Preview International School Vietnam2018-01-03T13:23:18+00:00
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check_mark2159810_smallred18ptThe reviews of this school come directly from our Member Area but may not reflect the current status of this school.  New Reviews are posted daily.  See Most Recent Reviews.

Woman Writing a Review of Hanoi International School Vietnam

International School Vietnam

Dates Covered: 20xx – 20xx
Average Score of all Reviews: 7
Director: Leslie Snowball

School Website: http://isvietnam.edu.vn/

Review 4) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
1
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
1
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
9
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
6
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
9
Availability and quality of local health care
3
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
1
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
1
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
1
Extra curricular load is reasonable
7
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
9


Comments:
Vietnam is an interesting country to explore and a good place to travel from. The Vietnamese are generally warm and welcoming and when you have their friendship will do anything they can for you. As a tourist there are lots of things to do and explore and I would think it impossible to become bored in such a place. However, working in such a place can be quite different and at ISV the days feel like months and I would suggest waiting until the school becomes more established or a complete new Leadership team is in place.The International School of Vietnam has had an incredible high turnover of Principals’ and Vietnamese administration before it opened in September 2013. Since opening they have continued to lose talented Vietnamese staff, leaving an untrained administration group of personnel in addition to losing four expatriate teachers with my predictions of more leaving in the forth coming months. The school is completely disorganised, has no respected leadership and an inexperienced Board.The school does provide a shipping allowance, flights and a medical card for faculty that come with no serious medical conditions. ISV does not pay any expenses for ANY documentation. It also takes any extra costs for shipping or financial advances out of your first pay package and will not be flexible upon this. Even if it leaves you with no pay, expect no sympathy or support. If you transfer money into Vietnam, you are not able to transfer this money out again, as you have not paid tax on this money. Only money earned in Vietnam can be transferred out, so take caution on what you transfer in for set up costs.The school is basically divided into two parts, the Administration block and the Elementary school. We are not encouraged to mix or befriend each other. She herself does not appear to recognise the need to develop a community within the school. As for the faculty, morale is low due to having to teach with minimal resources and a leadership whose focus is purely on power and money. Faculty are frequently bullied by the Head of School who shows no interest in the teachers, students, assistants or in the well-being of the school.The disorganisation of the Head of School is evidenced in the lack of a planned calendar for the entire year. If you look up the website the calendar is empty, the only event planned is the Science Day, but has no mention on the calendar. As a staff we were first alerted to the science day not from the Head but through seeing the advert on the website; communication is not one of the strong points of ISV.Before school opened we were provided with new laptops and asked to sign an agreement of care. This is a standard contract in some schools, although this contract stated that if anyone took their laptop out of their classroom and dropped it they would be liable to pay for its replacement or damages. We refused this contract and returned our laptops, to a screaming, insulting list of abuses from Lesley Snowball. After her extreme reaction and to save face she helped to rewrite the contract which permitted us to be covered for accidental damage outside of our classroom but not at home. Due to this contract very few faculty take their laptops home, so no work is done at home, a very rare thing for teachers. I must add that we had to wait a long time for software to be added to these laptops so that they could actually be used!

Review 3) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
1
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
1
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
6
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
5
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
7
Availability and quality of local health care
3
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
1
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
1
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
1
Extra curricular load is reasonable
7
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
7


Comments:
Hanoi is a chaotic city full of things to do and see; perfect for the tourist; living here is quite different. You can never get anywhere quickly due to the traffic and the smog gives you sinus problems all the time. Travel is not cheap, taxis range from fair to being hugely over priced for long and short distances. Grocery shopping is not easy so don’t expect to find everything you need in one shop. You have to either travel to Tay Ho for western foods or go from shop to shop in Hanoi centre. The heat can become oppressive and you sweat constantly. When it rains everywhere floods and it is still too hot to wear a coat. Not a great climate to live and work in especially when the school you work in is as oppressive as the weather.The International School of Vietnam website easily misleads the viewer into thinking it is a highly resourced school brimming with resources; it is not! We have to buy everything we need including printers, laminators, paper and books to name a few of the expenses. The owner does not care if there are no reading books in the classrooms or that we don’t have any resources to teach with, it does not directly affect her so nothing changes. However, managing with limited to no resources is just one of the numerous things wrong with this school.Leadership in the school is non-existent. No one is allowed to have an opinion or raise a question and if they do they are shut down vindictively. The school is a status symbol for the owner who parades around the school like Royalty.We get paid late every month, always with excuses. We have had a different accountant every month since arrival due to the firing and high turnover of Vietnamese staff. There is no privacy of what we earn. We all know what each other are paid owing to being made to sign for our wages on a sheet of paper where all total earnings of staff are declared next to our name! If you do not sign the paper you do not get paid. Some subject teachers who teach one to two hours maximum each day actually get paid more than the classroom teachers. This also breeds discontentment.Health care is another issue. We were promised direct billing but it just does not work. We have to phone the hospital, say what the problem is and explain what we need and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t, another cost! Working here is not like working in International education, it is farcical what we face every day and to the reader it must seem trivial, but when you live it and breathe it you begin to question your reasons for being in education. The morale here is very low and it is an effort to go to work every day.

Review 2) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
1
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
1
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
7
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
4
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
7
Availability and quality of local health care
3
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
1
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
1
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
1
Extra curricular load is reasonable
5
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
7


Comments:
We have all been under threat not to write reviews on ISR or speak to anyone negatively about this awful school in which we find ourselves, but the time has come to share.ISV was supposed to open in September 2012, teachers were hired but later fired on arrival due to no student enrolments; the Board claims the building was not ready. We will never know the truth. Some compensation was supposed to have been paid, but it was very messy and disastrous financially for these teachers. Prior to the school opening in September 2013 the school had hired and replaced 4 principals. When we (the teachers) arrived in Hanoi we heard the principal (Jason Kirwin), who had hired us had been dismissed and we were not provided with any reasons or permitted to contact him. Realisation soon hit us when we found we were being led by a consultant called Dr Lesley Snowball, who in my opinion appears completely disorganised, has no interest in ISV, arrives after all the teachers in the morning, adds no ‘value’ to the school except for the title ‘Dr’ and bullies and fires staff . We have lost 4 expat teachers in two months all with different reasons, one teaching assistant and unfortunately, I have lost count of the number of Vietnamese staff fired; all lovely people.There is little to no support to new teachers arriving. We were promised a thousand dollars cash advance but they refused to provide us with any cash. To open a bank account needed a lot of documentation and a home address which some of us no longer have. The school did not help us in any way, they just were not interested. Rent is paid in arrears and most landlords expect three months and a deposit. No expenses are paid for by the school, no fees for documentation can be claimed. Transport to school is not cheap and can actually take a long time due to the traffic congestion. Pollution is high. Most of us had to wait a long time for our shipping because the school did not pay the shipping agency.The school is supposed to be a non-profit organisation but everything is about profit. Initially we had to work with no photocopier, no printers, no paper, no reading books, no writing books, nothing! We have had to go out and buy our own resources, our own paper, pens, glitter, laminators, printers, everything! It has cost a fortune to resource my class and I have done it for the sake of the students! However, Dr Lesley Snowball is provided with a black and white printer (hidden under her table) and her own colour one, whilst we had to print through the secretary for weeks, until the owner finally relented and bought us little black and white printers! That resulted in one good day since arrival. Students were supposed to have their own laptops and we were supposed to have training on all the new Apple software, nothing has materialized Most of us are disillusioned about our jobs, the whole package was misrepresented at interview and with a bully as a Head and a Board which consists of the owner and her follower, the reality is we are on our own and stuck here. Just before our mid-term break we were told that they were considering restructuring the staffing. On returning from our break two members of staff were fired, restructuring has started and the class sizes are not getting any bigger, average being 4 in a class. In addition to a lack of student enrolment we were told most of the students would be able to speak English, they cannot. This is really an EAL establishment without any hope of becoming a PYP school.

Review 1) 20XX – 20XX
Academic integrity of school (10 is top score)
1
Effectiveness of administration
1
Academic and disciplinary support provided
1
Director’s involvement in academics
1
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
1
School has adequate educational materials on hand
1
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
7
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
3
Satisfaction with housing
7
Community offers a variety of activities
5
Availability and quality of local health care
3
Satisfaction with school health insurance policy
2
Family friendly / child friendly school and community
1
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
1
Extra curricular load is reasonable
8
Security / personal safety (10 = very safe in and out of school)
8


Comments:
My experience working at ISV has, by far, been the worst job experience of my life. This school should come with a warning sign that it will likely ruin people’s careers. A wonderful and enthusiastic group of teachers started working at this school in September, only to find that our director, the man who’d hired us, had already resigned. When we began working with the principal and school owner, we soon discovered why. The school had been misrepresented to us in every aspect, from the fact that our classrooms had no books, resources, or even printers, to finding out that our ‘rigorous, English screening at admissions’ was a myth, and many of our students have no English whatsoever. Add to that the fact that we have no ESL teacher, no language program, hardly any books, no ESL materials… And this school is pretending that it plans to be PYP at some point. How you can possibly do inquiry with zero materials nor books and students who don’t speak any English whatsoever, is something the owner of the school seems not to have considered when she instead invested in an enormous swimming pool she refuses to pay to heat, a huge library full of empty shelves, and ten thousand orchids, because flower arranging is her hobby. We were also told that our school had a huge technology emphasis, and would be a one-to-one laptop school with a Smartboard in every class. There is one computer in every class, and there are no Smartboards. We only received printers two months into the year, and there is only one color printer (which is permanently out of ink) for the entire staff. As a final point regarding resources, we are also lacking in the most important resource of all -Students! We were told we would have classes of 16-22 students. The average class size is 4.And while I started by writing about the complete and utter lack of resources and being brought here under false pretenses, the truly horrible part of this school, and what makes all the teachers miserable, is the fact the school is run by a principal who I find to be a mean, sarcastic woman who talks down to her staff and humiliates them at group meetings, and is owned by a woman who won’t let us order pencils without signing three red tax invoices first. The owner changes her mind and contradicts herself approximately every five minutes, when she isn’t busy telling you how important she is and that she knows the president. Meanwhile, the principal hides in her office, doing who knows what, failing to do any PD, organize any sort of policies or procedures, or in general, support her staff in any way.Within two months, our PYP coordinator had resigned, as well as one teacher and one teacher assistant (and don’t forget the director originally). There is a tremendous turnover of the Vietnamese staff as well, who are treated terribly and screamed at and blamed for everything that goes wrong by the school owner. Another teacher was just let go out of the blue because they supposedly couldn’t complete his paperwork for a visa, despite having told him the previous week that everything was fine. Many of the remaining few teachers are planning to leave at the end of the first school year. None of the teachers currently have visas, and we are all working here illegally, even though it is already almost November. To get a visa here requires extensive, expensive documentation, notarization, stamps, and translations. None of which the school reimburses us for.Furthermore, there is no HR department, no support in any way for the teachers, and the contract means nothing because there are no labor laws, and the ‘Board’ chooses which bits and pieces of the contract it actually wants to honor, i.e. penalizing teachers who want to resign, but not paying the stated 3 months severance to teachers they let go.I could carry on further, but I’m afraid readers wouldn’t believe it. To summarize, this school is a professional black hole, and I have never seen morale as low as it is at ISV. This school should be avoided at all costs.

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