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Bina Bangsa School 2014/15

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  • Bina Bangsa School 2014/15

    Hey everybody,

    To all you prospective teachers out there currently running through the job fairs, just wanted to post that I'm a teacher at Bina Bangsa School in Kebon Jeruk. I was on this website, ISR and any others that I could find this time last year when trying to vet BBS but did not find too much or at least as much as I was hoping to find. That being said, if you have any questions or need any clarifications as to what BBS offers, post a reply or PM me and I'd be glad to answer any questions before you commit.

    Good luck!

  • #2
    Have you written a review for ISR?

    Comment


    • #3
      I have not. I will be doing so when I complete my contract after the next school year. As of yet they have zero reviews on ISR which is part of the reason I'm writing here.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, Blackbean. I'll throw a couple of questions at you.

        Are Bina Bangsa schools religiously-affiliated (Christian or other)?

        What are the basic qualifications (for native English speakers) in terms of certification, experience, degrees etc?

        Are Bina Bangsa schools Nat Plus or International (I really don't know)?
        [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Warden: "What we got here ... is failure to communicate."

        The Dude: "Oh yeah? Well that's just, like, your opinion, man."[/FONT]

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Blackbean88 View Post
          Hey everybody,

          To all you prospective teachers out there currently running through the job fairs, just wanted to post that I'm a teacher at Bina Bangsa School in Kebon Jeruk. I was on this website, ISR and any others that I could find this time last year when trying to vet BBS but did not find too much or at least as much as I was hoping to find. That being said, if you have any questions or need any clarifications as to what BBS offers, post a reply or PM me and I'd be glad to answer any questions before you commit.

          Good luck!
          Awesome, thanks for the thread. We're you able to negotiate the salary at all and if you feel comfortable what did they start you out at? How are the living situations? Have you picked up the language? Finally the big one knowing what you do now, would you sign the contract again?

          Once again thank you so much!

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not OP, but I can answer some of these...

            Are Bina Bangsa schools religiously-affiliated (Christian or other)?
            Bina Bangsa schools are Christian, but their teachers are not required to have a religious affiliation or participate in religious activities and religion doesn't spill over into the general curriculum, unlike at some other schools. According to teachers with experience at both the PIK and Kebon Jeruk campuses, the PIK campus is decidedly less religious (most of the students are Buddhist) and more laid back (the BOD works out of the KJ campus, less big brother breathing down your neck in PIK).

            What are the basic qualifications (for native English speakers) in terms of certification, experience, degrees etc?
            They follow the basic laws, so all teachers need to have a degree in the subject that they want to teach, teaching credentials from their home country, several years of experience, etc... Online TEFLs won't cut it.

            Are Bina Bangsa schools Nat Plus or International (I really don't know)?
            International, and most of the teaching staff is expat -- math, science, humanities, sociology, language, business... It's all taught by foreign teachers, but not just bules -- there are teachers from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, China, and Taiwan. Most of the English teaching staff is American or Canadian. They send their principal to recruiting fairs at colleges in the States and most new hires come from those fairs. They don't do a lot of local hiring.

            We're you able to negotiate the salary at all and if you feel comfortable what did they start you out at?

            The starting rate for Western teachers is a two year contract with a salary of around $2,500 USD and all of the normal benefits (flights, bonuses, housing, etc...). It isn't really negotiable -- for the most part, things are very fair and everyone gets paid the same amount.

            How are the living situations?
            First year teachers generally opt for the school-provided housing, which is shared housing in an apartment complex near the school. Most of the KJ teachers are placed at Mediterania, near Taman Anggrek. The PIK teachers are scattered around Green Bay Pluit, Mitra Bahari Pluit, and City Resort Taman Palem. Most teachers opt for the housing allowance (around Rp. 27.000.000,- each year, adjusted for inflation and cost of living) their second year, choosing to rent their own houses or apartments and choose their own roommates.

            Have you picked up the language?
            Other than basics (ordering food, taking a cab) most Bina Bangsa teachers don't speak much -- if any -- Indonesian. The work place is thoroughly English-language, so unless they're really making an effort to go out and get local, they don't have much of an opportunity to learn the language. Everyone speaks English all of the time.

            Finally the big one knowing what you do now, would you sign the contract again?
            The post-two year contract retention rate is pretty high for a Jakarta school. Unless the teacher is qualified to move on to a bigger/better school (like JIS), plans to move to another country, or wants to repatriate to their home country, most teachers stay on with BBS -- and negotiate hefty raises in the process.

            Comment


            • #7
              Spoken like a true administrator...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jimmi james View Post
                Spoken like a true administrator...
                I'm not going to divulge who I am, but the mods know my IRL identity and can confirm that I'm A.) Not a teacher at any school, including Bina Bangsa B.) Not an administrator at any school, including Bina Bangsa C.) Not a current employee of Bina Bangsa in any way-shape-or-form D.) Not a former employee of Bina Bangsa in any way-shape-or-form and/or E.) Not tied to Bina Bangsa (via the BOD, shareholders, church-goers, etc...) in any way-shape or form.

                I don't have a horse in this race -- I just happen to be in a position where I know many of the teachers at Bina Bangsa and know a lot about what it's like to work there. I'm simply passing along information that I have that could be beneficial to others considering a teaching position at Bina Bangsa.

                There's a lot of shit-talking about Indonesian schools -- and much of it well-deserved -- so it's nice to be able to pass along information about a school that, overwhelmingly, expats are happy to work at.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mister Bule View Post
                  Thanks, Blackbean. I'll throw a couple of questions at you.

                  Are Bina Bangsa schools religiously-affiliated (Christian or other)?

                  What are the basic qualifications (for native English speakers) in terms of certification, experience, degrees etc?

                  Are Bina Bangsa schools Nat Plus or International (I really don't know)?

                  Hello Mr Bule,

                  -Bina Bangsa is a Christian school. Students pray every morning before school and after recess. They attend a half hour chapel time once a week and about 60% of the students are in a Faith Builder class (think Sunday School) led by the Pastoral Care Department. Teachers are not expected to be Christian, or take part in any of the religious activities in any way and they school is very respectful in this regard.

                  -Basic qualifications vary. Western teachers are to be certified teachers but experience is not necessary. Bachelors' degree is required. However, at my school, Western teachers make up about 15% of the staff with others coming primarily from Singapore and the Philippines. Qualifications vary quite a bit among this subgroup with some having advanced degrees and others not being certified teachers. The school seems to be trying to hire more and more Western teachers every year and they make a heavy push about this time to do just that at the Search Associates Fairs and the UNI Overseas Teaching Fair.

                  -National Plus. The school uses a "Singapore-style" curriculum. Quotes on purpose as the school picks and chooses what parts of the Singapore system they would like to use. Students take ICGSE exams each year and do quite well. Whether this is due to the school or their private tuition teachers is another matter however.

                  Cheers,

                  Fellow Bule

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by throwawayteach View Post
                    Awesome, thanks for the thread. We're you able to negotiate the salary at all and if you feel comfortable what did they start you out at? How are the living situations? Have you picked up the language? Finally the big one knowing what you do now, would you sign the contract again?

                    Once again thank you so much!

                    throwawayteach,

                    -Salary was non-negotiable but I would say that's up for debate with a savvy enough prospective teacher.

                    -Living situation is new, clean and incredibly small. The campus I live at houses teachers at two potential apartment sites, Mediterania Gardens or Puri Park View. Both have pros and cons and overall they are sufficient but I have not met a teacher that has stayed at the original apartment the school arranges for more than the first compulsory year.

                    -I have picked up the language well but of course have a long ways to go. Bahasa Indonesia is a fascinating mix of the regional languages with a strong influence from Malay. Many of the Singaporean teachers arrive in Jakarta and are essentially fluent in Bahasa Indonesia right off the bat.

                    -My answer would have to be no. But that is just my experience. Bina Bangsa School has five campuses. The ones in Malang, Semarang, Badung and the Jakarta campus at Pantai Indah Kapuk I have heard a range of reports about. I can only speak of my experience and my campus at Kebon Jeruk which I can only describe as a bit of a pressure cooker. This is the flagship campus and feels immense pressure to continually achieve the best results. Lack thereof leads to curious decisions being made by the powers that be. Other campuses with more ability to navigate and find their way may be entirely different.

                    Best,

                    BlackBean88

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      guebanget,

                      So I should have read from the bottom up? : )

                      Thanks for taking the time to answer these. I have a couple differences of opinion on a few of these but not many.


                      Originally posted by guebanget View Post
                      I'm not OP, but I can answer some of these...

                      Are Bina Bangsa schools religiously-affiliated (Christian or other)?
                      Bina Bangsa schools are Christian, but their teachers are not required to have a religious affiliation or participate in religious activities and religion doesn't spill over into the general curriculum, unlike at some other schools. According to teachers with experience at both the PIK and Kebon Jeruk campuses, the PIK campus is decidedly less religious (most of the students are Buddhist) and more laid back (the BOD works out of the KJ campus, less big brother breathing down your neck in PIK).

                      Absolutely right. Strange wrinkle though, Preschool teachers are essentially conscripted to be Religion teachers as well. When there is Chapel Time once a week, the Preschool staff is always the ones who lead the lessons and group time. No other teachers in the school are required to teach religion besides the Preschool teachers.


                      What are the basic qualifications (for native English speakers) in terms of certification, experience, degrees etc?
                      They follow the basic laws, so all teachers need to have a degree in the subject that they want to teach, teaching credentials from their home country, several years of experience, etc... Online TEFLs won't cut it.
                      I don't know as much about Indonesian Law as I would like but here is one spot that is a bit fuzzy. It is true that by and large, to teach at the Secondary you need to have a degree in the subject you want to teach or near it, but this is not absolute. Off the top of my head, there is a teacher who has taught college level physics teaching Calculus currently and a qualified Chemistry teacher teaching Physics much to their dismay. That is just the Secondary School. At the Primary, it's a mix-match at best. There are multiple occasions at the school where teachers qualified in one subject area, not only do not teach that but are the level representatives for a completely different subject they may have never taught before. It seems as though teaching assignments are drawn at random sometimes or perhaps by darts.

                      Teachers need to basically have a Bachelor's and teaching credentials but experience is helpful but not necessary. I know a few teachers who did not have any experience teaching before coming to BBS.

                      Are Bina Bangsa schools Nat Plus or International (I really don't know)?
                      International, and most of the teaching staff is expat -- math, science, humanities, sociology, language, business... It's all taught by foreign teachers, but not just bules -- there are teachers from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, China, and Taiwan. Most of the English teaching staff is American or Canadian. They send their principal to recruiting fairs at colleges in the States and most new hires come from those fairs. They don't do a lot of local hiring.
                      My understanding of just what constitutes Nat Plus versus true International school is lacking however, I can say that this is unlike any International School I have visited or subbed at. What I consider to be the best of the best International Schools use an IB or AP curriculum or at least are trending that way. A lot of the American Schools I have met with are also working to adapt the potentially soon-to-be-implemented Common Core as well. Bina Bangsa has gone the route of saying they are a "Singapore-style" curriculum with an emphasis on "style". Books and materials are used from the "My Pals Are Here!" series which is in line with much of the Singaporean curriculum as it is based off old syllabi, however, that's where the similarities stop. Implementation of the materials are done with a pretty rote skill-and-drill type method of instruction with assessment created to be nearly identical every time and to look as similar to the IGCSE as possible. A majority of a teacher's day is spent creating and then pushing paper. Continual Assessment and cumulative semestral assessment is compulsory for Kindergarten, Primary1 and Primary 2. In Singapore, they do not give assessments to children in grades this young.

                      The staff is multi-cultural but at my respective school. The majority of the English speaking staff is Indonesian or Filipino with 50% of the staff speaking Mandarin as they are the Chinese Teachers (Students take Mandarin class for about 1.5 hours per day). About 15% of the staff is Western. These new hires do come from the states but are hired by the school directors of Human Resources and Academics, who sadly, are quite out of touch with just what the school needs and leads to problems such as those stated above with teachers being hired and assigned in content areas far out of what they are qualified for. Having a principal be part of the hiring process would have been great.

                      We're you able to negotiate the salary at all and if you feel comfortable what did they start you out at?
                      The starting rate for Western teachers is a two year contract with a salary of around $2,500 USD and all of the normal benefits (flights, bonuses, housing, etc...). It isn't really negotiable -- for the most part, things are very fair and everyone gets paid the same amount.
                      Absolutely correct. The pay is good, the time off is excellent, benefits include housing and insurance. But then there is the flip side of those very same positives. Pay is mediocre at best compared to true 'International Schools'. Time off is good for national holidays and school holidays. But taking days off that you are supposed to be teaching is near impossible regardless of reason short of emergencies as there is zero sub staff or any type of systems to account for teacher absences. Housing for new teachers is brand new, but incredibly small and claustrophobic. Insurances included, but not dental or optical and coverage is pretty bare bones.

                      Overall, in my opinion, it's all about perspective. If you are a new teacher in the world of international education, BBS is not the worst first step you could take. For any seasoned teacher who has done this before, it would be a pretty big mistake.

                      How are the living situations?
                      First year teachers generally opt for the school-provided housing, which is shared housing in an apartment complex near the school. Most of the KJ teachers are placed at Mediterania, near Taman Anggrek. The PIK teachers are scattered around Green Bay Pluit, Mitra Bahari Pluit, and City Resort Taman Palem. Most teachers opt for the housing allowance (around Rp. 27.000.000,- each year, adjusted for inflation and cost of living) their second year, choosing to rent their own houses or apartments and choose their own roommates.
                      Teachers don't opt for, this year, they were given no choice. In one case, this led to a teacher of 20+ years in a small apartment at Green Bay without a window. Great for 96% of Jakarta, not so great for a first time expat who was not promised more but led to believe that there would be comfortable housing. Housing location correct though as is allowance for the second year.

                      Have you picked up the language?
                      Other than basics (ordering food, taking a cab) most Bina Bangsa teachers don't speak much -- if any -- Indonesian. The work place is thoroughly English-language, so unless they're really making an effort to go out and get local, they don't have much of an opportunity to learn the language. Everyone speaks English all of the time.
                      True and true. Some have learned more than others but fluent speakers are not present. Bahasa Indonesia is a fascinating language though and easy-ish to pick up if given effort. To a determined mind it's definitely possible.

                      Finally the big one knowing what you do now, would you sign the contract again?
                      The post-two year contract retention rate is pretty high for a Jakarta school. Unless the teacher is qualified to move on to a bigger/better school (like JIS), plans to move to another country, or wants to repatriate to their home country, most teachers stay on with BBS -- and negotiate hefty raises in the process.
                      Here's where the differences in campuses comes in to play in a big way. I cannot speak for the Bandung, Malang, Semarang or PIK campus but I know that this year at KJ-Primary, among Western and Singaporean teachers, the turnover rate will be around 70%. I think that speaks for itself.

                      Raise negotiations are currently standardized within a matrix based on experience and education and will become tougher after this year as the school is in works of creating a teacher evaluation system in order to determine upgrades on the pay scale.


                      Best,

                      Blackbean88
                      Last edited by Blackbean88; 07-02-14, 11:46.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by guebanget View Post
                        I'm not going to divulge who I am, but the mods know my IRL identity and can confirm that I'm A.) Not a teacher at any school, including Bina Bangsa B.) Not an administrator at any school, including Bina Bangsa C.) Not a current employee of Bina Bangsa in any way-shape-or-form D.) Not a former employee of Bina Bangsa in any way-shape-or-form and/or E.) Not tied to Bina Bangsa (via the BOD, shareholders, church-goers, etc...) in any way-shape or form.

                        I don't have a horse in this race -- I just happen to be in a position where I know many of the teachers at Bina Bangsa and know a lot about what it's like to work there. I'm simply passing along information that I have that could be beneficial to others considering a teaching position at Bina Bangsa.

                        There's a lot of shit-talking about Indonesian schools -- and much of it well-deserved -- so it's nice to be able to pass along information about a school that, overwhelmingly, expats are happy to work at.
                        Ok. If you say you not connected then I'll take your word for it, but you post most certainly does sound like it. I also know a little about the school and in my opinion your post is certainly on the positive side of accurate.

                        But that's neither here nor there really. Blackbean has posted in between our posts a fairly frank explanation which seems on the mark.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Can someone explain the religion thing? Do they do checks on the parents to make sure that they are both Christians? Do they insist on parents converting to christianity if they are currently not? Do they check what it says on the KK in terms of religion?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Berlarutlarut View Post
                            Can someone explain the religion thing? Do they do checks on the parents to make sure that they are both Christians? Do they insist on parents converting to christianity if they are currently not? Do they check what it says on the KK in terms of religion?
                            No checks are performed and insisting on conversion is currently not the norm. Parents are simply given a choice of whether they would like their child to attend Chapel Time and Religious Classes or not. About 40% opt out and those children have study hall at that time.

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                            • #15
                              OK thanks for the clarification.

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