the class if, say, you move to the UK. The Geneva English School in Genthod is also supposed to be good; .....
Hi Anniet, I cannot begin to tell you how much you helped with your post. You have put into words many of my unspoken concerns another of which was helping my children with their homework if I put them in a local school. Non-english speakers here have been patient and helpful despite my limited French but I was wondering how I would handle this in the local school system itself.

IIL's french section is less expensive than it's English section so this is definitely an option to consider. May I ask if you needed a tutor to handle homework or are you quite billingual yourself?

I will check them both. Thanks a lot, again.

Last edited by Longbyt; 08.12.2011 at 18:37. Reason: Quotes need those square brackets round them (plus brackets' contents) to come out correctly
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Old 09.12.2011, 09:18
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

You may also want to consider a private bilingual route, even for two years, as your kids will get some french and still be able to keep up their english when they return home. Generally the private bilingual option is quite a bit less costly than the english international schools. I would second the good reports I've heard of Institute Lancy as the above poster has said. You may also want to look at a bilingual option such as La Decouverte, they have an innovative approach to learning and I've also heard excellent recommendations from those that attend there about the school and the teachers. http://www.decouverte.ch/ There is also more bilingual options, you can search on the list of private schools in Geneva, here



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Old 09.12.2011, 15:11
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Re: Christmas wish: Good school with great teachers?

Hello again, I've been here for almost 20 years so helping out with French homework has not been an issue. IIL (Lancy) is not strictly bilingual in that there are 2 separate English and French sections, though French is taught at primary level in the English section, and there are 3 periods of English for Anglophone kids in the French section. The biggest international school in Geneva, Ecolint (www.ecolint.ch) has a similar set-up at La Grande Boissière but I think the campus in Vaud (La Châtaigneraie) offers bilingual teaching. I suspect that the French section of IIL might not be keen to take on a 9 year old but the 4 year old should be fine. Many parents start their kids in the French section and switch them to the English section if it doesn't work out. Bear in mind too that there are waiting lists for most private international schools (though some of the length of the lists is due to the fact that parents sign their kids up for all schools and then pick one), and it's a good idea to apply well in advance of the start of the school year. It sounds mad that there is such demand, given the fees, but at IIL at any rate most fees are being paid by employers (international organizations or companies like Proctor and Gamble). Good luck.
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