A School Owner Talks About Teachers’ Complaints

“The next time your members think to complain about not being happy with this and that, I ask them to consider how they are displaying the same sense of entitlement they don’t like to see in their students.”

Dear ISR, I have been a member of your web site for years. I am the owner of a moderate sized school in a developing nation. I employ 25 expat teachers and I am always very interested to know what teachers are saying about my school on ISR. Regarding things they complain about, I would like to discuss three points and hopefully you will share what I have to say with your members to give them a chance to respond.

1) Professional Development: A common complaint among my staff is a lack of school sponsored professional development. When I interview teachers I make it abundantly clear I cannot/will not send teachers to an in-service in another country. Airfare, hotel and conference fees would add up to substantial expense for the school. As professionals, I feel it should be a teacher’s responsibility to keep up with developing practices in their field. What’s wrong with webinars? I don’t see teachers going to these conferences at their own expense. I have flown in “experts” to deliver PD and the teachers complained, perhaps justifiably, that many of these self-proclaimed experts are far from competent.

2) Housing: Housing can be a big issue. I rent 20 places and pay huge sums each month in rents alone. We have a maintenance staff that maintains the apartments for the teachers, and while the houses aren’t villas and don’t have pools or gyms, they are nice little homes in a safe part of town with facilities, including A/C. It’s what I can afford. I supply a bus that picks up/drops off teachers each school day. Some teachers are satisfied with their housing and others not so much. I don’t see it is my responsibility to support teachers at the level to which they would like to aspire. If they want to live in a better place, they can take the equivalent of the school-provided house and add some money of their own. But they don’t want to do this. They want me to pay as if I were mom and dad.

3) Air Fare, Shipping Allowance and Dependents: Our contract includes round trip airfare. I pay to bring teachers into the country from their home of record and pay to fly them home two years later. I do not pay for non-teaching spouses. I obtain Visas for teachers but dependent spouses must pay for their own Visa plus fees incurred. When there is a dependent spouse and child, I pay the airfare for the child and offer free school tuition for that child. The teacher must pay the expense for a second child including 50% of the normal enrollment fees. For teaching couples I pay all airfares, Visas (up to two children) and school tuition. For shipping I pay two suitcases overage for each teacher and one per child. Trying to ship anything through customs here is impossible. I do not pay toward teachers’ accompanying pets.

I think the Airfare and Visa allowance is very fair. I purchase over twenty-five tickets and pay more than 60 extra bag charges. Some teachers complain about the route we sent them on or the length of stop overs. Some complain I should pay for them to return home every year. Some think I should supply more shipping allowance. Some love their pets as children and expect me to honor that attitude with a plane ticket. My position is I can only afford so much. If a teacher wants to upgrade they are welcome to do so, yet I have seen very few do it.

In Conclusion: My school is what has been termed a “for-profit” school. Of course it is! I started this school with my own money and a big loan. I’ve risked a lot. I chose to open a school because I love education and think it is the path to many things in this world.

But let me be clear. I am not a philanthropist and I do not have endless amounts of money to finance this institution out-of-pocket. I need to meet my expenses and put a few dollars in my pocket. Yes, I live better than the teachers and I drive my own car. I have lived in this country my entire life and worked hard to get where I am. If I were to “support” the teaching staff on a level similar to what they are used to at home, I would be forced to short-change the school. In addition to teacher-related expenses and their salaries (that most local people would give their right hand for), I have the school buildings to maintain, heat/cooling, water, gardeners, maintenance and office staff, cafeteria staff, taxes, bank loans, government officials, text books, computers, science labs, classroom supplies, and by far the biggest expense, teachers’ salaries.

So the next time ISR members complain about not being happy about every little this and that, I would ask them to consider this: They are displaying the same unattractive sense of entitlement they don’t like to see in their students. If I gave any more to the expat staff I would have to start taking away from the students. The students are the reason for the school. Teachers looking for someone to treat them like their parents did should consider the bigger, richer schools. Some teachers who demand a more comprehensive package are better suited for these schools.

Sincerely,
A ‘proud of my for-profit school’ owner

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166 Responses to A School Owner Talks About Teachers’ Complaints

  1. Catherine says:

    This latest comments from the person who worked in a Third World Country sums it all up. He/she states they were told that conditions were harsh and he/she decided to go. This is the key to all the blogs about this topic. if it is disclosed then you your decision is made on accurate information. What most contributors are talking about is the lack of transparency. I am working in a similar country and because of its reputation all over the world now because of recent publicity I worry that these years will be a topic of laugher and the great improvements I have achieved will be not taken seriously because of ignorance.

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  2. S.K. says:

    As a teacher at an international school (also in one of the lesser known nations on this planet), I do appreciate the frankness of the school owner’s original post. I think if these points are clearly communicated at interview time and then when the ink is ready to be slapped on the contract: Fair enough! Under those circumstances, your teachers have little good reason to complain.

    Personally, I would probably not work at your school, though. My school, to quote your language, is, like yours, not necessarily “philanthropic”, BUT it offers many, many perks beyond the package you describe, and savvy teachers ARE discerning about these things!

    We also live in a nation that is very generous right down to its heart, and I suppose that cultural differences between countries probably play into the equation? Maybe in your country generosity is not seen as much of a virtue?

    I will take the freedom to say that your package does appear rather stingy compared to what I’m used to (=on the international circuit for more than a decade now). My school pays for yearly round trips to point of hire, nice apartments, good yearly professional development–in-house AND abroad–, staff parties, etc. And there is clearly an effort to ensure teacher well-being and morale.

    We could have more, of course, but who couldn’t? Maybe if I worked for Big Oil in Saudi-Arabia, my flights would be business instead of economy? Who knows…

    As the co-owner of a small local school–catering to students less advantaged–my philosophy of school leadership is quite different, however: Basically, you are going to get the staff you deserve and pay for!

    I would rather treat my staff generously and invest a few extra dollars. Maybe it won’t pay off immediately, but if the school is otherwise well-run, I know I will feel the benefits after a few years–more people interested in coming to work for us, a decent reputation,etc.

    Most importantly, reputation! The original poster seems to completely underestimate that it is just as important to receive your staff well as it is to see them off well. If your employees end their contract with a feeling of “Really, that was all?”, then that sentiment is exactly what ends up ‘on the circuit’, making your school less attractive. And if your school is less attractive to prospective teachers, you’ll end up scraping up the leftovers at a really nice party (aka: job fair). That mess is something I would prefer not to deal with!

    So, good luck with your philosophy. You’ll probably have some success with it, but if you want to take it to the next level, your approach needs to become less narrow; less about you and your personal achievements (and my respect for you being a school owner and having the resilience to pull that off!). You will need to disconnect your personal ‘story’ from your school as an institution and think about how you can make your staff happier.

    Once again, good luck!

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  3. geronimo says:

    I grew up during a time when education was about dedication. If my teachers had not been of this mould, i wonder where most of us would be today.

    However look at the scenario now & figure…

    The employer was deducting for but never banked in towards the employees provident fund. Despite complaints being lodged at the relevant government agency no action has been taken. In the meantime teachers have come & gone.

    The school accepts students who need ‘special education’ (autistic, ADS) but does not cater for them.

    Salaries are not paid promptly. Sometimes even after the 15th.

    Teachers were promised a bonus but it was never paid.

    Teachers were always told that ‘as long as you want to work there’s a place for you here’. Recently out of the blue a retirement policy was introduced.

    Not all teachers have had a formal education in teaching. Some are spouses of expats in the country working ‘black’. Some are overseas students pursuing masters/doctorates and working ‘black’.

    Amazingly the authorities don’t seem to check on this.

    So those die-hard educationists seeking ‘the good ole days’, get real.

    For those who still can, prostitution pays better!

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    • jl says:

      I’m not familiar with this school, but there are several red flags that can be gleaned (even though the administrator tried to draw attention by high lighting secondary important complaints made by teachers).

      One, this must be in a non-pleasant area–where first world people would not vacation, refuse to go to in general.

      Two, the pay was not mentioned but must be abysmal. No one wants to work in a bad area for a savings potential (translated back home) equivalent to being a cleaning person. It is expensive in the West with little in the way of a social safety net. People in Africa kill each other for a pound of fetid meat. Your whole rationale of dealing with people used to a modicum of civility is to sell that lifestyle, you deny your teachers, to locals who are on top of the exploitation chain to afford your high fees.

      Three, there is a whole disregard for the profession: no PD, substandard housing for tertiary educated faculty, etc.

      You are basically asking first-world people to take a large chance to enrich your business, while at the same time being offered a substandard lifestyle in the context of jeopardizing their career at home and having no significant savings to show for it.

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  4. A.G says:

    Read some of the comments, but not all so if what I am about to say has been covered, my apologies…

    First of all, as this is from the owner’s perspective only, and without any corroborating accounts or evidence to verify the veracity of what he says, everything is to be taken with a grain of salt. This is the internet. You can say anything you want-doesn’t make it true, however. So I think I can be forgiven if I treat what he says with a jaundiced eye.

    Key point-“for profit”. In other words, you are a business, Mr. Proud To Be A For-Profit Owner. This makes you no different from private schools anywhere else in the world-or any other business, for that matter. The problem with you is that you seem to be confusing your role with that of a public educational institution (which are not operated to make profits but to provide what has been mandated as an essential public service), and therein lies a big problem I have with your piece.

    You said, “I chose to open a school because I love education and think it is the path to many things in this world.” No, you didn’t-you chose to open a business in a developing country because you saw a way to make money. Period. You chose it to make money, pure and simple, so please don’t insult your readers with some nonsense distraction that you were motivated by altruism rather than a desire to make a buck. As another poster aptly pointed out, if you were really motivated by a love of education, you could have opened a non-profit school that wouldn’t be debased by such things as a desire to make a profit.

    Ten years in Asia and I have worked at many of your private, “for-profit” education businesses and the vast majority exist because there are little-to-no regulations or standards put in place to govern the quality of them. Quite often they are owned and operated by people with little or no background in education (in the form of Education degrees, licenses from their home country, etc). As with others who have commented, I look long and hard at any contract placed in front of me by any education business (which is what you are), as bitter experience has taught me that many are haphazardly and unscrupulously run.

    Foreign employees are often regarded as interchangeable parts, even by expat owners of such establishments and there seems to be a prevailing sentiment in Asia that if you can speak English, you can teach English. I can assure you that is not true. As a trained and licensed elementary and junior high school teacher from Canada, I have discovered that for many of your “for-profit” education businesses being so qualified has actually proved to be a detriment, because proud owners such as yourself feel disadvantaged or threatened by their own perceived lack of quality (due to not being comparably trained and experienced) and are fearful that their authority will be undermined. Also, with few exceptions, for-profit school owners such as yourself never seem to make a distinction between those who are well-trained and qualified and those who are not when it comes to salary. Yet you seem to expect far more contribution and output from those of us who are.

    Here’s a tip, Mr. Owner: quality people cost. You have a decision to make: if you are truly motivated by a love of education, then you’ll recruit the best trained and qualified people you can find, regardless if it cuts into your profit or not. But if what you are really interested in is making money, then you’ll cut corners and hire staff that are not. on here and whine when they act all unprofessional on you. But since you “are not a philanthropist” as you stated, I think I already know which decision you’ve made.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, A.G. there are a some good points in your letter but you generally you came across as quite bitter and resentful towards this man!

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think A.G hit the nail right on the head. Education in developing countries is a big money spinner and all types of unscrupulous people are taking advantage of this. There are tens of thousands of international schools worldwide but only a few hundred make it onto the ISF website. I suggest that you really are not providing an environment people are happy with or just misleading people into joining your school. Just the tone of your letter would dissuade me from working at any school you may own. Why not try to resolve some of the issues your teachers have expressed and you wont get as many complaints. Also, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you continue with this attitude teachers will always leave and complain.

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    • Mr. B says:

      A.G – how do you KNOW that he is not a philanthropist? How do you KNOW that he really is only interested in profit??? It’s ok for you to take a wage – a good wage, but not for him to make money and add value to someones life at the same time? You have the same amount of knowledge that I have about the owners values/beliefs/education/philosophy etc…. ZERO….

      I’ve also worked in a number of schools in Asia, both for profit and not for profit – and I’ve seen some schools that treat teachers poorly, but – to say – or to surmise that the author of this article treats his staff with less than respect is nothing more than speculation on your part. I’m sorry, but you sound bitter and opinionated. I wonder if international education is for you?

      At least you look at the contracts, because A.G…. thats what you need to do!! That and ask questions…. and if the owner/administrator is not forthright and honest – walk out. It’s really not that hard.

      Go take a chill pill pal. Its not always someone else’s fault!

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      • Tomtom says:

        “AG – how do you KNOW that he is not a philanthropist?”

        Read the owners original post.

        “But let me be clear. I am not a philanthropist… “

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      • A.G says:

        How do I know the school owner is not a philanthropist? I actually took the time to read down to the part of his letter where he states, “I am not a philanthropist.”

        Perhaps you should have done the same before embarrassing yourself with the very first line of your response.

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      • jl says:

        It’s called capitalism, dupe. Besides, are you aware of the corruption and desperation in the third world? You are not, as teaching in the West pays low enough where you don’t have to deal with the scoundrels that were able to get a visa sponsored.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    What do they say about the boss all boss are… Schools are owned by someone, non profit or profit. I have worked in both, some of both have been fantastic organizations, some not. Most in administration, their term not mine, Have meet some great colleagues over time and again some not so. Some have had to leave home for financial reasons, some for adventure, some for travel, few have actually said “teaching”. I presume that is a given. sure in my time, there have been outrageous contracts, appalling living and working conditions, those that don’t want to change and insist that the school should be like theirs at home… as if.

    There have been those heads of school that are worth their salt and others how and why did they get where they are?
    There are those heads that are there to appease the owners, they have no choice and can’t express that to their chargers.
    There are those heads and or HR’s who tell lies to attract staff or risk no teachers in front of students.

    There are those owners who don’t believe in spending money on resources, accommodation, PD, money is their game.There are those owners who believe in education as the here and now and the future and reinvest the money into the school.There are those owners who practice practices that would not be allowed or tolerated in most western countries, yet they get away with it.

    There are those schools that do not support staff, those that do, those that believe parents are right and teachers are wrong, those where teacher voice is appreciated and where respect is mutual.

    I could go on and on.

    OK sites like this can only say so much, few like to identify themselves for fear of owners, principals, heads being able to identify the writers.

    Life is not fair for all, so why do we move, we enjoy the adrenaline rush, the release from home country commitments, the opportunity to travel, meet other people, instant international friends etc etc. and of course teach.

    Those who moan, have a think about your behavior, is it you or circumstance, if the latter, do something or be quiet, if the former then have a think how you can improve.

    Enjoy the moment it comes to a close all too quickly.

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    • B.Rawlins says:

      The principal motivation for professionally qualified and experienced teachers can only be to educate their students. That comes first, not last. It requires reasonable teaching and learning conditions, and adequate salaries and accommodation. All these seem to be offered by this school owner. Other considerations to do with adrenalin rushes, release from commitments, travel opportunities, and socialisation are minor at best. If contractual agreements are not met, qualified professionals have every right to make formal complaints and offer constructive suggestions for improvements. That is hardly “moaning” and they should certainly never “be quiet” (i.e. put up and shut up). Failure to meet basic, contractually agreed, educational needs on the part of overseas schools does not demand the teachers “think how they can improve”. They should already be doing that through professional development (which this particular owner, to his credit, offers). The need to improve in such a situation rests first with the school management. Those who are there just “to enjoy the moment” and are not interested in a long-term commitment are frequently irresponsible and unprofessional. They are part of the problem.

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      • A.G says:

        B. Rawlins makes an excellent point about reasonable teaching and learning conditions. Part of this entails treating professionally qualified and experienced staff you have hired as just that, and not mindless drones. Allowing them the freedom and autonomy in the classroom to draw on their training and experience in order to offer the best educational experience for their students (your customers).

        However, private school owners often insist on micromanaging such individuals, restricting what they can and cannot do and generally adopting a patronizing posture that they know best what the customer wants because it is the owner they are paying. This is very disillusioning for individuals who are genuinely trying to make a difference and were hired on the understanding that is what they would be doing.

        Reasonable teaching conditions don’t solely revolve around monetary considerations. Being treated with respect and valued as an contributor, rather than being regarded as disposable goes a long way in establishing a loyal and diligent workforce.

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  6. Catherine says:

    They all call themselves professionals!! If they work in HR. Accounting or Management they still believe that they are professionals then please act as your title infers.

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  7. Mr. Ron says:

    Having taught overseas 15 years I’ve seen a lot. Teachers need to do as much research as they can before coming and otherwise NOT expect anything that is not in the contract. Be overjoyed if there are perks not mentioned in the contract; don’t assume ANYTHING! Fortunately there are both good and bad contracts out there, and those you negotiate. A teaching contract and school is basically a deal between teacher and school, both trying to get the best end of the bargain. If you don’t like what is offered or the school breaks contract, walk away! Don’t come and spend endless hours complaining, unless, of course, the school didn’t hold to the contract offered you. Another reason to use the reviews on ISR and take them to heart BEFORE coming!

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  8. Catherine says:

    Dear Steve, Thanks for the comments. Any positions available at your school as it is one of the best programs I have ever had the privilege to have explained. to me. I am very experienced and work very hard each day mentoring staff but I get no thanks in this school.

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  9. Catherine says:

    Steve, But your school keeps employing expat Teachers because the whole school reputation rests on being able to state that you employ highly experienced Teachers who are experienced in the curriculum you offer. This statement is what encourages prospective parents to enrol their children in your school. Some young graduates do have unreal expectations and do not settle well but I have found with a little help and some care they perform well. If you employ a poor balance of experienced versus lack of experience this will also cause problems. The experienced Teachers can only mentor a few and do their own work as well. So if your school depends on expat Teachers to keep up the images and statements in your prospectus then help them and explain local customs and courtesies. A good orientation program plus a staff handbook is work its weight in gold.

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  10. Catherine says:

    What HR policies? I have never been given one in 7 years. As for the legal system- What is written down and what happens are two entirely different matters. Unless one has connections or family connections then you are on you own. I believe that a school has a obligation to explain at orientation what the process for the inquiries or complaints are in that school and to ensure that some of their staff who have been in the country for some time is available to offer some help or give their opinion on a matter if asked by a new staff member. I have been in situations at night with staff members who are sick and none of us had a medical card, no contact list available of who to contact. A Director who would not answer her phone so we went to the local clinic next door to the school and got abused for not having a health card. Some of us did not even have a Visa. Lots of promises before we came and every time we raised the matter we were told it was in process and making progress and it was all lies. On the day we left we still did not have it. I am sure that some schools try very hard and YES there are some Teachers who are still not satisfied but the point this post is making by most of the people commenting is that what is written and promised is not delivered.

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    • Steve says:

      Hey Catherine — wow thanks very much for your very straight comments, I can feel how much frustration you have in your work! I am not sure you have ever joined annual EARCOS conference and we have a section “Job A-Like” discussing everything about school’s HR policies especially policies for expat teachers including how design effective orientation program, how best benefits etc. Let say we have Orientation Handbook for our newly hired faculty staff members, we also have buddy system supports them from the beginning of recruitment and selection processes; each individual will be given the school’s HR policy manual for carefully double check before they sign the letter of intent; we have a relocation handbook with all relevant information and instructions for relocation and with brilliant support from HR team members and so on. For us, the reputation of school is very important and teachers are always recognized as invaluable asset of school. Hence, the success of school and student achievements would be gained when only there is win-win relationship between the school and staff members.

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  11. Steve says:

    I am playing a role of country hr director and managing three big schools. our schools have very consistent and transparent hr policies but our hr team always receive very negative complaints from expat teachers. I have experienced the major problem is that most of international schools have matter with induction and mentoring programs for expat teachers. On the other sides, some certain expat teachers have difficulties in adapting themselves into new country and school culture; more seriously, some of them never do some needful research of local legal systems and hr policies before raising their complaints.

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  12. Catherine says:

    Yes those are the key words. IF he has been honest with his promises in the contract. Many do not honour what they promises and it takes them months or never to issue health cards, visas etc I agree that in some high paying locations there is an amount given for accommodation. Even the most modest small flat, apartment is costly and saving is very hard. I do not believe that pools, expensive PD’s etc are what most Teacher are talking about.They want what was offered in their contract and they want to be legal in the host country. Often it takes months to fix poor quality items that are supplied in the accommodation and often taxis are a game for the new applicant unless you have caring employers who go out of their way to inform you of places and practices.

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  13. Mr. B says:

    You know, I’ve worked in a number of ‘for profit’ schools. Each time I change, I read the contract carefully. Then, if I’m happy with what I’ve read… I sign. I then expect to be held accountable for what is in the contract and I expect the school to be equally accountable for what is due to me.

    I have HUGE respect for the vast majority of school owners. Not all. The owner of this school is clear in what his school offers and doesn’t offer.. as such, it’s simple – either you are happy with it, or don’t apply.

    School ownership IS a contentious issue, but lets get real here. There is NOTHING wrong with making cash from education – we do it as teachers. If this fellow is ballsy enough to put up the cash, to get the school going, to employ and run a school that is successful, why should he be whipped for that?

    If he chooses to not offer international PD, then thats his choice as an owner, he is not a dummy (or he’d have failed long ago).. so obviously is aware of the positives and negatives of this.

    As far as wages are concerned, too many of us think the salary is the most important thing – it’s not, repeat NOT the most important. What I think is, though, apart from professional growth – is what I can put in the bank! I earn a very very healthy wage in Singapore, but I know I can put more in the bank earning less in many countries. Hence, I’m leaving to earn less, but bank more.

    Housing? You seriously want that pool?? Lets get honest, how many times do you use it during the year? Again, its up to you, put your hands in your pockets if you’re that desperate.

    Sorry guys, I’m completely on the owners side – as long as he’s been upfront and honest in talks and in the written contract, then there is NOTHING to complain about… zilch.

    Bring on the flamers!!

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  14. Kassandra says:

    Even after doing my homework, I have still worked for some questionable schools. Sometimes, it’s just bad luck. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as a marketer. I understand the laws of business and the importance of making money… however, ethically. In my experience, too many international schools are cowboy operators, looking to scam parents and teachers. I’m not sure if this posting from the Director is legitimate, but I hear warming bells when I read it. I would avoid this school, and in my humble opinion would many, many qualified and experienced teachers. I fear that this Director will “…get what he pays for,” a group of unqualified, inexperienced and disgruntled staff, more than likely people with a degree, but NOT in teaching. Poor kids!!

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  15. Catherine says:

    OK Jan I just hope if that is your opinion that you took positions in those types of places and when they gave you an insight into the place by email or at interview that they described the place as you do. If by some chance you are not speaking from experience I suggest you go to some of these please for your next position and last the distance.

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  16. Catherine says:

    In response to B. Rawlins, YES YES I agree that once you join the set who say” what you can do”? or you came here put up with it! you are lowering yourself to their standards and that is why the owners keep doing it. Each year a certain number arrive new to the school and are told by old staff ‘”Shut up say nothing or they will get rid of you” and most do except if they are in a position that is highly required and can easily get offers from genuine schools. They leave as soon as possible because the contract is a farce and they soon find out that the authorities either do not exist or are not interested as they have heard it a thousand times. I have been in International Schools for 7 years and I still have no idea how one could pre-check that they will deliver unless you have a friend working at the intended school. I have never been in this position. So I do my homework, ask questions which mostly do not get answered which is fairly normal and hope and expect that the people one have been speaking to are able to be trusted. They even reassure candidates that everything in the contract will be honoured and that the staff love the school. You find out differently in a very short time after arrival. With each new posting I have had I have paid considerable costs for either transport, accommodation, luggage and because of the probation period which I have now served in excess of 10 times they cancel your contract without reason in most Middle Eastern countries and smaller third world countries and what you going to do about it? Nothing as they also block your exit at the airport if they feel like it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As my mom, who is a retired teacher from the states, often comments when things go against the hiring agreement, “That’s why we have unions, so we are protected.” International teachers are extremely vulnerable and more so when they have children. Even though we are not happy with our school, we are choosing to stay one more contract because we have to protect our reputations and we don’t want to disrupt our kids’ education. Leaving after one contract “looks” bad for us. Never mind that we have legit reasons to leave. We have no union to look after us, we have to play this game and carefully. However, we choose to live overseas, so we are ultimately responsible for our choices. It’s a balancing act.

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  17. B.Rawlins says:

    Whatever teachers might think of this owner’s attitudes, his ‘package’ seems perfectly acceptable: professional development speakers brought in; maintained accommodation with A/C,; transport to the school,;airfare and visas; tuition for children; and a baggage allowance. OK, it appears as if the guest speakers might be better and the baggage allowance increased, but on balance it is not a bad deal compared with many overseas schools. The crunch issues for teachers are how far the reality on the ground matches the promised contract, and whether they are faced with intimidation if they raise constructive criticisms and practical suggestions for improvement in teaching and learning conditions for themselves and their students. If the response, from owners, management or so-called ‘colleagues’ is “put up and shut up”, then the response from qualified, experienced professionals must always be No, No, Never.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    So the owner is proud that his school is for-profit. That’s his choice. He could have started a not-for-profit school, but he chose not to. It’s possible to make a decent living doing so. And I can choose not to work for someone who regards teachers and students as raw materials for his for-profit venture. So Mr. Owner, stop whining and get a clue. Education costs money. Good education costs even more. If you’re in it for the money, go do something else.

    (And don’t start up with the argument about _all_ schools being businesses. Of course they are. But some prefer to cover costs while making a decent living rather than exploit.)

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  19. Peter says:

    Whilst the owners views are reasonable, one must understand also that teachers are not charity workers either. I get the impression that taking the moral high ground in terms of providing better working conditions and remuneration to the teachers would take away from the students is not a tenable argument.

    If the school, like any business, cannot afford to sufficiently pay it’s employees, satisfy it’s customers and adequately reward the capital investors then it is not a viable business.

    However I do appreciate that anywhere you will get individuals complaining. When living overseas it is not reasonable to expect it to be like home, Western style and living off of expensive imports. If it was then why even consider living overseas but to live as a local is equally unrealistic. Teachers give up state pension, numerous benefits and locality of family to work at international schools set up to promote big business in far-flung places. International schools and those working there make up an integral part of the international aspect of many cities. Without these teachers many blue-chip would significantly struggle to find the right employees for their business ventures.

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  20. Maggie says:

    It is interesting to hear the owner’s point of view, as we know this site is heavily in weighted by the many teachers who have an axe to grind and/or through no fault of their own have had a bad experience teaching overseas.

    That being said, no one is forcing a gun to your head to go overseas, most of us selected this profession and if you are forced to go overseas and don’t really want to because of family and friends, then perhaps it is time to re-consider a career change. We all take a risk when we get on that plane, we hope for the best but don’t expect to end up in perfectsville. If you don’t like the people you work with, the school you work in try and stick it out for a year and MOVE ON. That is life A missive about your experience and what has happened to you is utterly boring, give us a few bullet points.

    On the side the owner I have to say, I have worked in a few schools were I have found the quality of my so called professional colleagues to be sub-standard, like the accommodation, I suppose and work ethic appalling. I have felt sorry for the children. How does the owner know that what is on said person’s CV is accurate, they too take a risk. Swings and roundabouts my friends.

    Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    As stated in previous posts, this may not be the school for you, so don’t go. No one has put a gun to your head, do your homework and hope for the best. That is life. Why do we expect to get on a plane and get off in perfectsville. When you travel overseas you take a risk. Many people end up in places or with people they detest. Stick out the year if you can, and MOVE ON! Stop complaining and playing the victim, it is tedious.

    Like

  22. Katja says:

    I think that the Head of school has some valid points if his/her comments apply equally to everyone and every situation. To me, what this Head of School offers sounds like a reasonable deal and one I would take for the experience of seeing another place and experiencing another culture.

    However, as someone who has worked at many types of schools in the U.S. and also worked overseas, I have found that what this Head of School is speaking of is usually not the case. More often than not, contracts are misleading, outright dishonest, and not honored. To make matters worse, when an employee is in another country, even if the passport is in personal possession, the employee often needs a no objection certificate to be able to leave the country and to take one’s things with you, leaving the employee in a very vulnerable position if he/she wants to speak up. Then there are the numerous heads of schools who can and will ruin an employee’s reputation for future jobs in some of the most insidious and vicious ways. They can and have done things that they are allowed to get away with for years because of the countries they are in and the lack of solid judicial systems in which they would be sued were they in countries where employees have more rights.

    I guess one of the main things I really disagree with is the question of why so many schools – overseas and in Western countries expect teachers to behave as charitable philanthropists, not only when they cannot afford it, but also when the administration of schools do not. I do not know of any teachers who become teachers to make a profit or to have an easy schedule as many non-teachers mistakenly assume. Many of them are just trying to keep their heads above water, much like the rest of the working classes. Many heads of school and administrators take advantage of teachers who are intuitively idealistic and put education and students first, by asking them to do more than what is in their contract in the “interest of education and student welfare”, while they themselves get paid handsomely and are allowed to make a profit. They consistently put teachers on the spot by asking them to always do more to prove how dedicated they are and thereby putting the teacher who does venture to refuse in an awkward position.

    My question for this head of school is – If teachers are supposed to be so grateful for the amenities received at the school compared to locals, then why isn’t the head of school hiring locals? He/She would have to pay much less and not provide tickets or housing. My guess is that this head of school and many others would not be able to recruit students for enrollment or high tuition without advertising International or Western Teachers. I do not in any way think this is fair and I have been to many countries where the locals are as qualified if not more qualified than people from other countries. However, snobbism, stereotypes, and bourgeoisie attitude are what keep this system going. When a head of school hires teachers from Western parts of the world, that teacher often has Western expenses, such as a Western student loan. I would love to live in many of the places I have visited, but there is no way that I could pay my Western bills with a salary from those places.

    Don’t fault teachers for trying to support themselves and their families. It is not a crime to expect a reasonable salary or to have a contract honored. Yes, there are spoiled people everywhere and you can find them anywhere and in any walk of life. However, to tell people with Western bills and obligations that they should be grateful if what they are promised is not honored because what they have compared to locals is much more, is a ridiculous argument. It is insulting to teachers and to the locals alike. Many overseas jobs pay approximately 30,000 or more less than Western jobs because they supply housing, airfare, etc…, so it tends to even out. If you want teachers to spend extra time schmoozing and fundraising to help your school increase enrollment, then pay them for it. Stop expecting teachers to give charity – they are not the ones receiving donations from alumna or tuition. Teachers often get not very good treatment regardless of their country of work, but they do stick with their professions because they firmly believe in the value of education and the future of our children. Stop making them the scapegoats for everyone. In a world where they do not have much power, ISR has been one of the few places where they have a voice.

    To simplify the many valid issues brought up on ISR into one category based upon a few spoiled individuals who have never really travelled, is to not really listen to what is being said. If you think International teachers are “whiny”, then hire some “grateful locals” and quit complaining about teachers who expect the same courtesy and respect as others.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonderful response. I especially appreciate you bringing up westerner’s western expenses. Not only do we have student loans to pay (even10 years after we’ve graduated) but we also have mortgages to pay. Working on a local wage just doesn’t cut it. It seems unfair to the locals and many local colleagues feel this way until I explain to them what our financial obligations are back home. Additionally, as much as we love living overseas, we still feel the need to go back to our home country to have our kids see their grandparents and other family. We do this with our flight benefit which is only at the beginning and end of each contract which is as often as we can afford. It ain’t all servants and luxury at our house.

      Like

    • jl says:

      I would like to add that Western teachers are, in fact, often more qualified than local teachers, not only with credentials, but the very fact that they are surrounded by professional, competitive environments with high standards and pedagogy.
      One major component of international education is to get the kids in the USA and a visa. One needs USA teachers for kids to be successful in that very competitive environment. It’s not just silly market ideology.

      Like

  23. Catherine says:

    In one of my first comments on this blog I challenged the writer/owner to divulge the name of the school or at least the country. He has been very quiet since writing this post so I hope he has taken all the comments on board. As for the writers who state that you need to do your homework by contacting past or present this is next to impossible if you have never worked in the particular country and of course the school will give you a few names of complete YES people if they do at all. I have seen it done in several new British Schools where one new graduate gets a job and then all of their friends and their friends follow and they all follow each other out the door at the end of the first year because all the false promises and their lack of experience made it the year from hell. We are talking about highly experienced Teachers who are professional and caring and have been made promises that are not kept. Not to mention all the other scams that some schools get up to. Like keeping your passport.charging for Visas, failing to pay gratuity.no health card and the longest flights imaginable for the Teachers who travel from the longest distances to take a position in good faith.

    Like

  24. asmith says:

    I am appalled that several people in this discussion as well as the original post seem to think that teachers demanding decent pay is being entitled or selfish. As an experienced teacher who is professional and highly qualified I expect to be compensated. It is not selfish or entitled. It is not thinking you are my parent to demand a certain level of housing. I am insulted that this owner would think this. Perhaps if he did not think of his teachers as children but as professional he would not have as many complaints. He will get the quality of teachers he is willing to pay for and it seems from his statement that he does not desire experienced teachers. I would not work at a school that did not provide me with a yearly flight home and a decent shipping allowance. With such a bad package he may be able to hire new teachers, ones who cannot get hired elsewhere, or ones who want to live in his country and are willing to put up with a terrible package in exchange for living there. However, he should understand that experienced teachers will not be willing to work for such bad conditions and the quality of the school is determined by the quality of the teachers. I hope he does not charge much for his school as he will be providing a low quality of education.

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    When will you lot on this site understand that ALL schools are for profit. THEY ARE NOT CHARITIES AND DO NOT OWE YOU A LIVING.

    The owners put their money and time into setting the school up, building the premises, stocking the schools with equipment, marketing and encouraging parents to buy into the school philosophy and then taking a chance to hire teachers who may or may not work well in their school.

    In any business ( and yes PRIVATE international schools are businesses) at least 80% of an owners cost is salary. You teachers are the biggest risk a school owner has, and the school’s reputation lives and dies on the quality of the staff it hires.

    A school owner cannot quit when they feel like it, on a whim because they feel hard done by or there may be a better opportunity around the corner or they realise that they hacve made a mistkae and not domne their research . You as teachers can.

    They are in it for the long term and as a result are entitled to make a profit. It is their business do not forget . If you do not like this reality then dont go and work overseas in a private, international school.

    Go and work in a government school. Lots of countries around the world need well qualified and hard working teachers. They are not for profit because of their nature . You should be satisfied then.

    However I doubt that any of you lot will be because in these schools the class size is bigger , the resources are sometimes a lot worse than what you get in a “bad” international school, the management can be worse, the students may be less dilligent, the parents may be disengaged with what is happeneing in the school, and on top of this guess what?

    Teachers are paid terribly and they wont pay for your accommodation, your flights, you wont want your children to go to the school and you wont be able to afford to send them to that “awful international school” up the road – the one that you didnt want to work in

    Like

    • Christopher says:

      I think the post misses the mark. Yes, owners of for profit schools consider education as a business and are very quick to say this. The issue is that any for any business to be successful, it must attract and retain the best staff. If the owner is not willing to do this, then they must accept a mediocre product.

      Like

    • Jan says:

      Right on! When you are in a different country expect the entire experience to be foreign, that is what part of it is all about. You do not go to these places and expect the lights to work, poison snakes may be in your room, a Mickey d’s next door …get a clue…this overseas gig is not for you….J.L. Hart

      Like

  26. Catherine says:

    Re Accommodation Most Teachers accept the accommodation because if you are single it is beyond your means to rent anything better. Almost all teachers want is what the contract states and if they have clarified what the accommodation includes or looks like then that it what they are expecting.. In one place I worked at we arrived to find that a long to do list had been made at the end of the term and not 1 single thing had been cleaned, fixed or replaced. In some of the places that do not have a final checkout I have to say that disgruntled Teachers leave the place in a huge mess. This is not professional but they are not coming back and they use this as payback. I do not like this but it happens and I have had to fix up this mess in many apartments many times with the help!! of the foreign caretaker who does not think it is his job.

    Like

  27. zainabl2 says:

    As an expat of more than 20 years, having worked both as a teacher and in management, I have seen many teachers come and go. Some last and some don’t. They come from all different walks of life, backgrounds, and life experiences. It is sad that some teachers arrive in a new country with the subconscious belief that they are superior and there to bring “westernisation” and “civility” to the country, ie neo-colonialism. They seem to feel entitlement to a lifestyle above and beyond not only the local population but the lifestyle in which they have been raised and to which they are accustomed.

    Each school has its own budget, requirements, and management style. It is up to prospective teachers to ask questions, contact existing and previous teachers if possible, do their own research about institutions, position descriptions clearly set out, and contracts negotiated before accepting positions. Although these days it is definitely a buyer’s markets, especially in the high end sector, it is still possible to negotiate a lucrative contract that will benefit both the institution and the teacher alike. Teachers have to be realistic, considering their experience, ability, and level of education when negotiating a contract. Most people start at the bottom and work their way up.

    Like

  28. Catherine says:

    In reply to the last post. You should have said in my humble opinion “You might get the experience”. In the seven years I have been working Internationally I have worked with few Teachers who have any ideas how to work creatively with these students.. They are certainly capable of using their many talents to understand how these places think and behave but after orientation there is very little mentoring or help during classroom hours. As one contributor stated even when PD is delivered it is many times way off the mark and often delivered by expensive consultants who waffle on about subjects that the Teachers already know about but would like practical ideas of how to deal with their current students and deliver an interesting curriculum. If they are lucky they pair up after hours with some other new teachers and they work together to get things done. There have been posts on this site and others regarding Teachers returning home and finding that this experience is very much devalued.

    Like

  29. Anonymous says:

    The reality of this owner and his/her school is that with this package, they will only attract teachers who are new to the international scene, or who cannot get jobs in better places. Experienced teachers with families will not put up with these benefits, and so the school will be a revolving door of teachers who will come for a few years and then leave to go to schools with better packages.

    It also says something that they do no seem to value PD, which I consider to be intrgral to a school who cares about progressing and moving forward. I can say that most PD that is brought into the school and given to the whole faculty is usually generic and doesn’t help teachers in their specific subjects. My school paid for me to attend 3 conferences in the past year, and I can say that I appreciated each one, used many of the things that I learned in my classes and consider myself a better teacher because of them. If the owner doesn’t want to pay for PD, at least do what other For-Profit schoosl do and give a yearly allowance that teachers can top-up if they choose to do PD in other countries (I know this because, earlier in my career, I worked at 2 For-Profit schools, both with better packages than this one).

    I have been teaching in international schools for over 15 years, and while I don’t expect to get rich, I do expect that my children’s tuition be fully covered (I am willing to pay for extra things like a laptop, activities, trips and school bus services), to be able to ship our family’s belongings at the school’s expense (especially when there is little or no settling-in allowance to replace them if they are not shipped), to be able to travel to my home country every year and to have a home that is comparable in size and quality to what we would have back home. The parents of many of our students are working overseas and receive better packages/benefits than they would back home (most would never be able to afford to send their kids to private schools in their home countries), so why should we be treated differently? The way to look at it is that without overseas teachers, international schools would not be able to exist. Therefore, we are a necessity and should be valued with fair compensation.

    Like

  30. xxx says:

    I’ve been teaching in Int schools for last 14 years. Currently I’m in for profit school. The owner understands that teachers is EVERYTHING in school. If you get crappy people because of lack of benefits that are pretending to teach…well parents are not stupid. Very quickly reputation of such school is destroyed and you can finish your business Mr Proud Owner.

    Like

  31. Rebekah says:

    The thing is teachers compare packages and choose the best one (with many many variables considered), so if there are promises or allusions made there is an expectation that they will be kept. If they are not, it is frustrating. Furthermore if once in the country teachers find other teachers who work at neighboring comparable schools and they find out their own packages pales in comparison to their new friends, they will no doubt feel cheated, especially if there is no trade off somewhere in there (better students, more community feeling, autonomy, respect, etc)

    In street lingo: Hate the game not the player.

    If you cannot afford a lot of perks or benefits or teacher families, then balance it out with community building spirit, macro-management, peer mentoring, and a culture of respect and peace.

    It’s not always about the money, but it almost always is about teachers feeling respected and valued. If you can’t pay the ducats, at least give them the feeling that they matter to you. Don’t ask them live somewhere you never would. Don’t ask them to take flights you wouldn’t be willing to take. Don’t send yourself to far away locales for training and seminars and then expect them to sit through meetings in a musky auditorium led by someone you met there who doesn’t know any more than the staff you already have.

    Treat your staff the way you want to be treated, and understand you are in a competitive marketplace. If you can’t afford the icing on the proverbial cake, make sure you have a substantial cake.

    Like

  32. Taiga Shipley says:

    As an expat teacher of over 30 years….you get what you pay for.
    Read the contract clearly, make your decision and stick with it.

    Like

  33. B-star says:

    The owner takes things too personally and that’s understandable because it’s his project. His discontent seems to stems from having to listen to others’ dissenting opinions on events. However, what is wrong with teachers asking for more? I am a very well qualified teacher and I will sell my service on an open market. If the market will bare my requests, I will request more. As an international teacher, it’s up to me and only me to fund my future. I don’t have a country’s safety net to fall back on, so I must be selfish at times. If the owner wishes to retain good teachers, he will have to compete with thousands of other employers for qualified hires. If the owner just needs expats to fill in the numbers on the staff, than he’s doing a good job and he will just have to replace people every two years in continuum.

    Like

  34. Anonymous says:

    The package is not what it used to be for sure. We all want more some more than others. Too many teachers demand what they had at home, well stay there. Yes, a school should look after their personnel but come on, not to the extent that, should they not be satisfied with their home, transport, way of life out of school it is the schools responsibility to fix and make amends. We are adults and a growing number of internationals forget the reason/s why they left their home comforts and expect too much. We made the choice to have this way of life, therefore it is on us to make the most of it. Teachers who moan about PD probably moaned in their home country, we don’t always get what we want, PD should be for the best needs of the school, not an individual, yes we all want to improve, we can do that with in school PD. I have seen too many teachers head off to conferences, live the life and then leave the school soon after, taking that knowledge with them, so you can see why schools are tightening up on PD. Yes the calibre of buy in PD can be unnerving sometimes and fail to live up to expectations, but ask yourself if you could do better, then put your hand up and mention that to your supervisor. I get annoyed with the complainers, juts go home and be happy, you ruin it for those of us who are trying to enjoy the experience.

    Like

  35. Tom says:

    I usually don’t do online postings, but I felt I had to respond to the owner’s issues with teacher expectations. I have been in the international teaching field for five years. I have worked with and spoken to many people who teach abroad. The fact of the matter is that many people go abroad to teach in order to get things they can’t get in their home country (a teaching position, better pay and benefits, the chance to travel). Some people go in order to live in a particular country. They want to experience life and the culture of that land. But most people leverage the quality of life in a foreign country, the salary and conditions paid by a school, and other benefits associated with the job. These people are more mercenaries than missionaries. There are not teaching at a school or living in a foreign country for charity. You may not like the facts, but it’s reality.

    I have been working in the middle east for 5 years. I get paid $50,000+ a year, plus housing, return airfare each summer, and full health benefits. I am also entitled for one month’s pay for each year worked upon the end of my contract. It is fair compensation for living on the other side of the world in a conservative country where the students and parents are not necessarily happy with foreign teachers teaching English in the government schools. Yes, this is “combat” pay. But after living here, I am not going to another country/school and take significantly less money and benefits. International teaching is similar in many countries, particularly places like the middle east, China, Korea, etc. You EARN what you are getting paid. YOU GET NOTHING FOR FREE.

    However if I were to teach in a country that I was particularly interested in living in (to enjoy the culture and people), let’s say somewhere in Central or South America, I would consider reducing my expectations for salary, benefits, and housing. These are countries of course with a lower standard of living and the people aren’t wealthy.

    But my message to the owner of the school is this– although I may emphasize with your situation, in international teaching I know from experience that a lot of teachers, especially those with international teaching experience, want to leverage as much salary and benefits as they can get. For them teaching is not about the love of the profession or helping students, it’s about getting as much as you can get and live as close as you can to a western life.

    Like

    • jl says:

      It’s about having enough dough, after years of inflation, to afford oatmeal in one’s old-age. This investor sees teachers as expenses on his ‘school’, as opposed to the people that do all the work to bring in the profits.
      He’s in a third-world hole and may be able to get away with it because of dearth of competition and scamming prospective teachers. Saying that, he doesn’t sound evil, just myopic/selfish.

      Like

  36. John Irving says:

    Well, Mr, Owner, if you say all that up front and there are no surprises when the employee gets there, I don’t see anything to complain about. The problems come mostly when teachers are promised something that they don’t get. Personally, I don’t think I would accept an offer from you, but if I did, and if you had sent me a copy of that post, I could not complain. You will probably not be getting the most qualified teachers, but, as you seem to see them as easily replaceable every two years, I’m sure you will get the ones you deserve; the ones who are out for a free trip overseas and fun with other expats. Be sure to let them know where the beer is.

    Like

  37. Catherine says:

    In reply to the most recent posts I agree whole heartedly. I am still not in possession of a Health Card as promised on the contract and when I travelled in December I had no travel emergency insurance as I was told on the last day of school that the company who had given the quote wanted a raft of medical tests. I have had just about every test possible in my home country all negative but they want more in a third rate country who cannot even tell my employees if they have Malaria or Dengue fever or stomach acid ?? I still do not have a work permit card. Only a first step piece of paper? I could go on so I agree that it is not worth working in profit schools any more because they live the good lifestyle whilst sucking up all the knowledge you spent years acquiring. If you listen to your staff even if they do not get all they want they feel somewhat valued.

    Like

  38. turtle says:

    Proud Owner, you might miss the student loans needed to acquire the Western credentials you said you wanted. Not to mention the work involved in getting them. Do you expect that someone else should have to pay for what you wanted? Pay would be FAR higher at home, WITH a pension AND reasonable healthcare. I earn 25% of what my friends do who stayed at home. I am not interested in cost of living arguments: without significant savings, it’s really not worth it to deal with no pension, dodgy healthcare and living far from friends and family. Other professions that ask for skilled expat work, with the same or less training, pay far more to deal with the above issues.

    Like

  39. jakaca23 says:

    A telling detail is that most complaints (not ALL) come from those working in “for profit” schools. I think it would be incredibly helpful for ISS and SA to insist that the school discloses on their profile whether they are a “for profit” school or not. I am in the 2nd year of my most recent Int’l School experience. It has been years since the last one. I can tell you that the whole “for profit” thing seems to have taken off. Make no mistake, owners aren’t educators, they are business people. I think it is also telling that when I thought of looking for my next location, a veteran Int’l teacher/administrator told me in no uncertain terms to avoid like the plague any “for profit” school.

    So, I guess if you are just getting started and need the experience, yeah, sign on the dotted line. Otherwise, stay away from the “for profits” and stick with the tried and true.

    Frankly, after this last experience (in a large, non-profit school in Latin America) I’m feeling like the glory days of Int’l teaching are gone and you scrape by. The bottom line is that we live in a global economy. Starbucks in India costs what it does in NY. Televisions cost MORE abroad than in the US. Telephones cost either the same or more… It isn’t that it is massively cheaper to live abroad now. It used to be but not anymore. What the owner of the school is not factoring in is that foreign hires are paying taxes abroad (in MANY cases nowadays) but not paying into a SS fund (unless they are clever). Foreign hires have to save a chunk of their salaries so that they have a retirement down the road. At the salary I am being paid with a MA and 20 years experience, I BARELY save anything – capital cities are just expensive. Embassies and UN personnel are paid enormous salaries and the locals know that. They too, are not philanthropists…

    A favorite comment by local staff when they hear foreign hires complaining about how much taxis cost or Starbucks or… is to say, Yes, but what would that have cost you in the US? Well, it *may* be true that whatever we are discussing would cost more in the US BUT my salary was triple what I am earning hear. I live in a developing country with a graduate degree and oodles of experience and in order to save anything at the end of the year, I live in a TINY apt. and do without domestic help. Without a doubt, I lived BETTER in my home country. I had a medium sized apartment in an urban area and had a cleaning lady. I can’t afford that here.

    So, Mr. Owner, YOU think you are so generous. Really???

    Like

    • Tom says:

      I have to agree. It is not cheap to live abroad in many countries now. In fact if you want to enjoy some of the “middle class” things as you did back home (going to movies, eating at “western style” restaurants and shopping at store which stock “western” food, etc.) you as much or MORE than you did in your home country. Clothes are more expensive. Electronics, books, and other things cost as much or more in the host country. It’s the same where you are in Central America, Europe, the Middle East, or Southeast Asia. Forget about a car or satellite TV. Unless you are willing to significantly reduce your standard of living, you end up paying more to live abroad.

      Like

  40. James says:

    Would anyone really like to work for this guy if they had a choice?

    Like

  41. jcs says:

    Excellent article. I too get tired of the self absorbed rants. 🙂

    Like

    • staying abroad says:

      Some expat instructors really ARE too obsessive. If they can get this ‘great’ work at home, let them stay there. While I might not want to work at ‘Proud Owner’s’ place, he’s been honest. However, many schools are not, and one of the main hold-outs is what one has to pay in local taxes. It is very true that ‘living abroad’ is not necessarily cheaper – I work in Baku and it is hell-expensive. But then expats who refuse to ‘live on the economy’ and expect all their western comforts to be provided for don’t earn my sympathy.

      Like

      • Spotted1 says:

        This is what I hear from so many people. They want to live like they did at home, or in most cases, better. But they don’t understand that it is bloody expensive to get things from home. You have to pick and choose. You have to decide about what is valuable to you in your situation. And yes, local taxes and expenses can sneak up on you and be an issue. But if you choose to live on the economy a bit more, most people do fairly well or at least not poorly.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Me too! If people don’t like their housing our school gives them an allowance to find their own. People don’t want to do that because they’d have to pay 200 a month. Well in the us you’d be paying 1000 a month for rent!! If you don’t want to pay anything stay in the free housing and stop complaining! You hate your housing? Move. And stop complaining. People seem to think that international teaching entitles you to get everything for free!

      Like

  42. Domhuail says:

    Whether this post is fictitious or real, is a moot point. It highlights some common misconceptions too often held by school owners and management:

    1) Teachers are too entitled and ¨spoilt¨ by their unionized environment back home. They expect the same overseas.

    2) A happy student is more important than a happy teacher. If a teacher complains about abusive or irregular working conditions then he or she is a ¨whiner¨ and a brat or a malcontent, regardless of the salience and validity of their concerns.

    3) You can’t negotiate with these people in points 1 &2. It is best that they hit the road and find something better elsewhere.

    4) A school has to be financially sound before it can be educationally worthwhile. This means that owners cannot be philanthropic nor overly generous. Frugality is the order of the day, and reducing teacher costs that,to the owner appear excessive, is the first step in a balanced business.

    5) The owner ¨owns ¨ the school, not the other stakeholders. Sharing of such ownership is a slippery slope that can lead to excesses destroying the school because once you give an inch you end up losing a mile.

    I could go on, but I am currently in a new school project where we take a different tact:

    a) Teachers ARE the lifeblood of the school and need to be healthy, motivated and secure since they feed the organs (the students) that make the school dynamic and lively. They are NOT ubiquitously spoilt or always whiners….they are professionals who deserve respect and recognition. Nickel and dime a professional and it will inevitably lead to their demotivation and disinterest.

    b) Teachers and students hold equal importance in a school since they, along with administration and parents, are the team that wins the game together. Therefore a happy teacher is an enthusiastic teacher and isn’t that what everyone needs and wants.

    c) Telling a professional that you aren’t willing to negotiate is saying that your entire educational approach is dogmatic,dictatorial and inflexible. Who would want to work with or for someone like that?

    d) The first priority of a school is quality education, the very close second is surviving financially. If it is a non-profit, then after expenses, the remainder, if there is any, has top go back into the school (salaries,equipment, training etc.). If it is a for-profit school then profit should NEVER be the first priority but offering the best quality education for the money paid is. Therefore, IF you keep your staff satisfied and enthusiastic, their work will reflect this AND the parents will usually be happy as well. Word of mouth will spread and you’ll have to turn kids away. I speak from experience.

    e) A school, like any enterprise needs leadership and wise management to keep on an even keel. However, who provides this leadership and wise management starts at the teachers’ level and proceeds to the other stakeholders. Teamwork and sharing of responsibilities AND rewards is essential for the business to work effectively,efficiently and humanely. Sharing decisions or at least encouraging participative decision-making is a great educational and management tool among many others.

    Some of you may shake your heads and say, this guy is a dreamer, and ridiculously naive BUT I maintain that it is not only possible to achieve points a to e BUT it is essential if education is ever to crawl from under the shadow of cash cow adventurers/board-managed political institutions whose interest in true education is a distant one indeed compared to getting rich or maintaining their power. My philosophy is that every stakeholder should get rich, whether financially or more importantly humanly so kids lives should be enriched and their love of learning nourished, teachers should be enchanted, management should be transparent and humane, parents should be astonished and enthused. That is richness beyond Bill Gates’ fondest dreams.

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Domhuail, Many thanks for outlining the priorities so succinctly and clearly. If we had more management who acted and treated their Teachers with respect there would possibly be no need for this website. Sadly there is a huge need for this website as there are large number of sharks out there are well as the ethical ones who look after their Teachers and students before themselves. A contract in a lot of countries one discovers is a worthless piece of paper and the owners know this better than anyone else who tries to protect themselves before taking up a position. A lot answer questions with vague or no replies or defer the question to another who does not answer it at all.

      Like

    • Katja says:

      This is a great summary and response. I can attest to the fact that what you say is not a dream but true. After an absolutely horrendous experience at one international school in the Middle East for reasons which I would not want to bore anyone with, I was fortunate enough to get a contract at another International school in the same city. Even though I ended up losing some of my original overseas benefits, the Head of School and Assistant Head had created such a positive work environment that people sobbed when they left. I loved my colleagues and for the first time in many years felt part of a supportive community versus the one of back stabbing vipers at the previous school, where that kind of behavior was sadly encouraged. I had to leave after not long because of visa issues with my spouse and a terminally ill relative. However were it not for these issues I probably would have stayed another ten years. I felt valued and respected at the school and that mattered to me more than any amenity. I greatly enjoyed my work and interactions with students. I received a lot of support and felt a strong sense of community throughout the school. We shared many rewards and responsibilities together and I felt that my voice mattered. I think it is sad that some of the “teachers” on this website appear to be responding to other teachers with such disdain for actually speaking up rather than support. It was this kind of attitude that made my first Middle Eastern school a miserable place to work. Teachers were so worried about covering their own behinds that they would rather betray colleagues, even if it meant lying about them and show no empathy than to have a little courage of conviction when they saw fellow teachers being abused. It is this kind of attitude that keeps the cycle going. You sound like you would make a great leader in a school system if you are not one already. I am always grateful that I had a chance to work at that second wonderful school and to see a totally different world!

      Like

    • A.G says:

      Brilliant post.

      Like

  43. Anonymous says:

    Expectations…. I expect to have to pay for my own training and qualifications before I get a job. I expect to have to do what it says in my contract to the best of my ability. I expect the employer to honour their side of the contract. Complaints of not abiding by contracts I see as valid… the rest is just bitching. Call it what it is… I lost my temper today on my employer because the decided to send in the cleaning lady to wash windows and disinfect the floor during my grade 1 English class, the computer has been broken for weeks, there are no textbooks and never any toilet paper at all. This is a very expensive private school where children pay $1000 a month and toilet paper costs $0.15 per roll. I bitched my head off today. Of course having computers that work is not in my contract. Neither is having a classroom free of women spraying disinfectant and mopping and asking children to raise their feet so she can finish her job during my English class. But hey, at least we are both honouring our contracts right? So I guess that means we are both free to bitch for the little things as my boss would call them. I just had a meeting with her about all of this and she said… deal with it, you are not very flexible are you? hahahaha… she is sooo funny!

    Like

  44. Catherine says:

    Well stated Kellchan. Yes the locals as they are called do want to send their children to International schools but they would expect that the school deliver what they write on their prospectus. They do not all because of one reason and one only. New graduates are cheap to employ and we all have to get a start but not at that ratio something like 80/20. The facilities are usually not in place and if they are the fees are enormous. You can put pressure on the management for increased results but the game only lasts for so long. Eventually the results of SAT’s and IGSCE catch up with them. Atilla tell us where you have taught seeing you are so critical of a lot of the comments who are only stating the truth and trying to prevent the next victim. If you read my blog you would have noted that I have worked in most of the desert places and I have survived all the lies and false promises and I have delivered for the children.

    Like

  45. Catherine says:

    I would nearly guarantee that these comments were written by the owner. They are members of ISR and they often write glowing reviews of their school in response to a couple of poor reviews. These are the same owners who leave out the real problems that the area or school face I would also like to comment on Atilla’s .blog. Yes one would realize that Kuwait is a desert but so is Dubai so the difference is the quality of the accommodation. My colleagues who were teaching couples and did significant after school tutoring could afford to live in apartments that cost 3 times the going rate for Teachers accommodation. So no dust entered their apartments and of course they had maids to clean etc. I do not agree that many International Teachers are looking for accommodation that matches what they have left in their country but expect it to be clean, liveable and safe from theft. I also notice that some of the comments are written by people who come from places that have no names so if you are brave tell us where you live!!

    Like

  46. Anonymous says:

    “The students are the reason for the school.” No they’re not! “My school is…a “for-profit” school.” A fundamental contradiction which immediately casts doubt on the entire text.

    Like

    • Andrew Short says:

      Yes many schools are for profit and they are the cash cow for the owners. But you have a contract first and the students second.

      Like

  47. Anon says:

    I see both sides, here. However, before going to work for any international school (or otherwise), there is a contact to sign with all benefits and responsibilities laid out clearly. If they are not clear, have them clarified before signing (I have had to do this and the employer was only too happy to oblige – it benefits them too). If there is anything in the contract that is not acceptable, negotiate – if you still do not get what you want and it is a deal breaker, do not sign the contract and do not take the job (voting with your feet sends a pretty clear message). Check that the contract is legally binding for both parties: if it is not, do not take the job. If the employer breaks their side of contract, remind them and start seeking legal advice: contract law is similar in most countries (although I accept that foreign employees have fewer rights in some parts of the world).

    In other words: if you do not like what you would be signing up for, do not sign up! No point signing up and trying to renegotiate afterwards.

    Like

  48. Nick says:

    In response to the owner of the school. I worked for large international companies prior to retraining as a teacher and so understand the issues faced by companies trying to be efficient and make a profit and how the employees (in this case teachers) see it. If we are to address the issue from a purely business point of view ask yourself this: does what I offer attract the calibre of employee I am looking for, necessary to make my business a success, and does it retain those employees who are necessary to drive the business (school) forward. If you can say yes to both these questions then you are achieving your aims an should be running a successful business. However, if you cannot say yes to just one of these then, from a purely business point of view (and you should view both parties as entering a business deal via legal contract), the onus is on you as the ‘company’ to correct this. You may be correct in labeling whinging employees as unreasonable and full of self-entitlement but if you are not recruiting and retaining the ‘right’ staff the problem may lie elsewhere…

    Like

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have seen both sides of the coin. I have seen teachers that want the school to plan trips and social events- that is not the school’s responsibility. And I have seen schools where by March the teacher still does not have a residency card or bank account which the teacher needs to send money for his kid’s college tuition and expenses.

    My biggest issue is often with shipping as I want my books, so I can use them for my teaching.

    For the most part, I manage with what I am given and make a happy life for myself in and out of school, but occasionally I feel it is unfair when one teacher gets flights for himself and three family members, a much larger apartment, and tuition for two children. I, as a single person, cost much less and can’t get a bit more money to ship things that I will use for teaching- but that is my choice. In the end I have paid as much as a thousand dollars to get those books to my school, because that matters to me. And that is the choice I make.

    Honesty from a school matters. Fairness matters too. I knew one teacher who did not get flights home and others who did, at the same school. I understand we get more than locals, but sometimes that feels unfair too,especially when the local is American-educated and teaches calculus, which I am unable to teach as are most people.

    I love teaching abroad. I will continue doing it. And no place is perfect. I choose to put up with certain things and to let my sense of unfairness go, because otherwise I spend my time unhappy. And I have seen my share of never-ending complainers who blame the school for the country. The school can not and should not be blamed for the banking system, or public transportation, or a guy on the street who ogles you. It can be blamed for not buying books for the students, or not getting trying to get you a residency card in a timely manner.

    The whole process is a complex system which requires teachers be honest with themselves about what they can put up with in a country and schools that do their best to be fair, honest and efficient in fulfilling what they have promised.

    PS. Don’t give me this shit about you deserving perks because you are far from home. You WANT to travel and see the world. We get the salaries and perks because that is part of the motivation and ease of living abroad.

    Like

    • Andrew Short says:

      An honest comment. Perks are what the school feels it can offer to attract the teachers. You have a choice to accept or not. I have spent time scanning my books and resources so that they are with me.
      I have also spent a fortune shipping belongings. Yes I would like the school to assist bit it does not have to if it is not in the contract. Schools cannot control the environment, just the contracts, which they should honour.
      I believe that those who cannot stand the heat in the kitchen should leave so that honest teachres cannot reap the rewards of their labours.

      Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      I am so pleased you understand the school is not at fault for the vagaries of a country’s organization regarding paperwork and bank accounts.

      Why do you want your school to pay to cart your Library around the world? So many resources are on line I can’t believe you are still relying on textbooks. If you want them shipped you will have been in post for a very, very long time before they get to you and pass customs, if they ever do.

      I think much of the problem still lies with totally unrealistic expectations. Teaching is never going to attract millionaire salaries even in wealthy countries. It is modestly paid. So why people think those with western passports should live like kings abroad never ceases to amaze me. If a school charges modest fees so that more students have access to education, staff salaries have to reflect that. If you want the villa with the pool, maids, SUVs, multiple airline tickets, all your furniture flown in etc etc, try banking.

      Like

      • trav45 says:

        Fair enough, but then don’t expect the top teachers to come to your school. I have 25 years’ experience, 15 of that international, and two Master’s degrees. There are schools that provide for students, offer me many of those perks you deride and respect me as a professional. The tone that comes through loud and clear in your posts is a lack of respect for your teachers. When a teacher can have all of the other, why should they settle for less?

        Like

    • staying abroad says:

      bravo.

      Like

  50. Andrew Short says:

    international Schools always face the problem of keeping costs down but standards high, just like schools in the UK. Teachers are generally hard-working individuals who have gone abroad for a variety of reasons. They maybe because they are fed-up of the administration in their home country, a desire to see and experience new places and cultures (not a visit on holiday),a change of lifestyle and pace of life, a desire to help those less fortunate than themselves. Often it is not just one thing but a combination. Many International schools are trying to get the best teachers for the least possible money as there is a budget to consider and so they enter the market place with tempting offers. Unfortunately there have been to many who have not followed up these offers with honesty about their establishments and teachers have left dissatisfied and so have complained. I believe that if you do not complain when things are wrong you cannot hope to to see change. Yes there are many horror stories but also very many successful ones as well. For many education is a right and we as teachers need to remember that some people have little or no access to quality education at all. Having said that I value my profession and equate it along side other professions such as lawyers, doctors, dentists and the like so you need to pay for quality. Some teachers need to look inside themselves and be honest as they do not give value for money, they take and take but do not give. I have worked in Kenya, Kuwait, Egypt and Malawi and though I have not always felt that I have been paid what I am worth I have always given of my best and am welcomed back at all the schools where I have been. Yes I have complained that the ‘perks’ are not always at the level expected or promised, but I have had the option to leave (unlike some countries already mentioned).
    Generally speaking you do get what you pay for and schools that offer low salaries will find it difficult to get quality teachers, as they will always gravitate to where they feel valued. I have been involved in setting up 2 schools and my experiences have been very different. We as a profession need to maintain our own high standards if we are to continue being in demand abroad. As a result we need to use our own expertise to help with PD of those less able than ourselves and trying to find areas that we can develop in ourselves. Yes PD is a right but sometimes w have to do it for ourselves and bite the bullet, just like other professions.
    Complain, yes, but try and offer constructive criticism as this could change the lives of many.

    Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      There used to be an organization called VSO. One joined it because they had a real desire to bring education or some form of service to a place that did not have it. It is interesting you say “they will always gravitate to where they feel valued”. Is this valued = the size of the monthly pay check, or valued by the students who would otherwise be left with the possibility of no education or very poor teaching? I suspect the latter is far more rewarding.

      Like

      • trav45 says:

        It may be more rewarding, but it doesn’t pay my school loans or let me save so I’m not living in a box when I retire. Geesh. Judgmental, much?

        Like

      • jl says:

        Attila, what an apt name. People need to pay bills and save for retirement–God forbid, have a family to propagate genes. I’m sure no one going to your third-world school believes they will be pampered.
        Even in the USA, one can string together two minimum wage jobs, live with parents, receive public assistance and save dough (in the other Anglo countries, they can save much more.) This example is the lowest level of sustenance, much lower than a teacher in the deep South of the USA would expect.
        Are you saying that to demonstrate love for the children (ixnay you business), should forego kids, retirement and the savings potential of the lowest at home?
        You might get some nibbles, mostly from newbies or desperate, but we aren’t stupid. We know when we are getting exploited and kids short-changed. In lieu of cash or professionalism, the alternative is to administer by fear. Don’t expect much loyalty or any retention. If it’s such a great deal, why don’t you go into teaching?

        Like

  51. teacher says:

    Wow, so many of us commenting come off as entitled, spoiled brats. Bottom line, none of us are being held prisoner and most of us have magic passports and credit cards that can get us out of these inhumane situations of free housing and no PD allowance. Yeesh. How many people living in the countries of many international schools have access to clean water and sanitation? How big is our carbon footprint as we jet all over the world and blast our ACs…and then we go into our classrooms and teach our students to be environmental stewards. Most of us teaching in international schools are teaching the elite who don’t really need us anyway…they have money and resources and access. If the owner is being honest about his compensation package, he has nothing of which to be ashamed. How about we all be honest about our own hypocrisies? On the global scale we are the 1%.

    Like

    • zainabl2 says:

      Well said, Teacher.

      Like

    • jl says:

      Teacher says, you do know that that statement was the same that ‘justified’ the Potato Famine? “You can’t buy a potato because the crops died, than get another (non-existent) job!”

      I believe there are so many Uncle Toms (look up the term) in teaching because of the bottom-floor standard work conditions of the unionized teacher corps of the West.

      I worked for years in corporate positions and worker exploitation and denigration is part and parcel of the system. Only (a few) teachers could be so deluded in ignoring the shafting at work by unscrupulous employers.

      Like

  52. unit says:

    What is wrong with running a school as a business? Are you telling me most people work for free out of the goodness of their souls and only greedy people try to make money. In this capitalist driven world everyone needs to make money. You either don’t care about what you do but do it to just make money or you are truly passionate about what you do but still charge a lot to do it. I’ve heard so many people grumble oh they only do this and that for money as if they themselves work for free. As long as owners of schools make make their packages, rules and expectations clear and abide by them I don’t see how any employee can complain and this goes for any job really.If we truly want to see an end to real greed we need to start questioning the societies and systems we have helped to grow flourish.

    Like

  53. unit says:

    I agree with the owners comments as long as he made the package clear at interview and didn’t lie about or hide/cover up any of the lack of standard benefits but I do wonder if any well qualified teacher would actually choose to work in a place like this and if so why?

    Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      Clearly you are one of those who expect everything then. What was wrong with the package he was offering? It is pretty standard and, for some places, generous.

      Why would a teacher work in a place like this? Because students and their future matter. If you are in teaching for anything else, please change your profession right now. And stay at home.

      Like

      • Denise says:

        But, isn’t that part of the problem? This expectation that teaching isn’t a “profession” but a sacrifice that one must make for the “sake” of the children? It is a career, and, like any job, teachers have every right to try to get what their time and dedication is worth. Other professions do this and no one complains. No one questions the salary of lawyers or doctors or CEOs. Teachers are educated professionals who shouldn’t have to sacrifice the ability to make a good living, build a savings or retirement account, and have expendable income to travel. If other schools are willing to offer higher salaries and better benefits, then teachers have every right to want those jobs. If a school can’t provide those perks, then they are going to either get newer teachers or teachers who are more interested in living in that area. If teachers are asking for things that aren’t in their contract or reasonable expectations to do their job (like textbooks, etc), then I have no sympathy. But, if teachers are just asking that they have a work environment that is conducive to teaching, especially when students/parents are paying for high expectations, then a teacher has every right to complain. I’m moving to a new job next year, and I chose it partly because it offers a better package and an opportunity for advancement. Doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy teaching and don’t love what I do, but I also want to advance in my profession.

        Like

        • trav45 says:

          Here, here. The school owner isn’t allowing students in for free; why are teachers the only ones expected to sacrifice?

          Like

  54. Michael says:

    Why would anyone comment to an article where the writer does not have the gumption to have the name of himself or his School published???

    Like

  55. Hans says:

    Yes I am agree with the content of the text. I ever worked at international schools and I saw some of the expat teachers there could not be satisfy with the school’s facilities. As a local teacher, I think those facilities given for the expat teachers are already good. So, please realize if you want to get a very good facility, just don’t work at a school in a developing country.

    Like

    • Wilbert Martin says:

      If you, as a local teacher, were good enough for the parents and the owners, they wouldn’t be looking for foreign nationals to come in and teach. The truth is that the elite of your country don’t view you as worth more than a local salary so you don’t get it. Maybe you could emigrate to a non-developing country and stop complaining yourself.

      Like

  56. Anonymous says:

    There are two sides to every story indeed.
    The best qualified teachers will pick a school with the best benefits package, salary, and perks. Unless of course they have to live in a particular country because they marry someone from there or for other personal reasons in which case they frequently accept substandard conditions.

    I personally will not work for a school that does not pay annual airfare. To me it is a sign that the school is cheap and will cut corners in other areas.

    I am not taken in by the owner of the school saying they have opened the school for their love of education. They opened the school and are making money. It is a business, pure and simple. If it were run as a good business they would realize that there has to be a balance between what the employees want and need to be happy and what profit the owners need to make to survive.

    Less turnover and a happy, well qualified staff make for a dynamite school which in turn grows the business.

    Placing staff in housing that they do not like, scrimping on staff airfares, and such is poor practice and will run a school into the ground or guarantee that a school has a steady stream of young, inexperienced teachers on hand.

    One of my friends owns a very successful for profit school and discovered that by paying annual airfares, providing a standard of housing that keeps people accommodated at about the mid level of their home country and a yearly PD allowance per person to be spent as the employee wishes on PD ensures for low turnover and high quality. Notice I did not say he pays huge salaries! He pays an average wage for international but his teachers are so happy with the other school conditions they stay there for a long time and work well. There are people who will work for less money if they feel personally validated by perks, positive management, and great school climate.

    Like

    • teacher says:

      While this all may be true, the extra costs will increase tuition. Perhaps the owner wants to keep tuition lower…one of the sad things about the great packages is they mean that schools are only open to those so rich that their lives are set with or without the best teachers.

      Like

      • jl says:

        Really, ‘teacher’, isn’t that the argument that billionaires wanting to scrap the minimum wage say?

        I think it infinitely more likely, the owner’s fabulous profits would marginally decrease. We’re not talking big money here. If in the remote possibility, tuition must be raised to cover the costs of an extra few thousand dollars/teacher, then that business has some real cash flow problems…

        Like

  57. Anonymous says:

    Well said! Some teachers just love to complain. What gets to me the most is when they start spreading their venom to new staff who were okay with their package. I get comments like “I should be getting more than this” . Please go somewhere else if you are not happy. The owner of the school never claimed to be a philanthropist. Yes school is about educating children buy if the school is not financially viable and has to close down what happens to the children? There are teachers who have been at my school for years. They whine about pay and how they have too much work to do but they never leave. They don’t tell you the little perks they get for remaining with the school so long but are quick to tell you everything that is wrong with their contact (which they are quick to renew each year). If I owned a school I would get rid of grumblers in second because they just lower morale wherever they go. Bad for business. Yes I said business and if you don’t think people should make money from schools then you might like to consider teaching in a rural area in Africa for free. The children would really appreciate it.

    Like

  58. N. Weston says:

    Dear Proud Owner,

    First off, I want to say, “good on ya”. I have been an international teacher for a handful of years and I appreciate your comments and dedication to OUR true passion…bettering education for our worlds youth. You are spot on with the responsibilities of moving abroad. It is difficult, adventurous, and ever lasting rewarding.
    I have never asked for my family to be covered for airfare or housing, but the ability to make your own decisions is golden. It appears that your ambitions and your intentions are good. From a teachers perspective, one who wants to start his own international school one day, we always must remember what it is like moving to a new school… in a new country and culture.
    One thing to consider is to not only offer housing and/or housing options, but also visa, moving, residency, bank, tax ID, etc…expenses and leg work that can be costly and time consuming. As an international teacher and traveler, remember those initial costs that can be overwhelming and language-difficult to a new ambitious teacher ready for a change.
    I encourage your efforts and your goal. You are an inspiration and a true leader. I wish you, your school, and your vision all the best.

    Regards,
    A World Educator

    Like

  59. Anonymous says:

    I spent 5 years in a third world country in East Africa. My housing was provided (including the crumbling walls on a first floor apartment). We were sent home every year because the school wanted to close down the apartment to save money. They did not pay for non-teaching spouses. I loved the school and the kids (class size was from 3 – 15) but the country sucked. I simply got used to a Muslim country with lots of sand. I was told the conditions were harsh and I went anyway. Therefore I had no right to complain, I signed up for a limited package and that is what I got. OK, live with it. Quit complaining. Teach in a rich school in the U.S.

    Like

  60. Anonymous says:

    By the sound of it, good teachers are definitely advised to give this school a wide birth. People are moving into the education sector in droves to make huge amounts of money. Never mind students, without teachers you wouldn’t have a school. People are entitled to their opinions and if you do not provide a “decent” package don’t complain when teachers are not happy with yourself or the school. I have worked in schools that charge the highest fees and the lowest salaries. That is just greed.

    Like

    • anonymous says:

      AGREED! Education has become a business, and teachers are sometimes nothing more than cheap labour.

      Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      Self and greed permeate your post. If owners are forced to offer big packages, fees have to rise. Not all students in private schools are wealthy though many posters here appear to believe so. In the Middle East, expat parents are not permitted to send their children to government schools unless they are in extremely remote locations where there is no alternative. For this reason, there have to be affordable schools. Affordable means low fees. Low fees means low income. There are no big corporations behind these schools. So if the income is low, do you want highly paid teachers so the school cannot afford all the trappings you appear to think are a right? This owner has worked hard to set up his school and he is putting in a lot of money to pay for all the things most of us never realize. Do you think expenses only means salaries? Perhaps you have never been involved in balancing a whole school budget in a western school. Money doesn’t grow on trees their either and the stack of bills and the costs incurred are frightening. Teaching abroad is not a five star vacation. Settling in any new country has its frustrations; more so in the less developed world. Just because there are planes that allow us to travel does not mean all people are suitable to work abroad. You need adaptability and resilience; the latter of which is sadly lacking in many teachers I see passing through my location. Look, if you don’t want to have to suffer a bit, or have a ‘give it a go’ mentality, please, please stay at home and whinge about your own country’s education system.

      Like

      • Kellchan says:

        If you read the person’s original comment to which you’ve replied here, they have stated that they’ve worked at schools with the highest fees and the lowest salaries. What you’ve replied to here is in fact contradicting exactly what this person said. “Self and greed permeate your post. If owners are forced to offer big packages, fees have to rise”
        Read more carefully, please.
        It would seem to me that many schools have more ‘self and greed’ interest than teachers.
        I understand that you’re being noble but it seems to me that you are talking down to teachers. Most teachers that I have met (and that is a lot) are in teaching for the ‘right’ reasons. They are passionate, interested and generous people. When teaching abroad, it becomes apparent to most that schools have become a business, and many owners treat it as exactly that. Of course it IS a business, but one that has children’s lives and futures at stake. Why are there almost 2,000 students at my school, who pay a lot of money each year, but no computers in the classrooms, and only 30 computers for every 500 students? It would seem to me that many schools will try to get away with what they can, in order to save money. The best school I have worked at paid an average salary, but gave teachers perks that created an atmosphere of caring.
        That’s how you get good teachers to stay at your school, not by cutting corners and giving them less than what they are worth.

        Like

  61. Anonymous says:

    It seems like this person (the school owner) is one of many who start a school not out of an interest in education, but because it seems like a good way to make money. This is difficult to tell from the information given, because there is no mention of anything related to his/her education credentials, or the pedagogical orientation of the school; it is only related to “business” questions.

    Many teachers are interested in the actual educational practices of the school where they work, but in some for-profit schools (especially those owned and operated by non-educators), education is only a thin veneer applied to create the appearance of legitimacy. This can create a frustrating environment for those who really care about teaching.

    I have seen a lot of international teachers in a lot of settings, and it is true that many of them have a lot of complaints. Still, I think that if the environment of the schools where they work were such that they were inspiring rather than disappointing, challenging rather than frustrating, and that true education rather than the bottom line was the goal, they might be less likely to complain about their compensation packages–particularly if those packages were honestly presented up front.

    A real school is not a just a business; it is a community. Teachers need to be valued as an integral part of that community, not just thought of as parts that can be replaced like a light bulb that has burned out.

    All this being said, it is clear that the compensation package offered by the owner of the school in question falls far short of the industry standard, so besides the apparent focus on business over education, it is not surprising that the school attracts teachers that the owner finds disappointing. As many have said already, you get what you pay for.

    Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      So why don’t you set up your own school, my friend? Lead the way and trumpet how marvelous you are. Post pictures of teachers licking your hand, classrooms bristling with the latest equipment, 5-star living quarters(that need a wall around them because you wouldn’t possibly want the inhabitants to come in contact with the local community), evidence of your staff traveling to all corners of the globe to PD that probably doesn’t fit the context of your school, but what the hell, it’s keeping them happy.

      Then get real.

      Like

      • jl says:

        Don’t have access to insider loans or slave labor in the third world. Your operation wouldn’t survive the lawsuits, maybe not even meet accreditation, much less pay FICA taxes in the West. We don’t have the ability to use corruption to grease the wheels and operate (by Western standards) a scam.

        I used to run a business, not own, but run. It encompassed numerous metrics and a complicated inventory and state/federal law reconciliation. High-end labor is abundant in the West to the point of saturation. It is lacking in the third world. For us to operate your school and provide ‘brand recognition’, will cost more than back home.

        Like

  62. Candida says:

    There are some people for whom complaining becomes an unconscious reflex – and some of these people are teachers. They are usually the type who sprinkle their dissatisfied utterings with the word ‘professional.’ It has never occurred to them just how unprofessional their constant whinging actually is. (I’m a teacher.)

    Like

  63. Anonymous says:

    Regarding PD…….I suppose for me the bottom line is if your not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. If you can’t afford to offer a stipend to teachers for PD, don’t fly in so called experts that are going to potentially waste what little time teachers have to prepare for their instructional day. Further more, probably the mother of all insults for a teacher is that weekly pd/meeting that is to often the biggest waste of time ever!!!! make a revolutionary decision and cancel that meeting.

    Regarding the rest of your concerns….If your school is a “for profit” school, don’t bother us with your gripes about paying for standard accommodations or the loans you had to take to support your business venture…..no one really cares or feels bad. And the fact that you may pay for/provide these things to teachers is nothing to be proud of……it is your responsibility. Remember, after you charge each student basic tuition, school uniforms, lunch and transportation (which you in turn offer teachers, so your really not paying for this)…….remember, the tuition of 2 or 3 students probably pays 1 teachers salary.

    Like

  64. Ken says:

    Mr. Owner

    The goal of most committed international teachers is to find the best combination of salary, benefits, work environment, and enriching culture.
    Third world/developing countries have a tiny elite. These people are willing to pay high tuitions for quality education for their children.
    Quality education means quality teachers.
    Quality teachers cost money.
    Unless desperate or in need of experience, the best teachers will likely look beyond your school.
    Expect complaints and high turnover.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Ken, I do agree with you.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Ken, I agree. Having worked at a for profit in a third world country, this owner is going to get what he paid for. You are right on the money.

      Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      You forget to mention the real reason why anybody should be in education: the students.

      Are you in the right profession?

      Like

      • anonymous says:

        This is such a BS excuse to try and get teachers to feel bad about wanting a decent salary and living/professional standard. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and pay yourself the same salary as the average salary of your teachers? Why should you pay yourself more or have a higher standard of living? It’s for the kids right, so sacrifice some of your pay and creature comforts.

        And if you really care about education, why don’t you just be a teacher instead of having a school? If it’s only about the kids, there’s no need to open a school. There are tons of schools to choose from in the world. Pick one, apply, and teach. Yes, TEACH, TEACH, TEACH! It’s that simple. But no, you want to be the big boss and feel important. So, take the good with the bad. It goes with the territory of being a boss/leader of a business. Just as teachers need to give over it, so do you!

        Like

      • PandaSmith says:

        You know, I love my students too. I get so sick of hearing this stuff….

        I am fortunate enough to work at perhaps one of the better tier one schools around. We have excellent benefits, salary and PD…We make much more money than back in the states and the standard of living is much higher. The teachers here are by far the best in the industry that I have ever encountered…. Turnover is low and tuition is moderate…. This school is the perfect example of getting what you pay for.

        I doubt many of the teachers here would settle for packages much below what we all currently get, so other schools do have to compete well in order to lock in professionals like these.

        We ALL love our students but what really rubs me the wrong way is when some teachers sanctimoniously intimate that if you care about good packages, good standards of living for yourself and your family, that you somehow are in the wrong profession. To self-righteously claim that to care about these things means you aren’t in the profession for the students…. This reminds me of some of the politicians back in the States who annually claim that teaching is a calling and low pay and no benefits should not matter. Teachers are the ultimate altruists – they should give it away for free!

        Well, I guess it is a good thing that some of us fit this bill, so THEY can take the jobs like the one described by the owner. Because I sure as heck know that neither I or any of my colleagues will be applying…that’s for dang sure!

        Like

  65. Anonymous says:

    There are several factors that make a schools truly international. An important one is that they have good packages that attract highly trained and experienced professional international teachers who understand the international student and who are prepared to give up the comforts of a familiar environment in order to teach in a foreign country. Good packages acknowledge this. I agree, you get what you pay for. Largely, there is also a commitment to making the world a better place by having contact with students from across the world. In too many countries, especially in, I’m sad to say, developing countries, local individuals claim that their schools are international when they are actually only seeking profit from national parents who think they are getting a prestigious education. These same business people take advantage of new teachers, expecting them to manage all that it means to be not-at-home. This director is likely a national in a country where teachers are not valued and thus his patronizing attitude……and by the way, webinars cannot compete with conferences of colleagues. The discussion with other educators is profoundly important especially when the language spoken in the school’s country is not your own.

    Like

  66. Anonymous says:

    Boo Hoo. If this owner is for profit then why do they imply that to meet teachers demands they have to take away from the students? They don’t mention the PROFIT they are taking. Clearly they have a bottom line that they want to go home with at the end of the day and they won’t budge on that. I completely understand that many international schools fall under a business model but too many owners see the school as an ATM.

    Like

  67. Anonymous says:

    There are a few valid points and it is nice to understand the point of view from the other side but there are many things to consider when you are an employer.

    1) There needs to be honesty. There are many places that will tell you one thing but once you have signed on and everything is said and done, the accommodations, the pay and the working environment are below par etc. If conditions and environment are not what is promised then teachers have a right to complain. They also have a right to leave.

    2) If teachers are not treated well and appreciated for what they do, that also leaves room for complaints. I work at a school that have offered low pay and etc but they treat their employees well so teachers are willing to stay and work hard because they like the environment that they are working in. They feel respected and cared for and have a sense that it is a family and education comes first. So maybe looking into your environment and working conditions is important. Don’t get me wrong, pay and job security is important and if I wasn’t able to live and save on what I was getting paid I wouldn’t stay but in comparison to other schools the pay could be better but would the environment be?

    2) Professional Development – Yes, teachers do want to have professional development to improve their teaching craft and it is not only nice to offer them at your school but crucial if you want your teachers to grow and to provide the best education to the students.

    Not all International schools offer this and many bring in experts that may or may not be beneficial. I think that the important thing to consider is when you are making choices about professional development it is important to include your teachers thoughts, perspective and input as to what they need and whether or not they feel a presenter would be worthwhile. This way if it turns out that they are not, then you wouldn’t be the only one to shoulder the blame so to speak.

    Thinking about sending teachers away for PD is also beneficial, they can be the experts for your school and provide information and assistance to your teachers. When you invest in your teachers as leaders to helps to motivate them and provides job satisfaction.

    And it is true, as professionals, we should be looking into our own professional development but there is a cost to it, that not everyone can afford it. So those teachers will be leaving to schools that offer to send them away for professional development and which means that school may end up losing really great teachers that would make a difference and improve the teaching and learning at the school.

    3) Sometimes it is important to ensure that you have empathy for your teachers and what you are asking of them to do. Teachers put in a lot of overtime, planning, doing extra curriculars, tutoring students, marking and etc and they just want employers to be aware of the time they are putting in and respecting that.

    Everyone deserves a good salary, good working and living conditions and for their voices to be heard and considered. And if this isn’t happening then teachers have a right to move to greener pastures where they feel that they are not being treated well.

    Like

  68. calliope27 says:

    As a school Principal (in a Government school) in Australia – I have to say that there is a sense of ‘entitlement’ in many of the younger teachers, I have noticed this escalating over the past 10 years or so. One complained to me last year that she wasn’t getting enough public ‘pats on the back’. The younger staff also sometimes have a problem with being asked to do something in a different way. Though older more experienced staff may cost more, in the long run, they also perform better and have more wisdom to deal with things. I think this is a fair response from a school owner. As previous posters have said, don’t like it – leave. I get offered lots of PD for my school, a lot of it I rip up and toss in the bin – an experienced school admin person should know if what is being touted as PD is snake oil or grounded in good research.

    Like

    • Aussie says:

      Have you ever worked overseas? Have you ever seen what sub standard conditions some schools expect their staff to live in? Im sure you go home to a nice quiet comfortable house after work every day. You have health insurance. You have a car. You have access to PD to improve yourself.
      I have worked in government schools in Australia. I have also worked in four international schools of varying standards.
      Its truly amazing to see what some money hungry owners think their staff should put up with, including the Principal of their school. Im speaking from experience

      Like

      • calliope27 says:

        I have worked in International schools overseas for over 10 years and I would not put myself in the position of working for a ‘sub standard’ school. I’m speaking from experience too. I have health insurance because I pay for it, I have a car because I bought it. People need to do their homework before they accept a position.

        Like

    • staying abroad says:

      As an ‘older’ teacher, I really have to agree – newly qualified and younger fac can be amongst the worst of the complainers and genera sh** – stirrers. But there are issues with older folks, too – I work in a school with pretty darned good benefits, but should they be expected to pay for an older person’s major surgery? Some of my colleagues seem to think so.

      Like

    • Audrey says:

      Your comment on ‘not enough public pats on the back’ made me laugh out loud as I’ve had that one said to me too and the first time it took me completely by surprise. Maybe some people are professional complainers because they haven’t yet worked out that there is actually great satisfaction in simply doing something to a high standard for no better reason than that you can – No praise required, no public acknowledgement necessary. Though of course, it’s a pleasant surprise when those appear…

      Like

  69. Noreen Croyle says:

    If this person identified the school of topic here they would definitely be able to streamline the hiring process for said school. Especially if this is an honest accounting of the situation.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Noreen, I was thinking the same thing. It’s difficult for me to take an anonymous letter, or response, seriously.
      Gerry Sharp

      Like

  70. Anonymous says:

    After writing about this entry, I realised there is a very important issue that needs resolving here…
    I would like to know why recruiters do not ‘punish’ directors / schools that are dishonest / don’t honour contracts etc (as candidates are)? Why are these kind of schools allowed to attend fairs (or post on ‘reputable’ sites) with no penalty for treating their teachers poorly (and / or not delivering on promises)?
    I think this is a big issue, and teachers should push for much more stringent “criteria” for schools to be allowed to attend their fairs / post positions on their sites (as they do teachers / candidates).
    What do people think?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Take a look at Sinarmas World Academy. They were banned this year by Search Associates and rightfully so. The school was going to be one of the best in Asia if not the world until the board systematically dismantled it. Take a look at the reviews on ISR. If you like a good train wreck then check it out.

      Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      You are naive. Recruiting is even bigger business than running a school. I have seen large recruiting companies continue to put staff in very dodgy schools because they are collecting a big fee. Do they care when you are in post and it doesn’t fit the Trades Description Act? No sirree. Try suing them. You’ll never work abroad again.

      Like

  71. Anonymous says:

    This director is up front about what you are getting into and as long as all of this is evident during the interview process then its difficult to complain and I must admit that teachers can be a whiny bunch. Having said that, this director seems to be making a fundamental error in judgment about the profession. I teach internationally, as opposed to within my own country, because the lifestyle I lead out in the world is better than what I can lead at home. My benefits, such as a fully furnished apartment, airfare, and non-taxable income make this job financially worth doing. The quality of what the school provides is also a big factor in the equation.

    Since this director seems to be mostly complaining about what he provides vs the gratitude he is shown then perhaps he is suffering normal market pressures. International teachers do not have unions to fall back on when things don’t meet their expectations or they feel as though they are being taken advantage of. If your complaining because your teachers are leaving then they are probably leaving for a good reason. Instead of lamenting about how you and your institution are under appreciated by international teachers perhaps you examine your package in comparison to other institutions.

    You seem to be someone who wants people to know that ‘hard truth.’ A hard truth I would like to offer you is that international teaching is a service industry and teachers go where its best for them. If you find that keeping teachers is difficult then the reason is that your school isn’t competing well against the packages offer by other schools. Either improve your package or accept your situation. At the end of the day no one cares how hard you’ve worked at your school. They want what is best for them and if you cannot provide it then they will go somewhere else.

    Like

  72. Jinqiao AQI Counter says:

    I really appreciate this owner’s honesty and perspective. He may be running a 2nd tier school in a place that didn’t have one before. That would be a good thing.

    For a more balanced perspective, I’d love to also read the school’s accreditation report. My fear is that he’s keeping teacher turnover high, not realistically leading school improvement programs, and pocketing large sums of money each year.

    Yeah, I can see why some people might resent him, if that were the case.

    Like

  73. Spotted1 says:

    If this is a completely truthful and honest response by the owner, then it is commendable. If the teacher has done their homework about the school and knows the contract and all that goes with it, then the teacher really has nothing to complain about. The owner is simply addressing the issues that teachers complain about in schools, with a great deal of frequency. The owner is pointing out his situation, which good teachers should know going in. If you have done your homework, know what is in the contract, and it is honored, you really don’t have much to complain about.

    Professional development will always be hit or miss or not meet the needs of the teachers. Housing is usually adequate, but maybe not what you expect, and salaries are told pretty much up front. Do you homework and choose your school wisely.

    Like

    • Wendy Powell says:

      When I taught in Monterrey, Mexico … telephones were very hard to come by and cost the school 1000’s of dollars in bribes. Yes, bribes to the Mexican Telekom… In addition, not all housing can be fantastic, that is why perhaps you move the second year of your contract and drool over what another teacher leaves behind and sells/passes on to the newer teacher. The KEY is for the owner/RECRUITER to be HONEST about (1) whether the country you are in even has A/C, (2) whether the stubborn ex-pat will be able to find a McDonald’s, Burger King, or Kenny Rogers (3) whether the housing allotment will actually cover rent etc … if the owner spoke truthfully, and is dealing with a whiny ex-pat who is homesick , then I totally get this owners deal — if, however, the housing HE claims is safe and adequate truly sucks (filthy, in a bad neighborhood, far from school) etc … I am obviously on the side of the teacher who was sold a bill of goods… My advice, lower your expectations and then be pleasantly surprised. In most cases, you are still often living way better than the local community. Good lcuk all!
      (Monterrey, Mexico ’91-93, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ’95-97)

      Like

      • Tom says:

        I remember attending a job fair some years ago and meeting with a school director for over an hour about a teaching job in Kuwait. I was told a fantastic story about how fabulous the school was, how much of a family atmosphere it was at the school, how great life would be for me in Kuwait (there were fabulous shopping malls, lots of great restaurants, wonderful beaches, etc). The housing was five star. It would be like living in the Maldives.

        After doing some investigating, I began to doubt the story about fantastic life in Kuwait. I actually flew to Kuwait at my own expense during one of the upcoming school holidays. I spent three days there and found out the truth. The school was ordinary and in a rough neighborhood. The housing was in an even worse neighborhood and was strictly bottom heap. The entire apartment was the size of just two rooms in the place I have now.The apartment was near a workers camp. Laborers walked up and down the street right outside the apartment building. The place was dusty and there was no parking on site. The apartment was located 20 minutes (when there was little traffic) outside of town. There were no stores nearby.

        All the essentials for life were more expensive here than in the neighboring countries. Traffic was bad due to overpopulation and lack of city planning. And might I add, all of this for a significant pay cut. I said thanks, but no thanks. Truth be told, experienced teachers don’t want anything like this. They have more experience, have paid their dues, and they deserve better. However single newly qualified teachers (NQT) could gut out something like this for a year or two. Not me- not with ten years experience, four years teaching abroad (in another middle eastern country).

        Oh, did I mention that the beaches there were deserted, because of their lack of development, cleanliness, and the word being publicized to stay off the beaches because they were polluted.

        Like

  74. Bea Toews says:

    Commendable honesty, possibly. If teachers meet this Director, get the facts, and choose to be employed by him, that is their choice. However, with such an attitude, the Director need not be too surprised that if something is not spelled out in the contract – after hours coaching, a school club, extra duties – then teachers will be reluctant to cooperate. You do get what you pay for.

    Like

  75. Gordon says:

    I once worked for a school in Singapore. At the interview they waxed lyrical about how its easy for teachers to rent condos with pools, and the rental allowance will cover it. etc. Unless you do your homework, you arrive in Singapore to find rents are actually higher than most western countries. You are then forced to team up with other teachers to rent local flats, at an expat price. You spend your 2 year contract trying to balance the budget and are living on limited means. You depart Singapore two years later with little savings. The problem is, many schools stretch truths during interviews as they really want you on board. Once you sign an expat teacher’s contract you are stuck. Is it any wonder the teachers complain. The other point the writer makes is about PD. I have seen the worst speakers ever, brought in to lecture us about the latest this or that. They are flown in and usually its on our days off that we the teachers have to attend. An example of this was a UK children’s book writer. He wrote an illustrated book about safety. It was badly written, poorly illustrated and he read us the book. We got nothing out of it but it was classed as PD. When you employ a teacher in a foreign country, the contract is extremely tight with clauses and has a penalty for this and that. Employers need to to be extremely clear before the teacher says yes that they know where the contract is black and white. If the teacher’s spouse is on their own for visa, tickets etc, then make it clear at interview.

    Like

  76. Scott says:

    I’m sorry you’ve never seen teachers going to expensive PD ‘at their own expense’. You are missing out on the truly professional. Last summer I went to a PTC conference in London – my school paid the conference, I flew myself there and paid for the hotel – and more than half the participants paid entirely for themselves. Total cost? Over 3500US dollars.

    Housing – teachers routinely add to their allowances to have the home they desire. Some won’t, but that’s their issue. That said, if the allowance you were offering would get me something acceptable, I wouldn’t work for your school. But I certainly wouldn’t start complaining about it halfway through a contract. I’m currently working at Nanjing International School where this is not an issue – housing provided is ample.

    Flights etc – sorry, but this is just part of the picture. Again, if I had to pay 50% tuition for my second child, I wouldn’t come. Your ‘money saving scheme’ is short-changing your students by ensuring that many experienced and excellent teachers just wouldn’t come to work for you. That said, perhaps you are getting other experienced and excellent teachers.

    I’m interested by the fact that you choose to remain anonymous – if, as you say, you are proud, then show us your school and link to your website. No-one can have a serious issue if you offer in reality what you offer at interview – teachers are – on the whole – intelligent rational creatures who know what they are getting into, And if they don’t, they will get out soon enough. If you are clear about hat you offer, and you honestly follow though, then you should have no complaints.

    Like

    • Tom says:

      I, too appreciate the owner’s honesty. As for PD, most of the teachers I have met don’t really care about PD. I do, so I pay for it out of my pocket. I am a member of 2 professional organizations. I attend the annual conference of one of those groups (at my own expense). What the teachers do care about is having the money to live comfortably and making it worth their while to live abroad (especially with their families). My employers does not pay for the schooling of a teacher’s children. It’s a significant problem for teachers with children. Some of these teachers have 2 and 3 school age children. Some even home school their children to make ends meet or to be able to save money.

      Like

  77. Chris says:

    I’m impressed by the honesty displayed by this owner. The only way he could be more honest is opening his books!

    I think it is all about expectation and where you are at in life. If you don’t expect the things or NEED the things the owner is talking about (flights, visa, shipping, etc.) for dependents then life will be good. But some people are at the point in their lives where they do indeed need those things. This probably isn’t the school for them. (I probably wouldn’t take a job if my spouse couldn’t come along and have their visa stuff sorted out for the.) And if they take the job then (hopefully) they did so knowing full well what to expect.

    However, I’m still (and likely always will be) uncomfortable with “for profit” schools. Education isn’t a commodity, it is a right. And if someone or a group are out to make a profit then they don’t really love education. (IMHO.)

    Like

    • unit says:

      If a truly passionate person did open a school out of passion/love how would they make a living if they didn’t take what they needed for themselves and their families or do you take profits to mean huge amounts of money that go well beyond what is needed for a decent/good living in which case I would agree with you?

      Like

    • Jim Young says:

      How do you know he’s being honest? Do you know who he is, or what the name of his school is or even what country it’s in? This post could be a total fiction. It’s hypothetical premise is entirely unverified and people are squabbling over it!
      It sounds like this guy looks at his school as a money maker. It sounds like he doesn’t know how to resolve disputes with teachers. If he was a people person he wouldn’t be writing this post because he wouldn’t need to.
      My bias is that I don’t even like the idea of a school for profit and I have never worked for one. Even so I have found, more and more, that administrations have become more and more of a business mindset. The business world has forced them to. The outcomes have often been not good. It has become a big issue in the US and the UK. The education of children should not be a source of profit. Corporations have the idea that schools will become better if they are run on a business model. This is an extremely flawed idea.

      Like

  78. Higgy says:

    Well, fair enough mr director, but you will get what you pay for. I would laugh at your offer – never in a million years would I work for you given a package like yours.

    Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      And he will be saved from someone who is only concerned at the fatness of his wallet. Lucky man. What makes you think you are worth a huge salary? Ego?

      Like

  79. Anonymous says:

    What a whiner? Sounds like he is saying “poor me.” Any person has a right to want good housing and to make a decent salary. Of course, teachers don’t upgrade flights at a school like his as the salaries are probably pretty low and for example, at the school I am at I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I am not complaining about my school as I went in eyes open but teachers have a right to let others know what they think and his argument about entitlement is ridiculous. Teachers work hard and thought they don’t necessarily need the lavish things that some schools provide there are a lot of schools out there that for whatever reason are not able to provide some things for their teachers that generally should be. I get it! He doesn’t have the money but teachers have a right to say that the school doesn’t have enough to provide what they feel a teacher deserves. He is “not a philanthropist”, well teachers need to be practical as well and inform and be informed. They have aspirations and families too.

    Like

  80. ML says:

    I think this director’s comments are very fair and reasonable. We get none of these perks at home yet expect luxurious accommodations and expense accounts whilst overseas. I often have encountered very chintzy teachers who will not spend a dime out-of-pocket for their classroom yet expect the directors to fund their every request. Try teaching in the US and see how much out-of-pocket expenses you must fork out for your classroom. And yes the director is allowed to have whatever model of car they wish to drive. In many countries if the director or principal showed up in a beat up Volkswagen bug, the parents would think twice about sending their child to that school. That is a cultural fact in many countries including private schools in the US. Thank you to the this direct for his side of the issue.

    Like

    • Rob Solo says:

      ‘We get none of these perks at home…’

      Isn’t that the whole point? We _aren’t_ at home. If they want teachers to travel to places which don’t have the same benefits as our home country, they have to balance it out somehow? If not, what is the point?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        @ Rob Solo: Exactly! One thing that I keep hearing as an international teacher is how greedy we are and how the local teachers don’t get all the perqs we do. That’s because we expect something additional for having left our homes behind. If the locals could provide what we provide, there would be no jobs for us. Schools should not use foreign teachers (often just to create the appearance of legitimacy) unless they are willing to pay for it.

        Like

        • Atilla Woebegone says:

          You don’t HAVE to leave your comfy home at all. Why not stay there? White face/western passport does not necessarily equal quality in the classroom. I suspect, if you lived on a local teacher’s salary in the accommodation they live in, you might have a life-changing experience and become a better person.

          Like

          • anonymous says:

            So why don’t you just hire quality local teachers? Oh, I forgot. It’s a business, and your clients (parents) I’m sure want foreigner teachers for some reason.

            Like

          • Jim Young says:

            Well, “Atilla”, many teachers in the US and the UK are fed up with the direction that politicians and the oligarchies in both countries have forced on schools. I know of a number of British teachers who have sworn that they will never again teach in the UK.
            I have taught in an African country with clearly substandard classrooms. I didn’t enjoy those conditions but I endured them for three years. I agree with you that people who are dissatisfied with their living and/or working conditions should leave, go elsewhere, but there are situations where this is pretty daunting.
            The thing that we do not know however is how honest the school director/letter writer in this instance actually is and how legitimate, or not, the complaints of his employees are.

            Like

      • Richard says:

        You get the experience. Some of us do it for that… and are happy to do it.

        Like

    • jl says:

      This doesn’t compute. The worst state to work for, N. Carolina, starts teachers at 30k with pension and generous benefits. After several years this goes to 58k or so. (THIS IS THE WORST STATE.) A teacher in NY can max out at 100k with benefits worth more yearly than most international school salaries.

      Like

  81. Catherine says:

    Yes please let us know where your school is located because there is more than enough data on this website to inform any Teacher who is considering a position. If the owner deliverers what he/she wrote on the contact then one d oes not have much to complain about. It is all the things that are left out that annoy the most. Like the massive dust storms in Kuwait that invade every crack and corner or your accommodation, plus the fraud and crime in Nigeria and the lack of electricity every day of the week. The immigration laws in Qatar that prevent an employee from leaving without days of drama and of course to forget the employers who take your passport on arrival which is very much against the law. I have not had a single sick day or asked or a single hour off in over 7 years of working in the Middle East and many other places and have spent endless hours in after hours work trying to keep up with the work. I have spent hours on my holidays buying goods for new teachers and then had to wait 3 months to be paid the money. So tell us where you are located because it makes a lot of difference if the truth is told in the first place and you deliver what you promise. There is a huge debate about the months that many teachers work illegally with a Visa and they could get locked up or deported any day .Be Fair and YES there are some whose expectations are un-realistic but the majority give a lot.

    Like

    • Atilla Woebegone says:

      Please! Kuwait is a desert country. Do you think the dust stops outside the cities? Nigeria is legendary for crime and fraud – it exports it to many western countries. Qatar and Saudi have always required expats to get exit visas. You get there and complain? Turn on your computer and do your homework when you are deciding where to go and don’t expect owners to tell you such things when they have learned to cope with them as you will if you are adaptable and resilient. You won’t be going far if you don’t like dust.

      Like

  82. Pro Entepreneurship says:

    The keyword here is “honesty”. If a schools hires you and tells you what the real conditions are, then there should not be any complains. As international teachers sometimes we get disspointed because what we were told at the fairs does not match the reality. Personaly, what I hate the most is the “after hours” you are compelled to work. Those after hours drop your rate per hour significately when you do the math. I also hate those “after school activities” because some schools expect you to do activities that are not part of your expertise or even some you hate. I personaly hate coaching sports for instance.

    Congratulations for being an entrepreneur and akcnowledging to have a “for profit” school. If you drive your own car and have a little luxory here and there, you have the absolute right to do so.

    Like

  83. Ray says:

    If teachers are not happy then leave and go somewhere else. …. It is that simple. I teach in a school that to be honest pays very little, but I am happy with the country, love the culture and above all feel safe. If I want loads of money then there are other schools in that category worldwide.

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  84. Anonymous says:

    aAfair enough response from an owner of a school. Whilst the comments about parents and assuming parental fiscal responsibility is probably a bit too much and will almost guarantee an adverse response from ISR teachers , it is important that his over arching message is listened to and that those teachers ready to counter attack take this into consideration.

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  85. ardnas says:

    What school is he talking about?

    Like

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