Teachers of Color Overseas

International Schools teach diversity but are minority teachers well-accepted  in the International teaching arena? Do non-Caucasians find it more difficult to enter the profession? Are minority teachers treated differently by parents and students? It has been reported that some schools are just looking for a “white” face to sell the image of an American education.  The following excerpts are from ISR readers:

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“I am an African-American female interested in teaching abroad. I am also in an interracial marriage to a non-teaching spouse who will be coming with me. We are hoping administrators can look beyond my race and focus on my credentials.”

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“I have experience in China & Japan–many people in these countries are terribly racist. I have a mixed-race child and people haven’t always been kind to her.”

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“Here in Kuwait people literally point at you when you are overweight, black or in any way look different from them.”

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“As a Mexican-American I felt I was overlooked for the position, and not because of my qualifications.”

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We invite International Teachers to shed light on this topic, share experiences, ask questions and offer advice.

197 Responses to Teachers of Color Overseas

  1. Daniel says:

    I’m an African American and I was a teacher at an international school in Malaysia. One day I stopped at a Chinese store for an appliance part. The owner was friendly, but when I told him I was a mathematics teacher he responded “but Africans can’t do mathematics”.

    Like

  2. Abraham says:

    I am a US citizen of African descent. I am also a licensed teacher (dual certification, math, ESL) with a master’s degree and ten years of classroom management and curriculum development experience. I finished my PhD (global education) last year, and want to teach English language abroad, so have been applying EVERYwhere–Asia, Europe, South America, The Middle East… I also have CELTA certification and TEFL experience among adults, with specialties in the business and medical fields.

    I would be happy to share via private email the responses of more than four dozen recruitment exchanges with TESOL institutions around the world. Recruitment officers haven’t all been professional with me–some have even been dismissive of my qualifications, asserting that the more experience a licensed teacher has, the less desirable (s)he is. Perhaps this reflects recruiters’ experiences trying to teach new protocols to tenured faculty. But some recruiters, and not a few, have directly told me that my age (I’m now 46) and my race are grave problems and make me extremely unattractive to schools. However, I’d been applying to teach abroad since my early thirties, so question the relative effect of my age on my failure to find a job abroad.

    My latest experience was with a company recruiting for positions in the Middle East. I very carefully checked their requirements and, just being factual, I surpassed each, and then some. Yes, competition may be fierce, but I do not think there are many Columbia PhD grads with more than a decade of experience teaching–and both state and federal awards–and multiple state (NY) teaching certifications applying to teach overseas. I feel confident about this assessment because I have queried program chairs overseas about qualifications of their most successful candidates and current staff. They’re always excited to get my application, but once I attach my photo to the application, I’m somehow passed over.

    I don’t mean to seem conceited at all. But I have worked in education very long, am well credentialed, and have outstanding objective student outcomes to corroborate my claims. And yet, after looking for overseas positions for the past six years, and intensively over the past year, and after having traveled all over the US for a handful of interviews, I have never succeeded in winning a contract. Never.

    A final point. When I first started teaching math, one of my students and his family became close acquaintances of mine. That student decided college wasn’t for him after an unsuccessful bid at completing his bachelor’s over a six year period. Nor could he hold down a job in the USA. I’m not ridiculing him; I’ve always supported him. However, about three years ago he flew to Spain to take a TEFL course, and before completing his certification (not CELTA, but a smaller, newer operation), had seven–SEVEN–full-time contract offers, each with an attractive salary and benefits package. He is now a highly ranked instructor overseas, a teacher leader and the main public face for his school. I cannot help wondering why I have failed repeatedly to secure a foreign TEFL post while my one-time student has one despite not having a US degree. Nor can I help wondering if his being white is the advantage he possesses.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello My Sistah Sorry about your troubles Have you considered HBCUs for a stateside job for a few years? They maybe more receptive to you than white institutions. Also get online with Facebook groups like Brothers and Sisters in China/Japan or Black teachers Abroad. They are great for networking and job leads. You are a threat to them. I understand because I have been there. I was in China for four years. I am now in Atlanta working and studying. I’m saddened but not surprised about your mediocre white student getiing a full time job in Spain. it is hard to get a work permit in Spain. Keep your chin up and network online. Have you tried to reach out to the Columbia Alumni or Obama? LOL
      Good Luck

      Like

    • I am studying for a MA in Applied Lingusitics, and I would like to hear from minority female native-speaking English teachers who have worked or are working in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the study is find out whether this demographic of teachers experiences discrimination from students and colleagues. I would like to recruit about twenty teachers to complete a survey, and at least five to take part in an interview. Please note that data collected will solely be used for this study. Your input is very important, as there has been little discussion concerning minority native speaking English teachers. Any help that you can offer is much appreciated. If you would like to take part, then please contact me on maresearchhelp@gmail.com

      Thanks,

      Anne-Marie

      Like

    • Debbie Bruno says:

      Can you contact me? My email is below. I’m a journalist writing an article on this very subject.

      Like

    • Chris says:

      Hello,

      Your resume sounds very impressive. Any school that decides not to hire you are fools and not even worth dealing with.

      I would suggest you look into working for universities, international schools, foreign owned language schools in management, curriculum development, or an IELTS examiner through the British Council.

      I know it can be frustrating, but don’t give up! I wish you all the best in your search. Let us know how it goes.

      Take Care,

      Chris

      Like

    • Tookie says:

      I’ve worked with people of color in Egypt at international schools there. Specifically, Nigerians (who were wonderful). You could try looking there, but don’t expect a super high salary. Average is approximately 1,500-2,200 monthly. By law, housing must be provided to you in addition to your salary (or a housing allowance given so you pay your own rent rather than live in specific teacher housing). They also must give you a plane ticket to get there. Usually, you get a settling in one-time payment.
      Some countries hesitate to hire based on age due to visa restrictions, and also for applicants having higher qualifications because they assume you will be expecting a much higher salary than they can give. Sometimes, it’s oddly as simple as not wanting to hire single applicants (as schools get more bang for their buck with married teaching spouses who both work at the school, sharing housing, etc.).
      You can try to apply in the Sultanate of Oman (where an American passport carries the assumption that you are equipped with highly coveted good English skills) too. Sorry you’re experience has been so negative! Don’t give up. Perhaps the right fit for you just hasn’t presented itself yet. Try seriousteachers.com and make a profile there. Then schools can find you as well as you doing a search for them. I’ve been employed through them and so have several friends. It’s free and not through a recruiter or anything. Good luck!!!

      Like

    • andre says:

      My friend, I too apologize for your bad experience. I have registered with a few recruitment firms and have had some success. However, many of the schools in China and Middle East have their racial issues. Unfortunately America has painted a not so pleasant picture of people of color. Unfortunately we do not help matter much by posting videos that are unbecoming. But what has happened is I have done my job well, challenge my students and allow people to ask question about what is the truth. Does this help? Sometimes, but then there are those that feel that their while skin allows them to do and say anything. I would love to speak with you more about this and maybe provide you with some choices.

      Like

    • Mark says:

      I taught ESL in China for a while, and I was amazed at how racist it is. As I am White, this was not an issue for me. But the lengths language schools go to ensure White teachers surprised me. Employers insist on seeing a photo. Jenny, who ran the language school, was struggling to find staff. She told me that she could get as many Black teachers as she wanted at half the cost. But parents wouldn’t accept it. There is the perception amongst Chinese parents that a Black person couldn’t possibly teach English. Don’t know where it comes from.

      In your situation, I would look for a Maths teaching job at an international school. Maths teachers are highly sought after. And international school recruiters are not racist. You can then start working with other teachers on what they can do to promote ELL success in the content classroom.

      Like

    • t7l7s says:

      I also have a PhD with years of teaching experience plus I’m bilingual with an Asian language. My experience is that International school now do not want anyone more qualified than an MA/MS because they don’t want to pay what a PhD is worth and many administrators don’t have their PhDs so they feel threatened by a more qualified teacher. Also, if the school is a corporate for-profit system, don’t both applying. Their bottom line is the profit margin not the quality of education.

      Like

    • Nadia Murray Goodman says:

      Your experience is horrifying. A dual certification in math and teaching language learners should with all that experience! As a black woman with math and special education and ten years under my belt as well, when I went looking for jobs, I did not look at Asia at all, (maybe wrongly) assuming race would be a determining factor.

      Did you go through an agency? Were the schools accredited international schools? For profit? Run by the government of the host nation? I’ve found that American international schools, accredited in the states tend to have more fair hiring practices (or perhaps they know better than to say racist comments aloud?)

      I don’t know if you’ve tried this but putting out the money to join AASSA or Search and attending the fair may yield better results as they will come face to face with you, your race and their racism. Good luck and I hope you find something great.

      Like

  3. Darlington says:

    please I want to ask if a Ghanaian who hold a TEFL certificate get job to do easily or not. Please I want to no the challenges that I will go through as an African

    Like

  4. PureTech says:

    I’m black British & on our CV we attach a picture & my SEARCH agency also has my picture on my profile. I’m happy for both now that it weeds out school that would not be appropriate for me. It goes both ways & to be honest, I don’t want my life to be more complicated than needed. I want to do my job that I was hired to do. I have worked in mostly top tier schools & 7 years on still living my dream. I have worked in ME/MEX/CARIBBEAN, apply for the role & see.

    Like

    • andre says:

      I do the same as well. I want schools to know what they are getting and If they decide they do not want to hire me because of what i look like then good for them, and better for me.

      Like

  5. Psalms says:

    Sadly even here in Thailand you will likely be given a slot over a competitive non nes teacher even if you haven’t earned education degree as long as you are white skinned blue eyed package with a twa accent…most parents had this stereotype thinking that these features are good educators though they are baker or waiter or caroenter back home..lol

    Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have done several interviews for teaching jobs and have been turned down I believe because I am black and was trained in the caribbean.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      Hello,

      I am a black American female that taught English in China for four years. I’m currently looking for a new overseas teaching job, and it can be frustrating because this industry is very racist. However, there are jobs and programs that don’t care about your racial make up. I’m actually quite direct with recruiters or schools when I reply to their ads and ask them if they hire black teachers. It doesn’t offend me as much as it once did, because I know that my credentials are good and that being an NES, I am in demand.

      Like

      • sistrunkqueen says:

        Hi Chris
        I was in China for four years too. I left 5 months ago to return home to the states. I’m sorry about your job situation. I am going through the same. I’ve been underemployed for months. I hope to turn things around next year. I want to know what is a NES? Also, where are you now?

        Like

        • Chris says:

          Hi Sistrunk,

          I’m in Missouri, and have been substituting in a school district out here. I’ve just been offered a teaching position in Colombia..which I think I will accept. NES stands for Native English Speaker.

          What was your experience like in China? Do you think you will return or go abroad elsewhere?

          Like

          • sistrunkqueen says:

            Hi Chris No I don’t think I will return to China again for a long time. I have to stay here for a period of time due to taxes. I also have family obligations. Congrats on your new job offer. My experience was great! I learned some Chinese. I plan to take classes in a few weeks at a local college here in Ga. Good Luck

            Like

          • andre says:

            Chris, columbia is where I want to go next. maybe you would be willing to share your experience with me. I am in China now, Beijing. The school is pretty good but I want to one day go to South America. Look forward to hearing from you.

            Like

            • Anonymous says:

              Hi Andre, I ended up turning down the contract. The salary was way too low and I was worried about the Zika virus. I’m actually heading back to China. I’ll be teaching in Wuxi.

              Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Dubia is looking
        UK is looking
        Hawaii is looking
        Good luck Sista

        Like

  7. Penny says:

    So no one yet has positively answered the question of where a dark-skinned Native American “Red” Indian who “looks Black” to people (and on Skype and Facetime) with a Maths teaching license, CAN look to. I mean, what, just put my CV with my picture on it, out there and see which countries contact me ANYWAY, or what?! I mean, I’m leaning towards Guatemala because it doesn’t require crossing any body of water to get to so I could feasibly get “back here” if all else failed, but then I realise, “back here” to WHAT again? When nothing in my own country will hire me in my fields because of the colour of my skin, what chance is there to go to someone else’s country and expect THEM to hire you?!

    Like

    • Shawn says:

      Dear Penny:
      Don’t fret! I am a dark skinned black American ESL/TOEFL iBT instructor with 20 years teaching experience and I’ve taught in Jeddah and Jazan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City, Kuwait. Let me tell you this, while I’d be the first to say that racism is a ubiquitous characteristic of the ESL industry as a whole, there are still many teaching opportunities to be found abroad for black people! You will find, based upon your complexion, that you will be more welcomed in the Middle East, generally speaking, than in most parts of Asia. I am assuming by your name that you are a woman and if that’s the case, then you may want to search for ESL opportunities in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq (Yes, Iraq! Especially Kurdistan), Turkey, Afghanistan and Egypt. In my experience, Saudi Arabia, ironically, seems to be the most tolerant in terms of hiring black educators. Oman would be next on the list and then the others would follow. Egypt is also a great opportunity but you should already be familiar with the British educational system as most educational institutions follow the British system. Lastly, I have found, in any context, that if you are a good educator and your students perceive that you are there because you have a real desire to assist them, you will earn their admiration and they will respect you; regardless of your race. Just keep in mind that you are an ambassador of your race and, although it’s clearly unjust, people will judge your entire race predicated upon your individual comportment. To the degree that the latter is favorable, it will reflect favorably on your race. Of course, the converse is also true. Just be mindful of this no matter where you travel because you never know who is watching you and what observations/judgments they are making based upon your interactions with others. Lastly, for your information, I have just finished an article on this subject entitled: The Color of English, A Black American’s Perspective on the Global Predilection for White ESL Teachers. It should be available around Sept. 17-19 on the goodmenproject.com website. In Zen Buddhism there is a saying: “Never let any situation or circumstance defeat you!” Please remember this in your future endeavors and you shall be eternally victorious regardless of the obstacles that may try to thwart your success.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi. I’ve tried and have been denied by Sabis schools. I am Black and feel it was due to that. My White friend applied and was hired woth less education than I. It was for a position in the UAE. Is there anyway you could list the companies that hire Black Americans?

        Like

        • sloane says:

          Just my two cents …try China lived and worked there 4 years. Focus on the universities

          Like

        • toeflchamp says:

          Unfortunately, there are no “race specific” ESL placement agencies that I’m aware of at the moment. With that said, please keep in mind that ESL teaching positions in the UAE are very competitive. Since I do not know your educational background and the amount of teaching experience you have, I’m in no position to venture an answer as to why you were not accepted by Sabis. However, consider yourself lucky that you did not get accepted because Sabis schools have a horrible reputation worldwide; at least from the viewpoint of their teachers. In regard to what avenues you may want to try, please consider the following:

          Teachway.com – Be sure you already have a 100 – 120 hr TEFL certificate. The exception would be if you already have a teaching credential AND 3 to 5 years teaching experience.

          Check out this site: higheredjobs.com. Peruse the international job section.

          Do a search on Google for ESL jobs in the UAE. In fact, you should do this for any country that you are interested in teaching. Check out Indeed.com as this site has lots of ESL jobs.

          Create a teaching demo on Youtube that you can use to show potential employers your teaching acumen.

          Create a website where you provide tips for ESL students and information about yourself.

          Join an ESL teaching association so that you can network with other educators of color.

          Good luck!

          Like

        • Fellow Black American says:

          I don’t think there is any definitive website you can go to, in order to find this information. Only word of mouth. I will say that if a school does not hire you b/c of your race/ethnicity- then good for you! You escaped! Better to know up front then to end up in a country being mistreated, abused by staff and/or parents and students and possibly stranded. Just keep looking! There are tons of jobs in China, which is where I am currently working. Many companies here will hire non white teachers. Of course, there are some terrible companies and schools. But there are also many that will hire you and are great to work for. Good luck to you!

          Like

          • toeflchamp says:

            To my Fellow Black American:
            I would sincerely hope that you would reconsider your position as articulated in your most recent post. One should never be an apologist for racism/white supremacy and if a language school, or any institution for that matter, subscribes to the erroneous supposition that it is justifiable to deny employment to any individual predicated upon one’s racial heritage or perceived racial affiliation then that entity needs to be held accountable and punished accordingly. Unfortunately, despite your assertions to the contrary, there is no “escape” from the aforementioned ubiquitous ignorance that is a conspicuous component of most multiracial societies. As a black American, one would expect that you would already be intimately acquainted with the blatant mistreatment that is meted out to far too many black educators on a quotidian basis in the United States.

            It would behoove you to remember that the mere fact that you, as a black American, are able to travel abroad to teach ESL is directly predicated upon the struggles of those who preceded you and, in many cases, sacrificed their lives so that the US would be a more equitable nation towards all its citizenry. This, of course, begs the question; if the struggle for civil rights and human dignity are worthy at the micro level then surely they should be equally applicable at the macro? Predicated upon the aforementioned, it would be a much better strategy to challenge such obtuse thinking at educational institutions, regardless of the country, that subscribe to the intrinsic inferiority of black people than to remain mute, “flee” or tacitly acquiesce to such farcical notions. It also behooves us to remember that, indisputably, humanity, as we know it, traces its very existence to an African matriarch and, as such, people of African descent are the very first world citizens. Given the veracity of the aforementioned, there is no place on this celestial azure sphere where we are not entitled to teach, explore and exist. However, be that as it may, it is, invariably, incumbent upon black people to educate and enlighten others to this inescapable fact!

            Like

            • Fellow Black American says:

              Please take not that my response was not directed to you. I have two living parents and do not need or desire a lecture from a random blowhard on the computer. Please save that rhetoric for someone who has expressed interest. My response is directed to Penny who is in search of a job. Have a pleasant day!

              Like

            • toeflchampt says:

              My Dearest FBA:
              I remain ever cognizant of the fact that your initial response was indeed for Penny and my subsequent reply was a direct critique of your response to her; for the mere fact that your “advice” was not only ill informed (particularly your rather asinine “escaped” comment) but, in addition, it was also conspicuously ambiguous. Perhaps, if you were truly interested in answering Penny’s original question, you would have deemed essential in your original post to provide her with the names of specific employers, recruiters, and educational institutions in China that are amenable to hiring black people; rather than just simply stating that, “there a tons of jobs in China.” Such information would not have only proved useful to Penny, which was the rationale for her posting on this form in the first place, but to other black educators and people of color who desire to teach abroad! With that said, may your day be as equally pleasant!

              Like

    • Chris says:

      I quite often see job postings for math and science teachers. The demand is probably even higher for those fields than English. You may want to look into working in China. Yeah the recruiters can be racists, but with your qualifications should get some replies. You can check out eslcafe.com, tefl.com, and nes-hk.com.

      Best Wishes

      Like

  8. I am a Black man in my mid-twenties, and I taught for a summer in Xi’an, China. Before going, I heard a lot about how China is racist against Blacks, and there is a lot of truth to that, but I was treated very well by my students, my coworkers were nice to me (at least to my face), and I was able to make quite a few friends outside of work too.

    This is not to say that “super-duper” White guys don’t get preferential treatment, nor is it to say that you are guaranteed to have bad days and face challenges being Black. I have found it easier to find a job in China than in other countries in the area though, including Japan which is supposed to be the only Asian country that has a bit of a more positive image of Black men. That image is mainly entertainment and dating (Japan probably has the largest hip-hop subculture and subculture of girls that chase Black guys like most Asian women chase White guys in Asia). China is probably where it’s at if you want to work in Asia teaching English. Just stay clear of first-tier cities where there are more foreigners, and thus, Whites always get first dibs.

    PS: This “People of Color” stuff holds no validity. A Latino, Indian, Arab, or Asian will not face the same challenges that a Black will, and in many cases, they will disparage you right along with White folks.

    Like

    • I am studying for a MA in Applied Lingusitics, and I would like to hear from minority female native-speaking English teachers who have worked or are working in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the study is find out whether this demographic of teachers experiences discrimination from students and colleagues. I would like to recruit about twenty teachers to complete a survey, and at least five to take part in an interview. Please note that data collected will solely be used for this study. Your input is very important, as there has been little discussion concerning minority native speaking English teachers. Any help that you can offer is much appreciated. If you would like to take part, then please contact me on maresearchhelp@gmail.com

      Thanks,

      Anne-Marie

      Like

  9. The Dwarfking says:

    I am a Black-American male looking to teach in East Asia. I have been extremely frustrated at the open discrimination of companies looking for “young, white, female only” applicants. So far, only JET and Interac have been the exceptions. They plan on having me teach in the rural areas of Japan in spring of 2015. My fluency in Japanese is fair, enough to get by with the basics. But I am terribly worried about racism and unfair practices by native teachers and faculty. Any advice folks? I get enough discrimination here in the USA, I don’t need more of it elsewhere

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on Abroad & The Wonder and commented:
    Comments from Teachers of Color Overseas gets a point I often speak to when I am talking about my teaching experience in South Korea as a person of color. As an African American male, I echo the comment “I have experience in China & Japan many people in these countries are terribly racist. I have a mixed race child and people haven’t always been kind to her.” While I don’t have a child, my travels throughout the East, in China, Japan, and South Korea garnered looks, touches to my hair, and touches to my skin that were not always wanted.

    I can remember vividly that Korean kids would look at me and point as if I was a monkey in a cage. Even more, one story I can recollect was when I showed up for a tutoring session for a elementary school kid. The mother told me that I was a liar, I was not American, and that she wanted a “real” American” to teach her children. I assumed that this “real American” she wanted was “white” or “Korean American” or at least not Black.

    With all the anti black sentiment I faced, I also face well intentioned comments such as “Johnnie before you, I thought all black people were bad, but now you have changed my mind.” This type of comment I was uneasy about because it did two things: It coined me a token by deeming me the one black person who is able to change the perspective of a majority group. In this case it was a Korean majority. But also, these comments made their experience with black people on tv, media, news, and in sanctioned settings such as the military to guide their view of all black people.

    Ultimately we need more diverse teachers in international schools, in study abroad, in international exchange programs to refocus the narratives of diverse people. Also, we need for this to become sustainable. Racism, the complex that a group or individual apart of a group is inferior will never stop, but institutionalized racism should and can be combated through more education that protest against such foolery.

    Like

    • Penny says:

      The problem is that most countries which need English as a Second Language teachers don’t have the laws against blatant racial discrimination that AmeriKKKa and KKKanada do. Over there they’re allowed to hire you and then treat you like absolute dirt to your face. Or tell you to your face that they won’t hire you because of the race (they think you are). Here we force that kind of racism to go underground and mask its ugly face in “silent rejection” and other subliminal forms.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. seven says:

    What has not been discussed is that, is that some schools do not employ people of colour because they know that the parents, community and children and maybe even the police of that country would make their lives extremely awful. It is often not be the racist views of the administration, it is often just their pragmatic view that it would not be caring to that person to put them in that position. I saw a Maori (Native New Zealander, polynesian) girl a great teacher hounded on the streets of Moscow every day by the police and any petty officials that she came into contact with, she did not last six months and left of her own accord, employing her there did her no favours.

    It is not always the administrators’ or schools’ racism that is the problem, it is a fact that in some communities, it is too difficult for a a great teacher to do their job sad, unfair, racist but true.

    Lets push where we can but best to leave some communities to their own sadly racist world.

    On the other hand my school at present represents over 85 nationalities in the families and over 40 on the staff, it is a joy.

    Like

    • CeeCee says:

      I agree with all you have said. I am a black american woman and I was accepted by ISS. I also applied to many schools myself. I received positive responses until it was time for the skype interview or I sent a picture. Then the tune changed. I received two emails from schools stating that they didn’t hire black people b/c their parents were expecting a white face. It was shocking to me as an American. However, I did appreciate the schools being upfront and not putting me in a position where I might have been ostracized. So I started emailing my picture along with my resume’, cover letter, etc. That way schools would know upfront and could bypass my application if I wasn’t what they wanted. I was hired by a school in January for the upcoming school year. So while it did hurt my feelings to know that I was rejected because of my skin color, they actually did me a favor. Looking forward to my new experience!

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I will be looking for a teaching position for the 2015 – 2016 school year. Could you share which country you are currently working and the name of your school? I am interested in working in schools with a rich diverse culture.

      Like

      • Teach says:

        I just wanted to toss my experience into the conversation. I, too, am an black woman from the US. I was accepted by ISS but also applied to schools on my own. I was hired and am currently working at an international school in Shanghai. I love the city!! I came as a single mother with a teenaged child. It has worked out great for us! We haven’t experienced racism per se but of course we have gotten looks, stares, and been pointed at by local people. It’s to be expected b/c they aren’t used to seeing black people. And when I go out with white friends, it’s even worse. They look, stare, and point at them as well. So, it’s not necessarily b/c of black skin- it’s just something different from what they are used to. There is a lot of diversity at my school in reference to the staff population. Could it be better? Yes but it’s a very welcoming environment and there are people there from all over the world! One black teacher at my school has been here for 6 years so it can’t all be bad. I am blessed to be at my school. So those of you looking overseas, please don’t be discouraged. Just keep looking. The right school for you is out there.

        Like

  12. Jacqueline Clarke says:

    I am an African Caribbean female and I worked in Gulf English School in Qatar and I didn’ t have any race issues with the Qataris and others.The racism I encountered was from some White British staff and one British-Lebanese teacher. The deputy head in the primary school was from Manchester and she was exceptionally overtly racist, the head teacher was White South African and was covertly racist along with some others. Eventually, I had to abandon my contract and leave to save my nerves and mental health.

    Like

    • Wilma Stevens says:

      Hi Jacqueline. I am an African Caribbean female exploring the idea of teaching English in Dubai. I am dark skinned, and I worry about the students not being receptive to me. I teach in Atlanta and the students and parents are very disrespectful to me. Although I am a U.S.citizen by birth( St. Thomas, Virgin Islands), I am treated and referred to as non-american. If working in Dubai is similar, I would not be surprised, but I am hoping for a pleasant experience.

      Like

      • Jacqui says:

        Wilma, from my experience, it is your adult colleagues who may be the racist ones. I never had any problems with the students and with people of other nationalities – the White British colleagues, especially the ones from up North were the main offenders.

        Like

        • LoLo says:

          Hello All,
          It is the Old, Career White Expats tht keep all the racism going on. They travel from school to school destroying programs with their racist attitudes. They hate the Middle Easteners but they want to teach them.
          The Students no problem the native educational administration no problems. Just the Career Racist Expats. From British, Australia, New Zealand and America keep the probems going.

          Like

          • Jacqueline Clarke says:

            Lolo…..don’t forget the South Africans…….I have never had any problems with Australians to be honest, havent met many New Zealanders…….

            Like

  13. Indian Teacher says:

    In India, in schools where the faculty is predominantly European/American/Australian , there is a HUGE discrepancy in pay and we get no perks at all. We are called ‘local hires’ and that carries a huge burden of discrimination. We have to constantly listen to how terrible living in India is and whether we find it difficult to speak in English and so much more. A European/aussie/american teacher can have a year’s experience but will get a salary that is at-least $5000-$8000 more than his/her Indian counterpart who has MORE experience and qualifications. Indian degrees do not count. we are forced to spend huge amounts of money to acquire international degrees online. We have no job security to quote, an administrator who told us’ Indians are not good enough or reliable’. it’s a frightening and depressing situation.

    Like

  14. Rama says:

    It´s been a while since I was last on this blog and the issue remains. So I came back looking for support. As well as to heed a warning. Do not under any circumstances work for the INTERNATIONAL PRE-SCHOOL SEEHEIM in Darmstadt Germany. The head teacher Wende McCabe along with the staff are the epitome of racist staff creating a hostile work environment! As well as the CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS COLLEGE.

    Normally I don´t name names, however I was harassed to the point of losing my hair due to stress and chronic illness. If I can save anyone of color (Indian, Asian, mixed race) from going to Germany to teach than my suffering would not have been wasted. I´m sure for DODD teachers it´s a different experience, but you can only get a position there if you are American.

    I wish these schools would just take the word “International” out and write instead “Whites Only Schools”.

    So now I´m looking for a school in the U.S that is a safe haven where all ethnicities are welcome. And hopefully will sponsor my visa to work there. Any suggestions?

    Like

    • Penny says:

      Sorry to have to put it this way, but if there were schools in the US that were receptive to Black (Math/Science or any other subject) teachers then why would anyone in the US who looks Black be considering expatriating in the first place?! My last teaching post in the US I got asked by the students if I had even gone to college!! (Another take on the usual “you don’t look smart enough to teach Math…” line of BS)

      So sorry to put it that way, but THAT question is going to fall on Deaf ears. This is why we’re trying to LEAVE.

      Like

  15. DeeDe says:

    Wow!! I am an African American woman just starting to research international teaching for the 2014-2015 school year. This blog has really opened my eyes. I am primarily only interested in teaching in Latin America and the Caribbean. Does anyone have any experience in this area? I would think that racism wouldn’t be an issue as their are a lot of Afro Lation.

    Like

    • john says:

      Check out clips from the PBS show Black in Latin America. Same issues there, Blacks there are the descendants of African slaves just as were are. There is a caste system there so don’t be in to much culture shock.

      Like

    • Wait... Que? says:

      Hi, I’m Kennda and I work as a teacher in the Dominican Republic and they are VERY racist here. Although there are Dominicans darker than me, they don’t like dark skin. They assume you’re Haitian, broke and below them, and yes, it is all based on color. And don’t even think of having tattoos! While I am welcomed by Americans, I know I will probably never really date here, because I’m not acceptable to parents, and I don’t have faith in settling here unless I marry/date people that I couldn’t have an in-depth conversation because “my class” won’t accept my color. While they love Americans (mostly white, but they assume all have money), one gets tired of always having to prove one can pay, or can be in a store, or not get followed, or have cash money taken without question, or have coworkers and parents not have issues because I’m more educated and paid more than them, but still look like their maids. I mean, wow. They don’t like their African roots down here, although they’ll tell you they accept them when put on the spot. They are classiest, based on color, and they also seem to have an issue with Mexicans. Here if you are white you’re right, and white American all the better. Once you get used to the BS and the initial shock… you get used to the BS and there is no more shock.

      Like

    • Penny says:

      I read somewhere that under their own social skin-colour caste system, as long as you have college degrees and professional qualifications you might stand a chance of being considered “LESS” Black – or maybe that’s just Brasil or parts of Brasil, where they view the Educated as somehow “white” no matter what they look like. I was researching Cartagena, Colombia for that reason, too.

      Like

  16. Pester Meat says:

    The recruiters went back with their jobs at the Johannesburg job fair. To me it looked like the candidates they met there were of the wrong colour.

    Like

  17. Robert says:

    International schools need parents to send their children to them therefore many schools pay special attention to what parents want. Unfortunately in some societies and cultures there is a misconception that “white is right”… regardless of teaching ability. This means that there are many international schools which have never maximised their full potential because they have never embraced an inclusive approach to teaching and learning within the framework of a culturally diverse workforce. My personal perspective is that the International schools have an obligation to provide parents with a clear inclusive mission statement and ethos which clearly denounces racism not only in words but in practice.
    I believe that things are changing and it will be interesting to get some idea of the number of teachers of ” color” who are working in International schools. Remeber you can never be a great teacher if you condone the racist practices within your school.

    Like

  18. Veronica says:

    I am African American. I have extensive work experience in the US and the UAE teaching for ADEC. Teaching in AD was great! The staff was very diverse, and the community was welcoming.

    However, I now teach in northern Italy and it is awful. My school is fine, although, I am the only Black teacher. The staff is great and so are the parents. Unfortunately, the community is unwelcoming and the only “Black” people are the few Africans whom are looked down upon. I have met only two other African Americans in my city just minutes outside of Milan.

    I believe it’s not only important to have a school that sincerely embarrasses diversity but a community as well. No place is perfect but living day to day where you are invisible is challenging to say the least.

    Like

    • Trey says:

      Hey veronica,

      I’m looking at interviewing for a position at the International school in Choueifat. Did you ever experience racism in the UAE? Did you feel welcome?

      Like

    • Penny says:

      I’m going to say that as long as you’re keeping the job and making a decent living, no threats on your job or your life or your daily safety or well-being, then all is well.

      I can’t seem to find THAT combination anywhere Stateside, or in KKKanada.

      Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am a black african female with a degree from the UK and teaching qualification from South africa. I worked in Thailand for 5 years and didn’t experience any overt racism-although I was/am fully aware that I was fortunate. I have to add that the school I worked at had a large number of rich/elite and well-travelled parents who were open-minded enough to appreciate my presence/contribution there.

    I am curious if there are any teachers of colour that have experience in international schools in Africa. It looks like -and I stand to be corrected-there is the tendency to hire only whites over experienced and qualified locals…..

    Like

    • amina says:

      In some places the impact of colonialism is still there. You may some locals who seem afraid of whites and local and expats who believe in the old that white is right.

      Like

      • ayeshamimam says:

        I have a child at an international school in Africa (65 nationalities – largest single group is US though not a majority). And have been pushing the school to diversify its teaching staff for years – for people of colour, but also for African, Asian nationality teachers (currently the teaching staff is over-whelmingly white and mostly USA, with some UK and New Zealand). Probably not a coincidence that I have an African and an Asian parent myself!

        Like

  20. fishfeet says:

    Thank goodness to hear all your voices! Sometimes it can get quite isolating. Having any number of mind-bending racially-based things happen and then when you try to share with your fellow Americans (etc), and they respond with another equally mind-bending rationales about how racism doesn’t exist.

    My personal favorite these days is being told I can’t possibly be American (I’m lying for my own nefarious purposes), and then when they finally accept that, being told that Americans aren’t a real nationality anyway and don’t have a real culture because we are a nation of immigrants. But if I say I’m from Cuba, it’s all good.

    Like

  21. amina says:

    You may be ok, but there is a caste system in place there. Last month, an Emirate man was convicted of rape of one woman and the beating, kicking to death of a young woman from Kenya in the parking lot of the Crown Plaza Hotel . ( see the national .ae newspaper online) In court he said he did it because “she was Black and that’s is how they all are. it’s normal for them.” This may tell you about the attitude towards women of color. He was sentence to only of 4 years for the two attacks/murder.

    Like

    • naima says:

      oh, my god that is horrible. Have you taught there and do you have any stories to share?
      My friend says in China they prefer white educators and even disregard native Chinese teachers.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        A colleague of mine who works for ….. was literally fired after parent complained ‘she is black’. The year before that, a teacher mid-year was also asked to leave due to the same reason. Keep away from China if you can!

        Like

  22. naima says:

    Hello,
    I graduate later this year, my family is from Somalia but i was born and raised abroad.My first choice would be to work in asia but I can’t help notice the booming market in the mid east which seems very attractive to me so I want to consider this possibility. However, my research indicates that black women aren’t treated so well in the gulf, I would like to know more about this issue. Would some of you be so kind to share some stories? By the way I’m Canadian, 24 years and I just want to be aware of this alleged racism as I don’t want to walk into a trap.

    All replies are welcome.

    Like

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m a white European with 8 years of teaching experience, and 4 years in international school. I’m finding it extremly difficult to get an international position again, I’m suspecting because of my apparent “lack” in experience. But in reality, I guess I’m just handicaped because I’m a non-native speaker of English, and the funniest thing is that I’m actually a foreign language teacher (not ESL) and lived a few years in the target country, etc. I find there are far too many wrong ideas about foreign language teaching / learning, among them a common misbilief that only native speakers make good teachers…

    Like

  24. Rama says:

    This is one of the most useful blogs I´ve read in a long time. After reading that everyone is facing the same issues as I am, working in the international teaching scene, I feel a huge burden has been released!
    I look forward to more comments, suggestions and especially solutions.

    I work at a private school in Germany and have encountered every situation mentioned-above. I´m glad to know of other options out there. Let´s keep supporting each other!

    Like

  25. amina56 says:

    The local Africans who live their are not treated well. I have also heard very racist/insensitive remarks about Africans , some saying that Africans Skin color “scare their children”

    FYI- I don’t know what you think the “typical African” looks like, but there are a variety of skin tones,facial features within the 52 countries on the continent.

    Like

  26. Rhaegar Targaryen says:

    Good posts and commentary, everyone.

    Like

  27. louise brown says:

    Unfortunately, ADEC’s mission might be to attract a diverse community of teachers, however, there are many, many, people in the administrative offices that recruit teachers, who are practicing discriminating behaviors…..I know because I have seen it. Shame on them for doing so and it is so obvious. It is a shame that many western whites bring those prejudice and discriminating behaviors with them from their countries and then practice them over there.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      This Sangster2 by the way. I forgot my password. Anyway I work in a private school which is very diverse not directly for ADEC.

      I look a bit Ethiopian though so that brings it’s own challenges but so far so good.

      Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    I am now in Abu Dhabi and so far the experience has been positive. I don’t think your color will make a difference to you getting a job here.

    Like

  29. Sangster2 says:

    I will be moving to the Abu Dhabi this month too. I will tell you what its like when I get there.

    Like

  30. Raymond says:

    That is excellent Amina. I hope that the Gov’t of UAE continues to path the way for an inclusive and culturally diverse faculty in schools…….well done

    Like

  31. amina says:

    Welcome to international/A organizationmerican education abroad !! The gov’t of UAE /ADEC/Teach Away does not discriminate and has hired hundreds of Black teachers from various countries.

    Like

  32. Raymond says:

    If there are any schools out there in Dubai that feel a sense of shame and guilt after reading my previous blog, then worry not, all is forgiven just emancipate your minds from mental slavery and just say to yourselves “Raymond is the type of teacher i want on my faculty” and contact me. I challenge you to put in place within your educational institution a faculty which is inclusive and rich in diversity….try it, you will be pleasantly surprised…..🙂

    Like

  33. Michelle says:

    Am I correct to assume that your interview was by phone, withOUT video?

    I like your message: “Stay strong and be proud”, no matter what one’s skin tone.

    Like

    • Raymond says:

      Thats right Michelle, the interview was by telephone and i must admit i was very impressive if i don’t mind saying so myself. One of the benefits of phone interviews is that you are able to judge the person purely by what they say…and thats how it should be. But i am willing to bet that if my accent was anything less than what they perceived to be a “British” accent then it may have had an impact on their decision, reinforced by their prejudices associated with accents and dialects which do not conform to what they perceive as acceptable. Now i am sure that there are those who will play around with the semantics of what i have written to justify the decision made by the school not to continue with their offer of a position after the telephone interview, but in their eyes…..if you do not sound “anglo” then you can not possibly teach in their school and if you have the audacity to get pass the telephone interview and the nerve to demonstrate that you have what it takes to teach…….. then their final line of defense is the photo.. The psychology of the whole thing is worth studying for a PhD.

      Like

  34. Raymond says:

    Well rather than just read the blog and add an opinion i decided to check into this myself and see if i would be discriminated against if i applied to an international school in Dubai.
    Well i saw a really nice job at a school in Mamzar Dubai, they wanted a western educated Science teacher who was also a native English speaker ( i met those requirements). Anyway after submitting my brilliant resume, i was offered an interview. The interview went really well and i was told an offer would be made and that i should submit my passport details and copy of transcripts…..well, i held of sending these for a few days just to see if they REALLY wanted to offer me the position. I received an email saying they wanted to offer me the position to start as soon as possible and they were just awaiting my passport details, photo ( i had sent my education transcripts). Well i decided to send my passport details and what do you know……there was no more contact from the school………. hahaha. Now the irony is that i am British, born in the UK, Black of Caribbean and Jamaican descent and a brilliant Science teacher, Head of Department and Assistant Headteacher currently teaching in the USA. Iwanted to see if it was true and yes this particular school did indeed discriminate because of my lovely brown skin and miniture well groomed curly hair and my sculptured Will Smith features🙂
    But you know what although i was saddened to learn that the school did discriminate, it would not stop me from applying to another school in Dubai because i know if they were honest and offered me a position it would be because i was the best teacher for the job and i would be an asset for the school.

    Stay strong people and be proud

    Like

  35. Anonymous says:

    As the Redneck Muslim himself, I am pleased to say that at least one organization seems to be challenging the status quo of diversity in hiring for international education. Based on what I can see from Facebook postings of new hires (like myself, in the interest of full disclosure) on TeachAway’s page, the Abu Dhabi Education Council appears to have gone out of their way to hire a diverse workforce of teachers. Granted, ADEC is not an international school per se; but the representation of African Americans, Latinos, and people of diverse lifestyles indicates, at the very least, a commitment to something other than “if it’s White it’s right,” an attitude held as often by nationals overseas as it is by expatriates.

    The causes for this are many, it seems. I’m sure the current economic situation, in which thousands of teachers across the U.S. are losing their jobs, has something to do with teachers who would not ordinarily consider overseas teaching pursuing the opportunity. The above par pay offered by ADEC as compared to other international schools must also play a role. But whatever the reasons, while I recognize the potential challenges posed by an international environment with so few who have worked internationally before, it is with great pleasure and anticipation that I look forward to benefiting from the perspectives offered by working with a more diversified group of colleagues more appropriately representative of our professional community.

    Like

    • Having now arrived in Abu Dhabi, I can confirm that nearly a quarter or more of ADEC’s new hires are from minority communities in the countries from which they come. This is absolutley refreshing. I’m sure that the benefit to students here and the families of these teachers upon their return will be invaluable.

      Like

  36. Cindy Rawlins says:

    Dear John

    Maybe it wasn’t because of my skin colour, but my country of origin was constantly named as reason for my ‘ unsuitability’

    And yes, we do need the protection of a union.

    Like

  37. john says:

    Cindy you were harassed, treated unfairly but you were not a victim of racism.
    One thing is missing in international education is a teacher union to protect the rights of teachers.

    Like

  38. Cindy Rawlins says:

    Racism is not only about skin colour. Even if your skin is white/beige/pink with freckles. ( like mine) you may have the misfortune that your ancestors left England to find a better life in one of the former colonies ( not Australia). You may have the best qualifications and experience, but you mat still be discriminated against.

    I had an experience in Qatar, where I was hounded out because I was different from the homogeneous British teachers. Every word I said was written in a notebook, as were the few jokes I initially made, and used against me in a twisted way. When I followed instructions exactly, it was all wrong. My reports were taken and certain staff members’ children were given very high marks (even when they were rude and uncooperative in class). My line manager had copied her entire curriculum and lesson plans from a published system. when I was accused of “not doing any original work” I pointed out that I had instructions to follow the given lesson plans exactly, and that they were copied and not her original inventions. I was told that the way I stood on the playground was not acceptable, and the way I interacted with the children was even worse. I then studied other staff on the playground, and could not see how I was different, except in the perceptions of the persecutors.

    God help you if you ever apply to the BEST SCHOOL ANYWHERE !

    Run! Run! Run!

    Like

  39. amina says:

    It is so much harder to get, and keep overseas employment as a minority. The “ugly American ” often comes alive when whites are abroad coupled with the feeling that “white is right” in many previously colonized areas. The 1950’s view of America, Doris day, the acceptance of overt racism ,
    minority inferiority, caste systems, etc makes life sometimes difficult for minority teachers and students as they constantly have to “prove ” themselves without support of admin. Without unions and civil rights you feel like you are living in the deep south 40 years ago.
    The “good ole boy “network is alive and well in contrast to the diversity in a more modern US educational system. I wonder if the higher ups in the state dept are aware of this .

    Like

  40. sistrunk says:

    I am an 39 y.o.AA female in Kunshan China. If you want to get in touch email me at sloane15@juno.com.

    Like

  41. Sangster2 says:

    Have not been to Beijing but have been to southern China. Before I went I was told I would find it very racist. I actually liked China a lot. I did get looked at but so does anyone who doesn’t have Oriental features. I have a female, black Bahamian friend who worked in China and she loved it.

    Like

  42. Dee says:

    I’m an African American female and I recently accepted a job in Beijing. Getting the job was fairly easy and I’m confident that I will do a great job, however, I am concerned about what it will be like to live in Beijing. Thoughts, suggestions, and experiences will be very helpful.

    Like

  43. L Sw says:

    Greetings again. Any teachers – black, white, Asian or any possible permutation thereof – who are interested in having a group where we can get together for encouragement and discussion (complainers and whingers are NOT invited) contact me. I’m in Europe.

    Like

  44. anonymous says:

    I’m white, but I tan easily and quickly. Sometimes my students, (Indonesians) would attempt to insult my new healthier colour by telling me I was “Black miss”! I’d thank them and explain that when white people get sick, they get even whiter, so obviously you look healthiest when you leave your colour alone, or go outside a but more.
    As a white person I can’t help but be horrified at all the skin whitening products out there. Many of the people who use these aren’t using them to even skin tone, they’re actually trying to become as white as the film stars they see. Since truth in advertising isn’t really practiced in these countries, they are smearing dangerous chemicals on themselves.
    Please consider these to be teachable moments, and pray for patience. Maybe one day we’ll all feel equal, regardless of colour.

    Like

  45. Sangster2 says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I agree that schools like the ones you named will want diversity but there are only a very few of them. You have to be lucky that at the time you are looking for jobs they also have vacancies. I think it is true though that if the school has a diverse staff that I should look into them. We are looking to move this year and that will be something I will look out for from now on.

    I work in Vietnam in an international school and I feel no rascism at my school and no need to work harder than white teachers to prove myself. There is an African American also in the school. All the other teachers are white.

    Like

    • AW says:

      I wish the above posters would have simply ignored Stehen’s attempt to derail this conversation. If being non-white is occasionally desired than by and large it is hardly an advantage. Don’t feel guilty for noticing something that is by and large true of international schools, particularly in Asia and the ME: they aren’t only selling education and the illusion of prestige-they are selling Westerness…to many that means Whiteness.

      Like

  46. Stephen says:

    Sangster2 look for schools which have a better balance of nationalities on staff and those which advertise this fact on their websites. Those schools are where I believe they truly value more diversity. Their staff is still far from balanced enough, that’s obvious from the sea of white faces, but they want to change that. Try schools like these.

    United Nations International Sch Hanoi
    Tokyo International School
    United World Colleges

    For example I worked in Kenya and two of my Kenyan friends/colleagues were snapped up by the UWCs after having more difficulty in other international schools.

    Like

  47. Stephen says:

    I have heard anecdotal evidence that general speaking being non white sadly makes finding employment in many schools (particularly Middle Eastern and Asian contexts) more challenging.

    However Sangster, being non white is deemed an advantage for many schools (mine is one). Our administration actively seeks diverse role models. Our student body is extremely diverse and admin wish to reflect that. During recruitment admin attempt to seek out a balance (nationalities, colours, creeds, sexual preference etc) More than 50% of our staff are currently Caucasian therefore just being different will make you more likely to get to the first round. Good teaching and the right fit ultimately matters most. However If all other things were equal then I believe an African, Black American, South Asian, South American candidate etc would win over a European or North American Caucasion candidate at our school.

    Like

  48. Laura says:

    I think I’m overqualified as an international teacher. Yet it took me 3 years from registering with my agency ( 2005-2008) to find employment at an international school. As compared to other younger, non-black candidates. School after school has all – white staff. My middle school was all- White until myself and my co-worker were hired in 2008. It’s almost to the point where I want to go back to my city in the US where the school district will be GLAD to have a master’s-level teacher with multiple certifications and 8 years. I’m tired of having to be a superstar when non-black teachers with much less experience get hired so quickly … It’s starting to make me feel paranoid and not bother applying to schools in certain areas… Best of luck and good wishes to all teachers

    Like

  49. amina says:

    Well said. Very few schools internationally seek diversity. Parents often want the Literature and History of the 1950’s taught. The way people of color and the less fortunate or even disabled are treated is a throwback in time. They perpetuate more racism/backward thinking by not seeking to hire minority administrators and teachers.

    This week Virginia established confederate history month (probably in retaliation/resentment of Black History month) Why would they want to celebrate the rape ,murder and kidnap, and brutal exploitation of Blacks and Native Americans in the name of greed????

    Like

  50. Still Looking says:

    Let me begin by stating that I am a full-blooded Texan with redneck roots (not to say that I’m proud of that latter part of the description). Despite that, I am a convert to Islam and fairly observant in my faith. Outwardly, this is apparent in my groomed beard and head-covering in addition to the combination of my first name, which is Arabic, with my last name, which is from England.

    I entered into teaching to make a contribution to my community. My first administrator in Texas Public schools was African American and, ironically, about the the most bigotted person you can imagine. He had once made a comment that a district initiative people were grumbling about was “Like Islam, out to get you.” He also had numerous grievances leveled against him with the union from other minorities and women.

    I entered into teaching in international schools in the Middle East in hopes that I might work in a qualitiy institution where I assumed employees and students would be more open to diversity. To some extent this has proven true. But generally I have found that, perhaps more than the host culture, expatriot parents at schools in the Middle East are racist, n0uveau-riche elitists whose extreme distaste for the places in which they live lead them to live lives in a bubble where they move compound, to work/school, to mega-mall, to compound. When they have to engage with locals or non-Western expats outside of these contexts, one never hears an end to the complaints. I actually heard a colleague in Qatar describe her shady Indian repair man as “having a very foreign look.” When I replied, “Aren’t 75% of us here foreigners?” she said with a look and tone that could freeze mercury, “You know what I mean.”

    The fact of the matter is, despite mission statements that hope to “draw upon our diverse community” and “honor our status as guests in the host culture,” many expat parents want more from an American or British school than a quality education; they want to preserve the bubble, exemplified in many schools’ celebration of traditional Western holidays to the neglect or total avoidance of local ones important to their significant national student populations. My experience as a White American Muslim is that I represent an intrusion into that bubble. I can relate to the previous post which commented about having every comment and action scrutinized. That is what has happened to me.

    I have been accused of denying the holocaust, despite being proud of my grandfather that was at Normandy and a great great grandfather who was an Orthodox Jew. I have been accused of promoting my faith in the classroom, despite the another group of teachers taking a fieldtrip to a visiting sea-faring missionary organization aboard the Duolos. Parents with a McCarthy-style paranoia complained about a commnent in my international relations class that China is no longer a purely communist country. And finally, I was fired with 6 weeks left in the school year for discussing both Western and Muslim radicalism in my Middle Eastern studies class, a discussion which offended the daughter of a senior military officer in the Iraq war, and was given the rest of my package through August on condition that I did not attempt to contact parents or students for support (because their were many who many who did express their support).

    I have often heard and read on this site a great many complaints about Middle Eastern schools and host cultures. I too am disgusted by the racism on sees from Arabs, all the more so because I am a coreligionist with most of them. Nevertheless, I think those of us living in this situation should use it as an opportunity to reflect upon our own cultural biases. Racism is intolerable anywhere from anyone. But how often have I heard my American and Canadian colleagues refer to a male domestic servant as a house-boy, a term which is remnicent of derogatory names for house slaves? How often have I seen expats criticize legitimate but different cultural practices in East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East? Why are they living in these places if they find these differences so intolerable?

    Bigotry is rampant in international schools, even in monocultural ones, like the one where I currently teach in Egypt. I think it comes with the views predominant in affluent, particularly newly affluent, families. I remember when I saw my second African-American teacher in an international school setting (the first was introduced to a school in Saudi Arabia) my me, at a conference in China. That this sticks out is noteworthy. My experience indicates that it is likely due to discrimination in hiring practices, but my African American colleague in Saudi suggested that many African Americans (and probably Latinos) desire to work within their communities to help these groups cope with the problems that prevent them from accessing the American dream.

    What I do know, is that bigotry is an issue. I have seen it; my colleagues of seen it. Still, it exists everywhere, as evident from my expeience in the states. Ethnic, religious, and other minorities must often make tough choices. We should not see ourselves victims but as ambassadors. If people don’t wish to give you the chance to make a difference, find people who will; there always are.

    Like

  51. LSw says:

    Greetings. I’ve been teaching for 8 years; internationally for four. It was very, very hard to get an international teaching job. As a matter of fact, my first “international” job was actually in a public school in one of the US territories. I’m a black US woman with master’s, multiple certifications, blah blah blah and I can tell you about the level of frustration involved with international school applications….

    I only apply to jobs for which I am qualified, but after I send in my picture – I sometimes get a very nice “thanks but no thanks” email but usually I don’t receive any response. Or the schools reply using the good old “We can only hire teachers that hold UE passports” trick. and each of those EU citizens happens to be non-black. ha ha.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have had the job that I have now. I don’t see how schools that claim to be international can have all-white faculty! As for the poster who claims that sometimes there is an advantage to being non-white in applications – I must say I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

    I have complained, in writing, to my recruiters about this matter over the past few years or so.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you. So many schools claim to be international , but they promote an adea of anti-diversity in hiring. As a result some expat kids develop negative attitudes about people of color as they witness the inter and intraracial prejudice against people of color overseas. They grow up seeing darker-skinned people as servants or teacher /office assistants. They are more critical of teachers of color and the cycly repeats.

      Like

  52. Sher says:

    Dear all,
    I was quite happy to find this collection of voices weighing in on this multi-faceted issue. Indeed, I was pleased to find any specific information at all on the topic of minorities in international education. Generally I believe that diversity in its numerous forms (ethnic, racial, religious, class, etc.) is beneficial to all of our communities and makes them stronger, so that attempts to increase the racial diversity among international teachers strikes me as a significant and worthy goal.
    I have some questions about how that goal may best be pursued which I hope many of you will be inclined to answer: To what degree are you aware of active efforts by schools or agencies to recruit minority candidates?
    How did you hear of opportunities to teach overseas?
    Which avenues do you feel would be most beneficial to reaching potentially interested minority educators?
    What steps can we as individuals in our own teaching communities take to expanding the pool of potential and hired minority international educators?
    I am an Afro-American local hire PE teacher who has taught in the same school for 15 years. I am personally very interested in finding ways to spread the word of opportunity and welcome potentially new colleagues of color to the wider community of international educators. I welcome your ideas and input on how to make this happen.
    Thanks in advance for your support.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      Hi Sher,
      It’s great to see so many teachers interested in this issue. I will be teaching this fall for my first time overseas. A very good (caucasian) friend I taught with 8 years ago introduced me to the world of international teaching. She told me all about the opportunities it would offered me as a traveler and an educator.
      When I got serious about teaching abroad, I realized it was mostly caucasians doing it. No teachers of color had any idea about teaching abroad. It was like a secret among the White teachers. So I guess the reason why we are not out there is because we don’t know about it. I will say the word is definitely spreading, I went to the job fair in Iowa and there were a handful of AA’s at the fair. I had heard in the past if you counted 5 AA’s that was a lot.
      I don’t think schools feel they have to recruit minorities like in the U.S. They are not held to some quota or standard to make sure they have enough minorities working on their staff. They are mostly private schools and have to cater to the parents who are paying the high tuition to send their children to schools that represent the “All American” face in a foreign community.
      The way we can change the attitude about minorities teaching abroad will have to come from word of mouth and teaching colleges talking to graduates about opportunities working abroad. It is important for minorities who are already working abroad to share their experiences and encourage teachers of color to expand their thinking and go global.

      Like

      • MMMC says:

        Congratulations and good luck knittynite!
        Were you able to find a job as a SPED teacher or Gen Ed? Which country will you likely go to? I have had really positive feedback everywhere I’ve considered but I’m waiting until next year when my kids are older. Hopefully, you have a positive first experience. When I worked in S. Korea I had a blast. Race was never an issue outside of what I consider ‘normal’ curiosity. Be blessed!

        Like

        • knittynite says:

          Thank you, I did find a SPED teaching position in Egypt. The Director was very nice and answered all of my questions. I am very excited about the opportunity and I am going into it with a positive attitude. I know it will be an adjustment and a different experience than I am use too, but that’s what I am looking for. I’ve heard mixed opinions about S. Korea. I am willing to explore that country in the future. I guess it comes down to being open minded and being the best representative of your race as possible. I love the adventure. Thanks again and I wish you all the best too!

          Like

      • J says:

        Hi,

        Extremely insightful discussion and comments. It is imperative that we share our experiences as people of colour. I’m of African decent but living in Asia as a Canadian expat. I think an area not discussed here is how established AA or other people of colour of African decent or others can start our own schools or private online tutoring and practice. I understand that most here have heavy qualifications and are ‘real’ teachers. I’m working as a cram school teacher I can confirm as many of you have that discriminatory practices are alive and well! However, in more rural areas opportunities tend to be more abundant and with more desperate employers. At the same time more internationally well

        Like

        • DeDee says:

          I’m not sure that China is at the point where we could begin a physical school. Many parents still expect a white face and I would think even more so in rural areas. And now with the new visa and FEC laws, along with the red tape to begin a business, it would be very off putting to most. The Middle East and some Latin areas would be better options. I’ve seen this same discussion in several FB groups. Someone even started a group for this particular discussion. I did not join the group, so I don’t know if they were able to get anything going or not.

          Like

  53. Anon says:

    Well done, Cece. I am first generation British with Indian parents. I am in an international school in Dubai and there is not problem with colour here that I or my friends (of all colours) have encountered. I hope you checked your school on ISR as there is one international school here that you should avoid like the plague. Good luck and have fun.

    Like

  54. Stephen says:

    Wooo hoo – well done Cece I sense your excitement! Have a great time in Dubai. I have a Kenyan friend who’s working over there in Beacon School I think – she likes it! Have fun!

    Like

  55. cece says:

    I just got back from a recruitment fair in Boston. Out of 200 or so candidates, there were about ten black candidates. I spoke to an AA recruiter who has been a recruiter for over 30 years and he said this was the most black candidates he has seen in all his time. Although the number is still extremely low, at least the number is slowly increasing. I enjoyed the fair and did not feel any discrimination personally. I am an AA woman and recieved a number of interviews and 2 offers. I do believe if you have the credentials and are highly qualified then you have a fair chance. I even had a couple of recruiters WANTING to increase the diversity on their staff so they were looking for qualified applicants of color. I don’t know what I will experience in Dubai (the position I took) but I will remain positive and not let some people’s ignorance ruin this awesome opportunity I have been given.

    Like

    • TLC says:

      CECE,

      Congradulations….What made you choose Dubai instead of South Korea?

      Like

      • cece says:

        lol…I never mentioned that my other offer was in south korea…hmmmm, how did you know that?🙂
        Seriously, it was a very tough decision. I enjoyed both interviews and think I would have been happy at either school. However, after talking to a number of friends and fam, they advised me that for my first time overseas, Dubai may be easier for me since it is pretty westernize and has a good number of expats, not to mention English is used widely. We will see…I realize the sky’s the limit…I may be on my way to Korea after Dubai…who knows!🙂

        Like

    • L says:

      how are you enjoying dubai? i am a black female (with one dependent) and i would love to work in dubai next year. would you mind sharing your experiences?

      thanks,
      lighow@gmail.com

      Like

  56. Lou says:

    I teach in Korea, this being my first time teaching abroad, I have not had any negative experiences due to my race by Koreans. I have lived abroad before too. However, I have noticed that a lot of westerners being very stereotypical and racist towards Koreans. I was hired quickly and would think without reservation and I enjoy my school. I think that because of so much racism endured by people of color in the west it seems that it becomes a deterrent to teach abroad. I say go for it! I have experienced more racism in America than abroad. Don’t believe the hype. Yes, for some people you may be their first experience encountering someone of your background. You are a teacher, you can teach them that people are diverse. I would say just don’t be an ugly American…I see too much of that abroad.

    Like

  57. Duras says:

    Stephen,

    Could you please elaborate your point? I’m not sure I understand.

    General post:

    I feel that a significant number of recruiters and schools could care less about a person’s ethnicity/race. This post is a discussion of when it does happen and the possibility/fact that it does. If one of the white couples didn’t get an interview/job, then maybe they weren’t what a school was looking for. So many factors are involved. Both couples could be in completely different teaching fields or experience levels. That’s a very vague comparison. Just my opinion.

    As a black candidate, just because a school doesn’t hire me doesn’t mean they have an issue with my race. Yes, of course, lots of times it’s just not the “right fit”. I’m not going to play the “race card” just because I didn’t get an interview/job. I’m intelligent enough to know that sometimes you’re simply not what the school is seeking.

    However, this discussion comes about assuming that both candidates have the same qualifications, everything being parallel. Most intelligent people know (I hope) that just because a person of color didn’t get an interview/ job doesn’t necessarily mean race was a factor.

    The fact that a blog on this issue with so many comments exist speaks for itself. If the problem didn’t exist in any form, this blog wouldn’t exist. As I notice, it’s one of the most popular ones.

    I agree with the posts that say everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. We need to learn how to respect that and try to see from various perspectives.

    It’s also okay to agree to disagree. Let’s try to keep this blog in a calm and respective tone.🙂

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      I agree with you. Candidates shouldn’t rush to assume the reason they were not considered for the job was because of their race. Sometimes we have to accept that the recruiter just did not find me appealing enough to want to offer me a contract. There will always be winners and losers in this competition.
      I am intelligent enough to know, if you are someone who can sell yourself in a way that says, “I am a perfect fit” it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have experience or lack of experience, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation, that recruiter will make a place for you at their school. I am talking from experience, being offered jobs were a minority wasn’t even on the radar. So, sometimes it’s luck, being in the right place at the right time, saying all the right things, (I hate to say it) being physically attractive, articulate, confident, not arrogant and lastly have a infectious personality that draws people to you.
      We all want to believe we have the full package, but a lot of us don’t and find fault with the recruiter. As hard as it is to accept, at the end of the day, the recruiters are going to offer jobs to candidates they find most appealing.
      I have enjoyed reading all of the comments and sparring with others. I agree we need to respect everyone’s opinion or experience and help each other find positive solutions to bringing tolerance and more diversity into the International Schools.
      Happy New Year!

      Like

  58. Stephen says:

    Four colleagues went to the Atlanta fair this year (both white couples) one pair had two interviews, the other couple didn’t get an interview. Maybe the South American schools are only hiring green people.

    Like

  59. Duras says:

    Amina,

    You have a strong point. It is beyond degrading. I feel that way sometimes living in Central America. I have had parents in my school think I’m the assistant, maid, help, etc. Some local people are shocked to learn I’m educated (Bachelors and Masters). Locals have even asked my boyfriend (who is white) why are you with her? Excuse me!!!!!

    Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me the way the mestizos/ladinos respond to me. When I lived in South Texas, I got a taste of it. As the only black teacher (I’m a woman) in my entire school, I can say that during my first year here, parents looked at me like: “What the mess?” They didn’t verbalize it, but oh yes, I heard through the grapevine. I wasn’t “American” enough. I’ve heard racial slurs from locals more often than not. Some students at times repeat things they hear at home. Not all are that way, but I’ve never experienced that in the U.S. Sometimes, I feel that it’s 1950 all over again. There are many dark-skinned mestizos, but blacks are very distinctive in their features, and I notice that some locals tend to be VERY black-phobic. What is with this? But then again, Latin America has race issues: the lighter one’s skin tone, the better.

    Another black teacher taught at the school a few years ago; she was fair-skinned. We received two different responses. She looked mixed-race, while I’m more stereotypically black with the kinky hair, dark skin, “african” features. She hardly received the comments I did. Ignorance is so crazy!!!!!!!

    On another note, sort of related, but sort of not. One student had the nerve to say that the only reason Barack Obama is smart and won President is because he’s half-white. Another student was heard calling the darker-skinned students dirty and africanos. (elementary school!, can you believe this?). Three years ago, a student told me “Thank God I’m not black. I would just die!”.

    What is going on? This starts at home. Latin America needs to wake up and get it together!

    So yes, maybe it’s because of reasons like this that Blacks stay home.

    Like

  60. amina says:

    Perhaps Blacks are reluctant to work overseas for these reasons ( racism). It would be degrading to have fought for equal rights here in the USA for centuries and then live somwhere else to face racism similiar to the Pre-civil rights era.

    Like

  61. cece says:

    Thanks for sharing Sandy. I am an African American female who is planning to take my teaching career overseas next year. I appreciate hearing that you are having a positive and rewarding experience, despite your encounters with racism. I think folks like me who have never been overseas need to hear that teachers of color ARE enjoying their experiences overseas. Do you mind me asking what international fair you attended? Also, are there any other teachers of color attending the Search Associates fair in Cambridge? I would love to meet and network with you all…

    Like

  62. sandy says:

    I have to admit that many of these comments are politically correct. I am an Afro-American woman who is married to a Middle Easterner; we both work at international schools in Kuwait. This is my third year of international teaching. Kuwait is my second international school in the middle-east. I can say it has been mainly positive and very rewarding. Racism exists on all sides and my experience it has mainly come from the westerners, my own colleagues. There are two sides to any story and the then there is the truth. I am very qualified for what I am certified in and I do know that my experience in Egypt and Qatar that there are colleagues from the western world who practice racism/discrimination that they would be sued for in the states. My personal experience that many of the westerners have been given adminstrative/leadership positions in these schools and have practiced instituionalized racism. They have a certain amount of given power and so they are able to manipulate certain networks. To note the majority of middle easterners would be classified as black in america and to note on more sophisticated means many of us share the same DNA. From personal experiences, I was denied several areas of advancement, even the opportunity be part of summer programs for extra income. The choices were made by an individual that held certain political/social views but was in good graces with the owners. In Qatar, when I came face to face interview with a particular director, my credentials were equal if not better than hers and what they needed I had all the credentials. She was not only threatened by my credentials but she did not care for the fact I am a well qualified black woman. I am no ones token and to note it is very few minorities who attend the international fairs but those of us who do we are well qualified, usually holding advanced degrees. To work hard and be ten times better than my non-people of color colleagues was instilled in me from the social structure of the states. To those of color as myself, we come from a history of having to go through barriers. What else is new?

    Like

  63. amina says:

    Keep in mind that there is no fear of law suits, press conferences, labor laws ( as in the USA ) when discrimination occurs overseas. No fear of consequences.
    Plus the “”if you’re white you’re right” assumption in many third world countries from ex-pat and brainwashed locals helps to maintain the status quo.
    Even in American media we cling to stereotypes :
    Black man= music, sports, comedy, gangster or the assistant to the white hero in the movies
    White guy = genuis, creative inventor, nerd who is nice guy, leader, superhero,
    White women =nice, slim & beautiful, if morally corrupt she is not at fault (Pretty Woman), naive
    Black women= loud, big, funny , if morally corrupt seems to enjoy it
    The image of a smart Black person is rarely even seen in modern western films

    Like

  64. Diana says:

    I was horrified to find how racist Qatar is. It isn’t just the few hundred children though, its apparent in the community. The school appointed Indians (because they are cheap) and they are accused of smelling, difficulty understanding what they are saying and generally treating them like the maids or cleaners. I said it in class one day and was accussed of being anti Islamic or insulting. I was not allowed to explain that racisim is apparent in all societies, they flat out refused to even acknowledge there was any racism whilst at the same time complaining that ‘they’ smell!

    Like

  65. Stephen says:

    Hi All

    I started the discussion about diversity SOMETIMES having its distinct advantage in the recruitment ‘arena’. I also fully acknowledge AT TIMES the distinct disadvantages of being non Caucasian. I do not claim one balances out the other. Nor do I attempt to some how weight these acts of discrimination. My use of AT TIMES is not meant to be offensive to those who have suffered discrimination. I have already stated my opinion about the two sorts of discrimination I endorse one and certainly not the other. I ask readers to please consider my former postings before casting assumptions on my opinion from this last post.

    To further highlight my point here is actual anecdotal evidence I have personally encountered in an international school.

    I have worked in a school where the principal let it slip that the school owner did not want a black teacher and he and the director were unable to hire one. That same principal (and reportedly the director) were visibly and I believe very genuinely horrified. They both left the school at the end of their contracts (as did I). I do not know their reasons but I suspect this was one of them if not the reason. I believe they genuinely value diversity in a school faculty. I believe that if they hadn’t had this constraint then (with all other things being EQUAL) being culturally diverse would be a distinct advantage if you were to encounter them at a recruitment fair. This principal explained his view that being able to hire a non caucasion would fight the prejudice, increase tolerance and open the closed minds of the students and board of the school to which I refer. He was exasperated. ( I am not a director or principal.)

    Note to Jess. Hi Jess, you stated:

    “If you’re tired of the complaints, then don’t come here. Read something else”.

    I encourage my students not to be passive, to stand up to what they believe, to think critically. I do not think we should walk away, close our eyes or pretend things are not happening just because we don’t like them. I find your remark ironic.

    Like

  66. KC says:

    I am a multi-ethnic American who has taught in various regions overseas. Since moving overseas I was surprised by the lack of diversity among teachers and administrators. While I was teaching at home it was not uncommon to have administrators of color and female administrators, and a very diverse (ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, etc) teaching staff – although I should say that where I grew up is more non-white than white, so this obviously makes a difference.

    I’m not sure if the lack of ethnic diversity among international educators is due to a lack of applicants or discrimination – probably a little of both. Although, I can say I have witnessed and also experienced discrimination overseas which I have not as a teacher in my city in the U.S.

    If one thinks that being a non-white applicant is an advantage in the hiring process due to an administrators desire to create an ethnically diverse staff, I think they are not considering the other factors that come into play. Yes, there are many enlightened administrators out there, but I would say that many parents, especially if they are native to a country that is fairly ethnically homogenous, would rather have their child taught by a white person than a non-white person. I think any non-white person who as ever been asked “Where are you from?” and when the reply baffles the questioner, can attest to this. How many times is a white person told they are lying, and that they are not from such and such country?? This has happened to me hundreds of times. I use this as a teaching moment… “My family has been in the US for over 100 years.” And even if my parents are both first generation immigrants, I am still an American.

    Comments by educators who confuse nationality, culture, ethnicity and race is tiresome. I don’t know if I would call this racism, probably just a lack of awareness. Although it does surprise me when someone teaching overseas does not understand the distinction, or does not bother to use the correct terminology.

    I really enjoy teaching overseas, and would advise other diverse applicants to apply and not to worry about any challenges that may or may not arise from being a minority in international teaching.

    This is a great topic, which deserves a forum -thank you ISR for starting the discussion!

    Like

  67. knittynite says:

    Hey Stephen,
    Sound’s like you are gaining a fan club! I think you are on the losing end of this debate.

    Like

  68. Stephen says:

    Hi Jess

    “Just as often”? You must be joking. What sort of anecdotal comment is that? If you’re tired of the complaints, then don’t come here.

    Point taken “just as often” was a stab in the dark with no experience, facts or figures to back it up – I retract that.

    “Patronizing”

    I guess that’s fair

    “You have no role here in trying to change people’s minds, or for that matter, any responsibility to make people “think.”

    Why on Earth do we even have blogs on the World Wide Web Jess? If we can’t make people think and consider our opinions? This is a blog, surely blogs are for sharing and thinking? You wrote your thoughts and they made me think and I guess that was your intention.

    The notion that you have some sort of enlightening point of view on the subjects broached here is delusional.

    Maybe it cast a small slither of dim light on a subject that up to that point was not broached. I agree what I have to say is not new, life changing or profound.

    Like

  69. Jess says:

    Stephen,

    you may call it “stirring the pot” or “playing devil’s advocate,” but in the blog world, it’s known as “trolling” and “derailing.”

    “However it bothers me to hear black (what ever that means) teachers not acknowledging the advantages their skin tone has as well as the disadvantages.”

    Glad you admit your ignorance, but I think that Black people have a pretty good idea of what “black” means, and what it means to be Black. And what advantages are so significant to darker skin tone in the world of overseas teaching? The opportunity to play into someone’s idea of tokenism, as you suggested some administrators do?

    “I’m tiring of hearing teachers in this blog complaining that the international school scene is racist without acknowledging that just as often it is a distinct advantage to be non- Caucasian.”

    “Just as often”? You must be joking. What sort of anecdotal comment is that? If you’re tired of the complaints, then don’t come here. Read something else.

    “balance is important in any open forum. Sometimes we all need to reflect and think about what we are saying (or failing to say (me included) hence my postings.”

    You’re not pedantic, you’re patronizing. Please don’t tell the readers here what we “need” to do. “Balance” is a red herring. Your privilege of “voice” is heard more than enough in the blogging world and in mainstream media as well. This is a place for people to share. You have no role here in trying to change people’s minds, or for that matter, any responsibility to make people “think.” The notion that you have some sort of enlightening point of view on the subjects broached here is delusional. You’re prevaricating for the sake of derailing the threads.

    Like

  70. Stephen says:

    Hi Knittynite

    “why do you feel I am venting?”

    Having a voice and speaking out is what I understand by venting. We are both venting here (in my understanding of the term).

    “I am curious to know what you think are the advantages to being a non-white candidate?”

    Here it is again copied and pasted please just delete black and replace with non-white: “the relative scarcity of black teachers on the international circuit often puts such teachers in a very advantageous position. Many directors like to be viewed as politically correct, inclusive or whatever you like to call it. They are not blind to the advantages of diversity. Not only for their students and the betterment of the world generally, but they also know how organizations like the IB view this “international climate” during evaluations and accreditations.”

    “Mother tongue English Speakers only being “White”

    I never said mother tongue English speakers are only white, I said (copied and pasted)

    “certainly some parental bodies and school boards discriminate and put pressure on directors to hire mother tongue English speaking whites. Such practice disgusts me.”

    “Directors discriminating against White applicants with the same qualifications and experience” as discriminating”

    Yes of course if everything else (qualificationa and experience) is equal and they chose a non white on the basis of their colour then of course that is discrimination

    “So, if a non-white candidate is offered a job over a white candidate, the Director is only trying to cover his or her butt for the IB evaluations?”

    Here is what I said – I clearly stated they value diversity for diversity’s sake:

    They are not blind to the advantages of diversity. Not only for their students and the betterment of the world generally

    “It’s never because the non-white candidate just might beeee qualified? Is that just tooooo hard to imagine???”

    Not at all, I stated with all other things being equal which implies that the qualifications were equal in the senario I set.

    “Please express your true feelings”

    I have very clearly. I now feel (and wish to add) that this post will become very boring (except perhaps in an entertaining ranting, talk-show kind of way) if I have to keep repeatedly copying and pasting what I have already written. Kindly read before you rant!

    Stephen

    Like

  71. Stephen says:

    knittynite, thank you for acknowledging that there are occasional advantages of being black in the recruitment and selection process as well as the discrimination you face. There’s no problem venting – vent away.

    F.C. you felt the need to mention here that the teachers who discriminated against you were Australian – is their nationality important here? Would you like to tell us their skin tone too perhaps so you can further fuel an image of this race of people?

    OK.. again, I’m stirring the pot and playing the devil’s advocate and I’m not actually offended by your remarks, but I think balance is important in any open forum. Sometimes we all need to reflect and think about what we are saying (or failing to say (me included) hence my postings.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      Stephen,Stephen,Stephen, why do you feel I am venting? I have no grudges or bitter feelings. I am curious to know what you think are the advantages to being a non-white candidate? Please express your true feelings. I am offended by your remark about “Mother tongue English Speakers only being “White”. I am an American born English speaker and very well educated. I also found your remark about “Directors discriminating against White applicants with the same qualifications and experience” as discriminating???? So, if a non-white candidate is offered a job over a white candidate, the Director is only trying to cover his or her butt for the IB evaluations? It’s never because the non-white candidate just might beeee qualified? Is that just tooooo hard to imagine??? humm!

      Like

    • amina56 says:

      The truth is the truth. They were Australian. You seem more concerned about the perpetrator than the victim. The hate is within them.

      Like

  72. F. C. says:

    It has been interesting reading about this situation for non-white teachers. I am black North American, presently teaching in an international school in Asia. I worked in a private local school for five years.

    I did experience discrimination from some of the local teachers and some of the staff from Australia. They were not very pleasant to say the least. At one point I had to sit one of the teachers down and threaten to take legal action if it continued. Yes, I always had to prove myself. I received the Teacher of the Year award and some of those same teachers were visibly upset.

    I am now in another school and the environment is much better. However, it is impossible to move into an administrative position. The excuse is “you don’t have experience” even though I have a Masters in the area I want to work in. The funniest thing is, another colleague with no experience ( nor post-graduate credentials) was given a chance to change into an administrative position.

    All this said, I am glad I have had the opportunity to teach overseas. Even though I have met some obnoxious people along the way, I have had the chance to see the world, meet different people and make a difference in many students’ lives.

    Like

    • Hakeem says:

      Hi FC…what school are you at now? I can recall my first recruiting experience at UNI several years ago! Indeed, I could count on one hand the number of African-Americans in attendance at the fair. Observing this fact, prompted me to communicate to as many of “us” as I could, and began the process of establishing a network where we could keep each other abreast on our experiences on the international teaching scene. I think this is something we should collaborate on…because like you, and many others of us who have posted here,…we have the qualifications (and in some cases, even exceed in qualifications e.g. I have 2 Master degrees, working on my admin. certification, and 14 years teaching experience (including 6 overseas)…but can’t get a nibble at an Administrator’s position…the reality of it is that most schools serve a specific client (those with money, means, and power, which tend to have elitist attitudes anyway) and that client’s perception of what is best for their children is to be educated by Westernized, whites in order to “measure” up to the status quo!
      So, why shouldn’t we network with each other and share experiences we have encountered (the good and the not-so good)….and begin this process of helping each other out! Others certainly do…why shouldn’t we?!
      Thanks…

      Like

      • Michelle says:

        Hakeem – I ‘hear’ what you’re saying about the few candidates of color at the international teaching recruiting conferences of the past. But I can tell you that I am wonderfully, pleasantly surprised to report that the evolution of hiring candidates of color is, in fact, happening!

        I just returned from the AASSA conference in Atlanta, recruiting for a position in South/Central America. And, the candidate list, grown to nearly twice last year’s list, was completely mixed to include candidates from ALL ethnic backgrounds. I’m not sure if this was because we were in Atlanta, of course, but the sea of faces who signed up for this conference were of absolutely every shade possible — many, many African-Americans, in fact I would say nearly half were so. Many Hispanic faces, Asian Indian people, some apparently Middle Eastern people….just every shade of mocha one could hope for in a candidate pool.

        Now that this early conference is over, I’m really hoping that reports come from those who interviewed and received job offers, especially those individuals who are ‘people of color’.

        Maybe this site, ISR, and maybe even this very thread, have helped to cause a positive effect on hiring practices around the world. Kind of exciting!

        Like

        • meb says:

          I also attended the AASSA recruiting fair with my spouse. I was disappointed in that we only were able to get two interviews at the sign up. Despite having excellent references, international experience, teaching couple with science and elementary teaching, we were offered very few opportunities to interview (2). I don’t know if color played a role in this but I was surprised at the difficulty at even being given the opportunity to present ourselves. This experience at AASSA is the reason I am reading this blog.

          Like

          • Michelle says:

            I hear what you say, and have been very curious about how the recruiting fair went for ‘people of color’ at this recent conference in Atlanta. With your experience, background, and then receiving only 2 interviews…well, this just doesn’t seem right, you know?

            I really, very much hope you both weigh in on the reviews here on ISR of the AASSA conference. I don’t know about you, but I was sorely disappointed (even though I did have 2 interviews and was offered a contract). The whole event seemed kinda ‘cheese-y’ to me, yet I can’t exactly explain why. I did, though, send in a AASSA conference review, and again, hope you do, too.

            Like

          • amina56 says:

            See PBS for video clips of “Black in Latin America”. The slavery/discrimination and caste system are explained in this Skip Gates documentary

            Like

  73. Stephen says:

    Sensei will you encourage Caucasians to apply to DODDS also or would you rather exclude them from your invitation? There are many single parent Caucasians with two dependents, non-conformist hairstyles and surnames like “Brown” and first names of “Christian” origin who have the same difficulty you are describing getting jobs in international schools. I know I’m being pedantic here and you meant well. In fact it’s not your post in particular that is riling me. I’m tiring of hearing teachers in this blog complaining that the international school scene is racist without acknowledging that just as often it is a distinct advantage to be non- Caucasian.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      I don’t know if you have ever experienced discrimination but it can make you question everything about your being. I will admit on a few occasions and I am talking about verrrrrry few occasions when being non-Caucasian had it’s advantages.

      Let’s be honest, if you are Caucasian the only competition you have is another Caucasian. What is wrong with people finally having a voice and speaking out about their experiences in the International arena? If you have noticed, everyone has found communities that were accepting and allowing them to live their professional dreams, just like you!

      Like

    • Bill Smith says:

      Stephen,

      Utilizing tact and sensitivity may improve your ability to land a job. I am a Caucasian teacher and I have always receive more international job offers than I can possibly accept.

      Like

    • Sangster2 says:

      When is being a non-white an advantage in an international school?

      Like

  74. Sensei says:

    I am enjoying this thread. It is an issue that I feel has not really been addressed in the world of international education and teaching.

    Two years ago I invested a lot of money and time into finding my dream job abroad. Being an international educator was something I pursued night and day. I attended the fairs, sent emails, etc., but had no luck. I don’t know if it was because of my Arabic last, the color of my skin, the fact that I have two dependent children or my beautiful long dreadlocks,(seems like I had a lot of strikes against me, eh) but I just could not get hired even though many directors that interviewed me replied that I had stellar credentials and an amazing portfolio.

    However, I did not give up. I applied for a position with DODDS, which hires teachers to teach at the various American schools on military installations throughout the world, and was hired without ever meeting the principal or spending a dime. DODDs did not care about my ethnicity nor the fact that I was a Muslim, single with two dependent children. In fact, African-Americans and other non-Caucasian groups are having a field day working for DODDS. In comparison, we are many in number and serve not only as teachers but as administrators as well. In fact, at the installation where I teach here in Japan, there are more African-American administrations than any other group. Some (teachers and administrators)have been in the system for decades and don’t plan on leaving. We know we have it good. Generally speaking, not only do DODDS teachers make more money than most international teachers, the benefits are out of this world. My favorite being the fact that DODDS teachers can travel to many parts of the world for free using military flights. I am in teacher paradise. So, I am blessed that I was not picked up by one of those international schools. They actually did me a favor. I encourage other non-Caucasians to apply to DODDS. No, it is not a perfect school system and yes, it is very competitive. However, I feel that non-Caucasians will have a better chance of getting into DODDS than an international school that judges teacher applicants by their physical appearance and not on merit and qualifications.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      I am soooooo happy to here there are other options out there. I really want to make a difference and expand my teaching experience culturally in an environment that appreciates teachers who are highly qualified, creative and passionate about the profession.

      I agree, the International administrators did you a favor and I am sure many others. Think of all the talented teachers who were turned away because of there race? I will definitely look into DODDS!.

      Like

  75. Stephen says:

    I think there are some very valid points about discrimination in this blog. Some schools, certainly some parental bodies and school boards discriminate and put pressure on directors to hire mother tongue English speaking whites. Such practice disgusts me.

    But take the rough with the smooth, there are also several advantages of being non-white. The relative scarcity of black teachers on the international circuit often puts such teachers in a very advantageous position. Many directors like to be viewed as politically correct, inclusive or whatever you like to call it. They are not blind to the advantages of diversity. Not only for their students and the betterment of the world generally, but they also know how organizations like the IB view this “international climate” during evaluations and accreditations. Such Directors will discriminate against the white applicant with the same qualifications and experience. Is this wrong? I personally don’t think so as I believe kids need a range of cultural role models in today’s society. However it bothers me to hear black (what ever that means) teachers not acknowledging the advantages their skin tone has as well as the disadvantages. Has anyone felt being non white has given them an advantage?

    Like

  76. knittynite says:

    OMG!!! An administrator had the nerve to say that to you? I’ve heard bad things about working in some Asian countries (China, Korea, Japan). I am not surprised, but it is disappointing.

    The comment about students getting upset over photos of non-white artist. Are they taught that those people are not to be celebrated for their accomplishments? Do they realize non-white people have made a difference in the world? Are they worried that it would take away their false hatred for browns and blacks and there won’t be anyone left to look down on? It’s just weird!!!

    Do you feel there’s far more opportunities for African Americans in Europe? Have you taught in Latin America or Africa?

    Like

  77. amina says:

    I am African- American and have had a difficult time at some school due to racism. More in Aisa than Europe. Anywhere people have been colonized is a problem since the colonial attitude still exist. Even the psychological impact (brainwashing ) that label anything associated with Africa as less that /inferior.

    In some schools, parents, students put you under a microscope and it can be very nerve-racking to have your every comment/move scrutinized. You may be spoken to as if you are a lowly servant. I have even had students complain about a person of color being placed among photos of famous artist. SOme students openly get offended if accomplishments of non- whites are discussed.

    Another teacher ( who is white ) and I had a difficult time getting kids to read any novel whit a brown/black person on the cover ! She was shocked that students( Asian and white American) refused to even look at them.

    Often times Black male students have a difficult time in Asia and the Middle -East. One administrator told a Black parent that his son was being harassed by Arabs because they see his ( his color) as the son of hired help

    I have been in job fairs where admin interviewing me have made comments like ” If you come here to work you might get AIDS” , Well if we hire you the problem is , who are you gonna date ? and “Have you ever been with a white guy? I have been oversees for many years now and find European administrators much more open to diversity.

    Thing were better at the last fair, but there have been some tough time due in part to the lack of teacher rights/protection or labor unions.

    Like

  78. Tazz22 says:

    I am an African American man married to a Filipino woman working in Germany and I have to say this has been the best experience of my teaching career. My wife also works at the school and our daughter attends school here. We have been treated extremely well by the administration and the parents at our school. I have met several good people and could not ask for more. I actually have been treated much better here then I ever was in the states. I do not feel that our race is an issue. We have strong qualifications and we present ourselves in a professional manner and I think skin color has nothing to do with our passion to educate young people. Racism does exist I know. I am not blind, I am from the Southern part of the United States, but our international experience has been very pleasurable and I encourage every educator to look into the experience black or white.

    Like

  79. AP says:

    Racism exists and we all know that so I’m not sure why people are surprised by it. It also exists in the recruitment of teachers. Sadly enough, I’m going to quote Avenue Q, “Everybody is a little bit ‘lacist’.” It’s true. It doesn’t anger me; I use it as a teaching moment and to prove myself.

    You just also have to learn and pick to go where you are wanted. I would agree that some regions, administrators would hesitate hiring people of “colour” more than others, such as the Middle East and Asia. Some do this to avoid difficulties for themselves and for the teachers; however, some are racist and would not give you an opportunity. It would be best to avoid them anyway. For me, it’s not a battle worth fighting.

    On the other hand, there are some great administrators out there who look to diversify the faculty with all ethnicities and nationalities. If you are in a more “racist” region, then the administrator who hired you believe that you can handle it so rise to the challenge. Those inspirational people are the ones you want to work for so look for that vibe when you interview.

    I’ve been lucky and met people who saw my talent rather than my ethnicity or colour. In some ways, it has worked in my favour. I’ve worked in Latin America twice and this is my second post in Europe.

    I’m Asian and a principal and don’t see too many other faces like me at administrators’ conferences. The reality is that there are just fewer people of “colour” in the international circuit; therefore, fewer administrators. If you really want to change this, then become an administrator and change what you see. That, for me, is a battle worth fighting.

    Like

  80. Anonymous says:

    Well I can recommend Jeddah prep in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. We have a truely ethnic mix of staff. the only thing in common is that they are well qualified and good teachers ( as yet only two US citizen- one Muslim white, and other of Indian origin). Many of the non- British staff are amazed at how racism does not exist here (especially black/ asian South Africans). I think the Brits (educated ones anyway) have never had a tradition of racism. My US friends of colour tell me that has not always been the case back in US. We really do not see it. Mixed race children are common in school, in fact probably make up about 30% of student body. Reflects current trend in the Uk which has the highest rate of mixed marriages in the world (currently 40%). So top British schools maybe a way in to a non- racist environment. The biggest barrier will be qualifications and experience- the same problems I would have apply to US schools- as curriculum and methods may be different. Also there are very few job vacancies, only one last year- people tend to stay. Also British International in Jeddah. The most highly promoted person internally has been an Afro- Caribbean British person. After one year Head of department and then Head of year. There are places out there that will welcome anyone who is good!

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely check out Jeddah. Sounds like a great place to start a career in International teaching.

      Like

  81. MLR says:

    First I would like thank ISR for bringing this up as a topic of discussion.

    I am an African American woman teaching living and working overseas for 7 years. I have lived in the Caribbean, North Africa, and now Southeast Asia. Each nation has been enjoyable and yes in each country I have experienced some racism via comments or taunts on the street, or being denied access to a restaurant and the occasional (one time) inappropriate comment from my colleagues. I agree with CJ, that there have been times I have had to prove myself and it has made me stronger and a better teacher.

    I am unsure if race has played a factor in getting a job or not. That being said the international circuit is not very diverse, but there is more diversity than you might think. I have worked with other African American, Latino, and Asian teachers. I have been pretty successful thus far, but I am not foolish enough to think that race does not matter to some. There are some places where I would not go due to the racial climate of the country and the perception and treatment of people of color. I am speaking about Eastern Europe.

    Students have always been respectful because of the relationship that we cultivate in the classroom. We work hard and the parents have always appreciated that.

    I will say one thing, in all my travels when people stop and ask me where I am from and I respond America I would always get a strange look or further questions. All that stopped on Nov 2008 when for the first time I was recognized as am American with a man shouting at me, “Hey Obama” as he smiled broadly.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      Thank you for replying to this topic. I have been researching for several months and could never find any information about Black Americans teaching Internationally. I would like to hear more about your experience teaching abroad because I am in the process of applying to schools and considering a job fair.

      Thanks

      Like

      • I worked in Kuwait and Qatar says:

        Hey knittynite,
        Send me an email because I am African American and I worked in Kuwait for 1 year and Qatar for 4 years. Yes, there is racism in the Middle East but if you are qualified and speak well you should have not problem. I can give you more details about the culture. I happen to be a muslim too so I know there culture.

        Like

        • knittynite says:

          Thanks, I would like to hear about your experience in the Middle East. I am currently researching various regions and Qatar looks very interesting. I am going to the UNI fair next month and would like to talk. How can I contact you?

          Like

        • clementine_614@hotmail.com says:

          Hi, I notice you’ve taught in Qatar for 4 years. I am an African-Canadian female (who is also muslim) and I would like to apply for jobs in Qatar and UAE. Which schools did you find were racist, or hard to get jobs at for black educators? How can I contact you? I have so many questiions about the process, and would appreciate your advice.

          Thanks

          Like

        • trinilady85 says:

          Hello, I know this post is quite old, but I am a Black female Muslim hoping to find a teaching opportunity in the Gulf. Any suggestions on good open-minded schools would be appreciated..

          Like

  82. Hakeem says:

    I have been teaching in the Middle East for over 6 years now…I can honestly say, from my observations… 1) Administrators (Principals / Directors) are all white…never have I seen a person of African origins in an administrative position of school leadership; 2) Very few teachers of record are Black (maybe some TAs…but never the teacher! What gets to me is that the students are mostly nationals (Arab, and Muslim), but only see and experience white educators, who by nature, will bring their bias into the classroom!

    You can’t fault the teachers…it’s the person(s)responsible for doing the hiring (and those above them…the school board) and if the teachers they hire look like them…well, enough said! I was just lucky…

    Like

    • Bill Smith says:

      The Superintendent at the American International School of Jeddah is an African American person. There are teachers here that are Black also. FYI

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      i must disagree though, although i have experienced racism in the middle east, I am and have continued to have leadership position, I am the Key Stage One Coordinator,

      I am not principal or anything like that, but hey who knows we have not seen all International schools,

      Like

    • Sangster2 says:

      I saw an African American lady recruiting for Shanghai American School at the January Search Job Fair last year. She was in admin.

      It seems it is easier for black/Asian women to get jobs in international schools if they are married to a white guy. I’ve seen a lot fewer minority males in international teaching than females.

      By the way I am black, married to a white male.

      Like

  83. Anon says:

    I am of Indian origin but educated in Britain, my husband is white American. I have been teaching in international schools for over 20 years and have not experienced prejudice at the job fairs. In fact my husband and I have usually had several offers to choose from. This could be because I teach maths and we are both experienced IB teachers. However, we have met with racial prejudice from one or two ‘colleagues’ but this is rare.

    Schools and colleagues are often unwilling to deal with racism or admit that racism exists in their international environment.

    Like

  84. starsnstripes says:

    I am Asian American, my dear husband is Caucasian, we’re both certified teachers from the USA and have a few years of international teaching experience.

    I was initially doubtful about my chances of being employed at an international school. I thought that schools would be more interested in my husband and he would be my only chance of getting hired. To my surprise, there have been several times when I was offered a job and told that they would try to find a position for my husband.

    Maybe the effects of racism are lessened because I’m female and born in the USA, but so far I haven’t experienced anything career damaging.

    Now, on the other hand in some of the countries that I’ve lived in, I’ve seen women who were born in Southeast Asia. My heart goes out to them, they are often times in terrible situations.

    Please donate money to International Justice Mission, they are a fantastic NGO who fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. While I was in college I had the blessing to intern for them.

    Like

    • irene says:

      Hi Stars and Stripes:

      I am Asian-American – have counseling and teaching experience in the US. Can you tell me if there were any problems getting hired in Asian countries?

      Thanks so much!

      Like

  85. MW says:

    Personally I find the use of the term “person/teacher of color” offensive and confusing. We are all “of color”. It may be politically correct, but it is just substituting one term for another. Can’t we be better than this?

    Like

    • Michelle says:

      MW – Being a person who is white–No, wait…I should say beige/tannish/off-white/cream–please enlighten me as to the ‘proper’ term to include ALL the people of various non-beige skin color? If we are making a comparison between the two groups, what would you find acceptable as a term for written and spoken language to differentiate?

      Yes, it’s of course true that we are all “of color”. Even the color white has hundreds, if not thousands, of tonalities as anyone who’s stood at the paint counter in Sherwin-Williams can attest.

      But, to you, what is the least offensive and least confusing term you suggest for people with an indigenous heritage, who are not beige/tannish/off-white/cream?

      If we are to be “better than this” in terminology, what do YOU suggest?

      Like

    • amina56 says:

      It is not confusing. It is what it is–Person of color = non white ( non- Eruropean bloodline). Nothing offensive at all.

      Like

  86. cj says:

    I am an African American and I definitely sense racist vibes from some people during some interviews, especially in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. (no it isn’t your imagination. ) Even at the schools I worked I always felt I had to prove myself. This has made me a much better teacher than most and a stronger person so I am not complaining but it is very inconvenient and can feel isolating. Some schools do make an effort to have the staff reflect the diversity it claims to honor and support but I feel that staff and the schools aren’t the problem. It is usually racist students and parents who are used to minorities being their servants, maids and lackeys. I have been blessed to teach lower grades and I can honestly say they don’t see color. I hope I can dispel negative stereotypes as an example and model. I also hope that this sad reality does not dissuade people of color from entering the international school job market. It has been a wonderful experience. Most minorities are accustomed to dealing with racism stateside but I am still taken aback by the racism I experience in “international” schools. On the other hand, in some situations I have felt more welcomed abroad than at home in the states. Go figure.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      Thank you for responding to this topic. I strongly agree with you about always having to prove yourself. There is this CRAZY assumption that only “White” teachers can teach minority students. I know exceptional teachers of many ethnic and cultural backgrounds. True diversity is reflected in the staff as well as the students.

      I find it ironic that people in the Middle East (brown skins) and Asians (yellow/red/brown skins) have the nerve to look down on other “minorities”, when the blue eyed, Blonde teacher’s they rush to employ to teach their children see them as the “servant, maids and drivers” in their home countries.

      I commend you trying to dispel the awful stereotypes. I hope I get the opportunity to become a role model to young students next year and let them see there are great teachers in every ethnic group.

      I would like to talk to you further about your experiences in International teaching, please email me.

      Thank you.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        This is so true and I than both of you for shedding more light on this never rare topic.

        I agree with you 100% I currently teach at an International School in Egypt my second, I was terminated without warning from the other because the parents have all the right in that school and of course i had no rights, one parent came up to me and said “what right have I, and who do I think I am for giving her 9 year old daughter detention for being unruly in class (school rules by the way).

        Unfortunately she is good friends with the owners who are Egyptians and they terminated me without any notice mind you.

        So yes these things do happen and it’s all because of their rediculous “class system” where if you make 2cents more than someone you are considered a higher class than them.

        Just in case you were wondering what school that was Cairo British School.

        DON’T GO THERE!!!

        There are other well established International schools in Cairo, like the one i’m presently at Maadi British School

        Like

  87. An Observer says:

    There are places of acceptance for sure but. as a person of privilege in terms of ethnicity and nationality, I have no felt the pain of discrimination based on skin colour but I have observed discriminatory attitudes towards colleagues that are of non-white status. It is not just a school, but a community or nation that also affects one’s place and settlement. Perhaps the school population is a factor to consider. If the school is international and has a mix of ethnicities and nationalities, the risk of discrimination may be decreased. National schools might be problematic and something that should be strongly considered. The administration of such schools may be wiling to promote diversity but this does not mean life will be easy in a community. If you are similiar in physical characteristics to a migrant labour force, acceptance is questionable. This may definately lead to institutional and systemic forms of racial discrimination. There is something in the idea of certain schools seeking a certain “look”. In general, great care is needed in accepting any position anywhere that is not seen as a promoter of human rights.

    Like

  88. Anonymous says:

    I am non-American, non-European, non-Australian etc citizen. Of course not white race. I am English as a second language person (my first language is other than English). But what I can say is that if you have similar characteristics, it is possible to be hired as a teacher in international schools.

    I have been in international schools over 4 years and I haven’t had any issues with parents or students, but had so much appreciation from them. However, in a job fair, I was told because of my nationality, ethnicity or whatever the reasons are, they didn’t give me the chance of interview. Now I got one of best international schools in the region so it came out ok. But the racism may make you difficult to get a job in some schools.

    If an employer is racist (of you may feel that way when you talk to him/her), the school is not for you. Try to find out who you can trust and who you can work with the best. Locations or benefits etc come second in my case.

    Like

    • bes says:

      Hi. I too is a non native English speaker but I am an excellent teacher basing from tough evaluations from schools in the US.I got an offer from a very wonderful Principal who advocates building bridges across cultures.Sad though that the sister school which have the same motto hires only English native speakers.I started sending applications to international schools which have needs for my specialization. I already got some responses immediately turning me down because of my nationality. Some are polite enough to say that if I will be shortlisted then I will be contacted again.Some even say I do not meet the qualifications they are looking for but they hire teachers with just 2 years of experience.There are many inconsistencies really. Schools who are only hiring native speakers should remove the “international from their school’s name because they are not true to their words.

      Like

  89. DMHansen says:

    I work at Bilkent, in Ankara,Turkey. We have teachers of color on staff as well as many with non-teaching spouses. Not great package but can get a free masters while here and gain overseas experience.

    Like

    • trav45 says:

      Hey, I used to work at BUPS/BIS, too. We had a wonderful african-american librarian then, who was married to a European teacher and they had a child. I remember talking to her about it, and she said everyone was great to her, unlike at home.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I recently finished summer camp in Turkey with Leeds Academy, I don’t think Turks are racist at all!!!

        Their are lot’s of Africans in Istanbul I was in a small city called Tarsus near off Mersin, was treated like Royalty it was too much at times but i must say i loved it🙂

        Then again, I do not look like typical African I am of both African and Latin American descent.

        Like

        • Thomas Johnson says:

          Being African-American I honestly think it depends on the moment at times. I worked in a Turkish School in Budapest, Hungary. The administration and the students were very supportive and kind towards me and my Bi-racial child, who attended the daycare.

          But my image was used in quite a bit of school advertising to look like it was diverse, even after my contract wasn’t renewed.

          I applied for a teaching position in Instanbul. After some email exchanges with an administrator we arranged an interview. This administrator made it quite clear that I needed a webcam so I can be seen. Well we had the interview via skype and he told me he would send me some documentation after the interview. After the interview, he never sent me anything. I sent several messages in the following days to this administrator and failed to get a single reply or explaination.

          I can’t think of any other logical explaination for this by racial discrimination.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            It is funny you mention being treated like royalty. A friend of mine is in Bucharest, Romania and that is her experience. They treat her and her mixed race son like royalty. I got the same treatment whilst teaching in the Canary Islands. I really liked it. I mean white people get treated special in many places just because they are white. It beats getting treated badly.

            I think being used in the school’s advertising is quite normal. Schools which aren’t very diverse tend to always have that blonde kid in the brochure, so why not have the black person?

            The admin guy could have rejected you because of race but it doesn’t have to be that. Many people seem to experience not hearing from people they have interviewed with though everything seemed to be okay. You can’t really tell and if he was racist then you don’t want to be at his school anyway.

            Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Well this is an ongoing issue as how do you deal with it when the head of a prestigious recruiting organisation with the word “international” in it’s name tells a long experienced on different continents and with a successful track record is told that they cannot be placed by this organisation as they were a candidate was a “third world national” but that didn’t stop them charging this poor third world national teacher a 50 US$ fee for processing the application. why not put it out on their website ” candidates, coming from third world countries need not apply”. At least then we know what we are up against. Well talk of bigotry, hypocrisy and double standards.
      Firstly in modern economics, the term “third world” is outdated and seocndaly what does that have anything to do with teaching. Isn’t experience, records, qualifications, standards and practices more important or has education lost all sense of sincerity!

      Like

  90. OSMarsupial says:

    A colleague was telling me that a non-white applicant applied for a position in my school and the director flat out refused to interview the applicant due to the attitude of students, parents and the community.

    Like

    • knittynite says:

      It is disturbing to hear about Director’s refusing to interview applicants because of race. When a Director reacts that way, it sets a negative tone in the school culture, that diversity isn’t welcomed. Please tell me the name of the school, so I will not waste my time applying there.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        not sure what school that was, but I can tell anyone of colour thinking of applying to Cairo British School CBS DON’T DO IT!!!!

        The owners and parents are the “new rich” type of Egyptians and very very racist, I would know, i was victim to their racism.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks, now I know why I wasn’t considered at CBS. They are going to have to talk to God about my color, he made them and me.

          Like

      • Anonymous says:

        i that experience with hong kong international. i had spoken with the director (madeline heidi – she’s not there anymore) via email before the job fair and was the FIRST person in line to sign up for an interview at the job fair and she looked at me and told me she had already hired someone. yeah, ok..

        Like

        • John56 says:

          I also experienced the racism at HKIS. Kids and parents were great , but admin and a colleague felt threatened despite parents and student positive feedback and high test scores

          Like

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