Directors Who Suppress Criticism – Teacher Responses Page 2

”…they knew they are breaking the laws of their home countries but would feel no moral objection in doing so if they could get away with it”. How true–and if truth be known, more than half of these people wouldn’t get a job ‘back home’…

Our director says things like ”Well, if you don’t like it, there are dozens of people breaking down my door to get your job”…in Hawalli, Kuwait? Don’t think so, fellow!

Love your web site; and I completely agree with your comments above. However, you need a copy editor. It should be ‘losing’ not ‘loosing’ above. And that is just one obvious lapse. You will, I know, forgive a teacher for these comments.

I don’t have time to write much, but it is true that sometimes teachers are upset and feel no recourse but to write on ISR. Directors should be open to communication to help avoid this. EVERY SCHOOL has problems and unfortunately there are A FEW teachers that write down unfair comments without trying other outlets first. I think that these comments usually show through and people disregard them. It is when you see a trend of comments saying similar things about a school when eyebrows are and should be raised. I can understand that administrators become angry when their names are used unfairly. I think that ISR should consider more than one approach to its web site. It may be a better choice to leave things as they are, however I do think that ISR hurts people’s lives unfairly personally and professionally at times. ISR is not only a teacher’s web site, but often parents read it too, which is really no different than a “parking lot conversation”. I like ISR and I read it and subscribe to it to look for trends at schools. I do think that ISR is irresponsible at times, and I think I speak for a silent majority when it comes to that issue. Please do not take this as a condemnation of ISR, like I said I use it as a tool when recruiting or looking into schools. I do think that it is possible to change and reevaluate ourselves from time to time. GOOD LUCK! 

If only we did not need ISR!

Fine directors don’t have to worry… through “word of mouth” they get positive feed back from professionals. Directors that are arrogant, incompetent, and think they’re “god” when overseas end up EARNING, (in general), negative feedback from those who have worked for them. Ironically, they are the ones that are so insecure, they worry about the comments made on ISR.

“Most of these emails have one thing in common–they often assume a “tone” and “posture” reflective of the way in which these individual have been described in the very reviews to which they object. It’s odd they don’t recognize this fact.”

Not at all odd. To understand, you just need to crawl inside the head of one of these abusive directors to see things their way. Most of these types of directors don’t recognize their crimes against school communities because they don’t see them anymore. They have been living lies, have surrounded themselves with approving sycophants, including most recruiters and accrediting agencies, for so long they actually have convinced themselves that they are essentially good, caring persons, doing a good job and the right thing. After all, their friends and agencies confirm this. I’m no psychologist but isn’t that the classic pattern of a sociopath or even a psychopath? However, it’s almost always the teachers, the ones that dare to constructively criticize anyway, that are painted as “cowards.” This is the abusive director’s knee-jerk reaction to any ‘cheeky’ teacher who, often unintentionally, holds up a mirror and confronts his/her leader with the nasty reflection. When this does happen, the director takes it this way: I, the director, am basically a good person, why then do these teachers not see this? Why do they insist that I am doing things the wrong way. Oh, it must be them who are disgruntled cowards. Let’s not pay them any mind. They’re out of a job because they are bad for the school and me and I am still a good person.

Just how cowardly is it when a teacher makes any comment that can seem normal to you and me which is then turned into a mighty challenge to these directors’ authority and that teacher gets reprimanded, degraded, insulted, threatened, blackballed and/or is then disposed of as undesirable because there is often no legal recourse in private institutions? The only cowards I see in this growing conflict between those school communities adversely affected and patently unhealthy leadership are the director and all those that support him/her.

Surely, many dictatorial directors, and I’ve met a few in my time, live in this topsy turvy world where they see themselves as saviors of their schools and the critical teachers as trash(ers). It is only ISR that dares to take these warped individuals on and warns boards, parents and teachers alike of just how badly such a ‘leader’ can ruin a child’s education and a teacher’s career. You just keep turning those tables ISR, most of us know up from down!

Yes, it’s true, some very good schools exist, and I have been fortunate to find myself working at one of them. Even though you say ‘learn all about a school before you go there’ it is not that easy. I had a bad experience for my first year here in Kuwait, but there was no way I could have known how difficult it would be before signing the contract. The schools only reveal what they want you to know, and you find out the truth as you proceed through the first couple of months teaching. In my case, I decided to hang in there and see out the 1-yr. contract, then I moved to another local school where I am now very happy. However, I have heard some bad things about this school. From my experience, some western people can be very difficult to please. If you are going to work overseas, remember it will be DIFFERENT than your school in America or England. I like it here in Kuwait. I intend to stay for a while yet. I know some bad things happen, but I have memories of some of the awful things that have happened elsewhere, especially in America. If I had one piece of advice it would be…For the first year, only sign a one-yr. contract. If you sign for 2 years and only stay for 1, most schools will not transfer your residency, you lose other benefits and the whole thing can turn sour. If you insist, many schools will be happy with a 1-yr contract. Remember, you can have a very rewarding and happy career working as a teacher in the Middle East. A lot depends on your attitude!

From above… “teachers use web venues to save themselves and others from loosing money, time and even their careers. ” Please take the time to spellcheck/proofread carefully. Mistakes like “loosing” give the wrong impression about a very professional organisation. Keep up the good work!!

I think that there are unfair comments on ISR regarding my School – and it is an indication of the quality of this particular ‘teacher’ that he did not have the courage to raise these issue honestly with us at the time but chose the cloak of anonymity. Our retention rate is excellent and of 25 staff who are up for renewal, 22 have renewed – one has not had his contract renewed and a couple are returning to their home country. Speaks for itself, really.

Dear ISR,

Certainly the fear of retribution would keep anyone from posting unflattering yet honest reviews of a troubled school. On the other hand, we all have worked with teachers who will not be happy under the best of directors and situations. One can, therefore, understand the concerns of the good directors who are the targets of anonymous “poison pen” postings. I don’t have an answer but I can certainly see there are two sides to this issue. Signed – a new principal after 10 years of overseas classroom teaching.

I’m a teacher and a lawyer. A lot of what you said is completely right. But I’d like you to think about this: a school’s head/superintendent should be democratic, not a teacher? I’m asking you that, because as you simply don’t know who are the people posting the messages, how can you make sure that they aren’t doing so only with the purpose to reach someone’s reputation because of personal problems? In a democracy nobody is allowed to stay hidden. You can say whatever you want, but you need to be responsible and to take the responsibilities for your acts. There’s many ways of presenting our points of view and I think that no one need to be aggressive or ironic while expressing them. If the intention is really positive, I’m pretty sure that the words used are objective, balanced and positive. Many comments posted in this web site seems like “I don’t like you, you don’t like me, and I’ll do something against you”. Not good behavior for a teacher… What I mean is: to be seen as a really respectful web site, you need to work a little bit more on this issue. Good luck!

I believe it is more likely that a disgruntled teacher will pay $29 to say negative things about a school, rather than expect a happy teacher, with a good experience to shell-out $29 to say they’re happy. I take all the reviews with this in mind. ISR NOTE- One does not have to be a member to post reviews to the site. There is, and always has been, a link on the ISR home page for non-members to post reviews.

What has happened to Education? Thank God I am old and can retire soon!

You appear to be taking a rather superior attitude here yourself. Of course a director would want to know who had made “slanderous” comments about him or herself! I realize that anonymity is necessary to protect whistle blowers but your site does not have the right to take a superior tone with directors, either. I can see why they would think that they would not have to answer to you. Also, you are not a court of law. I think that you need to think through the process you are utilizing a lot more clearly. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of these teachers in some of these places were just not very good at their jobs.

Oh, and I’m a retired Canadian educator. And I’ve had bosses that I disliked, too.
Sharon Harris

I see your point about the suppression of dialogue and the use of this site. However, my issue with this site would be frame of time. My school, particularly, which is far from perfect but has regularly improved each year I have been here, still has reviews from five/six years ago that talks about people who have long been removed from the school. You claim the site should initiate dialogue; but, if that’s the case, and improvements have been made, should the outdated comments still be available? The same argument should be made for the positive comments as well, as I know people who have been completely shell shocked upon administrative change within a school.

Help! I am in one of those landmine schools with a vindictive director and I am trying to figure out the best way for me to get out and still maintain MY integrity reputation. Ideas?