When Open, Honest Communication Spells Career Suicide Member Responses
Jan 8 – My school’s response was to get the a senior teacher to wax lyrically about the school with a great deal of lies, despite the first relatively understated review, the rest were much more critical (namely mine). It was a very pathetic and transparent attempt at salvaging the mainly negative reviews of the school. To this date the school has not improved operations much, they have kept a group of teachers who are the most unprofessional people I have ever come across who would not get jobs in a normal state school in the UK and recruited some new mugs. It is the students whom i really sympathize with, they tell me things have gotten worse, nothing has changed for the school. As for the person that thinks this is a ‘lonely hearts’ for complainers, I strongly disagree, there are positive reviews here and I read both with a pinch of salt to get a general idea of the school I want to go to. My motive for posting about my last school is that prospective teachers have a good idea about the school before they pack up their lives and get on that plane. If they want a challenge they should know what the challenge really entails. This site is so that teachers can be prepared and not go into a situation blindly and therefore can cope better and do a better job where they are, not just as a venting station.
Jan 2 – I was looking on the web site of AISH (Academy of International School Heads). I was searching for international schools and ran across the web site. There are two articles on the site that outline the qualities a school head should have. Looks like this organization is in agreement with International Schools Review. Now to just get some of these school directors not adhering to the standards to start towing the line. Have a look at these articles. The first is about competencies for heads http://www.academyish.org/freeresources/schoolheadcompetencies.htm (link no longer valid) and the second article outlines some the Worst Mistakes an international school director can make. I hope my director sees this as he went on a witch hunt after discovering a review that describes his managemnt “style” to a “T”. http://www.academyish.org/freeresources/worstmistakes.pdf (link no longer valid)
Jan 2 – My current school has been reviewed which has not prompted a positive response from the director, more of an investigation to find out who has posted the reviews. Whether or not anyone would be fired because of it has not been discussed but posting the review did not make a difference in her style or performance. The fact that a teacher’s only recourse is to anonymously post the truth is a sad reflection on the dysfunction present in many international schools.
Jan 1 – She went on a head hunt, wanting to know who had memberships and who had signed on at school. She would privately pole certain staff members to see if anyone else had mentioned the review hoping to find who wrote it. She even had teachers attempt to read the style of writing to see who it may have been. It has been a very interesting hunt and sad to say the director has no idea how the hunting process makes her look worse.
Jan 1 – My school has lots of reviews. Some of the information was true, some of it way over inflated and you could tell that the people had axes to grind and would be unhappy anywhere. The water throwing incident was at my school and I think it has been very badly taken out of context. First of all the students did not like the teacher, and the teacher hated/loathed the students. I think a lot of how much your students respect you is how much you care about them and your job. This lady would sit at her desk and email useless information all day. She had very little interaction with her students other than negative, and nasty, comments. When the student received the grade, he was frustrated and tossed water, not at the teacher, but tossed water because he was frustrated and you could tell the teacher really didn’t like the student. This doesn’t excuse the student losing his cool, but when a teacher obviously doesn’t like you, and your grades ma!tter because colleges are more selective for foreigners, what would you be thinking? I am incredibly strict in my classroom, but I have the greatest students and I care about them – and they know it. I could ask them to do anything and they would try because they trust me. The teacher in question left, but would not have been allowed to stay for another year. She also left a bunch of stuff with others, without compensation, and had them keep boxes for her – the boxes are still here 6 months later. She had people staying with her (not sons or daughters or husband) – not visiting for a while – but staying with her while the school paid rent. Where is that attention to detail that she seems to be able to pick out in others? Please, when you read these reviews, realize that there is another side of the story. People who complain rarely speak of their own shortcomings (and yes I have so many shortcomings that I would need a book to write them all down!) and problems, it’s always someone else’s problems. Last year’s director was a very nice guy, not vindictive, but not the strongest personality. This year’s director is still a nice guy, but is a stronger personality. I think most people at my school realize that this site is where the complainers go so they can group together and complain. Kind of a “Lonely Hearts” or “Everyone else but me is messed up site” where people can complain about everyone else but dismiss their own problems. Quite honestly the site is actually a joke at our school because everyone knows how “dramatic” the site is and we get a kick out of reading about the “drama” that goes on. Yes grades are very important overseas, and there is pressure to change them. So what do you do about it? Do you go to the Teacher’s Lounge and complain, write to ISR and complain, or do you try to reach the students and parents and push them to try harder – all year, not just at report card time. My student’s parents have been very supportive of progress reports because I stay in contact and give good, and bad, reports, and ways to correct the problem. It’s not easy to get students to achieve sometimes, but what are you in teaching for? Are you in it for the 8am (if you feel like making it on time) to 2:30pm (if they actually have the gall to ask you to stay until 2:30) like I’ve read about in some of the reviews, or are you in it to educate children? Or would I be better off going to ISR and complaining?
Jan 1 – I am a current teacher who will not be returning next year by the school mentioned above because I complained. So what’s wrong with people visiting teachers and teachers leaving personal belongings with others? Was it ever stated that if the school paid your rent, you couldn’t have visitors? Many teachers have had visitors. This institution is very SICK. The student mentioned above also got DRUNK at a school event, threw-up, is a known cheater and academically challenged.
Oh my God! I’m now more happy than ever to be leaving. What viciousness! Most students did not like this teacher because she was STRICT and she was BLACK! The current director did not know this individual and someone is being very vindictive and hurt this woman’s career because she is Black, as was the former librarian, whom the students wanted to physically hurt.
These are phony reviews recently written to cover what is still turning out to be a bad year, with many teachers not planning to return. Notice how FEW reviews have been written this year, good or bad. I’m sure several of the former and current staff have been BLACK-balled and threatened.
Teachers need to stand up for themselves and not be used as slaves to send deficient and potentially dangerous students abroad.
Jan 1 – My school has been reviewed but no response, as yet, from the director general. However,I would like to comment on the article itself and its implications. What I have seen time and time again, whether overseas or at home, is the phenomena I label the Napoleon Complex or if you prefer the megalomaniac complex. This is a situation that arises when:
a) A severely anal retentive, insecure, tyrannical and egotistical former teacher/principal/junior administrator etc. is promoted to a position of ultimate decision maker.
b) The Board oversight is weak and/or politically corrupt.
c) A special interest group firmly believes they run the school.
d) Staff (particularly local hire) are in fear of their jobs and benefits and can be easily intimidated.
e) The school believes it holds all the cards…not uncommon among international schools.
The director becomes messianic (all-knowing, all seeing, always right) and autocratic. They respond to special interests who hold sway, either over the Board or over the owner,dictate rather than communicate, hypersensitive to any criticism or perceived resistance to their divine right to rule and paranoid in their response to friend and foe alike and are often unable to tell the difference. They adore position power but abhor respect gained from a fair exercise of their authority. They have no respect for others and see themselves as being the font of all knowledge, strategy and ultimately success, either educational or social/financial. Unfortunately, overseas employment in international schools attracts these kind of people for the following reasons, among many:
1) There is little or no oversight — Boards are easy to manipulate and so are owners who have little educational acumen and weak business skills (describes many owners).
2) There are no protective unions to fight, media recourse to mitigate or culture to respect (local culture often being very educationally illiterate).
3) The staff often are split between locals and foreign hires, with a built in rancor over the differential treatment they often receive…a perfect divide and conquer scenario.
4)Their past failures are automatically hidden from prying eyes (except for the ISR website..thank God) so, unlike North America and Europe, where records are accessible by everyone, they can hide their incompetence and autocracy.
What a shame that unions and oversight organizations that exist in North america and Europe, don’t have sway in other parts of the world….
Jan 1 – Your points are excellently made. My school in Rayong is another school with a Head who demonstrates all those unpleasant traits (and more) which make life there miserable.
Dec 31 – Yes, both schools I have worked for have been reviewed on ISR. I do not know how the first school’s administration reacted as I am not sure if they know or care about ISR or the evaluations on it. The second school’s director threatened to withhold references and even sent negative evaluations for teachers that he thought filled out reviews about the school in general and the administration specifically.