Personality Conflict with Director

sternwoman46763620What can you do if a new director seems to really dislike you? For example: You have a successful track record, but find yourself suddenly in a position in which you feel targeted/picked on for little things. It is plainly clear that she (the director) just really dislikes you on a personal level, to the point that other people have pointed it out to you. Ever had this experience?

It is her first year as a director. No unions overseas, of course. Colleagues keep advising tactics that would work great at home, where there are, you know, laws and procedures, but this woman just gets angry when I say anything in my defense. I’m starting to realize that she can just sack me with no repercussions.

Can anyone offer any advice/practicalities for this situation, or for coping emotionally in this situation? I’m lost. (This topic was transplanted from the ISR Forum)

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47 Responses to Personality Conflict with Director

  1. Sunshine says:

    I look at a lot of the school reviews on this site. It seems like 3/4 of them are bad. While it seems like it would be a neat experience and I have worked overseas. So much of the schools do not have good administrators or owners or standards for students. seems like why even waste your time in teaching. Then in the US I have come across problems of bullying too. Just doesn’t seem like a profession that is a good one anymore. Low pay for a lot of responsibility and students and parents that don’t have much respect. Overseas you have no control. I would hope if a school brings you overseas they would want to make an effort to keep you so they aren’t losing money all the time.

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  2. keithbarger says:

    Torville apparently believes this thread is the correct place to further bully those who have been bullied by their bosses. The Assistant Superintendent at ….. in Kuwait bullied me, using threats to force money out of me and Torville thinks that’s okay as he continues to defend Bullying Bosses. I am posting this to ask that the admin of the site remove his offending remarks.

    #####ADMIN RESPONSE: YOU ARE EACH ENTITLED TO YOUR POSITION,
    OPINIONS AND COMMENTS AND AS SUCH ALL COMMENTS STAND AS IS. #####

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  3. Been there says:

    I definitely agree with what “Bullied says”. Get all your stuff together. Recruiting agencies have heard it all before.

    I strongly suggest that you JUST LEAVE. It is not worth the fight; you will not win. Even if you did win your ‘case” why would you stay?
    I had a friend (who is also a recruiter) check my confidential references sent by people who (I thought) would be, at least, impartial. The recruiter said that the references could be harmful and he suggested that I contact my “agent” and request that they be “pulled”. The agent pulled them, but this happened only after a few years of them being on file. (Fortunately, I had some very good ones which helped balance things during that time, but it was certainly better to have the unfavorable ones completely removed.)

    There is also a tremendous amount of jealousy among teachers, who may be quite good at their teaching for the most part, but their insecurity mitigates their sense of professionalism. Many of the administrators are just damn incompetent and feel threatened by the people (teachers) who know their stuff and can recognize an administrator who doesn’t.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    interesting situation, happened to me as well. It gets uglier when the Director also manipulates other teachers around him/her to make you ostracized. Sad that colleagues can play this game, that they can be turned against each other. Also, the director at my school inappropriately befriended the school board chair so that that avenue also was closed to any sort of justice, dialogue, etc…Me, I ended up going to the director, telling her I would not be working there the next year and was not expecting a letter of rec from her. She no longer had any leverage to attempt to bully me, driving her even more insane. But, as teachers, I do think some integrity in this approach is warranted, to not give up on the kids or the class, keep plugging along in a fair manner…But, would say that international teachers could do well to stick together, form some kind of a teacher union of sorts to meet & discus issues or grievances, have them presented in a group and/or anonymous manner, with going to the school board as a final option…

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  5. China Teacher says:

    Like everything else in life, international teaching is a sword with two edges.

    One edge — autonomy — gets talented, professional educators, including administrators, out from under the stifling weight of bureaucracy, politics, and — here it comes — unions, to a place where once can learn, thrive, innovate, and do truly amazing things for students. That’s the part we love.

    The other edge — vulnerability — is the one that allows an incompetent, blind, bat out of hell administrator to, oppress the lives of dozens with little accountability or recourse.

    That’s the part we don’t love so much, but the bare truth is you can’t enjoy the bounties of autonomy without some occasional vulnerability. That’s where I found myself at one time, having done many years at some excellent schools with terrific administrators, only to have taken a “wrong turn” in a moment of poor judgement and landed at the other kind of school.

    But it was solely my own responsibility, and I carved an exit strategy I could live with and got out. That’s the bargain we made when we chose this life.

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  6. I’ve spent about 15 years teaching abroad, currently on my third international/American school, and I can speak from experience on this. Without any other knowns (your subject area, grades taught, track record with co-workers, etc.) besides what you write above, I’d say this:

    Do everything you can before moving on to obtain character reference letters from parents of students taught, highlighting your positive attributes as a teacher and your relationship with parents, regarding communication with them, how you handled situations with their children, etc.

    You could also do a survey, asking students to fill something out (traditional paper form or online, like Survey Monkey) and then use such results in your online portfolio or Prezi. If you get high percentages of students providing accolades and positive responses on the surveys, then that’s more fodder to help counter a poor letter from your current head.

    Then, create a video resume, which includes clips of students, professional colleagues, and even other staff at your current school, speaking on your behalf, which will clearly reveal your true nature (or give a more accurate perspective), more so than some administrator’s perceptions of you. Ask those on video to say a few words of what they know of you as a teacher and co-worker, etc.

    Not to knock administrators, but if you bump heads with one, they could knock your career of track. Been there, done that. Back yourself up with other valuable references from the aforementioned. If prospective employers can’t see through one bad’s administrator’s poor reference letter, then there is something with the system.

    Finally, I’d promote asking the administrator for a typed reference letter, and if he or she is able to provide one, with any sort of positives–even if more neutral in tone, then it could help serve to possibly counter those darn “secret” references they submit to the likes of Search Associates, the ones we teachers aren’t privy to. If an administrator provides you a decent letter in person, but then attacks you behind closed doors (on the recruiting agency sites), you might at least say, “Hey, what kind of duplicity is that person exercising? How could he/she say this or that, and then say the opposite? Why would that negative reference be valid if it comes from someone who is that duplicitous?” That’s a last-straw suggestion, but those “secret” references are simply too sneaky to begin with (if you’ve had issues with a principal/head/director, yet they tell you they’ll do such a reference to help you out).

    Best of success!

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    • Bullied says:

      Yes: I agree:
      try to get references from parents, teachers and even students.
      Create a portfolio with pictures, videos… evidences of your good work.
      And talk honestly with the recruiting agencies, giving them all that material. They have had a lot of cases like that, so they know what to do.

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  7. Agora says:

    I have been in that situation in both an international and US independent school, so I understand and sympathize. I received two kinds of advice, reflecting that given here, both kinds well intended. I will summarize both kinds, and my response to them, then offer a third line of advice which I do not see here yet.

    The first kind of advice is put up with it and play the game, to be pragmatic. The trouble with that is you are then allowing yourself to live in a way that will undermine your self-esteem in the long term, both professionally and personally, and that can be crippling. Many of us need to make such sacrifices in the short term, but for your own human dignity try not to let it be long-term.

    The second kind of advice is fight back, document everything, go over their heads to appeal, etc. This is more of a gamble, but preferable if possible to do it. I’ve seen it work on occasion, and it has the benefit of doing good for the whole community, not just yourself. Bullies work on a divide and rule, isolate the victim approach, which this can disrupt. Beyond that, if you have any deep devotion to being an educator, meaning a person whose vocation it is to influence the lives of children positively, then there really is something inconsistent with accepting a school situation that is unjust. Kids pick up what kind of dynamics are going on among the adults around them, so any educator ought to judge their own success by what they contribute in that regard, even passively.

    My third line of advice to you is based on the fact that I have had other adults careers besides being a teacher, internationally or otherwise. Teaching is exceptional among professions in that the hiring window is nearly all within a short span once a year, making teachers way more vulnerable than most other adult professionals to the risk of long-term employment. I think it’s important in our lives to take the bigger vision sometimes and think strategically, not just tactically. I have experienced bully bosses in other lines of work, but what magnifies their power (and, with that, frequency) in schools is the extra leverage of threat they get over teachers via the narrow annual hiring window. This seems to be even more intensely the case in the smaller world of international schools.

    As a result of this realization, I decided the teaching profession was not a path I wanted to pursue any longer. While I had more than a decade of success in my actual teaching, and truly enjoyed working with students, I simply could not tolerate the systemic vulnerability to bullying allowed by the professional hiring cycle (and of course some other factors, but let’s focus here on our specific concern).

    One path to become an educator independent of schools is to start your own tutoring business, which is now much more do-able with today’s communication technology. But, that said, I think anyone asking your question should also ask if in the longer term you really would be better of retraining into a different line of work without these pitfalls. En masse would that mean the abandonment of children’s education? Well, I don’t call the kind of toxic dynamics described here as any kind of education worth the name. It may take longer to shake up the whole world of education, but in the meantime any individual among us has the power to shake up his or her own life in a good way by making a strategic change, not just a tactical one. Frankly I think I contributed more of value to the education of my former students by refusing to put up with any more crap and being an example of that kind of adult response to obvious bullying, dishonesty and all the rest of it. The single most important thing any educator can put before their students is truth. And if you’re not doing that, then you’re miseducating, which means you’re contributing to the continuing cycle of negativity which many have noted here.

    Whatever your choice and direction, good luck to you and never let anyone demean the value of that beautiful work you do to educate children. But count yourself every bit as valuable and worthy of respect as anyone else, old or young–don’t be a party to your own diminishment as a person and don’t be the kind of bad example that such self-shrinkage puts before children. Last, but not least, as a parent I can tell you that the beliefs I expressed above were only magnified when i considered how I wanted to educate my own child by the life example I provide for her.

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    • patrickmurtha says:

      Unfortunately, there is much in what you say. I have encountered more people without principles or ethics in education than I ever did in business. So much for stereotypes!

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    • Over_There says:

      Unfortunately, you can document and fight back all you like against a bad director BUT that director will have the ear of the Board or Owner and you will end up being labelled “a trouble-maker” and having your contract terminated. I agree carve an exit strategy and get out….

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right. I have just experienced a situation like the original poster’s. After more than a couple of careers as a business owner, consultant, manager and more than 10 successful years in international teaching I was not about to be bullied. The power is all in the admin’s side. My school also has a year end bonus system to which teachers are held hostage. I have had enough of incompetent heads. I love the kids and teaching. But I can no longer bear to see them being taken advantage of by those offering lip service to education while pushing personal power and monetary agendas. I currently work at a school with a new head (4 months). She has the endorsement of management and the derision of every teacher. She parrots ‘best practices’ without actually knowing anything. I guess she read a couple of articles on line. The entire staff is appalled by what she is asking them to do in the name of education. However, none are willing to say anything because of the high salary paid by the company and the substantial year end bonus. This bonus is completely at the head’s discretion. I am not a prostitute so I am finding another line of work. The private tutoring sounds like an alternative. I think the adage that you don’t quit your job; you quit your boss, is particularly true in international teaching.

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  8. John says:

    I had an experience very similar at a reputable school in Europe. Director was openly against me for years, in little, sniveling ways like greeting 4 teachers in the hallway and ignoring me, the fifth in the group. Other behaviors were the same as well – refusing to acknowledge my many accomplishments as teacher, coach, etc, trying desperately for years to manufacture problems/tarnish my record, and finally putting me through a formal “review process,” also completely ridiculous and totally against the school’s own published procedures. I think directors do this when they don’t have the nerve or the justification to fire someone. In my case I played along, took very careful notes, quietly noted the many times the director ineptly violated her own published policies and procedures. Then, when she tried to fire me, I came back with a good lawyer and ended up resigning with a fat settlement package and a reference written by the school head that I was allowed to review & approve. In reality, I don’t feel confident applying to any schools around Europe now because this director is a well-known networker and equally well-known for her poison tongue. Sad that people like this exist, messing with people’s careers to feed their own egos, but they do exist as plenty have said. My best advice, watch them closely, note everything on paper with dates and times and others in attendance where possible. Play dumb and force him/her/them to communicate with you via email so you have their words on file & they can’t deny them later. Don’t let them intimidate you; the worst thing for schools is when abusive behavior like this is exposed; that’s your trump card. Even if the director is too stupid to see it, at some point a school lawyer will point out to them what damage the school will suffer if bullying from a director is exposed. FINALLY, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, remind yourself that it’s no privilege to work there. I think directors bully teachers when they forget it’s a shared privilege, for faculty and school both, when a teacher joins a school. If you’re not happy there (and how could you be?) then start thinking where you’d rather be. I ended ten frankly miserable years at my European school and never once regretted it, not for a day. It was even fun to rake the bully director over the coals and see her turn coward.

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  9. Peace Young says:

    It’s not a new trend at all. I have had a personal experience. I feel it’s a complex issue and obviously the director feels inferior and threatened by you. However, it you must stay on the job, you have to use one of the 48 laws of power…have you read the book? Make your director the boss. Never ever try to out shine him/her in public. Give him/her credit for inspiring you to being a better person and in fact being more productive. Constantly do that in the open …during meetings, to colleagues etc. Mine, was a really bad one…in fact, I resigned just to maintain my sanity. The director could go to the extent of defamation of character just to discredit your track record which is a threat to him/ her. But like I said….if you must stay, you have to play the game. It’s emotionally draining I must say but you can give it a fight. Also not that at this point you can’t be found wanting in any aspect of your duties because truly you can be fired for no reasonable cause. Take a bold step, plan your moves and play their game. I recommend you read the book …48 laws of power. Thank you and God bless. Regards!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are right on target with what you suggest. I have encountered this situation once and like you as soon as my contract was up I left. I also personally avoid contact with heads of school/directors. Have seen too many good teachers trapped when they make friends with a director and the direction of the blowing wind shifts and then suddenly the director knows an awful lot about them and does not like them anymore.
      I am friendly in the hall ways and listen attentively at meetings.
      The director is NOT your friend. Keep him/her far away from your personal life.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    You finish your contract. You find other superiors or even peers to write you recommendations. You move on.
    But a few things to think about while you are there- 1) Consider the criticism. Don’t be one of those people who just disregards it. I went through this. I considered what he said. I went through it point by point with a peer, THEN I knew I was being fair, but he was wrong. One critique was the temperature of the room which i did not control. I had asked for an additional heater. I did not get it. HE did not approve it so how can that be my fault. Oh, and I noticed how none of the criticisms or compliments were in writing, so no records. He could say whatever he wanted, because there was no rotten evaluation I could prove wrong. 2) What can I do to minimize my contact with this person? I learned to do my job and to avoid him, so he had no opportunities to continue his abuse. 3) I never went over his head to the owner/board. In retrospect I wonder if I should have. A friend who continued to work there had to tell the owner that what the head had said about me was untrue and as she was happy with how I had taught her daughter, she had always been confused about his dislike of me. He blackballed me and she could have prevented that. i survived by getting a job without ISS. He only what yes-men and I was not one. The school has had problems because no one ever challenges his ideas. i could have helped the owner see that.

    There are good bosses. I generally make that one of my top criteria for saying yes to a school, but then that boss moves on. I have never had difficulties with a boss I interviewed with and judged to be good to work for.

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  11. ÈIS DUBAI says:

    I experienced this exact scenario recently while working at a school in Dubai. It was very difficult to maneuever around. I had two choices it seemed and that was to exist silently within their dysfunctional environment of petty games and bullying or speak up and leave. Existing in such scenarios leaves affects your professional and personal esteem making you powerless and depressed. FORTUNATELY I never intended to stay beyond my contract. I did my job well in complete integrity. Yet teachers just seem to have no sound support or back up via human resources. In the end I expressed my displeasure to the owners, administration, and staff in a mass email after I abruptly quit and returned to my home country. I would never work overseas again. It just appears that many of these schools hire some of the most incompetent and insecure administrators.

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    • Conley Hathorn says:

      You are so correct. Most lack leadership skills and are mostly incompetent and vindictive British. Most are simply school yard bullies. I have been in 3 projects in 8 years and I am too sick of it.

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      • Over_There says:

        Absolutely correct. And those insecure and inept administrators surround themselves with incompetent or young and inexperienced teachers to support them!

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    • IntEd says:

      I experienced the same thing. Lots of small-mindedness and insecurity.

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      • ÈIS DUBAI says:

        I just wrote a mass email to everyone exposing their BS and I even cc KHDA and a locsl newspaper and others. In the end its business as usual. It was an experience I can easily forget as I make far financially now and am where I always wanted to be. People don’t really take these jobs to educate, grow or Progress. Its a cash cow…a safety net and shield to from them ever having to face their incompetence. They are literally schools of desperation. I thank god everyday I left. Most staff remain have to eventually do at an expense. Everything said on this link is true and was true in my situation NEVER BEFRIEND ADMINISTRATORS AND BE CAREFUL OF WHO YOU TALK TO. IT WAS HELL IN DUBAI. THE WORST!!!!

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  12. ANONYMOUS says:

    You can’t control what the boss does. You can only control how you respond to it. Stay focused. Don’t get pulled into their game. The only way they can bring you down is if you let yourself get pulled into their game. And whatever you do, don’t complain to people above them. They might seem to be sympathetic, but they are no more sympathetic than the boss is, and they will inevitably side with the boss in a confrontation situation. No one above the boss will go to the mat for you. This is a good exercise in developing the personal strength to march right through the offender and not allow yourself to be affected. Most people don’t have he personal strength to do that, but you might as well start now. The world is full of people who get into management positions with no administrative ability and no particular skill, other than the desire to dominate and manipulate. If you weren’t born rich, you had better start developing a defense tactic that works, otherwise you’ll be on Prozac the rest of your life.

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  13. Bullied says:

    If there is someone over that person, go for that. Denounce that person to the Head, the Board or the owner of the school. And make a lot of friends to support you (even if they are not going to do more or to face that).
    I have a much similar face: all the school, students, teachers and parents love me, but my Principal hates me. Only because of that person, I have to leave the school and the country. How can it be that just one person has the power to ruin your life?
    As other people say: integrity and dignity: don’t let that person ever make you think that you are useless. The first strategy is try to depress you and make you think that you are no-one. Don´t accept that to yourself!!!

    So, the steps:
    -First, try to solve the situation talking directly with that person, and try to get to an agreement, in good manners. In fact, you have power too! Don´t hurt me and I won´t hurt you by the time you will be in that school.
    -Second, try to gain support from the surroundings: that will give you moral power, strength and let that person in evidence.
    -Third, denounce that person to people above, knowing that a lot of people in the school supports you (even if you don´t use them really as witnesses or to go to court).

    As I say: it is a shame when someone has the power to ruin your life that way. But you have some power: your moral power, and also the other person has to understand that if he/she hurts you, will pay for it in one way or another.

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    • Torville says:

      Usually, you are not in any kind of position to threaten the boss. Going over his/her head will very likely make it worse.

      Unfortunately, it is not a rule of life that unfair treatment never pays off or that everyone will eventually get their come uppance. They usually don’t, this is the nature of power.

      Moral superiority arguments sound good in theory but in reality they are broadly useless when the person you are negotiating with does not or will not see your point. Moral power is not actual power.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I can be a bit outspoken if someone/anyone has a problem with me, bring it on!! Tell me to my face what the (“alleged”) problem is so we can discuss it further. If ANY person I don’t care if it’s a Director all the way up to the CEO is all up in my face and is disrespecting me, I will not only tell them where they can go, but I will draw them a map and over charge them for it too!

    But that’s just me! You treat me the way I treat you, with dignity and respect!! If not, we will be fighting on the playground!! 😀

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    • you can pack your bags too…that’s what you will have to do.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It is not 1988 anymore. The internet has made the world accessible. There are a lot of schools out there in need of quality teachers. Sure, admins have the power but only immediately and very locally. I had a colleague who had sex with a student and landed a new job on another continent before the summer even ended. One only has to suffer if they are not mobile and rely solely on ISS/Search – which I personally consider to be two equally corrupt and incompetent institutions only in this for the money.

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  15. Suzanne says:

    I have had narcissistic bullies over me a few times in the past and seen Heads crucify others for no apparent reason other than they were the ‘wrong’ gender, from the ‘wrong’ culture, too emotionally healthy, whatever. It comes with the territory in any field (dysfunctional leaders) but seems especially rampant in school Principals and Superintendents. I do not have any specific advice about international directors because I am a relatively new international teacher. However, I have 20 years in elsewhere and as I am sure you know, having a strong union or similar protections in place doesn’t guarantee fair treatment or lack of twisted politics. I do suggest you read up immediately on how to deal with workplace bullies and narcissists. There’s a lot on the web to help you survive the year. I wish you peace and healing.

    http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/amibeing.htm
    http://www.workplacebullying.org
    etc.

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  16. Paul says:

    Always better to get out before you say or do something you will regret. If you are on a 2 year contract, then ask for it to be switched to a 1 year contract, and then get out. Do complete the one year if possible, never leave your students mid-year unless you feel physically in danger. It may damage your reputation in the short term, but better than being totally miserable. It happens a lot, even to good teachers. It happened to me, but not with a director but a teacher who was recently promoted to principal; who didn’t have a clue what she was doing and was unstable. Luckily I was able to move on and find a great job. Most good directors know that there are crappy schools out there and will understand if you have a single blip in your CV, but great references from your previous schools. Unfortunately, these directors and principals have all the power and can ruin a teacher who is not at fault, but don’t let that fear keep you in a terrible situation. There are bad apples in every position, and if a bad apple is hanging over you, then move on before it falls on your head.

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  17. Karen Nicholls says:

    I have just been through a similar experience. I am a devisional Principal in my school and had just completed the first year. I came back from the summer break at the beginning of the school year and the Director seemingly had turned on me. I had no clue where his hostility was coming from. I was comfortable with the work I was doing, but he went out of his way to exclude me and exclude my devision of the school from just about every aspect of the school operation. I was constantly having to remind or ask, “are we included”. Decided to have a courageous conversation with him, which turned into him threatening my position. I was not under any sort of disciplinary action, knew I had made a real difference in the section of the school. I came away from that meeting reeling at the amount of power he had and how he had license to abuse it. As the year progressed the school had massive reduncencies. My position as Principal was made redundant. He got rid of me and didn’t even have to prove his case. It took time to come to grips with what has happened, but now with a new position in my sights and the end of this job in my sights, I am pleased to be moving on. Moving on is I think the only answer, because a bully doesn’t change.

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  18. keithbarger says:

    I had an Assistant Superintendent in Kuwait shake me down for money on the playground. The school made a nepotistic decision to hire a relative of the Superintendent’s secretary to be a vendor at a school event I attended. There was a dispute between me and vendor. This was before I was aware of the relationship between the vendor and the school. I never had a chance regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the situation. The Assistant Superintendent violated all professionalism and acted as a bill collector/messenger boy for the vendor. It is important to know the country you are working in. In Kuwait, the Kuwaiti is always correct if there is a conflict with a foreigner. There is minimal rule of law. What they have is a system of family allegiances. Foreigners who stay there a long time internalize the injustice and mete it out upon their subordinates. This Assistant Superintendent was a Canadian, but he had internalized the abuse of the system in a “Stockholm Syndrome-esque” sort of way. My professionalism stopped me from leaving early, but I couldn’t leave that country fast enough. They even had the audacity to offer me a contract renewal.

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    • Torville says:

      <>

      Absolute garbage, worked here for 20 yrs and I have NEVER meted out injustice upon subordinates and neither have any of my colleagues over 4/5 different schools.

      Stop generalising the behaviour of a few to tar brush the whole of the ex pat community.

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      • keithbarger says:

        You’ve been there for 20 years, hmmmmm. Your angry response suggests that my comment is spot on. Being there that long has deadened your sensitivity to injustice.

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        • Torville says:

          Sorry, but you don’t know me nor my circumstances. Your insults mean nothing. Again, stop generalising over the whole of the ex pat community, that you clearly do not know, to advance your own agenda.

          I am proud of the expat community here but not of people who snipe from the sidelines because they personally have seen injustice. Of course there is injustice here but it is little to do with how long you have worked here. Hmmm ex expat now living outside the country. Axe to grind much?

          I see you have gone from accusing expats of injustice directly, particularly long serving ones, to accusing us of having no sensitivity about injustice. That’s quite a leap. At least get your story straight.

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          • keithbarger says:

            Staying in Kuwait is probably a good choice for you. It allows you to remain in an echo chamber of only hearing good things. Enjoy it. My remarks were not intended for people already hooked on the money drug Kuwaitis use to lull their lackeys into being “yes men,” rather it was to contribute an example of being targeted by a director or supervisor in the international school situation. The fact that you continue to take it personally suggests you are trying to impress someone above you. Enjoy being their guard-dog.

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            • Torville says:

              Your insults continue to reveal your bitterness at the situation. There is little point continuing the discussion while you randomly accuse me of anything you can think of. Merely replying to you, apparently, is an offense , in your eyes and evidence of guilt. To be honest with you, I know no one above me who would even bother to read an article written by ‘Torville’ which is not my real name anyway.

              I have no need to impress anyone, least of all, you. You really do not know me but let me tell you something, randos accusing me of being a yesman who have never met me and base their judgement on years of service, are at best irrelevant. You also have no idea why I am here or whether I earn a lot of money (I don’t). Do you even know if I work on a voluntary basis here? Oh that’s right, you don’t. Even caring about what you write or getting offended is an admission of guilt in your eyes.

              Your comments and analysis are totally wrong, please don’t go into counselling, you aren’t very good at analysing people or their motives.

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  19. No surprise here says:

    I would advise you to schedule a talk with the director and just out right ask her why she is picking on you?

    After years in the corporate world, I find International School Directors the least equipped to lead an organization. Many are teachers who took a leadership class. Leaders are not made, they are born. A true leader recognizes the strengths and weakness in each of their employees and then capitalizes on this knowledge to create a winning team. Unfortunately, not being professional leaders, many directors let their petty prejudices get in the way and in so doing ultimately bring the organization down as a whole.

    One Director I worked under had been a kindergarten teacher. She treated us like little kids and had her favorite “pets” . She ignored the rest of us. Many of us left that year.

    I say call for a meeting and get it out on the table. You have nothing to loose. Playing the part of the lamb will get you no where. These people need to be confronted and held accountable. I do you hope you have reviewed her on the paid side of this site.

    Maybe the problem is you look something like her ex-husband that dumped her.

    Like

    • marlene says:

      I went on this forum and she claimed that it was unprofessional. She threatened to end my contract after Christmas break. When I asked for examples of me not fitting latino culture, the only example was ‘ when you have a meeting with a parent, shoot the breeze then get down to business’. That is not my style. Parents never complain about my approach. In fact, the ones I have told about this situation are in shock at her words and have said it is racial discrimination and not acceptable. She claims that in Canada and the U.S. you can’t say a person doesn’t fit the culture but you can in Central America. I found that even more offensive.

      Like

  20. patrickmurtha says:

    Start making plans, because you have no leverage. We can take this a step further. Suppose you feel pretty certain that one of the reasons the director dislikes you is because you are old / young / female / a different race / a different religion / gay / known to be liberal / known to be conservative / look different, etc, etc. What would seem outrageous and unfair about that in the U.S. or Canada is not going to help you. There are no protections or protected classes in most countries, and in many cases they have not gotten to the point where they can even think along those lines. Sacked because you are 50 in Japan? They would not even see what the ISSUE is.

    So no, there is no remedy for a director who dislikes you. Plan to move on as soon as you can. Don’t take it as your fault, and don’t do more than the minimum to try to change the director’s mind, because that would probably be wasted effort. In my observation, most international school directors are not flexible thinkers, are not given to self-reflection, and are not apt to change opinions once formed.

    Like

  21. tired says:

    Possibly the worst aspect of international schools. Directors are omnipotent and most of them hang together.

    Like

    • Aussie says:

      Get out as soon as possible. I have been through what you are describing and it culminated in a meeting where I was told “parents are not happy”. I knew what the next sentence would be so I saved them the trouble and resigned. You have no rights and it might get to the point where, like me, they invent things to get rid of you and tarnish your reputation.

      Choose your next school carefully as there are a LOT of cases like yours and mine when you dig deep. Good luck. I survive and got a better job. You will too if you get out in time.

      Like

      • patrickmurtha says:

        Agreed, but don’t resign if you can help it. Make them FIRE you, and make them do it ON PAPER. In some countries – Mexico, for instance – this will result in certain benefits to you, such as mandated severance pay.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          If they fire you, you cannot truly consider registering for Search or ISS ever again, as they ask if you have ever been terminated from a teaching position. It’s a kiss of death to your international teaching career. That information is available to all schools looking, and the vast majority will quickly pass you by for all eternity.

          Like

          • labteacher says:

            Actually that is not entirely true if you include your Search or ISS representative in the dialogue… and I suggest from the beginning. I worked at a school in China that had 5 directors in 3 years! The teachers were a cohesive unit but where the Board found the succession of bullies they gave us is beyond me! Anyway, my reps were Council for Int’l Schools (CIS). When things first became intolerable I asked my CIS rep what the repercussions were for breaking contract and they immediately asked ‘Why?”. So I told them. After that, I kept regular contact with my rep, sending documentation when I could. By the 4th director, CIS was becoming very aware of the problems at my school and at recruiting shows other Heads knew as well and were commiserate. Breaking the contract, especially if you have a family to protect or are in a highly specialized field is not seen as the kiss of death but you have to target your next school, tell them why you have no letter of reference and let your Rep help. To be honest, these rep groups know of these problems and keep putting teachers there so they are not entirely blameless. And, yes, even China has employee laws with some teeth. One director was backed down on a number of occasions by Chinese attorneys. You also have protection under the employee laws of whatever country you were recruited from. Look at the ISR archives for info on that topic.

            Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Any teacher solely relying in Search/ISS in 2015….well, thank you for acting like its still 1988 and not being a competitor for all the other newer free job hunting sites that charge schools and not candidates.

            Like

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