Director’s Despicable Recruiting Agenda

A Deceitful Director Attempts to Keep a Key Teacher From Leaving His School

“Dear ISR, Would you be willing to throw my situation out to your readers so I could get some advice directly from colleagues? I’ll bet there’s other teachers in the same predicament who could use some advice, or at least support. Here’s what’s going on:

lier47434528bigAt a recruiting fair I had several interviews and I was offered a position at a school I was really excited about. To come to the point, the school that offered me the job later reneged by email, all based on what they called a very poor reference from one of my “past” schools. To make a long story short, I had no way to know which school would say bad things about me. I’ve never had this problem in the past.

I suspected my current director was behind this. I’ve never exactly trusted the guy since he gave me a lot of grief for going to the recruiting fair in the first place. So I had a friend in my home country call my school and pose as the head of a school. He asked to speak to the director in regards to my “interview”. To my utter horror, the director painted me as a complete slacker, a non-participant and someone the parents and students would be happy to see go. Can anyone get lower than this guy?

Oddly enough, before I left to attend the recruiting fair the director gave me a contract and said, “Go to the fair and if you don’t find anything better, sign the contract and stay.” So, how bad of a teacher could I be? This guy is just a big, two-faced liar!

I cannot stand being here. The sight of this director sickens me!! I’m definitely not going to stay here and work for this jerk. Since I can’t get a job with this school on my resume, I’m thinking I’ll leave at Christmas vacation and not return. I’m not a vindictive person but in this case it will feel very good to leave them in the lurch and it will be a big lurch at that!! I do plenty around here. Once I’m gone I can focus on finding a new position at another fair and just leave this place off my resume. I feel for the kids but I need to take care of me now.

I would be very thankful for any advice on how to shake this lousy director. I’m totally just screaming inside and counting the minutes until I’m on the plane and out of here. I’ve said nothing to anyone at the school about what’s going on. They suspect nothing. Once I have a new position I’ll write a review and expose this director for who he really is. Thanks ISR for all you do. I hope you post this.”

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63 Responses to Director’s Despicable Recruiting Agenda

  1. Robert Stevenson says:

    Why run? You’ll do yourself no favours at all. It’ll be held against you in the long run. I would confront him as I have done in the past. Accumulate evidence, involve the owners of the school and expose him. Then leave at the end of your contract.
    Doing a runner is a bad move.

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  2. Michele Maria says:

    I cannot top the advice here…I am going through the same sort of dilemma, and will say I decided not to “run”…not because of the students–they will be fine (those saying that you need to think of the kids are feeding the emotional blackmail) but because it is the ethically correct thing to do…I confronted the admin (no easy task as it is never 1-1 but a group against 1) and asked to renegotiate to a 1-year contract. Although they refuse to respond in writing, they have posted my position, so I have started looking elsewhere. I have no problem saying why I have no referees form this particular school–A reasonable administrator will know there are jerks out there, all my previous letters are stellar. I figure, no matter what they do, if I leave before the year is out–I have become the very thing I despise. It is not about “taking care of one’s self” or “taking care of the kids”. It is about making a choice you will never feel was morally incorrect or needs to be “justified”. That is how I reasoned through my situation…I wish you the best of luck. And yes, the practical jokes work wonders for making one feel better🙂

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  3. rathi says:

    You have had a lot of advice already, but this is what I would do. Confront him with all the evidence, in front of other faculty members. Then, tell him I am going to last out the year for the sake of my students. It will make him feel like dirt.

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  4. red lorry says:

    This happened to my wife. She found out that a bad reference was stopping her getting a job. One of the prospective employers alerted her to this and she explained that she was being treated unfairly. Luckily, they gave her the benefit of the doubt and she did get a job (but only after dozens of applications) It is horrible I know, but in the international world there are some flakey characters who will act unprofessionally and stitch you up for seemingly trivial reasons. In the case of my wife, her face just did not fit at her previous school – it was nothing more than that and she was well liked by parents and children alike.

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  5. Been-there Canuck says:

    It is ALWAYS best to take ‘the high road’. I’ve been in education for over 30 years. I’ve had a few great directors/principals and I’ve had some real dirt-bags! I was ‘fired’ by one who didn’t have as many ‘accomplishments’ as I had. Also, he picked a different teacher each year to try and get rid of… to show how ‘powerful’ HE was. In the end, he had to eat crow & the school district had to settle with me. He was in the middle of a contract, but was, eventually, forced out!
    Photo copy the offered contract (& scan it, too!) and keep it ‘on file’.
    Put down your present position on your CV, but do not use this guy as a ref. If asked about it, you can honestly tell the recruiters what he did and why you are not using him as a ref. If those recruiters are ‘good’, then this will work to your benefit, especially your staying on to finish the year! if the recruiters don’t like this, then they’re probably not people that you would want to work for anyway!
    For the next 6 months, focus on the ‘positives’ & play ‘duck’ with the negatives. (Let the run off your back like water!) Go to the hiring fairs and stay up-beat.
    In the end, you will most likely find that things have worked out for the best and you will have done nothing to tarnish YOUR reputation!
    I wish you all the luck in the world!

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  6. John says:

    Always Always Always get a hard copy of each administrator’s letter of reference on school letterhead. Then, if you find yourself in this situation (again), you can use it to show the double nature of the person should they try something like this again. I never put anyone on my reference list who hasn’t given me a hard copy letter first!

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    • David says:

      One idea would be to talk to the director. Talk to him about your concern and about how you were excited to go to this particular school. In a polite way show him that what he has done is not OK. If he listens to you, it might help you and especially other staff. I know that this is a tough path to take, because the director may not like what you say and it could be a very uncomfortable situation. However, if the director is brought face-to-face with someone who knows what he has done, he might realize that he cannot get away with such things unnoticed and he might change this approach. If he doesn’t, that is his responsibility, but at least you have tried.

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  7. Johnny says:

    Using the kids as a reason to stay is emotional blackmail. Do you honestly think the kids are going suffer? I’ve worked at schools where teachers left during the year and the kids were just fine. Hell, I was hired at a school to replace a teacher who had left mid year. The kids were OK and not traumatized for life.

    This is a business and the school you are at could dump you with little warning for someone cheaper. If the school had money issues would you or management get paid first? You must look out for yourself.

    That being said I would indirectly confront the director about the reference and I would let others at the school know what took place. As was said above get comments in writing from parents and students. Also get reference letters from co-workers.

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  8. Sheila Torres says:

    I never use my current Director as a reference. It pays to use previous Directors and in your current school use a colleague, parent or important community member.

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  9. Teaching nearby says:

    Maybe your elderly parents have fallen ill and need you to return home to care for them (or some other plausible family crisis). No, no, the school shouldn’t hold the position open for you, and you’re so sorry to leave them in the lurch like this, but family comes first. Then you depart with faces saved on all sides, and with your (mental) health intact. You wrap up the family crisis, leave this school off your CV, and get a last-minute job in South America (i.e. far away) for a couple of years.
    I agree about the surprisingly poor state of international school directors’ ethics — surely the result of a free market, unconstrained by regulations or morality; they are hired by (unpaid) Boards of Directors who are too busy to spend time on the very time-consuming effort of hiring and watching a Director.

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  10. Steve says:

    Those who say you need to finish out the year are making the most important point. Teaching is about taking care of the kids and no one is more important to kids in school than the teachers. Getting back at a bad administrator in your situation will not hurt him nearly as much as it will hurt the kids. I am a school director and had to resign from a school because of constant disagreements with the owner. He accused me of caring too much about teachers, their benefits and the local hire staff. I thought I was going to have problems when schools found out I left at the end of July, but fortunately I had good references who knew my work so I was able to find a good position again. Find others who believe in your value and use them as references. Do not stoop to the level of the administrator because you are angry and want to be vindictive. Let it pass.

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    • globalguy says:

      What utter nonsense. Some schools constantly use this line “that no one is more important than the kids” to enable them to treat teachers disgracefully. Any negative impact on the kids is a direct result of the Directors actions. Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally blackmailed so that he can continue to do this to other teachers.

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    • Cathy Talbot says:

      My ass!!! Do what you have to do to take care of yourself. Don’t listen to mealy-mouthed people like this! Just be aware that it can be hard going back home mid-year if you’ve got nowhere to live. Maybe you’re lucky enough to still have your parents and you have somewhere to live. If so, go for it and don’t look back!!

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  11. Catherine says:

    I’ve always believed that references should be sought from those “below” rather than those “above”. Why education and all other sectors are too dumb to realise that this is where the truth lies defies belief!

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  12. 2013Calendar says:

    This is an excellent discussion that shows the many faces of teaching as a profession and the various cultures within the profession. Some say “we are here for the students.” Other say, “think about what you need to do as an individual.” Others talk about the endemic corrupt nature of international school directors. Yet others act as a mirror to the presenter’s dilemma by reflecting various aspects of the pain and personal interpretation of the situation.

    In general, the U.S. culture of teaching and educators is not one that sees teaching as a true profession. True professionals drive their own work forward and create the guidelines, regulations, and limits of their work. Teachers are told how to go out and teach in a system that is pre-made. Teachers do not create schools and education systems based on their expertise. Teachers, like secretaries, Fed-ex employees, bus drivers, etc., agree to perpetuate the “mission” of the school in which they are employed and to teach the curriculum they are told to teach and to judge students based on criteria they are told to use. Consequently, the education “system” acts as a means of controlling how information is disseminated. People do not need schools to learn. My grandparents and great grandparents were intelligent, self-made people of their time who had little formal education. Most developing nations have poor school “systems” and yet people learn to do what they need and are driven to learn and acquire knowledge. What is the truth of being a teacher? What is the truth of being a director in an international school?

    The duality expressed in ‘me’ the honest hardworking teacher versus ‘them’ the corrupt, rich, do-as-they-please directors has roots in true experience as much as it over simplifies and over exaggerates a particular perspective. In my own experience, when I am having difficulty, I think…what would I tell my dearest friend or family member if they came to me with this heart-rending story. Then I act accordingly. I was in a very difficulty situation after having a stellar teaching career for over 15 years. I was too afraid to confront (in a gentle way) the “bully.” I did resolve to stay and see the situation through but looking back now that the situation is over, I wish I had asked for a face-to-face meeting to straight out lay all the cards on the table. I think I would have had a faster trip to realizing my own self-confidence.

    Best wishes to you in your decision and peace for the holiday season.!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Challenge the guy on it….. go ask why he said these things. Then inform him you are leaving and when you go you will post online an honest and frank review of the school, also you will contact all the agencies you can and warn them about he school so they dont send any new teachers. He will soon leave you alone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. For this reason I have moved on to university teaching. When I went to a job fair, I experienced and saw some pretty disgusting things.
      Mostly, directors coming on to young teachers. And surely those young babes grabbing all of the good jobs!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    International school administrators (not saying all, just have not met the good ones) are among some of the top sleaziest, low life, nastiest, opportunistic, unqualified, evil,etc) individuals I have ever met i more than two decades in education.

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  15. Dave says:

    What is the professional response to this situation? I appreciate your candor in saying that you’re motivated by spite/anger. Most people would hide that. I’d suggest that, as in the classroom, responses rooted in our brain stem are lousy. (Good strategy – figure out what you’d do if you were angry, and then do the opposite. And hey, where would South Africa be today if Mandela hadn’t won the battle with his own anger?)

    If you can suck it up for your students, that’s clearly the most professional response, and coincidentally, i’d suggest will be best for you professionally and personally as well. I’m not in your shoes, so I can’t say whether I would be able to do that if I were in your position, but as a longtime administrator, I can say even the most sympathetic administrator would be MOST hesitant to hire you. That hesitance has nothing to do with admin-types sticking together – it’s pure practicality. If you had a choice between two otherwise similar candidates, would you dare hire the one with a history of breaking contract? And if someone hired you and you left again, what would that show about their IQ? I know that’s not what you want to hear right now, but it’s pretty simple to figure out how admin minds work.

    By the way, to folks who think there’s a admin network where people get secretly blackballed, it’s true. Sorta. It’s just not particularly effective – nothing like 100%. Maybe 28%? There IS a net there straining you out; it’s just a pretty lousy one. There’s no all-powerful big brother out there that will keep you from being hired anywhere. Almost no matter what you did, some school/head will be desperate/careless/trusting/foolish enough to hire you without decent reference checking (though that might be an indication you wouldn’t want to work for them. Like WC Fields said, “I refuse to join a club that would admit someone like me.”). If/When you do get hired, and if you’re a good teacher, that will be new foothold to a positive reputation, presumably allowing you to be hired by someone more competent and/or less desperate.

    My personal bias when recruiting was to find the best person to work for out there. Early in my career, that meant going to some crazy places, but even in a tough place, working with/for good people made for a great experience.

    There are always many unknowns on both sides when a contract is signed, but just as the school is bound by the contract, so are we. That’s the meaning of a commitment; it’s not a probably, it’s something we promise in writing to fulfill. If you’re not sure you can keep the commitment, don’t sign the paper.

    Just sayin.

    I wish you well, and I hope for your students’ sake, you stay and make it work.

    Dave

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  16. Anonymous says:

    The best thing to do is put five or six bananas in his car exhaust pipe any time nobody is looking. I got that from a movie and it is a lot of fun otherwise ….. do it once a month otherwise they might get suspicious. Also superglue the locks….you could use your imagination it’s a great thing that most teachers really don’t have much of because they’ve been educated to educate by the government and the government doesn’t really like people with imagination but you never know..you might be different.

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  17. In the end, kids come first. Don’t abandon them. You should perhaps find schools that will accept video lessons of your teaching in addition to references, and find extra references at your school who will take a phone call for you. That is what I did, and it really helped when I had a bad reference. Let your work speak for you as much as possible, and you’ll be okay.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Directors of international schools in large majority are completely detached from the reality. They are big pretenders but rarely opened and straight forward. Playing Golf as often as possible, insuring a good image of themselves and eventually their school is their only agenda. It has become so sad. Sorry for you but I heard a lot worst stories in my past career in IS.

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  19. Sam Walker says:

    Obviously you have touched on a sensitive subject. I feel for you in your pain. Enough people have given advice one way or another so I will not weigh in too heavily.
    Anonymous says: the Head of School above – December 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm – Is right though. If a recruiting school cannot read through the BS and vindictiveness of another person, you are better off not going with that school, new problems would greet you there with open arms.
    Be ther better person. Prove to this head you are the stronger, and when you move on, you will have a medal of honor in the kids you have shown how to do it differently.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Having read the comments, i understand ‘doing the right thing’ is important. However your personal health and well being should come first.

    I left a contract, handing in my notice and being honest about the trauma because at the end it was detriment to my health. If I had kids or other responsiblities perhaps i would have seen the year thru but i do not know.

    I do not know your own personal circumstances however only you can say perhaps a short break, changing ur referees, being honest and facing your situation would be better. Only you can decide. I

    Wish you all the best

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  21. Pierce Rhoads says:

    There are reference checking companies, in the States, which will call your director, posing as a school, and get the “confidential” reference, which you could not get on your own. The cost is nominal and the peace of mind is worth much more than the fee charged.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I hate to say it but this experience is all too common on the international scene. The major recruitment agencies require confidential references to which teachers do not have access. This allows unethical directors complete control over our (teachers) livelihood. We have no way of knowing if what was written was accurate or not. I do not know of any other group of professionals who would allow a system to develop (and tolerate it) like kind hearted teachers do.

    The other issue is the complete lack of accountability for directors. In most countries overseas it would be difficult if not impossible to sue a director for slander. In my home country it would be quite easy. This “untouchable” position really opens the door wide for jerk directors to easily operate as jerks.

    I had a similar situation because a head of school did not want me to leave their school. I was shocked that person would lie about my job performance. Luckily I had copies of my performance evaluations so I was able to go back to the recruiting school and show those and say that clearly the referees written words did not match their spoken words. The recruiting school would not comment to me nor would they hire me.

    I also discovered I was being slandered through people who know of my positive reputation as a competent professional and were surprised at what they heard the director say about me in the recruiting lounge at a job fair . I thank those people for having courage and the integrity to share with me. Luckily I was able to go to work for a school that did not check my references. It was a very hard experience for me.

    The bottom line is that there are many unethical, jerk directors out there who are able to freely operate in whatever way they deem suitable. The international school scene is a wild west type of a deal. I am working at my 5th school in 15 years. 2 directors were incompetent, 1 director was excellent, and 2 directors were sleezeballs. Not sure if everyone has had similar experiences.

    We need to stand up and demand more accountability, refuse to accept the system of secrecy surrounding references, and network extensively among ourselves to share information about these unethical creeps so we can avoid them as much as possible.

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  23. Chrissy says:

    You had your friend misrepresent a school director, you break contract to “pay back” a school director, leave kids in the lurch…just for revenge. The director was right about you, you should not be employed in a school. Karma, my dear, karma!!

    Like

    • Wilbert King says:

      The Karma will most likely be on you. You’ll get screwed over by someone in the same manner and you’ll be told to stop whining and ‘do it for the kids.’ Make sure that you let us know when it happens!

      Like

  24. Anonymous says:

    I learned from experience that if you cannot trust the Admin. you should make other arrangements as soon as it is safe to move on. Arrange a soft landing elsewhere, fulfill your present contract, give proper and timely notice, and do not antagonize on the way out the door. If you make waves they win and can comment on your attitude. Do not give them any ammunition to use against you.

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  25. Tassos Anastasiades says:

    Good leadership is about transparency. You need to see your director and tell him the truth. Children come first. If he insists you are a bad teacher then you need the fire in your belly to fight this opinion. Leaving should not be an option. Can you really run away from the issues? Seriously? Would you not expect the same if a memebr of staff was unhapoy with you?

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  26. WSW says:

    It is a difficult situation that you are in and one that I find myself in as well. the current director at our school as given past teachers very bad references in an attempt to have them lose prospective jobs and have to stay at the school. I am the PYP Coordinator at my school and I am giving references to teachers who ask because it is known that she has done this.

    What you are doing is the midnight run which in some circumstances is OK but not in your case. You are abandoning not the director but the children you teach. You are not only leaving your admin in the “lurch” but your student s AND fellow teachers who will have to take up the slack and probably have your students combined into their classes until a replacement can be found or have to cover your class in shifts until they get some one new.

    Personally as someone in admin who understands your anger I would not give you a reference if you came to me with this. You are simply doing a bad thing to others because one was done to you. Finish the year but go to the board or other admin or swallow your pride, change your resume by taking off this director and if you can adding someone (even a fellow teacher) instead.

    In the end it is up to you but to lose your moral compass just because someone else has is not a solution.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    It is a difficult situation that you are in and one that I find myself in as well. the current director at our school as given past teachers very bad references in an attempt to have them lose prospective jobs and have to stay at the school. I am the PYP Coordinator at my school and I am giving references to teachers who ask because it is known that she has done this.

    What you are doing is the midnight run which in some circumstances is OK but not in your case. You are abandoning not the director but the children you teach. You are not only leaving your admin in the “lurch” but your student s AND fellow teachers who will have to take up the slack and probably have your students combined into their classes until a replacement can be found or have to cover your class in shifts until they get some one new.

    Personally as someone in admin who understands your anger I would not give you a reference if you came to me with this. You are simply doing a bad thing to others because one was done to you. Finish the year but go to the board or other admin or swallow your pride, change your resume by taking off this director and if you can adding someone (even a fellow teacher) instead.

    In the end it is up to you but to lose your moral compass just because someone else is not a solution.

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  28. Ken says:

    Use people as references who you know will give you a good one. It can be the principal, the curriculum coordinator, etc.
    Surely you should be able to judge who will say good things and who is two-faced.
    I was at a school in the Middle East where I knew the admin. was corrupt. In the interview with a new prospective school, I explained to them I could not use the school as a source for references because I felt they would be unprofessional.
    I gave them the opportunity to ask why.
    I also had a collection of excellent reference letters/evaluations from other schools I worked at.
    I was offered the job.

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  29. Jonathan kingham says:

    If you really think leaving your kids unexpectedly at Christmas just so you can leave your boss “in the lurch and a rather big lurch at that” then you are a despicable teacher and deserve your bad regerence. Please go an find another profession.

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    • Henri says:

      What is needed in the International world, is people who are sympathetic and caring, people who listen to others and try to see their point of view – in other words, empathetic people. This teacher especially needs our empathy and caring, thoughtful response since it is a really nasty thing that has happened to him/her.
      I wonder, Jonathan, if you can ever fit in to the International teaching world with such an uncaring and unsympathetic attitude. I also question how good a teacher you are! Do your pupils also receive such an uncaring, thoughtless response?

      Like

  30. Al says:

    I left at the semester break from a Middle East school after being mistreated too many times. I left that school reference off of my resume and got a fantastic position at an Asian school the next year. I say leave – it isn’t worth the pain to stay. You deserve better.

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  31. Susan says:

    I think you are totally right! Prepare a nice end of term class to your students and enjoy your holidays!

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  32. Mark Thomas says:

    Good advice from the others…do not break contract…be stoic and persevere at your current school and be cordial, friendly and professional with that HOS …and at the appropriate time make your concerns known to them. If the HOS is not conciliatory or apologetic you have proved your point and their guilt will be reinforced.
    People like this eventually dig themselves a big enough hole while you create a mound.
    I work with an abrasive and manipulative person in Leadership that makes things difficult for others and me but I remain pleasant and professional, and I know I have respect and gratitude from everyone else, s..t happens let it stick to that person not you..

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  33. Iguanab says:

    You know, as I read the comments here, I find myself asking myself what I would do. In truth, I wouldn’t want to harm the kids. However, I think teachers “give parts of themselves that they can’t afford to give” – and I think this may well be where you are at this point. As teachers, we give and give and give – and when this kind if thing happens, the powerlessness, frustration, and anger that comes with it can be overwhelming.

    I can only say to think with your heart as well as you head. You DO deserve to be treated respectfully and honestly. You are the only person who can decide what is best for you. I wish you the best in whatever decision you make for yourself, and, for what it’s worth, I support you in whatever that decision will be.

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  34. Mike says:

    Unfortunately, have been told for far too long that they should just take abuse from administrators and keep working and “be professional”. Life is short; there are many schools who would LOVE to have a great teacher like you! Have some self-confidence and perhaps do some of the following:
    1. Get your students to give you comments about your teaching both in written form and in video files. Students often know if a teacher is good or not and usually are willing to avoid the pettiness that some adults engage in. Have the students send you comments on Facebook and by email and make a compilation (short and long versions) of their relevant comments.
    2. Make a video of your teaching in the classroom. Have it show the various aspects of your teaching. The video will show who you are and what you can do.
    3. Make video or a Prezi about the various activities you are involved in at the school.
    4. Approach parents who children you have taught and see if they are willing to write you a character reference or make a very brief video about the type of teacher you are and how you have helped their children.
    5. Expose the vile administrator on every social network that exists. The sooner teachers know who this person is and where the school is the better – this will signal to good teachers that they should NOT work there. Soon the board will replace this administrator.
    6. Do NOT engage in the same pettiness. Produce clear evidence of your GREAT work and expose the knucklehead director for who he/she is. Teachers do not need to take any crap from deranged and power-corrupted directors and administrators. Leave those people in your past and move on to a better school. What you do is meaningful and valuable – teachers should be treated courteously and professionally. Empower yourself by documenting your work! Have confidence! It is only when teachers stand up for themselves that we can get rid of terrible directors!
    7. Just be sure that you are right, though! If there are any issues in your performance or incidents in your past, then you are vulnerable. You must be as close to infallible as humanly possible.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is great advice! The first 3 especially. Cover yourself and make sure you have all the documentation that you need from parents, students and perhaps other teachers and staff at the school.

      Like

    • Paul Quinn says:

      I am aware of some administrators and teachers who would find this approach to convincing others of your teaching skill as too slick. Would this impress new people or repel them?
      How was your teaching progressing while this project was being completed?
      It also reminds me a little of when parents argue and one or the other or both involve their children. This generally works out not so well. Should teachers involve their students so directly in their employment issues?
      The other point is the issue is one dimensional as presented by this teacher. Most issues have two sides at least. Many commentators appear to have supported this person fully on the strength of one point of view only. I would like to have a forum where more points of view are presented from more participants than is currently offered.
      I think the international education environment does have difficulties and dispute resolution mechanisms appear thin, leading to some in the field leaving mid contract with all the problems this leads to for students, parents and teachers as well as administrators. We should all be concerned we are not doing better to resolve conflict than the current system allows.

      Good luck with your decision,

      Interested colleague

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      • over there says:

        What other side could there be. The director screwed this person. Stabbed them in the back. If the teacher was a poor teacher why would the director have given them a contract? Lets not drag this out with three meetings, 14 memos and then table it until we can meet again.

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        • Paul Quinn says:

          What other side could there be? I agree and would be interested to know. The director screwed this person? What makes you so sure? Forums are for views to be expressed and I appreciate your view.

          Regards,

          Interested colleague

          Like

  35. Anonymous says:

    As a Head of School, I would suggest you persevere for the year. As others have said, breaking contract does not look good for you. We all find situations in which it is difficult to work, working through them is a good thing. Have references from other people, do not include him. Then you can explain in person to prospective employees why he is not included in your referees. I have had situations where I know the applicant has left out a recent employer and I give them the chance to respond. So be professional but honest. If I received a review of such a nature, I would definitely be doubtful as to the motives behind the HOS. Just like I am suspicious of references which tick the applicant in the top level for every area, not many teachers are that good! If the truth be told, any HOS who even accepted that sort of negative review without doing other checks may not be a person with whom you would like to work either.
    Keep looking , there are plenty more good schools out there.

    Like

  36. Anonymous says:

    Does your school have a faculty and staff committee that works with the administration? At our school an issue like this can be brought to the FSC to mediate between the individual and the administrator.

    Leaving mid-year with no notice is likely to earn you the bad reputation that you have falsely received, so I would caution against that. If I was recruiting, that would be a big red flag on a resume.

    Like

  37. jean-pierre says:

    It never looks good quitting, they will say that you penalize your students. Better give a fair notice and let them know you are quitting for personal reasons or whatever. Do not use him as a reference and explain honestly why you are not using your last employer as a reference.

    Like

  38. lulu toozie says:

    What a drag. I can’t tell you what to do but just wanted to say try to keep your spirits up while you go through this transition. I am believing for a great new position at a great new school for you. l’d try to negotiate into something new with little to no discussion of this if possible. His actions will come back to him.

    Like

  39. Anonymous says:

    I would more carefully consider your apparent decision to break your current contract, as that may not sit well with prospective directors or employers. It will be hard to explain the gap in your work experience, and if this Director is part of the old boy’s club, one never knows how he or your quitting my damage your future choices should you decide to remain in the International circuit. I wish you well, and hope you find the right place in the future. Paul from Taiwan

    Like

  40. mabel says:

    Ask references from someone else; IB coordinator, vice principal, ANY administrator. If your school principal wrote good references for you and then when they call him he says the opposite I don’t think his input counts for any other serious school. They will realize that he lied when we wrote the references or when they called him unless he’s bipolar!

    Like

  41. F Haris says:

    Your director seems like a hypocrite but what you are planning to do is equally bad. In your quest to teach this guy a lesson you are placing the children who need your guidance in the lurch more than the director. You know very well that if this director cares nothing about you he is not going to care more about the kids. If you are a sincere person you should be caring about the children whom you teach. Don’t let your personal feud overwhelm your moral responsibility.
    I suggest you confront the director with the facts and also explain to the recruiter the truth. If you are honest whatever happens will be the best for you. Above all else you will feel good that you were honest.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Very wise perspective and advise. Ditto! Mr. P.M.S.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree with confronting the unethical director. Best to make no waves and then get beyond it. Once you are safely beyond it then you can confront if it still matters to you.

      These terrible little dictators have a lot of power given to them by the system. The teacher is always the one who takes the brunt of the blow. Any comments you make can then be held up by the unethical director and respun to hurt you terribly.

      Like the head of school who said he disbelieves references that have many tick boxes marked excellent. Come on, there are truly some excellent teachers out there who deserve their ratings. There is no accounting for what people will and can think.

      Like

  42. I. Kant says:

    I would say tough it through! Leaving at the middle of the school year will make you look weak under these circumstances. Use this experience to build up your character and find ways to use this in order to boost your reputation. Gather as many counter references as possible from colleagues, parents and other admins in your school. Let them speak about your character and present situation and endorse you. If all your positive recommendations corroborate then whatever negative recommendation that was given you will naturally diffuse.

    Like

  43. Don Ries says:

    Definitely finish the year for the students. If you leave unanounced you are mainly hurting the very people we teachers are supposed to help, the students. The director is a bum if what you say is true. Your reaction is not very professional as you will undoubtedly run into other weak administrators, do not descend to their level.

    Like

  44. Chris says:

    I would say do what you need to for yourself and your career.

    “Blackballing” is a load of crap. We think that it happens but I’m very skeptical. Just always be honest is my policy and it has worked well so far for me.

    Like

  45. weedonald says:

    I suggest you finish the school year and then leave. Since he will blackball you anyway, don’t give him extra ammunition. However, I would speak to your recruiter and tell him or her what this director did and ask him or her to help you overcome this unfair treatment. I know the recruiters will usually side with the schools who pay them big sums but there are some with integrity who will help you overcome this unjust demonization.
    I would also speak with any future potential employer and explain that you will use an alternative recommendation because of this man’s unethical and unfair treatment. Usually the hiring school will like to have 2 or 3 other references and if they are contradicting his reference, then they will see through his shenanigans wuickly enough.
    If you kept a copy of the contract he gave you, show that to your future employer as well….as proof of his duplicity. they may ask him about this and while he can explain it away, it will make him look very suspicious. One way or the other you have to avoid giving this reference if at all possible. hopefully you can find a more sympathetic reference at the school like a level principal or even a HOD.

    Like

  46. A. L. says:

    Stick it out, smile, and think about how small the director looks every time you see him. Having a gap in your resume or a black mark can really make it difficult in a competitive market. Go to school, make a positive influence and work hard for the students. Directors and principles have a lot of influence over your future and you must learn to cope with this without getting caught up in an emotionally draining battle that ultimately will hurt you.

    Like

  47. Anonymous says:

    I would tread carefully on this matter. Unfortunately I too am learning just how powerful principals and HOS can be. Don’t burn bridges – especially if you’re young and just starting your career. Be professional at all times.

    Like

  48. Susan says:

    I would consider toughing it out for the year to preserve your reputation if nothing else. Ask your current director to write you an open reference letter (eg. one you can view) as it sounds like he is not willing to make his criticisms transparent to you. When you are talking to a potential employer, make sure you use the open reference letter and be upfront with them, diplomatically, about the things he is saying behind your back. A good school should appreciate the lengths you take to be honest and non-confrontational about the situation!

    Like

  49. moving forward says:

    I had a similar experience. I broke contract at the end of the first year as I saw no point in subjecting myself any longer to a school that had been completely misrepresented to me by the director at the conference.

    To compound my problem the director had me blackballed at Search and ISS. He wrote them all sorts of nasty stuff about me. At first this was a problem for me but I had already been on the circuit for over 10 years and was able to network my way into a new position. After that Search and ISS took me back. They told me they would do this if I could find a job on my own.

    It’s unfortunate that these Directors have a life and death hold over our careers, especially when some of them are not fit to manage an elementary baseball team, let along a school filled with teaching professionals, 100s of students and parents.

    I’ll agree there are some very bad teachers out there but I would hope a school leader would have the integrity and confidence to look someone in the eye and tell them just how they feel.

    Like

  50. Anonymous says:

    A similar thing happened to a friend of mine, she wrote to the new school and explained that she wanted to clear her reputation and that this one ref was incorrect and unfair. They came back with a job offer for her. If nothing else the new school has to understand that it should read all the refs not just one.

    Like

    • Martin Thomas says:

      Some great advice already posted. Stick it through. Dont give up the search, and ask for/use open letter of reference. Ask for one before you outright turn down the new contract. Once you turn it down he has nothing to lose.

      Like

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