Finance at SAS 906: SAS Teacher Demographics 2019–20

Since our doors opened in 1956, the greatest asset of Singapore American School 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 employs 395 teachers in 393.2 full time-equivalent positions. Our teachers hold 21 different passports. Nearly three-quarters come from North America, with 231 from the United States and 53 from Canada. Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and New Zealand each account for between 13 and 23 teachers, and we have five teachers from Spain. Smaller numbers come from South Africa, France, Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Peru, and Venezuela.

Teacher experience, tenure, and qualifications

Our teachers join us at different points in their careers, but most have gained significant experience before joining SAS. This year, our 31 newly hired teachers had on average 10 years of experience teaching elsewhere, and over two-thirds had taught for six or more years before joining us.

Once at SAS, our teachers average longer tenures than is usual in international schools, where staff tend to be highly mobile. This year the average stay for all SAS teachers lengthened to 8.4 years. Over 84% of our current teachers have been here longer than two years, and more than a third have been here ten years or longer. These are impressive statistics that illustrate the stability and dedication of our faculty.

The vast majority of our teachers have academic qualifications beyond a bachelor's degree, with 80% holding at least one master's degree, including 18 with doctorates. SAS encourages professional development, and we are proud of our many teachers who have earned higher degrees while teaching here.

Further facts about SAS teachers

Our teachers have an average age of 45 years, which has remained quite consistent over the last decade. Our teaching staff this year is 64% female and 36% male, which we may compare with 77% female for K–12 teachers in the US, according to 2017 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, 88% of SAS teachers were hired overseas, while 12% are local hires (meaning Singaporeans and foreigners already living here).

Turning to household composition, this year 39% of our teachers are "teaching couples," (both spouses work at SAS) while 61% are "single" hires (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 roughly 100 applications for each of this year's teaching vacancies.

Student-teacher ratio, class size, and extracurricular contributions

Our 2019–20 student-teacher ratio has dropped to 10.2:1, ensuring that all 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 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. With rare exceptions, class size at SAS is limited to sixteen students in our early learning center and twenty-two students in grades K through 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.