Why Reviews Stop Posting

derailed44995828ISR received a thought-provoking email this morning. After much conversation on the topic we moved to share the email with Members for Comment:

Hello ISR, I am checking out a school in Kuwait and I see that the last posting year was 2011. Am I missing something or is this really the last entry you have about this school, the Universal American School? Many of the reports were very bad and the fact that there are none after 2011 caused me to wonder if there were some errors on the dates of the reports or if there are some reviews missing. Perhaps the school has improved and now no one is disgruntled enough to post anything? A bit strange though….

(name withheld)

In response, ISR wrote:

Hi —-, You may be right that the school has improved and no one is disgruntled enough at this time to post anything. I do see that the school still has the same owner and maybe she has changed/improved her management style.

However, consider these other scenarios that may cause Reviews to stop appearing, as related to us by Reviews from international teachers:

1) A gag order:  A clause in the “revised” contract says teachers will not post any information about the school to any web site. The consequence, if discovered, may be immediate dismissal. Teachers have reported that their school threatened legal action as a consequence for posting to a web site.

2) A “witch-hunt”: Teachers have related incidents of being called into the office, one-by-one, to be interrogated by a school attorney when an unfavorable post appeared. One Director went so far as to lie to staff that he “has a friend at ISR who will tell him who posted the objectionable Review…so confess and make life easy”.

3) A date cover-up: It could also be that the poster is  currently at the school they are reviewing and trying to protect their identity even further by using earlier “dates covered” by their Review. This would lead admin to believe they have already left the school.

What is happening at the Universal American School in Kuwait is unknown. It does seem odd that the posts stop at 2011 when there are thirty-nine posts, many of which are negative. Investigation reveals several other schools which fall into the same pattern.

I suggest you post your questions about this school to our Forum and see what teachers have to say, or, if anyone can and will respond.

Hope this information is of some help to you.


Paul @ ISR

What’s your own opinion on this topic? We invite you to comment. Read complete article/comment

27 thoughts on “Why Reviews Stop Posting

  1. Because lots of teachers don’t know about ISR, Also, those who do I would say a small percentage will pay the fee just to give a review of a school they no longer work at.


  2. ISR said, “Hi —-, You may be right that the school has improved and no one is disgruntled enough at this time to post anything.”
    This is true, and I wish that employees who ARE happy with their schools would also post positive information. It seems a little unfair when there are negative posts, then the school improves, and suddenly there are no posts at all.
    My school is a good example of this. I’m crazy happy here. I don’t know what happened before I arrived but it apparently ended with the previous principal being escorted off the campus. Since then, I presume things must have improved, because I rarely hear complaints from fellow teachers.
    So, why don’t *I* post a rosy review for the school, since I love it so much? I’m kind of an outsider — I’m new in a very clique-y environment, and I’m a single-subject teacher. In other words, there may be issues that I am simply not aware of.
    Perhaps I should just post about what I know and have observed and then offer a disclaimer that classroom teachers may have a different point of view… ?


    1. Despite what you think is your unique situation, I would encourage you to post a review. Remember, most negative reviews are from a fairly unique situation as well.

      I remember reading a review once of a school I was at (the review was for the time period I was at the school) and I was thinking, “that is not MY impression or experience at all”. The review was written by a person with a minimal view outside of their specific area and their negative experience was not the experience of the many teachers I interacted with.


  3. Sometimes if a school has mixed reviews or experiences or if many of the foreign teachers stay because they are married to host nationals, one might feel that the situation is only negative for them as an individual. Therefore, they might choose not to post. Mainly, I think people do not post because 1) they don’t want to indulge negative thinking patterns, and /or 2) they feel the responsibility is on them to deal with the things they do not like as an individual. I am not judging either position. To each his/her own.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think once staff have left, it’s a case of out of there, and don’t have the energy left to write a review.

    It has been the case where a staff member chose to break contract of his own free will and then wrote an appalling review of the school. This staff member had had to be propped up by the other members of staff all that year, they were a poor teacher but had friends in high places ( the boss) so was able to swing on a loose rope all that year. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it became known they weren’t coming back. No one wrote about it though . If they had would they write about the teacher of the boos who employed the teacher, both should bear some responsibility.

    We often think that it is the owners, school for profit, the school year, the parents, the students, the country, well ask yourself could it be YOU? We seldom times look at ourselves and like children blame someone else. Not on ADULTS, you made the call you wear the hat for the duration and make the best of the situation.

    That is not to say it might not be a combination of the above, but and I dislike the BUT in statements. I bet if you seriously thought about the situation you find yourself in in a school, it’s probably similar to situations you had at home. At home, you probably have a union, someone to do your dirty work for you, at home you probably work in a team hey that’s the same, at home you probably have a calendar and a timetable the same, at home you probably get paid that;s the same, pay tax Most likely not but at home yes, pay rent at home, yes, not where you are, some do though, I have had to before. Hey guess what at home you have to work, same in the school your currently in or moaning about.

    I think most of us have moaned about our current circumstance as we probably have dome so at home, most of us have probably said when I live I’ll… but haven’t, same with writing a review does it really matter?

    Principals, headmasters, management teams etc all have someone above them a corporation, a business manger, a bean counter, an owner, many times teachers think the teachers in this collection make the rules, NO they don’t, they are the face that gets you to make things better and more pleasant for you and your kids. They are the face that has to face the barrage of rude arrogant behaviors that the owners, the bean counters, the corporation forces on them. Too many times I have heard teachers say they don’t know what thy’re doing I could do it so much better, thing is it doesn’t work that way, there is someone pulling your string, which grates at the nerves of the people being pulled believe me.

    Back to my point, we get tired after the school year, its not worth while to anyone to write a review when you are felling distraught or down, maybe after leaving the building or wait even longer on holiday or even later when you arrive at your new school or even later on you might think about writing or not, that could be a reason why.


  5. I think ISR is one of the few sites where teachers can share important insights with other teachers. I would certainly not contemplate joining a school that had had numerous negative reviews, especially about a current director or owner of the school. Comments on a school can be used to ask probing questions during interviews with that school. If someone has had an unpleasant experience or been treated unfairly, it is a good place to vent. I have heard of administrators going on witch hunts when negative reviews have been posted. It pays to be cautious.


    1. I remember interviewing with a school in South America and had some questions prepared based on several negative reviews posted about that particular school; their answers to my questions only confirmed what the negative reviews were about and I declined an offer. It was extremely helpful.


  6. Often a change of Head / Principal will be able to address enough of the former complaints to alleviate bad reviews from departing teachers. It’s not always the school’s owner who is the issue. I’ve headed schools in many countries and had to negotiate funding for essential resources from for-profit owners, non-profit boards, associations, and schools boards. No model is perfect. It’s the people who make the final financial decisions who can present the obstacles. Certainly, a Head / Principal should also do their homework before they accept a position and believe that they can work with the governance structure to address concerns and issues raised on ISR.


  7. I’m working at a bad school in Egypt. I hadn’t subscribed to ISR for years but renewed when a colleague asked if I had read the reviews for my school. They were completely true and I will add mine when I leave. I found that hardly any of the teachers knew about ISR as many were first year teachers. It might be helpful if ISR let the schools for education know about this site for their graduating classes. This is the first bad school I’ve worked at and the first time I didn’t look the school up before applying.


  8. The best advice is the “smell test”. If you have doubts then don’t take the job. A person’s gut instinct is usually best. There are some great school in the ME and there are some terrible ones. Unlike other places in the world though the Middle East can cause you many more headaches with your rights as an employee and an overall lack of accountability to the owners by authorities. What you do know is that the school still has the same owner and in that bit of info there may be some strong hints as to its current status. Granted, people do “turn over a new leaf” but usually the buck stops with the owner and we are speaking mostly about for profit international schools here in parts of the world where it is a family business. If you have a bad feeling. Walk. Do not go to a school you are worried about. Good luck!


    1. BTW UAS is not a ‘for profit’ international school.

      None of the three big American schools in Kuwait are for profit.


    2. Person of Interest: I said “many” of the schools in this part of the world are for profit. I did not say this one was. Thank you for pointing out “the facts”!


    3. Q8Teacher get your facts right. TES is a non profit school. UAS, ASK and AIS are also non profit schools.


  9. UAS moved site, a few years ago, to a brand new purpose built site with a HUGE car park. I haven’t heard anything specifically bad about this school in many years. I have lived and worked in Kuwait for 20 years, but not at UAS but I keep my ear to the ground.


  10. My current school is a nightmare. But the school is so small that any details posted or information given will immediately reveal who the poster is. Even someone who thinks they are posting anonymously may be discovered because different countries have different styles of English writing.

    The other problem with posting which no one has seemed to mention is that sometimes the head of a school may make it very personal. For example I knew of a teacher who posted on ISR after he left the school. His head of school suspected that he was the poster so from that point forward the head of school lied about him anytime someone called or emailed for a reference. We discovered this because we had someone we knew pose as a potential principal from a real school asking questions about performance of the teacher.

    Search associates also requires sealed evaluations for teachers wishing to join which means teachers can’t see what their head of school/supervisor has written. This leads to abuses where unethical heads of school lie. The poor candidate then has no idea why they aren’t getting offers from good schools because they can’t see what was said to verify it.

    These heads of school and principals have much more control over teachers than in any national system I have ever seen. All they have to do is go to a recruiting fair and hang out with other heads of school. When a candidate’s name is mentioned all the heads who knew the person are there in the same room together and can give opinions. So it is like your entire international work history is on display right there. Best to check who is coming from what schools before you go to a particular fair if there have been some unethical heads in your work history. I have encountered 2 unethical heads out of 5 total schools worked at. Not a good percentage. In case you are wondering I have worked at different schools in different regions.

    Bottom line is if you wish to teach overseas realize there are no protections for teachers, systems may be completely corrupt, contracts may or may not be honored, and it is a “buyer beware” situation. Best advice I ever got was to smile a lot, keep my opinions to myself, and concern myself with only what I can control which is what happens within the 4 walls of my classroom, and avoid close relationships with co-workers because admin frequently looks at “problem” teachers and brands all those who are close to them as trouble makers. . I also try to network a lot with other teachers that I meet by asking them what other schools they have been at. Then I make a list of that information and write their email beside it. If I happen to apply to one of those schools I email them. It is not perfect but about the only thing I know to do. I also read ISR and if there are negative reviews it is a no go for me unless I personally know someone at one of those schools who can tell me differently.

    By the way I think most of the reviews on ISR are true or have found them to be true for the schools reviewed that have people I know at them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had only posted once onI ISR about 10 years ago and it was a good review. I have recently moved schools and right before I left someone posted a negative review of the school and everyone thought it was me. People even asked me and I kept saying it was not me and I disagreed with some of the things that were in the review. Plus I would never post about a school that I work was still working for – thus these anonymous reviews can cause trouble for unconnected teachers as well. I even talked to the Director because he was upset by it. I was leaving on good terms and would even think of going back there –
      but when people thought it was me, it changed things a bit.


    2. A similar story: Was at a school when the head went slightly ballistic about a negative posting, sending all school emails and having a faculty meeting, to remind us we were all one family. However, most of us simply chuckled over the posting which was filled with grammatical and factual errors, and wondered who could take it seriously. However, when the same head refused to renew my contract later with no justification or explanation, friends who stayed said that the head believed I had written that negative post. Yet I didn’t even write a review after I left as what happened seemed so personal and shocking that I knew I couldn’t be fair!


    3. I have submitted various reviews here and made a choice to sign the reviews with my name. It adds credibility as well as protects other teachers from being falsely accused. It also forces me to only say online what I would say say face to face to administration.

      The truth may not get you the best reference but it speak to your character


    4. “This leads to abuses where unethical heads of school lie. The poor candidate then has no idea why they aren’t getting offers from good schools because they can’t see what was said to verify it. These heads of school and principals have much more control over teachers than in any national system I have ever seen.”

      I’m just now finishing up my first overseas posting and moving onto another school. The above statement is so true, it is NOT an exaggeration that school administrators have a lot of power. The school where I am working in SE Asia has only a handful of reviews, and only one posted during my tenure. Teachers are disgruntled and feel powerless to speak up; they are afraid to speak up for exactly the reasons you have mentioned. It is advisable to do your job, make friends outside of school and expect little in return except a great expat lifestyle and benefit packet. I have a lot to say about my current school, both good and bad, but don’t feel comfortable doing so until I retire from teaching.


    5. “Best advice I ever got was to smile a lot, keep my opinions to myself, and concern myself with only what I can control which is what happens within the 4 walls of my classroom, and avoid close relationships with co-workers because admin frequently looks at “problem” teachers and brands all those who are close to them as trouble makers.” SPOT ON ADVICE … International teachers are the work-horses of the industry!


  11. This article presumes that everybody subscribes to this website. I know many international teachers that have been teaching for years and don’t belong to ISR. It could simply be that not everyone knows about the website.


  12. Unfortunately, I’ve known plenty of teachers who have bad experiences don’t post reviews and just move on. I think because plenty of teachers have already posted bad reviews, current teachers don’t feel a need to post a good or bad review.


    1. Perhaps, but that is not the case at the school where I am currently working. Teachers don’t post because the administrators have a lot of control and power over us.


  13. So, let’s see if I have this correct. You can’t explain what’s happening on your own web site, so you would like your customers to explain it for you. Really? Why not be a bit proactive — make a few phone calls, send a few emails, find some real information rather than spout generics and toss it back to your customers?

    I find ISR useful and have been a longtime subscriber, but this is one thing that has always bothered me about your operation — you open up this big dump site for information and do very little to filter or analyze it. Hardly better than the Internet as a whole.


    1. I don’t think this is fair. ISR knows that the people who know the situation best will be those who are/have been at the school.
      Once teachers move on, they often feel no need to post anything on ISR. I agree that the best action they can take at this point is to ask those who know best.


    2. I agree you aren’t being fair. ISR is an amazing resource for international teachers. Just use caution when reading the reviews and try to read between the lines. If there are no postings don’t make any assumptions.


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