International Teachers’ Bill of Rights Revisited

Once overseas you may find you’ve left your rights far behind

Schools with glowing reports on International Schools Review all have one  thing in common, their adherence to the tenets of the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights. In other words, these schools treat their teachers with honesty and respect.

If you’re from a country with unions to protect teachers’ rights, you may take these protections for granted. But once overseas you may find you’ve left your rights far behind.

A natural tendency is to think, “It can’t happen to me”. Yet, reviews on ISR show that it can  and does. Before signing a contract with an international school, we suggest you review the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights to decide which points are important to you. You’ll want to verify a school’s position on these items.

There are many excellent schools in the world. You’re sure to have the best experience at schools that support the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights.

Click to view  International Teachers’  Bill of Rights

8 thoughts on “International Teachers’ Bill of Rights Revisited

  1. As someone who has taught in three different international schools and leaving the career – i will say that there needs to be more help for international teachers. It isn’t right how some private/international schools treat their teachers.There needs to be an international body- quick on the draw with local labour laws/ working rights. Most of the schools i have experience with are businesses who bend according to parents wishes (people who are not educators). It’s a tough industry.


  2. Besides the helpful reviews at ISR, another useful resource for learning about a school is to ask to see their Accreditation Report. Any school worth considering should be willing to share these reports, allowing helpful independent reflection on the school, with its strengths and weaknesses. Search the school website for WASC (if WASC certified) for example. If the school website doesn’t have its own search function, use google search preface with site: like this: “site:www.schoolwebsite.whatever WASC” substituting the school website and no quotes. Not all schools will have their accreditation reports online, but many do.


    1. I agree that it may be helpful to read accreditation reports but would add the caveat that one should remember that schools with unethical directorates, boards or administration are being reviewed by teams made up of their peers. It is all too easy for them to ensure “window dressing” for the occasion and for them to filter out ‘red flags’ prior to final submission of their review documentation. The review team may also ‘see’ only what these unethical administrators want them to see. Also remember things can change rapidly in a school especially ‘when the ball is rolling downhill’!


  3. In India, I have found that contracts are altered on a daily basis with excuses for non-compliance. My contract reads 5 days a week, but now I am told I must be there 6 days a week and sometimes from 8-5:30 or salary will be cut. All the items mentioned in my contract were broken and I am still waiting after 7 months for health insurance which, according to my contract would be provided my a carrier of my choice up to $200.00 a month. I have given them the names of 2 carriers and each time I have been told thank you we will check them out.


  4. Tenets of this document should extend to local hire ex-patriate teachers who are discriminated against simply based on geographic point of hiring. I was a bachelor degree teaching certificate holding teacher from Canada who didn’t receive housing, return airfare among other amenities simply because I happened to be hired in country and not at an ISS or Search fair. As a Canadian with a strong sense of social justice, I was dismayed as to how an organization could rationalize having people of the same countries of origin with the same credentials doing the same job as colleagues receiving significantly different remuneration packages. The Bill of Rights needs to include tenets that prohibit schools from using these discriminatory tactics that are quite simply cost cutting measures that help their bottom line at the expense of equal remuneration.


  5. The Bill of Rights most definitely outlines what one would expect to receive in the United States, most of Europe and a handful of other developed countries. My current director talked a good story when I showed him the Bill of Rights last year while interviewing. In reality, what he spoke to and what he subscribes to are two very different realities. Keep up the good work ISR. At this point in time I think you’re the only thing we have to ferret out the phonies that use us as commodities to line their pockets.


  6. I work at a so called “Top Tier” school where teachers have no rights and where the school admin will whitewash and lie to protect their own. Teachers new to international schools need to understand that the rights and protections they expect and receive at home will not be honored overseas if it is to the detriment of the school or an administrator. The staff at my school has had their eyes opened in the past year as admins ran roughshod over staff and any sense of fairness and it doesn’t matter that we are on lists of top schools in the world.


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