Dr. Spilchuk – How Can I Contribute to the Success of International Education?2017-06-02T14:25:39+00:00
Dear Dr. Spilchuk…

August, 2008

How Can I Contribute to the Success of International Education?

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

It is because I love being in the field of education that I want to contribute to the success of international education. Reading the most recent information on Emirates National School, I realized it is time that I contribute more to increasing awareness regarding the unfortunate situation of some teachers and administrators in overseas schools. I have the background knowledge and experience now to contribute to the cause of improving teachers and administrators positions in overseas schools.

I read the articles in TIE and have found it interesting that while TIE acknowledged that there is an enormous expansion of international schools and they think that finding qualified teachers is difficult, not one article that I have read addressed what I consider to be the underlying cause. I think the underlying cause is the quality of the schools, their unprofessional treatment of the overseas hires and the fact that they break teachers/administrators contracts. These schools are simply exploiting teachers and administrators! Many overseas hires feel “deceived” and “fooled” when experiencing the unprofessional practices at these schools. Emirates National School and unfortunately for me, all the schools that I have been at in the past are examples of unprofessional schools. There are just too many schools on the circuit that are not quality schools. I understand that salary and the package are a piece of the puzzle as well. However, as I witnessed this year at the school I was at, even some of the teachers who have retired and are traveling have admitted that the unprofessional behavior at the school is not acceptable and have resigned.

Teachers and administrators, however, keep getting “duped” time and again and the schools continue to hire more teachers and administrators that they dupe again. Of course, we can all read about these dramas as they are played out on ISR. Some of the comments I read in the forum I find to be embarrassing. The reason I find them embarrassing is we are NOT able to stop the “trafficking” of teachers and administrators to these unethical schools that continuously exploit teachers and administrators. Even when this information is posted on ISR and ISR has a generous readership.

A big part of the problem is that Search, ISS, COIS, UNI, TRI and Teachanywhere are recruiting for many of these schools that keep “duping” teachers and administrators. When the teacher or administrator complain, then they are blackballed by the recruiting agency. I was shocked this year when I attended the Dubai Search Associate recruitment fair in March, at how many schools were in attendance that I would consider “not acceptable schools to work at”. It was an eye opener to read the reviews of some of the schools at the fair on ISR , after I attended the fair. Yet, this pattern of the recruiting agencies recruiting for unprofessional schools is continuing, and actually increasing. It is alarming.

I received a request to interview for Emirates National School from a recruiter and I turned down the interview. I received a call from the recruiter wanting to know specifically why I would not interview. I am not going to let a recruiting agency pressure me into interviewing and accepting a position so they can get their commission.

We all know why the recruiting agencies want to support the schools and not the teachers, but what can be done about schools at the recruiting fairs that are not quality schools? The fact that Search, ISS, COIS have not given their input into the Bill of Rights demonstrates which side of the fence they are on. The same goes for ECIS,CIS, NAIS, and NESA. I understand that ISR is a thorn in their side, however, what is something constructive we can do to build a bridge between ISR and these organizations? And/or what can we do to build a bridge to discuss the unethical treatment of teachers/administrators in schools that these organizations support? The recruiting agencies are ignoring the unprofessional treatment of professional educators in favor of making money.

I noticed that Teachanywhere out of Australia recruits for many schools and many of them are not quality schools. The sends out lists and lists of vacancies. Teachers Recruitment International out of Australia is similar. Many Americans don’t know about these recruiting organizations because they are based out of Australia.

Unless we do something about these unethical schools on the circuit, the professionalism of education overseas is doomed.

Nothing I am saying here is new, I realize. However, what more can I/we do to contribute to the cause of improving teachers and administrators roles in, what is now, a growing population of international schools that intentionally exploit teachers and administrators?

Good luck presenting your paper at the International Conference On Education, Economy and Society in Paris next week. It is another avenue to get information on international education out into the public.

If you have any further ideas of how I can be part of the solution to this complex issue, kindly let me know. Contributing information to the forum on ISR and writing articles is just a piece of the puzzle.

Best Wishes,

Concerned Educator

Hello Concerned Educator,

Yes, I do remember you. I was very sorry to have missed meeting with you when it appeared we might be in the same location together for a short period. Perhaps next time?

I believe that the best way for you to become involved in assisting your colleagues, is to become involved in ISR more personally. Your letter, minus your name, is a great step. I’ll make sure to put it on my column so that other teachers can read the specifics you are sharing. We need more teachers like you who are prepared to name names and give details in their letters so that potential teachers reading the information have a specific and clear picture of what they might expect from schools/recruitment organizations.

We absolutely agree that the quality of international schools is declining as everyone and anyone jumping into the ‘education for pay international game’ appears to be being accredited . We understand there are situations where a serious warning should be issued to some schools for failure to comply with International school standards. We also believe there are situations where accreditation should be removed but has not been.

ISR also has a serious concern about the level of commitment that recruitment organizations show to the teachers they recruit when things go wrong at the schools they are recruited to. The problem as we see it is that the Recruitment Agencies take money from the teachers and then take money from the schools. There is a direct conflict of interest in that situation and given this type of scenario, it is easy to understand how the teachers become expendable when balanced against the power of a whole school’s recruitment needs for the agency. The Australian organizations I am not familiar with but you certainly have done an excellent job outlining the issues with these folk for prospective candidates.

Thanks so much for your letter. I’m forwarding it to the Editor ISR as I’m sure he will want to be in touch with you about the possibility of you writing more articles for ISR.

All the best and if I am back in your neck of the woods, we will certainly get together.

Barbara

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