School Finance 608: SAS Teacher Demographics 2016-17

Singapore American School has many impressive features, but it is the experience, expertise, and enthusiasm of our teachers that underpin them all. This week, we explore the demographics of this extraordinary group of educators, each of whom impacts our students profoundly.

Fast facts about SAS teachers

SAS has a total of 375 full-time equivalent teachers this year, not including instructional assistants and administrators. Their average age is around 45 years, similar to what it has been for the last eight years. By division, our early learning center and elementary school teachers tend to be somewhat younger, while our middle school and high school teachers have a slightly higher average age.

Age distribution within divisions

This year our teaching staff is 63% female and 37% male, which we may compare with over 75% female for K-12 teachers in the U.S., according to the most recent U.S. Education Department data. We feel that having teachers of both genders benefits our students by giving them appropriate role models and a variety of teaching styles.

90% of our teachers were hired overseas, while 10% are local hires (meaning Singaporeans and foreigners already living here). Recent decreases in our local-hire numbers reflect the school's increasing focus on finding the best faculty for each position as well as growing local demand for expatriate faculty. For more about the changing international school scene in Singapore, please read on here.

Turning to household composition, 37% of our teachers are "teaching couples," (both spouses work at SAS) while 63% are "singles" (a spouse, if any, does not also work at SAS).

Teacher age, gender, hire location, and "single" status

Teacher nationality, experience, qualifications, and tenure at SAS

Our teachers come from eighteen different countries, with 60% from the U.S.A. and 15% from Canada. Twelve or more SAS teachers come from each of Australia, China, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Singapore. One to three teachers come from each of Brazil, France, India, Ireland, Peru, the Philippines, Venezuela, Japan, South Africa, Spain, and Holland.

SAS Teachers' Nationalities

Our teachers come to us at different points in their careers, but most have gained significant experience elsewhere before joining SAS. This year, our new teachers' average teaching experience is twelve years, which is similar to last year's average for this group. Nearly three-quarters of our new teachers have taught for ten or more years prior to joining us.

Experience before joining SAS

Once here, our teachers often stay longer than is usual in international schools, where staff tend to be highly mobile. The average length of stay for SAS teachers this year stands at 7.63 years; this number rose slightly from last year. 54% of our teachers are now in their sixth or higher year here, again an enviable figure.

Teacher tenure, 2016-17

Most of our teachers have academic qualifications beyond a bachelor's degree, with nearly three-quarters having earned at least one master's degree, and a few holding PhDs. SAS encourages professional development, and we are proud that a number of our teachers are pursuing higher degrees. Currently, fifteen teachers are working towards a master's degree and twelve towards a doctoral degree through programs supported by SAS. At least two teachers are pursuing advanced degrees independently.

Teachers' qualifications: highest degree achieved

SAS received over 1,200 applications for the 37 positions available for 2016-17. We are extremely proud of our talented, dedicated, and highly professional teachers, who are committed to giving each student personalized and rewarding educational experiences at SAS. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about your children's teachers. As always, please send comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to We look forward to hearing from you.