Finance at SAS 805: SAS Teacher Demographics 2018–19

Singapore American School has a beautiful campus, excellent facilities, and extensive educational resources. But our greatest asset has always been our teachers. This week, we explore the demographics of these experienced and enthusiastic educators, whose efforts impact our students so profoundly.

Teacher numbers and nationalities

SAS currently employs 391 teachers in 386.3 full-time equivalent positions. Our teachers are citizens of nineteen different countries, with nearly three-quarters coming from North America. Ten or more SAS teachers come from each of China, Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and New Zealand, while one to four teachers come from each of Spain, South Africa, France, Holland, Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, Germany, India, Ireland, Peru, and Venezuela.

Teacher experience, tenure, and qualifications

Our teachers come to us at different points in their careers, but most have gained significant experience elsewhere before joining SAS. This year, our 35 newly hired teachers' pre-SAS teaching experience is particularly impressive: they spent an average of 14 years teaching elsewhere, and 91% had taught for six or more years before joining us.

Once here, our teachers tend to stay at SAS longer than is usual in international schools, where staff are generally highly mobile. This year the average tenure for all SAS teachers lengthened to 7.93 years, our highest number in recent years. Over 80% of our current teachers have been here longer than two years, and nearly a third have been here ten years or longer, an impressive statistic that illustrates the stability and dedication of our faculty.

The vast majority of our teachers have academic qualifications beyond a bachelor's degree. This year, 80% of our teachers hold at least one master's degree, our highest percentage in recent years. SAS encourages professional development, and we are proud of our many teachers who have earned higher degrees while teaching here. We congratulate those who graduated from our first school-sponsored master's and PhD programs in June 2018.

Further facts about SAS teachers

Our teachers' average age is just under 45 years, which has remained consistent over the last decade. Our teaching staff this year is 61% female and 39% male, which we may compare with around 75% female for K–12 teachers in the US, according to US Education Department data. We feel that having both male and female teachers benefits our students by giving them a variety of role models, life experiences, and teaching styles. Currently, 87% of our teachers were hired overseas, while 13% are local hires (meaning Singaporeans and foreigners already living here).

Turning to household composition, this year 38% of our teachers are "teaching couples," (both spouses work at SAS) while 62% are "singles" (a spouse, if any, does not also work at SAS). Contrary to what some may believe, teaching couples are not necessarily more economical because although we may save on some benefits, such as housing, teaching couples often have children whose education at SAS is a significant cost.

In hiring, SAS strives to assemble a diverse group of excellent teachers, viewing qualifications, experience, and compatibility with the school's ethos as the most important qualities to look for in applicants. SAS is committed to attracting the best candidates; we received over 1,550 applications for the 35 teaching positions available for 2018–19.

Student-teacher ratio, class size, and extracurricular contributions

A student-teacher ratio of 10.5:1 means that SAS students receive ample personal attention. This ratio factors in all classroom, specials, and support teachers, as well as counselors, librarians, and technology coaches. It does not include our instructional assistants, who, especially for our younger students, provide significant extra adult interaction. When thinking of your child's classes, it is also useful to consider class size, another indication of the personal attention each student can expect. Class size at SAS is staffed to sixteen students in our early learning center and twenty-two students in grades K through 12. We watch class size closely to make sure these sizes are held, on average, across the system K-12.

Beyond the classroom, each SAS teacher sponsors or leads a co-curricular activity at school, with some teachers participating in multiple activities. Through coaching sports, guiding activities, or supervising clubs, our teachers connect with students in different ways while helping them to explore their interests and develop their skills.

We are extremely proud of our teachers, a talented, dedicated, and highly professional group committed to giving each student personalized and rewarding educational experiences every day. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about them. Please send comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to We look forward to hearing from you.