Really? A Web Site to Evaluate International Teachers?

surprise12156095International Schools Review provides a venue for International educators to share information about International schools and administration. Recently, ISR caught wind of the possibility that a site specifically to evaluate International educators may be in the making. We cannot concretely verify the information but the future possibility seems to be very real.

Teachers in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Wales are already evaluated on RateMyTeacher and RateMyProfessor, two popular teacher-rating sites already on the internet. Imagine a web site titled RateMyInternationalTeacher where students, parents and administrators would be provided an opportunity to share their impressions of YOU.

Specific problems we foresee with such a web site include the broad cultural divide. For example: International educators essentially immerse themselves in academic and social cultures far different from their own. Parent and student expectations in these cultures may be quite different from the expectations placed on a teacher back in their home country. Thus, a host-nation parent’s review of an American teacher in Oman (for example) may be based on criteria the International teacher doesn’t aspire to meet. Being evaluated on a set of criteria that exists outside one’s own culture seems detrimental to an educator’s career.

What’s YOUR perspective on the advent of web sites designed to solicit reviews and rating of International educators?

52 Responses to Really? A Web Site to Evaluate International Teachers?

  1. roberto says:

    It is disturbing listening to administrators actually advocate for a website to blacklist teachers. That is what they are talking about really. ISR has no effect on a principal or director getting hired yet this teacher rating system would. This is a completely different scenario. Any administrator who is highly critical of ISR and/or advocates for a website dedicated to blacklisting teachers is most likely a real scumbag! ISR is the only thing out there that empowers teachers in a business absolutely rife with unfair and often times illegal treatment by administrators who take advantage of immoral and unethical labor standards.

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  2. Wilbert says:

    You might as well all be arguing if it is ok if it rains in China tomorrow. What do you think that you are going to do about a site that prints a bad review of you? Spend the time and money to sue a webhost that, if the site owner was smart, is located in some location that can’t be touched by you.

    I just have to restate, any school that used a site with no control for who posted on it, is NOT a school that you want to teach at. Consider it a gift to help you discern the good schools from the bad. On top of that, the site doesn’t even exist yet. How do you think that it will get so popular that all of these foreign or expat parents will know about it so that all of you will even be included?

    I’ve never met a U.S. principal who would even think about looking at ‘Rate my teacher’ when making hiring decisions because calling your past bosses is much more reliable. I find the number of people who think that their rights extend into preventing anything that they don’t like very strange.

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  3. Carl says:

    Free speech. No one is above the law. Let it roll.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    All is fair in rating and ranking. Streets run both ways. If the big bosses are open to critical response so should faculty. Not sure if all are familiar but 360 Review is a concept that some schools use where you get reviewed by all of those who work with you.

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  5. dfresshh says:

    Another interesting & contentious blog, congrats ISR! Like the past blog on directors doing illegal stuff and being able to get away with it, I would suggest we look not at what is, but what could be, how things could be different. What can be done to change things, protect good teachers who may not always kiss admin arse?

    I would agree that the blogs here on ISR do have the potential to be unfair, as do the teacher rating sites. Could there be a way to mediate these sites, create some sort of ability for people to respond to accusations? In a court of law, this is supposed to be available, why not on blogs? Then, these blogs would not just be stirring stuff up, but actually helping to create some sort of dialogue, find truths & solutions rather than a bewildering array of vitriol or inflated critiques…

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  6. Koshka says:

    I feel that if there is a site then it has to be just the administrators rating their teachers by a set standard of criteria like we have for the Admin on this site. I think that would be fair enough, simply because we would have to approach it the same way we do here- take it with a grain of salt. Just because one person gets a bad review does not mean they are a terrible administrator or teacher, if you start reading several then maybe it is a wake up call to change your behviour or tactics at work.

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  7. J Dalvia says:

    Funny how it’s ok for a site like ISR to be online for disgruntled teachers to rag on their schools, for right or wrong, but when the table is turned, all the crap teachers start panicking. Not so comfortable when the shoe is on the other foot is it?! I welcome a site where administrators can warn potential employers of all the worthless teachers out there not to make the same mistake they did.

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    • weedonald says:

      J Dalvia…..its fair for both teachers and administrators to be able to avoid poor choices in schools and managers or teaching staff. Nobody on this website supports poor or inept teachers but we don’t lump the posters on this site as ¨disgruntled¨ since more than most praise their schools. They are doing what administrators do, honestly assessing what they might get if they make a bad choice or a good one. Crap teachers??? Then you must have been a ¨crap¨ administrator to see such vitriol and hyperbole when writing about teachers. You must have been one who ruined some teaching careers by blacklisting teachers because your high standards and blinkered expectations weren’t met!
      Anyway, if you have a bone to chew about teachers in general and like generalizing about them….try your beloved administrators sites where that is de rigeur, instead of coming here to diss people who care as much, if not more, about improving education and preventing abuses like you seem to advocate.

      Like

  8. John says:

    I think it’s a GREAT idea! If ISR was created to help people get a better sense of what international schools are like, then those international schools should also have the means to look at some teachers. As a teacher, I came across one or two colleagues that made me seriously wonder how they managed to get past the interviews : They were lazy, unethical, UNLICENSED (!).

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    • Still hoping says:

      ‘Licenses’ are not everything, kiddo. All these do, imo, is ‘standardize’ instructors for the places they come from, not the international arena. Being ‘too American’ is a common problem for IB hirers today, or should bloody be. As to the other two, well duh. Imo successful international school applicants will have taught successfully abroad already and be able to prove it.

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  9. Thomas says:

    I totally agree after 18 years of experience.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    As a statistics teacher I know that voluntary responses, such as those on teacher rating websites, tend to be negative. The same is true here. I don’t choose a school based on what is posted here, but I do look at it. If there is OVERWHELMING evidence of problems it probably has some validity. If there are just one or two posts over the last 5 years then it’s probably a good school. Although this school has helped me avoid a couple of disastrous contracts I know that the negativity is normal. I take it all with a grain of salt.

    I have also checked myself out on ratemy teacher. Over the last 10 years 2 kids said they hate me, 2 others said they loved me. I suppose all the rest were too busy doing my homework to waste time going to frivolous websites.

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  11. Anon says:

    The difference is that teachers, in most cases, are already being constantly evaluated by everyone (parents, administrators, students). There are appraisal processes at schools whereby administrators have to carry out observations of teachers and teachers have to set goals and work toward them or otherwise find themselves in danger of losing their job. If a teacher is not doing a good job, if there are constant parent or student complaints, administrators already have the power to rectify the situation. Teachers are mostly powerless when it comes to ineffective schools/administrators, on the other hand, and typically have to sit quietly while taking it on the nose. If you can be objective enough while reading these reviews, it’s very helpful to people who are making decisions to uproot their lives and move overseas for several years. It’s the only voice international teachers get since most of us don’t have access to unions and are usually expected to not question anything or create waves at our schools.

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  12. Mark says:

    I have no problem with this.

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  13. Dr. Barbara Spilchuk says:

    Folks…get used to this concept. The good thing about the ISR forum is that teachers are given a voice. At universities, students are given a voice and I believe they should be as consumers of the education provided there. There should also be a place for parents to have a voice…I agree with the goose and gander theory… I say, “Bring it on!”

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  14. Katherine says:

    Lets rewrite this and see how it sounds…

    “Specific problems we foresee with such a web site include the broad cultural divide. For example: International administrators essentially immerse themselves in academic and social cultures far different from their own. Parent and student expectations in these cultures may be quite different from the expectations placed on an administrator back in their home country. Thus, a host-nation parent’s review of an American administrator in Oman (for example) may be based on criteria the International administrator doesn’t aspire to meet. Being evaluated on a set of criteria that exists outside one’s own culture seems detrimental to an educator’s career.”

    Hmm…that sounds equally convincing. How about putting a stop to both?

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  15. Pietro Fiore says:

    I guess the biggest difference for me is that administrators always have the power over the teachers and often so do parents. So providing administrative reviews on ISR certainly does not make or break an administrator’s career. Lets face the reality, this is a “good old Boys/Girls” network of people who always protect their own, no matter what the cercumstances !

    Teachers on the other hand, are always vulnerable to the whims of these administrators. That is not to say that there aren’t some fine administrators out there, however there are too many marginal ones who may not give a teacher evaluative system a fair shot on the internet.

    I come from years of both international and stateside teaching experience. Always beware of giving administrators more power over you. We as international teacher do not have a union to protect us. We know this when we work overseas, however, my belief is evaluating teachers over the internet will only turn out to be a negative for teachers.

    The other part of this is why is this needed? Teachers are evaluated in the schools they work in, which is the way it should be. Posting info about this teacher doesn’t help the teacher, for the most part, but it always helps the administrator.–These people have too much power already, (remember, no Union Representation.) Be careful what you wish for!!!!

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  16. Michele Maria says:

    Within schools, interestingly, teachers are evaluated as part of the teaching process–ideally each year, but certainly the first year they are hired in at a new school. Really good schools do this regularly and include reciprocal peer evaluation in the process along year two or three. However…NONE of the schools have a process where teachers can evaluate their administration in the same way. If they did, I am sure there would be greater equity in both communication and practice. Websites like ISR exist, in part, to compensate for the one-way nature of the evaluative process (not to mention letters of recommendation!). There is no real point to teacher evaluation websites other than to underscore the market/political aspect of education in general. That is, a “good” teacher is a “well-behaved one” who does what they are told and gives out the grades administrators, parents, and students are “happy” with.

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    • nervous but realistic says:

      bravo. this is crucial.

      Like

      • Simon Dweck says:

        You had the beginnings of a decent point until you went into paranoia mode and came up with the tripe that this site is infected with… why do you think a “good teacher” can only be one that tows the party line??? A good teacher is much much much more than that

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    • Koshka says:

      I have to say, that at my school there are ways to evaluate the administration. Teachers completed their evaluation and then the heads of departments sat the administrators down and did their peer evaluations face to face- the same way that the admin would do to the teachers once a year. The shoe was on the other foot for a while, and not head is fired for doing this part of their job.

      Like

      • Anon says:

        Unfortunately your school is definitely the exception rather than the rule. If this were the case for all of us maybe there wouldn’t be a need for sites like ISR. However, when you have for-profit schools and/or admin doing really shady things to good people (because there are usually no unions to protect them), and when schools have NO processes in place by which administrators can be evaluated (as they all should be), sites like this become inevitable and understandable. Teachers are always under the microscope. We are evaluated constantly – it’s how we obtain and sustain our jobs.
        Though the reviews on ISR should be looked at really objectively, they are necessary to those of us picking up our lives and moving across the world. If a single school has one or two negative reviews, no big deal. If a single school has heaps of sketchy reviews, it helps me think twice.

        Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    About time!

    Like

  18. Richard John Old says:

    I have similar concerns about cultural differences in assessments, especially references. This is because I was labelled as “resistant to change” as I refused to teach from a text book and questioned the educational value of daily lesson plans! I teach English, by the way.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    It’s a great idea. Good teachers have nothing to worry about.

    Like

    • Raymond_M says:

      This from an American teacher-rating site:

      XXX is by far my FAVORITE teacher i’ve ever had. He’s funny, and told you exactly what you needed to know for tests (literally handed you the paper with all the answers.) All you need to do is memorize things! Hop is the best❤

      Fascinating.

      Like

  20. alukester says:

    Well, now the shoe is on the other foot! How does it feel to have your professional career and reputation in jeopardy by anonymous critics of your abilities? The opinions of others, whether legitimate or not, can affect your professional future. Gee, imagine getting or losing jobs based upon information found in a web site that you have no control over!

    Hmmmmm……..sound vaguely familiar to the situation schools and administrators have faced as comments made in ISR supports or humilates them.

    I, for one, think the teacher rating web sites are bad news. It opens possibilities of abuse by people who may not be giving honest evaluations. Those type of wen sites serve no useful purpose. The system of letters of reference and background checks has worked well enough in the past.

    Now the dirty laundry of a career teacher is hung out for all to see. Even those who may be considered the top 10% of teachers will have their small weaknesses and failures made public.

    Like

  21. Elmo says:

    Parents already talk to each other, in the case of my school, they’re all on whatsapp reporting the latest thing that their child said the teacher did. Somewhat obviously sometimes the teacher & the child’s version of events differ markedly, but this is causing a lot of angst for teachers as management listen to parents but yet seldom accord teachers the same courtesy. But I don’t pretend to work at a great school either.

    My concern about a site like this, would be that yes obviously there’ll be all the concerns levelled at ISR about personal agendas and grudges, but many of our wealthy, influential parents have the time to waste posting review after review of a teacher, so it wouldn’t be one bad review, it could potentially end a career.

    Its easy to say that a school that would read those reviews and not hire you isn’t a school you won’t to work at but we can’t all (and not everyone wants to either) work at top tier schools with ethical employers.

    Like

  22. Ken says:

    If it’s good enough for the goose, it’s good enough for the gander. The knife cuts both ways. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I’ve read reviews of administrators I’ve worked with that are not objective at all. Many are malicious and mean spirited. It all comes with the territory. Get used to it. There are public web sites where you can read subjective opinions, comments, and ratings on doctors, so why not teachers.

    Like

  23. kate says:

    awful idea, the only people who post anything on these types of forums are people who have a personal issue. This can get catty and libelous. Talk about how to ruin someones career…..

    Like

  24. Kelly says:

    An evaluation of a teacher should only be done and posted by another professional, otherwise it is purely opinion,bias, pettiness. It gives too great an opportunity for one or two ill feelings/experiences to ruin someone’s career. For it to be so wide open is a BAD idea all around.

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    I have nothing against students being part of an evaluation process when they are first explained the purpose and criteria are clear. However sites like ratemyteachers are usually not that, but a place for unhappy students to vent.

    At the same time, that is similar to ISR; however, in ISR reviews are given by “grownups”; this does not mean reviews are necessarily objective, but at least I would like to think that the objectivity level is higher than that given by teenagers.

    However, as someone else already posted, if a school really takes such a thing seriously you probably want to stay away from it… ISR is a bit like this, but you have to pay for it, which also makes the reviews not fully public; if such a place is created and is free (like ratemyteachers) it could lead to not so happy situations…

    Like

    • nervous but realistic says:

      important point, thanks.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we know enough grown ups to know that grown ups are often no more grown up in their maturity than teenagers are. To assume that every person posting on ISR is mature and objective is frankly naive. I have become rather annoyed with my colleagues who take ISR as gospel truth. I read between many of the posts and hear that annoying, immature colleague next door who whines about petty things. Sure, there are legitimate postings, too, but I will bet the percentage of immature posts of ratemyteacher.com compared to ISR is on par.

      Like

  26. Matthew says:

    It’s the nature of life in the information age. Just like reviews on ISR, you can take them with a grain of salt. One poor review shouldn’t matter, but a series of reviews paints a picture. Just as there are poor schools, there are poor teachers. In my years overseas I have met many teachers bouncing around from school to school who should be at home in a different career. I have also had the pleasure of working with very fine educators.

    Like

    • nervous but realistic says:

      Agreed, frankly– we are all going to have to get used to this. Why else do schools now stalk your FB and LinkedIn? I’m teaching in a university now, hope to go IB soon, and we ARE already used to it with student evals!

      Like

  27. A says:

    How would a teacher legally request that their name not be included in such a site? — Since this could create legal concerns they would seemingly need you to sign off on allowing your name and information to be included? And, if you do not allow – would you then be fired?

    Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    The hypocrisy here amazes me. This site evaluates Schools and School Directors and no one seems to take issue with that. Yet when we talk about evaluation of Teachers, folks seem to be completely against it (its unfair, unethical, etc). Its all subjective – teachers evaluating Schools and Directors as well as Teachers being evaluated by Students & Parents – so what’s the problem?

    Like

    • Laurence says:

      Agree!!!

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Couldn’t agree more. The biased comments written by people with very clear agendas on this site is disgraceful. Now, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem fair to rate teachers the same way. I don’t believe anyone (Directors, Principals, Teachers etc) should be able to be rated and commented on anonymously. I will not be renewing my subscription to this site.

        Like

    • Thomas says:

      The difference is that the evaluation of schools or directors done by teachers are not publicly accessible.
      Teachers are working in the front line and they are responsible to students, parent, admin etc.
      The admin is responsible only to the board.
      And if it happen that you own the school, to whom are you responsible? Only to yourself. The number of owned schools is mushrooming. And those accreditations the schools have to grow through, does not mean too much of responsibility for the owners.

      The last thing: Why nurses, doctors, engineers and other professionals are not criticized so much?
      Will they also have an “evaluating” site?

      And why all of the sudden, everyone has a qualification and experience to evaluate teachers?

      I have been in International Schools for 18 years. I

      Like

  29. Tony says:

    All of these comments are valid for ISR too: an anonymous evaluation of a school, often based on conflicting cultural values, often settling a score over personal issues . . .

    Like

  30. weedonald says:

    If it exists it is another entirely subjective and rumour-based site which proposes to ¨alleviate¨the burden of hiring teachers fairly. It is illegal and totally unethical in most countries to evaluate a person without their express written consent and to then publish the evaluation on a publicly accessible website, without the possibility of the evaluee being able to defend themselves.
    A school must divulge, if requested, the source of their information used to evaluate potential teacher-candidate(s) but they don’t have to provide the specific assessment or evaluation used, nor do they need to justify using that source for good or ill.
    In other words, without sufficient international protection, teachers can easily be vilified by someone with a grudge or axe to grind or an administrator who wants to ruin a teacher’s career overseas. the need for syndical protection internationally continues to grow each year.

    Like

  31. Anonymous says:

    It’s unfair in ALL cases. Even ratemyteacher and ratemyprofessor is unfair!

    Like

    • Andrew says:

      Great idea. No different from what happens on this board for principals and school directors. How could anyone who posts on ISR object?

      Like

      • a says:

        The significant difference between teachers and directors/principals, Andrew, is that the latter act as the employers and should have direct access to referees. (LOL I once asked a director at a job fair I was at for his referee, and just got a blank stare back). Hence there seems little need for a teacher rate site for this purpose. Does the extra information actually help anyone?
        I’ve worked in public education in two countries wih such sites, and I have to say, from looking at many of the profiles of people I’ve know that if you smile, have great anecdotes, are affable, you can actually get great reviews, even if your pedogical contribution is minimal.

        At best, if one is skilled at reading between the lines, perhaps there is somehing to glean from sites like, this but any analysis really has to be done in concert with access to professional evaluaions.

        At worst teacher rate sites are misleading; a clear venue for misinformation donated by anyone who has the inclination to “have a bit of fun”.

        Like

      • Martin says:

        Who are you trying to kid? Principals and school directors have access to numerous references for any prospective employees.

        Like

  32. Wilbert says:

    The same concerns that you mention could also happen within your own country. I have always taught in inner-city schools. Many of the parents don’t share the same values that I do.

    This is a non-starter for me. If it was the schools doing it, I’d be much more worried. Part of teaching internationally is knowing how to please all stakeholders while keeping your sanity.

    Any school that used ratings like that is probably a school you shouldn’t want to teach at.

    Like

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