Safe, Sound & Far Away

June 28, 2012

ISR periodically receives reports from teachers who tell us their schools demand there be no posting of reviews to ISR. We recently learned of two teachers in Korea, fired after being falsely accused of posting a review. A director wrote to tell us his school in Thailand was moving to have him jailed for comments he made on the site. (Fortunately, he managed to leave without consequence.)

In light of the under-handed actions and threats on the part of some schools, many teachers remain silent during the term of their contracts. However, once they have completed their obligation and distanced themselves from their situation and the fear of reprisals, they feel safe and motivated to share with colleagues what it’s like to work at these schools. This explains why the close of the academic year ushers in an increased influx of Reviews to the ISR web site.

Doesn’t it seem ironic that institutions with long, detailed mission statements, professing to produce ‘Global Citizens,’ are simultaneously squelching the constructive criticisms of their staff? Seems rather hypocritical if you ask us! Have you had personal experience with this topic? How widespread is the practice of schools threatening teachers in regard to posting to ISR and other web sites? What’s your opinion on this topic?

You’re Under Arrest!

June 21, 2012

“Dear ISR, I’m about to embark on my first international teaching assignment and I’ve noticed lately on the news there’s a fair amount of overseas travelers who get arrested for one reason or another. My family is starting to obsess on the dangers of living outside the U.S. and the possibility of getting entangled with local authorities. Has anyone at ISR had any experience with this? I think my family, and myself for that matter, would feel a whole lot better hearing from teachers who spent some solid time overseas and can offer advice.

“From what I’ve read on ISR it looks like some schools cannot be depended on. Geez, in one situation the director actually departed for summer vacation and left this poor teacher to fend for herself against serious allegations. But really, what clout would the director of an “American” school have with local authorities anyway? I did read about another situation where an influential parent was able to get a teacher (who was arrested for driving with an expired international license) out of jail.

One reason I’m especially nervous about all this is because my new school is telling me  to come on a tourist visa and they’ll get me a work visa once I’m there. Is this normal? Can  I be arrested for working without a work visa? As you can see, I can use some advice!”

Just for FUN

June 14, 2012

The school year’s over! Let’s lighten things up for the summer months & step-back a bit from the more serious topics we usually tackle here at ISR…

An interesting topic, Just for FUN, recently appeared on the ISR Forum. Responses from participants caught our eye & aroused our curiosity, so just for fun we’ve decided to share this intriguing transplant from the Forum with the entire ISR audience:

It’s summer & I’m dreaming about traveling overseas. 
Just for FUN
, let’s talk about the following:
Best overseas food
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried
Best beer/spirits
Best festival/event
Best place you went for vacation overseas
Here’s how a few Teachers responded:
Best overseas food: Japan!
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: raw Sea urchin
Best beer/spirits: Polish Beer tents on  warm spring day!
Best festival/event: Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Kenya Safari
Best overseas food: Italy!
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: Monkey Brains, China 
Best beer/spirits: Cold draft Tiger beer, hot South Asian day
Best festival/event: Full Moon, Thailand
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Brazil
Best overseas food: Everything on a Kerala houseboat
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: Squiggly white African grubs
Best beer/spirits: German beer
Best festival/event: Munich’s birthday
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Camera safari-India
Now it’s YOUR Turn to Share YOUR Favorites!
Just copy the list with the yellow squares (above) into memory. Then paste it into your reply box –  next, supply the answers.

Swim Suit Edition 2012

June 7, 2012

Summer is on the horizon & if you haven’t yet decided where to spend your vacation, you’re not alone. For those seeking secluded, pristine beaches, tropical get-aways, outrageous dive spots & locales where swim suits are the attire of the day, our Swim Suit edition may hold the answer!

From Thailand to Barbados, Sri Lanka to Bali, we have international teaching colleagues living & teaching in vacation havens around the globe. We all know that when we live abroad–as opposed to just passing through on the way to the next tourist stop–we become intimate with wonderful spots that lie well below the radar of commercial travel guides. These are the spots we’d all like to know about for the summer months ahead.

I learned about Ko (island) Phi Phi from a classroom aide. Another colleague told me about Carbarete of the Dominican Republic where we rented a beach house & spent the summer luxuriating in the warm tropical atmosphere. Sharm el Sheik on the Red Sea & Candidasa, Sri Lanka were two more super Swim Suit vacations I learned about from colleagues & otherwise would have missed.

Do you have a vacation spot where the water’s perfect, the sand shimmers, the locals welcome families & the overall ambiance envelopes you in a soothing, rejuvenating sea of relaxation that makes the rigors of teaching seem like a distant past? If so, please join us here at the ISR Swim Suit Edition 2012 to share your tantalizing locales & learn about other favorite discoveries.

If you’d like a photo to accompany your blog post,  please send as an email attachment along with some text to help us match the photo to your post.