What Would YOU Do? / Part 3

weighingoptions53759368The good news:  You’ve been working at a great school for the past two years & love everything about the experience. The kids & parents, housing, Director & Principal, facilities & resources, the benefits package, community & cultural opportunities ALL continue to exceed your expectations. You’re proud of your good choice of schools & have just committed to a third year. Yeah!

The bad news: Today you learned the Director has been dismissed by the Board & a new Director will be taking his place in the upcoming year. Uh oh! This incoming Director is covered in many ISR Reviews & the future under his “leadership” looks foul & grim. Now what?

What recourse do you have as a teacher? In the ISR spirit of Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed, when teachers discover that their unpopular Director will be moving on to a new school, they often post Director Reports to the future school’s Review page to warn prospective recruiting candidates about exactly who will be taking the place of current leadership.

While obviously you have little in the way of options if you’re teaching at a school that hired a new Director with poor Reviews, you CAN be instrumental in helping colleagues make an informed decision about what they may be getting into at a prospective school. Click to submit an Admin Report Card for your beloved or despicable Administrator.

What would you do if this suddenly became your reality? It may seem hardly worth jumping ship when, after all, you only signed on for one more school year. But, if you’re in this predicament, consider posting a School Review to let recruiting candidates know that things may be changing, for better or worse, at the school. Your colleagues will thank you!

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20 Responses to What Would YOU Do? / Part 3

  1. I wouldn’t do anything except be professional and be cordial to the new director. Offer to introduce him/her to the local quisine, suggest safe places to visit in the community and suggest how to survive tourist traps. Review your strengths and reveal (but not too much) some of your ‘minor’ weaknesses and indicate that you understood that your new director had some expertise in those areas and would appreciate some help in those areas. Do this discreetly in a ‘one-to-one. Rally the troops behind the director to avoid ‘leadership paranoia’. Random compliments like, “We are so glad to have you” every once in awhile will help lubricate a smooth transition for everyone.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Do more examination on the new director, maybe there are false accusations against him/her?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    So the question is, do I quit and not fulfill the contract, or do I spew negative comments on the ISR site, or do I do both? The answer: D none of the above, and instead do my job and put the children’s needs where they are supposed to be. Where is that? Hmm. Let me think. Oh yeah, first.

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  4. China Teacher says:

    I have a hard time sensing the dilemma here. You’re a professional. You made a commitment. While the news may not look good, you probably don’t know the whole story (you can’t believe everything you read in ISR, or every rumor bouncing around your school), and the future is unpredictable. You stay, and do you best to help make a positive outcome. If the whole thing goes south, you say goodbye at your first contractual opportunity. This is another of life’s little dramas, not the end of the world.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I find this reply to show a large amount of animosity. You say you can’t believe everything you read in ISR. I think I would trust nearly anyone with a teaching degree and in a proffesion such us ours and to say people are just posting rumours is amazing! Schools are the ones that post rumours to each other, making up lies and references to ‘destroy’ a teacher that has worked hard in their role. Perhaps more should be done to bring these directors down a peg or two!!!

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      • trav45 says:

        You know, I think that last sentences shows everything. I agree with the original poster. There’s no dilemma here. You love everything about the school, don’t know the backstory behind the incoming director, you fulfill your contractual agreement.

        To say that all the teachers who post here have noble intentions is pretty disingenuous.

        On another note, I find this post by ISR rather off-putting. It’s a blatant advertisement to drum up more reviews, couched in their usual “us against them” rhetoric. The original blog post (Part I) was a legitimate question. This one…not so much.

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      • Ken says:

        Reading a number of ISR reviews can reveal a trend in the evaluation of a director. They cannot be reliable otherwise. If the teacher does their job well and is professional, there should be few problems regardless of the director. But, always be prepared to covertly improve your professional situation. Also be prepared to defend yourself against a corrupt director, being pro-active in selecting your best options. I have walked away from a couple of international schools, and since I held a specialty position, was able to find better ones, with no repercussions. On one occasion I became the aggressor (after I left), and did several things which both exposed and embarrassed the director and school. It felt great.

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  5. Waggingtail says:

    Mmmm, I suspect I have a good idea where this situation is currently unfolding….a community school of good repute on a very populous SE Asian island.

    However, assuming it is a hypothetical, I would certainly stick out my contract. The school has to keep going, as a professional you have a responsibility to meet your commitments. And hey, the person will be new, so be a professional, offer to assist him/her learn to navigate the new contexts, explain the reasons for current processes.

    If he/she quickly dismantles existing structures for reasons unclear, then he/she is true to the on-line reputation. If not, this may prove the opportunity for that leader’s professional growth, and you will be in a powerful trusted position yourself!

    Be proactive, not reactive!

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  6. Johnny says:

    The contract you signed was assuming management would not change. I see no reason to request the contract be terminated due to that.

    I worked at a school where there was a new director hired mid year. The new director cleaned house during the winter break and some teachers were dismissed and did not return for 2nd semester. The new director added teachers he previously worked with and put some in management positions. Other teachers were told they won’t be returning next year. Those who wanted to stay were told to sign a new contract (with less pay and benefits) or be let go.

    Choosing to stick it out for the reminder of the contract might not be an option. I would at least have interviews lined up just in case.

    Lastly, to answer the question about “what qualification do you have that makes your judgement on them better or more accurate than the people who decided that the apointee is best fit for the school? ” I would argue that the school should have promoted within instead of hiring an outsider.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    That is a rough situation. I had a similar thing that has happened to me this year. The new guy really does not value any contributions of people who have been at the school before they arrived. (Did not use gender here to keep this post more anonymous even though the use of they is not acceptable practice). I decided to leave after I finished my contract which thankfully was only for this school year since people signing for additional years beyond their first two can renew annually. You can bet when I interviewed this time around I made sure to ask the head of school if he planned on staying at his current school for a few more years and explained that I like to work for people who share my values and hence the reason for me checking. Heads of school were remarkably upfront about this. I also check to see how long a current head has been at his/her school. If it is more than 5 years they will most likely change schools soon.

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  8. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    I had a similar situation. The first year was great, then the principal left, and a new “Director of Studies” came in. His opening meeting with us began with bald faced lies about parents’ complaints.. that had never happened. He did not become “better,” even denigrating one teacher as unable to do a good job because she was young and pretty.

    There was a feeling of leaving the darkness and entering the light, when going from the hallway into the classroom. The students enabled me to survive with good feelings. Now, they are graduating from college, and write or visit. As always, it is the interaction with students that makes teaching worthwhile. It is the actions of administrators that build or destroy a great school by its treatment of teachers, with respect to hiring, supporting, and firing.

    PS to Suzy Q: Older professionals [like me] are not comfortable with the abbreviations, omitted punctuation, lack of capitalization, and inconsistent use of tense characteristic in “smart phone” texting. Think about your audience and decide when “smart phone” texting is appropriate. ###

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  9. Suzy Q says:

    In this situation, the only thing you can do is tough it out for an additional year. One mans trash is another’s man’s treasure. Just because there are several bad reviews for this admin, doesn’t mean they are all true. You and your colleagues may like this person’s leadership style and it may fit in with the climate and culture of the school. Maybe the admin learned invaluable lessons and is planning to learn from his/her mistakes and start over at your school. Who knows? But, I do know you would be FOOLISH to jump ship based on heresy on this website!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    It happen to me, i got all the lucky things but when im about to renew my contract, the head of school asks me to go because she said they will hire a british nationality (because im an asian) and the new director doesnt want an asian in school! Its so sad and i feel depressed because its me who put up a foundation and make a curriculum (because that school is just a new school and there is no curriculum in the subject that i taught and besides im the only teacher who last longer teaching that subject)…. Its so sad because i feel that some head of schools are racist!! I did all my best and i already build a strong foundation on that subject but with this kind of reason, i cant accept!! I tried to talk to the head of school and get some back up from my colleagues and parents, but because I’m an asian, all those things are gone!! Parents and colleagues feel sad for what happen to me, but what will i do? Im a victim of RACISM!

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    • Robert says:

      Upon reading your post I have the feeling the reason that the school did not keep you on was not because of your nationality, but because of your English language abilities. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but there are a lot of grammatical errors in your posting.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Is it really OK to send reports to another school without any other reason apart from the fact that you as a teacher ( not a school leader or board memeber) have made a judgement about a previous manager that you do not like because they did not treat you in a particular way?

    How accurate is your view of the Head? Are they really that bad? Why do you think that your lovely school hired them if it is already common knowledge that the apointee is (in your opinion) unfit for purpose?

    What qualification do you have that makes your judgement on them better or more accurate than the people who decided that the apointee is best fit for the school?

    What ever way you look at it your are damaging the school you profess to love. Either by spreading rumours, casting doubt on the very people who created the great atmosphere that you have enjoyed for three years , or should you quit abandoning the children in your care

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    • Mark LeSurf says:

      We may not be in a position to choose who is going to be running the school, but that does not mean we have to agree with the direction the school is going.
      I was at a good school which was on it’s way to being a very good school, then the direction of the school changed drastically. Why did it change direction? Who knows, some blame new parents, others, political forces in the country, that, to me, is not important. What was important was that the direction of the school changed drastically. I stayed a year to be sure the winds would not be shifting back, when everyone saw the new direction, then tendered my notice. A school can change very quickly While others may like the new direction of my old school I did not and still do not want to work in that type of school. I am glad I left.

      There are many different styles of schools and in the end we and parents need to decide what type of environment we wish to promote and be a part of. Different styles for different cultures and goals. Most schools goals read the same I am refering to the hidden goals that are rarely in the mission statement.

      Every bit of information is tainted with bias, from ISR or the school or a news source. We teach this to our students so we should know it ourselves. ISR is just another source of information. IF 6 people tell me it is raining outside I might tell someone else it is raining outside, without looking out the window. They have no reason to lie to me as a group and if many have the same opinion it is correct more often than not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously a teacher who worked under a director would have more insight into that director than a hiring committee at a new school. How much bias is involved? that would have to be determined.
      please stop with the “abandoning the children in your care” statement/excuse. It has been over used to guilt teachers into staying in caustic situations, accepting pay cuts, taking on extra hours…… There are few times when “abandonment” is really an issue, if your pilot bails out of the plane then that is abandonment, or the person holding the ladder for you walks away.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If a class is left without a teacher, after they agreed to teach there, is that not abandoning a class? If you resigned as you should, with a terms notice, it is not but by the sounds of it, it would be abandonment on this occasion?

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