It’s no secret that many reviews on the ISR web site paint a negative picture of various international schools. It’s also no secret that there is a group out there that believe these negative reviews are nothing more than the ranting of a few disgruntled teachers, and thus should be dismissed as such and ignored when recruiting for international teaching positions.
After reading recent postings to the ISR Forum concerning negative reviews I would like to pose a question to those who are complaining about the negativity of the site: At a restaurant or hotel, do you call the manager over and tell him what great service you got? Every time you get it? Or do you accept good service as your due? Do you write the company about their product doing exactly what it claims? Or do you accept that it SHOULD do what it claims to do?
My point, obviously, is that it is the nature of people to accept good experiences as what they deserve, and to complain about the bad ones. I agree that some of the complaints on the ISR web site are over the top. I agree that the constant stream of negativity is wearing. I can even see where they hamper the effectiveness of the site.
But maybe those of you that are saying, “Those schools should have been avoided in the first place” have never been at a truly horrible school. I read the complaints about my future school on the International Schools Review web site and I decided to go anyway. Why? Because many of the writers said the problems would be fixed by the implementation of some new strategies, and also because one claim just seemed so over the top that I could not believe any school could be so bad. A school that would do what was done to this person would be just plain evil.
Upon arrival however, I soon discovered, to my sorrow, that the school was evil and they treated me with a degree of disrespect that you would not believe, until it actually happens to you.
“They treated me with a degree of disrespect that you would not believe, until it actually happens to you.”
So, maybe we shouldn’t complain because it doesn’t work anyway. After all, I decided to go because I just didn’t believe someone could have been treated so badly. After breaking my contract, I related my experiences, in person, to two teachers who are going to the school next year. They are still going. I think it is in part because those who are good just can’t believe that such evil exists. We tell ourselves that somehow, someway, the people it happens to bring it on themselves. After all, if they didn’t, it could happen to us.
Bad things do happen to good people, and not just because they didn’t do their homework or take sufficient care or have enough foresight or…whatever. The fact that we can’t prevent it doesn’t mean we should accept it. We must rage against it. We must do whatever we can to say, “This is not right”. No matter how futile it may be, we must tell others our experiences.
If you want balance, those of you with positive experiences, start posting! Let us know where those good schools are. If the negativity is impacting the site it is up to those with positive experiences to post them. I understand that some people overreact. I understand that some people have unrealistic expectations and I understand there are others who are simply never going to be happy.
I was not prepared for the degree of politics, power plays, sabotage, and just…evil…I experienced.
But there are those of us with legitimate complaints. Those of us whose contracts have been changed mid-year. Those of us whose job performance was sabotaged. Those of us who were manipulated into leaving only to be threatened with both civil and criminal charges.
I knew from the previous reviews that my school was not the best place to work so I was ready for some rough spots. But I was not prepared for the degree of politics, power plays, sabotage, and just…evil…I experienced. I truly had never seen anything like it and I hope I never do again. Can you experience the same thing anywhere? Sure. The two teachers I warned are leaving a public school district very similar (they say) to what they will be facing, so for them it’s business as usual but with some interesting cultural attractions nearby. I’m waiting to see what they say when they actually get there.
If you want something to be different, MAKE IT DIFFERENT!
But the point of this rant is, if you want something to be different, MAKE IT DIFFERENT! But don’t blame those of us who tell the truth about our reality just because you don’t share it. Instead, send your positive experiences to ISR so we cannot just avoid the evil schools, but, more importantly, seek out the good ones.