What Would YOU Do? / Part 2

lier3444945Here’s the scenario: You recruited at one of the big fairs and caught-up in the moment, accepted a contract without reading any of the ISR Reviews on the school or location. The director seemed honest and sincere, and you took her word for everything until….a couple of weeks into the school year it dawns on you that you’ve been seriously “duped’!

The following is a real situation facing one of our ISR Members. What would YOU do if this was suddenly your reality?

You’d have to be HERE to understand — I “teach” (I use the term lightly) grade 10/11 girls and yesterday NOTHING was accomplished. The noise and chaos is unbelievable by Western classroom standards, and the girls as a whole have NO INTEREST in learning, BUT I’m told “You WILL give them 99s on their report cards!”

They shriek, leave the room, ignore you, do each other’s hair, talk, yell over all your lessons. Yesterday I was TRYING to read them a chapter of MOBY DICK and the poor 3 who actually WANTED to hear it COULDN’T and say as you will — There was NOTHING I COULD DO to SHUT THEM UP! Call an administrator to be told “You are the problem. NOT the girls.” ? If you, YOU there, are NOT here, you have NO IDEA, so do NOT think you do!

What would YOU do? Consult other teachers? Continue doing the best you could and let the report card reflect the students’ lack of effort? Call parents for support? Catch a one-way flight out? Or accept your mistake and make the best of the situation for now? Join the Discussion

56 thoughts on “What Would YOU Do? / Part 2

  1. You will encounter Good Students and schools and Bad students and schools no matter WHERE in the world you go. Having taught for 11 years at an inner city school in New York, with a reputation SO BAD we could NOT even get subs if teachers were out (and heck- the school deserved their rep! I am talking metal detectors at all doors and police cars at each end of the block at the end of the day to keep the gangs in check), it was actually the easiest teaching gig I’ve ever had- Mainly because we had a tough as nails Principle who backed the teachers and was tough, but fair on the students love and didn’t blame the teachers for unruly behavior (putting it mildly). Teachers had to be tough and many simply couldn’t cut it, but there is a school and place for everyone and all I can suggest is do A LOT of research before venturing overseas. I put in 2 years of behavior Hell in North Carolina and gave up teaching for 3 years… A LOT worse than my nice NY school and Principle (Administration is everything).

    I was in the UAE as my first international gig and while the pay and lifestyle was great, the school and kids were ATROCIOUS!!! NO US teacher can even imagine the behavior of Middle Eastern students and whatever you have heard (?), multiply it by at least 10 and maybe it will be close to the war zone of my UAE 11th grade GIRLS classroom. I am currently teaching in an International School in Qatar and it is pretty bad behavior wise also.

    Do your homework before selling your US school short, because TRUST ME- Things can always be worse.


  2. I am just applying to schools all over the world, because I am very disappointed about teaching inner city kids in NY, Buffalo area. Schools try their best, many parents care and some don’t, but the overall attitude of students is just unbelievably apathetic. In The last two schools I taught there were fights in the classroom, teachers were given walkie talkies to hold on to to call for help! And I don’t think I ever had one single day where I ever finished a lesson. The majority of students truly don’t care about learning. I am a very experienced teacher in the ESL field, but in NY I am in the Spanish field. I have about 15 years experience in ESL but NY doesn’t accept my ESL credentials from another state. Teaching Spanish is a joke here. Even administration thinks so, because the state doesn’t support the teaching of foreign languages. So, my question is, after reading so many scary posts about undisciplined students overseas, I wonder if I should just not pursue this opportunity and stay home teaching Spanish, even though my true passion and experience is in ESL. What are ESL programs like in different countries? Any thoughts or recommendations?


  3. I have worked in the middle east..with students who don’t want to learn and in the roughest neighborhoods in NYC.. Any school with integrity would find a way to support you. Disrespectful students should not be allowed to get away with this behavior..even if you are struggling with classroom management..there needs to be consequences for their behavior. It sounds like they have no respect for you. I always looked to my peers to find solutions and consequences for students who are tough..I am happy to say that I now have students who are a dream to teach. I learned a tremendous amount about classroom management in theses situations. Good luck. I hope you can find some support and solutions to what sounds like a stressful experience.


  4. Every teacher at one or more times in their career will happen upon a school, class, or student that defies the best management tactics and strategies.

    You must be able to discern when a situation is beyond redemption and for the sake of your mental and physical health, as well as professional integrity, you must FLEE.

    Catch the first thing moving and get the HELL out! That is if you are really interested in teaching.


    1. I just wonder how many people making comments on what to do have NEVER been in this circumstance. Teachers flee in the middle of the night from here. I had such excitement and high hopes when I came and now just WANT OUT!


  5. Oh how I identify with this…….read Kingdom School in Saudi Arabia. No matter how dedicated and professional you are, these schools are not worth your effort. I also tried resigning and was not allowed as I was the only one able to have any control over these pupils but I left as soon as the contract ended….with no regrets and my career intact. Good luck!


  6. Many overseas positions can seem incredibly daunting at first and I think unless circumstances are really horrific i.e affecting your personal safety then you should stick it out for at least a year and do the best you can. Extreme cultural differences can be something that can be overcome and getting to know the kids will only improve your situation. It will be a steep learning curve but in my opinion the best teachers will give it their all for at least a year to establish whether it really is as awful as it first appears. Regardless of the outcome you will have learned an incredible amount not only about dealing with adversity but about yourself. Best of luck.


  7. You need to become introspective and ask yourself why you entered teaching. There are so many tutorials on line to help you make your classes more engaging, I would watch one of them and take careful notes. This is critical. Students are looking to their teacher for a quality education and what they received instead, bases on this synapsis, was chaos. This is very sad for the children. I am sorry that children are in classrooms, such as the one you described, being deprived daily of a future. If the administrators made a poor fit, let them know so that another more suitable match can get this students on the path of success.

    In the US this would be a very rare case as administrators can suss out the bad apples immediately and keep the students’ success their number one goal. That is why hiring practices are so extensive and meaningful, to avoid this at all costs.


    1. Your answer is evident that you are not a teacher, either in the US or internationally. I have taught 11 years internationally in 3 different countries and 3.5 years in the US and have had both good and bad experiences in the classroom. In the US I had a high school class where the students were getting up and running out of my classroom, painting their nails, writing letters, etc. and I was told by the administration that I had to pass them because the government had mandated that “no child left behind”. The government never stipulated that the students had to learn the material, just that they had to be passed.

      When I was in Colombia, I had students who slept in class, never did any work, at least they were fairly quiet and at least I could fail them. At the end of the first year I begged to get out of my contract and was refused. I stuck out the second year but had everything packed a week before school was out and left immediately when school closed. I had to accept the situationand I made the best of it but I do read the school reviews in ISR.


    2. Wow! Sounds like you had really easy gigs. Just sit out the year (with your students) …… And get a paycheck.


  8. Reminds me of the school I left in the UAE. They’re not interested in learning, just saying that they were taught by American teachers. Besides, the majority of the girls have no intentions of entering University. Marriage and baby making is what it’s all about for the Emiratis. Do your job, concentrate on the one that are really interested in learning, give the bogus grades. Apparently your admin is more interested in kissing booty than in education. Collect your money and leave at the end of your contract. Don’t sweat it. I know that sounds harsh and goes against everything that as an educator you have ever known, but at this point it’s no use getting an ulcer. Good luck!!!!!!


    1. How can a teacher with the training of a diagnostician ethically prejudge any student by making the presumption that such a student is a “handful.” Where are the tactics and strategies to reach all students, even the “handfuls?” Where is the implementation of learning styles to be nuanced to every student matriculated in the class. It is heartbreaking to read here that those which parents hold as their most precious are treated as the problem as to why learning is not taking place. Blaming students for their lack of motivation for learning, when it is the teacher who must motivate the learning, is blaming the most vulnerable aspect of a system for failing, when it is clear that teachers have entered the field for reasons other than teaching the children they are charged with teaching.


  9. My first guess was that the OP was describing a school in the Middle East (or Libya) . My advice would be do just what the admin want you to re; the grades. Manage the class as best you can. If you can get another job elsewhere then get out and omit your time at this school on your resume. If you have to stick it out for a year then try again for another job – but I’d say that once you are in Year 2 see it through and then get out. The school sounds like a holding pen for local girls until they can be married off to start breeding. You are never going to change anything there. Put your professional goals on hold, stay sane, bank the money and see if you can bail or put up with it for the duration of the contract. Depends on the other factors – quality of life outside school, your pay/package, personal treatment by admin/manager. If you are feeling abused that’s a legit reason for bailing. Any subsequent school you apply to that is unsympathetic about that is not worth working for either, right?

    The whole breaking contract thing needs to be discussed on ISR – in your home country if you found yourself working with such conditions as late pay, unruly students, bullying management you would have legal redress and the right to resign and work elsewhere. In many overseas posts we have no rights – except the right to resign – or bail/run because otherwise we face being held hostage or further abused (espec. in countries that hold passports/have exit visas). We are not slaves or bought commodities – if we are being abused/mistreated/lied to, that is a legitimate reason for getting out. I don’t hold with this honor element of the equation – why suffer 2 years of hell because you were lied to out of a feeling to ‘do the right thing’ when clearly the other side are not. You have to look after number one.


  10. Amazing to me how educators are supposed to use ISR to help make decisions on where to teach. NAMES of schools is the best way to help each other out. I understand in this case why the teacher might not want to list the current school’s name, but all the others who list past schools and don’t list names aren’t informing the group as they should.
    Also, one would have to know more specifics on this situation to be able to give good advice. Is the teacher doing his/her job? Are the kids that bad. Maybe, but who knows enough of the situation to say (especially when the school isn’t mentioned by NAME)


  11. I’d scream and yell too if someone was reading Moby Dick to me. Change your tactics. If that doesn’t work then leave discretely. Give them the marks they deserve. Let the admin make the changes if they want. Don’t let them hold your passport!


  12. Catherine, International Schools in Africa MOST CERTAINLY do not have a problem with unruly pupils. African pupils are probably the politest, well behaved and well mannered kids you will ever come across… along with Asian kids. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when we post on this type of website.


    1. Evy,

      Are you speaking on behalf of all schools in Africa. If you look at the continents on any website you will see that Africa and the Middle East cover a huge area. I would agree that the children I have met in a school in Africa were very polite but I cannot name individual schools and I was talking about the entire continent i(in my remarks. Schools in Kuwait and Qatar (some) have a very bad reputation but others are excellent. If you are at a school and these circumstances do not apply then you should not be offended.


    2. Catherine,

      I’m with you. I teach at a school where the parents have the general belief that their child deserves a diploma simply because they pay so much money for their kids to be there. They think that us teachers should just simply pass them, whether they do their work or not. Many of my students have so may absences that if this was an American School in the states, they wouldn’t be able to get credit for the classes anymore. One kid barely shows up for class and does whatever he wants including threaten a teacher physically, yet he’s never been expelled. Why? Because he has a few younger siblings going there and the admin doesn’t want to risk having the parent get mad and taking the others out of the school. Not only that, but they expect their kid to go to Engineering Colleges and succeed! Such denial! Africa is no different than any other part of the world. You can have discipline problems anywhere and trust me, I KNOW, Personally, what you’re dealing with. All the traditional methods for dealing with the behaviors you have mentioned don’t work unless you have an administrative team and parents that back you up by disciplining the kids consistently. You can literally stand right over the kids and tell them to get to work and they’ll ignore you, because they fear no consequences. I wish you the best of luck. Don’t listen to people like Evy. She obviously has never had to deal with a situation like this and has no real understanding of what it’s like. take care..


  13. This MUST be a Middle East school. Been there – done that – don’t ever want to do that again.
    I say leave now – and don’t put it on your resume. Another school will want you.


  14. I had a similar experience in Costa Rica. The students were all rich locals and as Latinos they were loud, exuberant and expected good grades for little work. They talked with their hands so little work was actually done. They continuously groomed and preened themselves in class, searching out mirrors or reflective surfaces.

    I thought about leaving early but stuck it out for 2 years, turned things around and ended up getting really good grades in IB Diploma and IGCSE. Perseverance and classroom management was the key as well as making the students realise they could produce good work and they wanted to learn. Trying to keep a sense of humour helps. They appreciated me in the end.

    Unfortunately, the teacher who followed me left after 6 months!!


    1. Unfortunately there are many countries where you simply have NO RIGHTS!!! In the Middle East, you CANNOT photograph or God forbid video tape the kids and the law is no joke here. If an Emerati says a foreigner did something… Then guess what? They did it. No ifs, ands, or buts.


  15. Anonymous….you have either never taught, or are a failed teacher, now a failing administrator, with no insight into the actual challenges this teacher is going through and no empathy for their needs, nor anything to add other than your cruel commentary. Why are you anonymous? Is it a fear of being unmasked as a phony or are you an administrator at her school and trying to diminish her situation and credibility?
    Here are some things that worked and didn’t work for me in similar situations:

    1) Check with the parents’ of these girls and discreetly verify If they are aware what is actually going on. I am sure if the admin. hears you are, they will try and muzzle you but you might be surprised at how grateful many parents will be to find out what is really going on and want to improve things. this school really fears the parents (why else require a 99% grade for everyone?)

    2) If there are existing discipline strategies the school uses universally for misbehaviour, use them, without remorse or fear. The worst that can happen is that they refuse to apply their own rules. This will tell you IF there is ANY possibility of classroom control.

    3) Find a sympathetic and experienced colleague who can advise you about tactics they use to manage their classes. If you can apply them fine, if not try to modify and adapt them to what you are comfortable with. you can even invite them to spend a class with you to help you apply what they do.

    4) Give them a few pop quizzes and score them immediately…regardless of whether they actually cooperate or not. So if 10 girls ignore the test, give them all zero, if another 10 do it without any thought or interest, give them what they deserve, if another 10 actually do try, give them a bonus (extra marks, a compliment, a call to their parents, etc.). Require that all of them take home their quizzes and get them signed by their parents. If they fail to return the quizzes, they automatically get a zero AND a follow-up call to their parents.

    5) Avoid dealing with the weaker administration, they aren’t there to help you and they will soon enough be on your doorstep harassing you for doing anything that puts them on the spot. If there is a sympathetic administrator, have a chat with them and ask for help. The worst thing that can happen is that they’ll kick you out, but is that such a loss? forget getting a good reference from them, it is clear they are beyond that, or so it seems.

    6) Don’t get excited, anxious, upset, depressed, emotional or reactive. Remember YOU are the adult, they are the adolescents and you must be a paradigm of calmness and firmness, even under the most stressful circumstances. It isn’t easy to do this as they are sabotaging your raison d’etre…to teach and you resent it. They know this and are enjoying it but if they realize you won’t be intimidated, ignored, abused and will always behave with dignity and confidence (even if you don’t feel dignified or calm) then at least you’ll have provided a good example of maturity and adulthood and you’ll feel a little better.

    7) Forget about ¨teaching¨ and ¨curriculum¨, focus on creating an environment where you can build a rapport. I recommend you take individual girls up to your desk and just talk to them one on one, even IF it is amid the chaos of your class. You can also try having a ¨class¨ on something they universally enjoy, maybe a pop artist from their country or a fashion concern they all have, or whatever they share as a common interest. I had a similar class and it only calmed down when we talked about the World Cup and Football. they were totally attentive and since i had professional experience, they really listened.

    8) Invite someone to come in and share with them, it could be a journalist, a politician, a sports figure, a famous local feminist, a musician, or whatever. Don’t be afraid about them being chaotic but do warn the person that they can be a wild bunch and if this person still agrees, then go for it. It couldn’t be worse than an ordinary chaotic class you’re living through each day and it just might break the ice and get their attentions.

    9) When I first started teaching I lost my temper a lot, yelled a great deal and spent 50% of my time trying to discipline kids who saw me as the enemy. Finally I realized that I was NOT hired to be a lion tamer but a teacher and that teaching them to develop self-control was an essential part of my profession. What this led me to do was to individual my relationship with my students. I no longer saw them as a ¨gang¨ of miscreants and a mob of kids but as a disparate collection of individuals with each one needing my attention, whether they acknowledged it or not. From there I always made time (even if i fell behind in the curriculum) to get to know them as individuals both in and outside the class and not as adversaries. It took a lot of time initially but eventually they began to respond and from there, I was able to create an entente cordiale, which means we were able to deal with each other in a respectful and honest fashion.

    10) For those kids who absolutely refuse to cooperate (and there will be some)-occasional exclusion from your class can work (sending them to the library, sending them to the office, a cooling out time in the hall, sending them to the counselor etc.), along with parental involvement IF the parents are collaborative (a weekly performance report, meeting with the kid and parents once in awhile, e-mail communication etc.), and having a colleague who has good relations with them, talk to them, can reap rewards. there is NO easy way to success but if all of the above fails, then maybe this is the time to move on?


    1. lots of nice suggestions…agree that building rapport is so important…glad to see the trying of many things and gradual escalation, not going straight to just up & leaving…you have obvious effort in making things work…keep on keepin on…


  16. One of the first things this teacher needs to determine is if it is just their classroom that is out of control. Observe some other teachers that have been there for a while. Ask how they managed to get control of the kids. Sometimes the kids try it on with the new teachers to see what they can get away with.

    By all means contact parents. Many parents will be shocked to hear that their little angle is behaving this way. Some will not believe but others will. You need to win them over a few at a time. IF parents can help to straighten out a few that is a start. Then set up routines and work on them.

    It is always harder to get back control once it is lost, but try to keep your sanity. With grades; submit what you think is correct and defensible. If Admin tells you to change tell them to change them themselves. Then it is not you who is being dishonest. Just say no. If they threaten to fire you then that would be great, you are looking for a defensible way out of this situation.

    Try to finish the contaract, it always looks better to the next school that you are a survivor even if the situation is attrocious. Try to find other redeeming qualities in the country, sightsee, travel, enjoy your time off and don’t beat yourself up for being in a difficult situation.

    If you absolutely have to leave try to do so at the end of the first year or at the end of a term/semester etc. Submit your grades and don’t look back. Be aware that you will need to explain this somehow in the future, and that will not be so easy to someone who has not been in the situation.


    1. I agree with Mark. The first thing you need to do is figure out if it’s just you or is it the entire school ie. the school culture and climate. If it’s the school, then there’s nothing you can do about it. So, try to finish out the year and move on. If other teachers are not having the same problems, then you are going to have to do some work. Just from reading, I suspect it’s probably a combination of the school and you. It takes a long time to get classroom management under control. Some people are really good at it and some just aren’t. There’s no shame in asking for help. Try Harry Wong’s First Days Of School book. Although its the middle of the year, it’s never too late to start over. Harder- yes but not impossible.


    2. I worked for 20 years in a NY school that was considered so dangerous we couldn’t get substitutes it was so bad, but it was a walk in the park compared to where I am. The English teacher that started with me in September just left after 3 weeks and everyday there is a new report of how many teachers have just packed up and left. Classroom management? I have not been here long enough to have done this to this school. A few weeks after I started the students were so out of control;, running and shrieking in the halls, that the principle sent them all home 2 hours early and then held a 3 hour blame-fest calling all the teachers unprofessional and the behavior was our fault. Really? ALL OF US! So, no- Its not just me. For those of you who guessed I’m in the Middle East- right on!


  17. Blaming the students for their misbehaviour is not the solution. I have heard many a teacher talk about how unruly their students are, but ultimately it is the duty of the teacher to manage the classroom. Obviously you’re not doing that…change your approach and talk to colleagues who may have taught these girls in the past.


    1. A supportive admin enables the teacher to be able to control their students. They seek to help if need be, and then if it still doesn’t work out it is fair to apportion blame. An unsupportive admin sets up a teacher to fail.

      Blaming the teacher when they are trying to improve things makes as much sense as blaming the students. It gets nowhere.

      Better to see how admin and the teacher can work together to improve the situation. If one is useless, it can be impossible for the other to perform


    2. totally agree. admin does need to help/support for major class management issues, at least coming in to observe and offer up advice. i had a director once who was such a douchebag that she didn’t want teachers to send students to her office until the teacher had already spoken with the parents, had the student reflect on their poor behavior by saying what they could have done better, etc. Didn’t matter if there was a fight between students, a student fled the class, etc. Totally irresponsible admin who didn’t want to be the “bad guy” to students or parents. Finally, she saw one of my students after numerous problems. I walked in to find them having a pizza and poster making party…


  18. The kids don’t care about you and neither does the administration, so don’t waste your time. You have to consider your own mental and physical health AND your career. There are thousands of schools out there. If you leave, they will recruit some poor desperate teacher to fill your position within the week. If I sound harsh, it’s because I found myself in this same position once. Now I’m a happily retired teacher. Looking back, I can see clearly that I spent way too much time worrying about what they would think if I left. They were not concerned about my feelings, so why did I put so much importance in what they would think of me if I left. If you leave, everything will still work out in the long run.


    1. I have to agree with “Roundtrip”. I was in 2 situations where the administration did not support the teachers, especially foreign, native-speaker English teachers. The students were allowed to fight, two of which I broke up and was repremanded for, and to generally get away with whatever. The best thing is to seek another position with a more reputable school and get a flight out–with your passport.

      Another time, I took over another teacher’s class. The previous teacher allowed the students to speak in their language and to eat in class and arrive very late. I tried stopping that behaviour but the students were so used to doing this they complained to the head of department. This head of department was very serious, and came in at the beginning of one class, only to see 5 students arriving 1/2 hr late and with snacks for their little get-together. She put a stop to all that very quickly. She spoke in their language,reminded them they were at collage now, and the class became a real lesson from then on. I shall always remember that, certainly after the two high schools where I tried desperately to teach Grades 10 and 12. If admin doesn’t stand behind you, you’re cooked. And, those students who really want to learn lose as well.


  19. This issue resonates with me on so many levels! I’ve been teaching internationally as well as nationally (inner cities in the U.S.) for over 20 years. In my current position as teacher-librarian where the student population is so large that I only see classes of students once every other week for 45 minutes, there is no opportunity to truly develop a workable relationship with the students and/or to establish behavior guidelines that will be followed.

    These children KNOW that they do not receive a grade (either academic or behavioral) from their time in the library, so they feel free to do “whatever” with full impunity… I WILL say that most of the lower grades students — nursery through grade 4 — are being taught appropriate behavioral expectations, how to show respect and just plain basic good manners. They come to the library ready to learn and with set expectations from their classroom teachers, In contrast, the students in grades 5 and 6 KNOW that there will be no consequence if they are disruptive, disrespectful, and/or simply rude and seem almost to take pleasure in being non-compliant.

    Since the school year started in August, I have yet to manage to get a complete lesson finished with those upper grade kiddos.

    The Administration of my current school has told me flat out that “We ALWAYS believe the students.” which translates to the children being given free rein with no administrative oversight. Students can go to any principal (or even directly to the headmaster) with their perceived “complaints” and their word is accepted as total veracity. I sometimes feel like I’m one of the servants in their homes, and who is easily replaced. I get NO support from Admin, and believe me I have asked for observation/suggestions and insightful feedback numerous times.

    As a consequence of the school’s current structure and administrative philosophy EVERYONE loses! The children are being reinforced to be less than stellar global citizens, and are simultaneously losing out on important skills and information that would help the in their future academic endeavors.

    Expat teacher turnover at this school is over 80% yearly and many of the ‘newbie’ teachers from the group I arrived with in August actually simply chose not to return after the Winter/Christmas holiday break. In hindsight I wish I’d done the same!

    I am actively seeking another posting and will not put this school on my resume. I am NOT proud to have “taught” there!

    If you can provide positive/supportive feedback to the teacher who initially posted this thread, and/or you’ve been in a similar situation and can provide helpful suggestions on how the situation can be turned around, I am asking that you share your input. Believe me, this type of situation is not any fun or beneficial for any of the parties involved!

    Sorry if this message seems like a “rant.” I’ve truly never seen anything like this in my teaching career and can hardly wait until the end of the academic school year when I can say sayonara‎
    and try my best to forget this school year never happened!


  20. Hard to give an honest response without an understanding of context. It would be a naive person who would believe that all students are in school in order to learn and follow the schooling pipeline. It may well be that the main, if not the sole, reason that the girls are there are for the social connections that schools offer them. If this is the case then it may well be apt that this is what you foster, instead what most of us believe schools should be for.

    This is not education, but rather it is politics, and if you are involved, you had better get to know how to play rather quicksmart.


  21. Been there, done that. It wasn’t fun, but a great place to earn my spurs. Kids were actually quite fun – they just didn’t want to learn.


  22. If I exhausted my bag of tricks (I have a big bag). I would go back to the worksheet, ans spend my classtime applying to new jobs. I have never been someplace even remotely like this….

    Bag of tricks…

    Recording device, then meet with parents, show evidence (worksheets) of non-compliance. Etc.etc. if all else fails and you are not content babysitting for your salary, leave… You have free will (at least to leave over a holiday)


    1. Yes free will. But a few months into your contract…. how are you going to explain this to potential directors? You broke contract because you can not control the class and the administration are not supportive? Not going to fly!


    2. You tell them the school was not supportive and mention the grade issue of giving them all A’s. If a director won’t accept that as a valid reason then you find another school.

      This notion that breaking a contract = no job ever again is either:

      1.) to plant the seed of fear by Admin

      2.) People who stuck out a bad school and feel they should win a medal as a result.

      3.) Internet trolls.


  23. I’m going to assume you understand about dead times, crowd control and establishing routines and procedures. You may have to set aside the curriculum for a while and concentrate on establishing a working rapport with the students. Assignments may need to be completed with feedback given within one period. You will need patience and support from other teachers. You have been placed in a challenging situation that will need you to think in a different way. This situation is common in many schools and the solution may require parental involvement as well. Get lots of rest and exercise / eat well. Teach something you love, get students on your side quickly, have another teacher help you for a few periods.

    In this type of situation do not expect to stand up front of classroom with a class full of teenage girls bestowing instant respect upon you. You will have to work hard on this one. Do not feed them with entertainment (anger, raise voice, tell your hurt feelings) – feed them with activities, routines, opportunities for success. Do not let them run you out of the school, you are the most important factor in that classroom right now but if u do not believe that, then you have lost control.


    1. Dear Barbara,
      You most certainly can be in a country where you have NO RIGHTS. Many have there own form of democracy which is very different from western countries. The Embassy that you think will help you will not rock the boat as they are guests in the country and you are both in the same boat. Some are better than others but many take the road that if you do not like it get out!!


  24. Anonymous as you have all the wisdom then tell the poor person how to do it. Many International teachers can understand these circumstances as they occur in many schools in the Middle East and African countries. They even occur in schools in Australia/England and other places. .Administration do not have a clue in lots of places how to even get a person a Visa in a reasonable time but then again they do but they do not do it until one is about to burst with anxiety and stress. My darling if you cannot put in place strategies that will improve your situation then everybody makes their own decisions. It depends on lots of circumstances and family support and finances. The first part of this discussion gave an insight into the number who are told that everything is wonderful at a school when in fact it is falling down and one has to do battle with the cockroaches etc every night. Cheers Catherine


  25. I would agree with anonymous who says to stop whinging…but…
    If this is the over-all atmosphere of the school then I believe the director had a responsibility to let the teacher in on that little fact.

    I taught is a ghetto school and the kids were completely out of control in-and-out of the classroom. It took me 4 months to bring things under control. I’m not interested in that type of teaching position again. The teacher who posted about her current experience is obviously not, either. I firmly believe the schools have a duty to inform us if the teaching experience will be crowd control oriented and with no admin support. Worse, is when the parents and the school blame the kids behavior on the teacher with no responsibility on their.

    I have experienced the rich and powerful in a developing nation. Their lack of education is appalling. And there insistence that their kids deserve an “A” grade in exchange for little or no effort seems justified in their limited capacity to reason. It’s little wonder the country was run like the school. It was a case of the inept leading capable – the capable being the lower classes.


  26. Classroom control is a funamental basic skill that all teachers should possess or acquire. It is not a given that there are no discipline issues within an international school . What this teacher needs to do is attempt to regain control of their class even if it means that no teaching takes place for a while,stop whinging.


    1. Go on then, tell them how. They attempt to instil discipline for weeks, and nothing happens. Kids do not respond. So, what then? Let them at least have some actual tips they can put into practice.


    2. You cannot compare the attempt to teach in the UAE to the US or many other places, I have had a few rough gigs as a teacher and NOTHING comes close to Abu Dhabi. NOTHING! Class is a war zone. Them against the teacher. I’ve BEEN THERE!


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