Witch Hunt

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..Hello ISR – I am writing to relate to you an experience I had at my previous school which left me feeling ‘shell shocked.’ I’ve been long-gone from that snake pit for some time now and finally feel safe in sharing with you what amounted to an inquisition which left me feeling emotionally abused and violated. I’m certain there are teachers out there who had a similar such experience as mine. If you could provide a place where we could communicate and support each other that would be wonderful. Thanks for your kind consideration. Here’s what happened:

..On a Friday morning I was called into the main office during my prep period and asked to take a seat on the ‘visitors’ side of the director’s desk. After a brief exchange of small talk he turned his computer screen my way, and there, illuminated in all its glory, was a review of our school on ISR. I could hardly hold back a smile and somehow managed to look at him inquisitively as he let loose with accusations — “I know you wrote this….make this easy for both of us and confess.” Assuming a puzzled look with my head wagging subtlety back and forth, I replied with a deeply offended tone of voice, that it was not me who wrote the review. I knew who did and I was glad she did.

..The next person to enter was the school’s attorney. He threatened me with a civil suit for defamation and/or deportation or maybe something even worse. I stuck to my position of innocence. At lunch I learned from other teachers that some of them had been called into the office and given the same third-degree routine. The director was on a ‘witch hunt.’ By Monday, 3 new reviews were residing on ISR, each warning the international teaching world about this hellhole.

..Angered, the director called the entire faculty to an after-school meeting. More threats were hurled and we learned he had written a letter to ISR demanding the reviews be removed and the authors’ names revealed or a lawsuit would ensue against your web site. To his dismay, ISR posted the letter along with the reviews! It was a nasty piece of work, which only served to prove the reviews were fair representations of him and his school.

..Tuesday morning we were greeted with a memo telling us that one of the principals was good friends with an ISR staff member who would send him the names of the authors. The memo concluded with a statement telling us that if the authors turned themselves in all would be forgiven and they would simply need to request that ISR remove the reviews.

..Feeling paranoid, I wrote to you guys and asked if it was possible for the principal to get any names. I don’t know if you remember as this was some years ago. You assured me that when you say reviews are received anonymously, it means that even you don’t know who submitted them. I knew the principal was lying to us but it felt good to hear you say you have security measures in place to completely protect our anonymity. I spread the word to the faculty. It was clear to all of us — the director had nothing on anyone and was bluffing.

..Things quieted down and the school year progressed with no further incidents. But, as recruiting season approached, the majority of us decided not to extend our contract. The director then announced he would not be writing any letters of reference this year, nor would he return phone calls to any schools calling to inquire about those of us applying for positions. His excuse was it took up ‘precious time he could devote to managing the school.’ If you call toting around a cell phone on a golf course on mid-Wednesday morning ‘managing a school,’ then so be it.

..I have since found a position at a wonderful school where teachers are valued and supported. I couldn’t be happier here. I’m so glad I didn’t just up and leave international teaching. Still, to this day I carry with me the residual fallout of that awful experience. I find it hard to shake off. Being in a foreign country where I had no rights and was completely subject to the whims of someone I considered to be off-balance was a frightening experience, particularly since that person was accusing me of something that could land me in deep, deep, trouble.

..Based on reviews I read on ISR and the threatening letters you have posted from directors, I’m certain there are teachers out there who had similar such abusive experiences as mine. A place where we could communicate and support each other would be wonderful. Once again, thanks for your kind consideration. there are teachers out there who had similar such abusive experiences as mine. A place where we could communicate and support each other would be wonderful. Once again, thanks for your kind consideration.

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36 Responses to Witch Hunt

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is somewhat comforting to read that we are not the only ones experiencing this type of behavior. Our current directors are the biggest bullies I have ever met. They manage through fear and threats. They hang your reference over your head on a daily basis. And everything gets worse once you announce you are leaving. Due to the financial situation of the school they will exploit every opportunity to save a few bucks. All of a sudden they set up fictitious official meetings to review your teaching. They are trying to set targets. If you fail to meet these targets, which is decided by them and them alone, which you only find out two weeks before you leave the country then you don’t get your last two months pay or gratuity. Having a family it is even harder to make the decision to just up and leave. Especially without another job lined up. So we have had to suffer the abuse for over a year now. Degrading our personal self worth on a daily basis. These particular directors also like to target women. There is a male management posse and if you are not in it, then you are subject to a torrent of additional standards that don’t apply to them. I have never felt so helpless in my life. And however bad it is for us international teachers it is much worse for the local employees. They are so scared to lose their jobs they have to put up with horrific treatment. Just to clarify our director is not from the ‘host ‘ country. He is from Western country where he would be imprisoned for how he has treated people. The parents are waking up to the situation, but I do not see what they can do, it being a private company. He also dissolved any democratic committee previously present at the school. Pta, board, staff committee.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I have worked in four international/bilingual schools in my career, all as an administrator. It is troubling to read this kind of review, but in no way am I shocked. I have seen some outrageous things happen at other schools, and some of the stories I could tell you about administrative colleagues at other schools would send a shiver down your spine. While some of these administrators are still out there lingering, there are many that have to pay the price for their incompetence or unprofessional behavior.

    Sadly, I suffered through a situation that was equally as terrible and I was the director of the school. Some of my teachers posted harsh, but fair reviews of the school and the owner was given a copy of the posts by a teacher that was looking to get out of a legal problem they were in…and it created a terrible wave of accusations. Incredibly, I was accused of orchestrating the whole thing. The threats and accusations amounted to nothing, and almost the entire foreign staff left at the end of the their contract. The point is we all maintained our professionalism and the owner of the school was left with a mess on her hands. She has since sold the school, which I believe has had several owners since then.

    Stay professional, keep calm and do the right thing.

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  3. nomadman says:

    Never write an ISR review from a school computer – either in the workplace or via a school supplied laptop. Never tell anyone at your school that you have written a review and I would actually advise that you deny even being a member of ISR. Many schools initiate a witch hunt or bully tactics once a review gets posted. I worked in a couple of schools where this happened and examples of teachers’ writing style were compared with the negative reviews. School admin cannot get your identity from ISR as the reviews are posted anonymously so don’t be afraid of that. These are scare tactics and great red warning lights that you are in a toxic school and should get out. Some schools do change for the better with a change of admin but many are snakepits because of the owners. Get your poker face on and deny everything until you can get out.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The problem with Directors like the one you have described is that they are supported by snitches. These snitches are dual faced teachers who are generally backside kissers and in most cases are either highly incompetent, want to move into admin or want their non teaching spouse employed at the school in some capacity. Remain socially aloof from staff at your school. Gossip at most international schools is rife and unscrupulous admin members do snoop into teacher’s lives. I also recommend that you do not engage with teachers or administrators over social media and mix in different social circles. I often see posts that malign local Directors and local teachers. In my experience I find that the main source of problems at international schools are the overseas hired staff particularly teachers and principals. They give power to Directors like the one you described above. I am quite fortunate. Whilst my Director has a hard personality they do seem fair in many regards. You are a strong person and this experience made you very resilient.

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  5. Anon says:

    Wherever I teach, my dedication is to my students first, then the rest (with the Adminisphere wedged in somewhere). I take a pretty cautious stance when starting work at a new school. I don’t stick out, I keep quiet, I just observe. Time will tell who is trustworthy and who is not. I am also a bit wary of the ‘admin bashing’ that goes on at ISR. This promotes an us-against-them mentality that is not very healthy. In the end, this job is about people and service and helping people grow, even the difficult ones. Nonetheless, I do have a personal example of a principal who was reviewed here on ISR during my stint with her, and the review, while scathing, was accurate… She was simply not a very good person, both professionally and character-wise. Luckily, senior admin seemed more than happy to finally have enough ‘ammunition’ to get rid of her. And to their credit, the dismissal was very professional and dignified. So this was clearly an example of where teachers at ISR can flex their muscle.

    My personal recommendation for teachers on the international circuit is this: Cultivate a connection with a trustworthy attorney in your home country. Also, ask your embassy in the host country for recommendations for local lawyers. Contrary to what many teachers here seem to think, legal action is always an option–and often a very uncomfortable one for profit-oriented schools with their reputations at stake.

    Certainly, engaging the services of a lawyer shouldn’t be the first thing to do, nor will it likely be as simple a process as in your home country, but that doesn’t mean you should discredit the option!

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  6. j says:

    Can Principals of International schools be held accountable for defamation of character? The power these individuals wield is frightening. Many are grossly unprofessional and would never get such jobs back in the UK. Senior positions are given to friends, so the clique emerges all feeding each others ego.
    Recently it came to my attention that former colleagues had been discussed with a prospective employee, during the interview process, their characters called into question. These Principals need to be held accountable for spreading lies about former members of their staff. Unfortunately, because of their positions, their opinions are listened to and believed.

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  7. Luckily most of the International Schools in which I’ve been employed in the last 30 years – ouch! have been fine. Just two absolutely terrible ones, I won’t relate tales as unless one worked at these “institutions” the stories would seem fictitious. One was a catholic school in Yokohama the other a “school” in Singapore with the same name as vessels coming from Calais. As Jim Morrison sang – “I’ve never been so broke that I couldn’t leave town” – these people are only evil if they’re allowed to be so!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I would simply say you get crappy administrators, leaders and teachers. I’m met quite a few myself and hope that no one would say this about me, but you never know. In fact if I look back at my national and international career in five schools, for one reason or another I’ve worked with 14 Heads of School (which is a lot and sometimes multiple ones in a single year). Of these 14 (in no particular order):

    1. Doddery and ineffective and doing the stint as a post-national school teacher who had already retired.
    2. Severe mental health problems and was on the wrong medication causing considerable damage to all aspects of the school combined with aggressive and random behaviours.
    3. Stole money and was dismissed (falsified qualification documents and fabricated their CV).
    4. Died from a myocardial infarction on the job and was resuscitated only to die a few months later from lymph cancer. Was clearly completely out of their depth and a detriment to the school which sadly probably contributed to stress issues.
    5. Was very poor at financial management, but was excellent in keeping staff morale up and paying attention to teaching and learning.
    6. Was a very positive role model, experienced and supportive of staff. Innovated change and professional development although ultimately ended up leaving because of a bonus (their own) disagreement with the ownership.
    7. Steady leader who had problems mainly with ownership and eventually quit after the ownership acted unethically. Consequently ran some quite prestigious schools.
    8. Aberrant leader who had no concept of personal space and would stand inappropriately close to everyone, had no management or leadership competencies, regularly lost his temper and shouted a lot at teachers in corridors, classes and meetings. He was dismissed (after doing a fair amount of damage) because of a student strike.
    9. Very professional leader who played everything by the book. She had a keen interest in academics and worked long, productive hours.
    10. Political leader who was using the school as the stepping-stone to the next job. Professional, but uninspiring.
    11. Ex-head of school who had who walked in off the street to look for part-time work and was in the right place at the right time and was given a year’s appointment. However, he had never worked in an International School, never worked outside their own country and then spent to whole year trying to remodel the school in his previous school’s image.
    12. Head of School who was not only charismatic, very talented, and extremely well-educated, but worked fantastically hard with a total focus on student learning and staff well-being.
    13. Very focused but mechanistic leader who wasn’t a person’s person, but who was very articulate and competent and put the right leadership team together to compensate for the skills he didn’t have. Clear and clever thinker.
    14. Very effective and well-liked by the community but was dismissed by the board of governors (whose chair had a personal dislike of him) on a really quite trivial issue.

    One of these heads of school actually contacted the staff at the school many years later to make a sincere apology regarding their behaviour.
    One head moved to four more schools in the following four years and never completed a single year in any one of them (and why she was able to do this is absolutely mind-numbing). she had also only spent five months in her previous school. She’s still out there …

    So, I would say from my experience, it’s not that likely that you will get a good head of school. When you do get them, I’ve found the schools a joy to teach in.

    I also want to tell you about the search for a new head of school I took part in some years ago. I was a staff representative on the staff interview panel. There were four teachers on the panel and we interviewed four applicants. One refused to answer any questions and actually placed their chair so that their legs were facing any from us as they lolled over the chair back (because we were just “teachers” – I kid you not), one was explaining how they kept their teachers “in order; with an iron fist” and gave examples of how and why he had dismissed staff with quite a bit of glee (why would anyone say this in an interview), one was very pleasant but clearly on another planet – in answer to a question about their daily time-management skills to ensure that administration was done they responded that they, “arrived and left school punctually!” Fortunately, the fourth one was very competent.

    Seriously, you can’t make this sort of stuff up.

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    • anon says:

      You hit the nail on the head with your analysis of Heads of School. As current head of a school, I can only learn from your post and hope that I will do better. However, what to do when you discover some educators teaching the exams to learners, educators not marking exam scripts accurately, not preparing for class, not turning up for duties, smoking electronic cigarettes in the class, etc. Do we turn a blind eye? No, and then those staff members write reviews on ISR because they received warning letters or were addressed. It is a pity ISR allows just anyone to write reviews. Reviews of schools should only be allowed by paid members.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I have worked at several international and national IB schools in several countries. While some of what you describe does happen, so do school reviews written by disgruntled former employees whose teaching performance and professionalism were lacking, who were coasting on an international gig because they wanted to explore a new country not dedicate themselves to the art of teaching, or were finally called out by a new administrator who had higher standards of which than they were unwilling to aspire. Sometimes it is hard to determine which is the case when someone posts a scathing or negative review. My advice is not to take everything that is written as fact; it merely is a summary written through the eyes of the author(s).

    While the fact that the post does exist should raise a cautionary red flag, it behooves the potential employee to further investigate the post. How old is it? Has the school administrative team changed? Was there a recent shift from, for example, and American Degree Program to an IB Diploma Program only structure causing the angst among teachers? The school I am at now has several older post critical of the school, none of which I find to be true. I also expect some negative reviews to be posted as the new, dynamic administrative teams raises standards here and some teachers don’t want to change and are trying to undermine the effort. In short, investigate.

    As the saying goes, “You can’t always judge a book by its cover.” -George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)

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    • intleducator says:

      Excellent insight and comments. I agree with you wholeheartedly!

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    • E. Heinrich-Sanchez says:

      I agree with Anonymous on this post. Administrators change, programs are revamped while teachers come and go. What is worrisome is when the administrative core and spirit remain the same while a public facade is enhanced. Lawsuit after lawsuit sealed by gag-orders when “the core” remains the same, might not be all apparent for a potential teacher who investigates the surface. Its a shame that many do decide to look the other way or just quit in disgust keeping silent. This silence is motivated by fear of reprisals when the school is being held up by old money with older political connections. Its a shame that children and parents are like hostages in a classic case of a “loving” abusive relationship. Cover up and looking the other way is complicity.
      Okinawa has its own Cruella DeVille surrounded by cronies who put money and power before the future of the next generation.

      In short investigate. Go back and dig deeper than you normally would. Transparency cross referencing and investigate how the school has changed since the last posts. Google creatively and look at the big picture of who is really behind the school you are looking at. Don’t always trust the “grin and grip” shots.

      “While the fact that the post does exist should raise a cautionary red flag, it behooves the potential employee to further investigate the post. How old is it? Has the school administrative team changed?”

      Lastly, try to compare who was on the board of directors when problems surfaced and see if they are still there. Do the parents really have a voice in what happens at their school?
      Is there a PTA?

      Thank you,

      E

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    • anon says:

      I agree with you. After certain management changes, schools do improve and old posts should be removed from ISR as new staff members might think that those conditions still exists. I do want to praise ISR for its commitment to international education because the school where I am at has changed because of reviews written on this site.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent points made here. Perhaps ISR should archive the older reviews as schools do go through a process of change.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I am interested to know what the latest ISR membership numbers are and what growth ISR is seeing in their membership. Would be good to know that more and more recruiters and boards are reading these posts.

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  11. DRES PALMER says:

    I experienced the witch hunt phenomena earlier this year at a school in the UAE- (EDITED, PLEASE DO NOT NAME SCHOOLS HERE – THE MEMBER AREA IS FOR REVIEWING SPECIFIC SCHOOLS) I was appalled at the level of brazen disrespect and wicked manipulation that the Principal and Deputy demonstrated in my situation. They attempted to purposely manipulate irrelevant, petty situations into something bigger that would demean my professional integrity, after I questioned their intimidating approach in dealing with a small disagreement I had with another teacher who overstepped their boundaries (as this teacher had done many times before with others). They essentially held my professional, truthful and measured response over my head and when I attempted later to request a simple letter for my bank. They took my request as an opportunity to issue a petty retribution and leverage. While they expected me to back down and cower, I questioned the accuracy and requested proof of their petty claims used to justify not granting my request. The principal was placed on the hot seat, and since he could not provide any evidence to back up his claim, he essentially began making up issues and manipulating every petty concern to justify his witch hunt actions. The witch hunt is real and mine was sometimes a ghastly yet interesting experience. It felt like I was working with immature and moody second graders, who had the brains and actions of a rattle snake.

    Some of these administrators use these witch hunt tactics as power moves to invoke fear, control and submission. Truthfully, it works well with many employees who feel that they have no alternatives and thus need the job for varying reasons, even if their self worth and integrity is demeaned. It makes many faculty back off and provides a protective barrier for the incompetent, ineffective and delusional administration of not being held accountable. Then most staff stay in the fearful place and complain profusely behind the administration’s back. The professional environment or morale then becomes increasingly very low and oppressive like a slave plantation, enough for the teachers to keep their jobs with depraved cycle of employment. Even when the administration knew I did my job well, my straight forward style became a threat. Yet I did not fit into their dysfunctional culture and I knew I was leaving at the end of my contract. I was not intimidated by them. The best they could do was tell me they were not renewing my contract after I relayed I was not returning for another year.

    These witch hunt experiences can be a common experience for those who work in some of these overseas schools. The school I worked has very a long history of professional grievances and high turnover. The stories I heard from former staff would make your head roll and some of it is even recorded on ISR. While I did read the ISR on the school before accepting the job offer, I think I did not know how to process that negative information, and attempted to be open minded. Even after I arrived, I would quickly overhear staff complaints, which later turned out to be very true. I was actually ready to leave that school in my 6th month of being there yet wanted to stay in integrity and honor my contract, especially since I thoroughly enjoyed my students and other staff members.

    I thought the principal who hired me was a pretty stand up guy who was also fair and accommodating yet he left 3 months after I was hired by him- due to ongoing disagreements with the school board in their treatment of the staff. That was a red flag for me. It seemed clear that the owners may know very well who they are picking for these managerial roles. They want people who are insecure and unqualified to manage. Strong competent administrators would never work for institutions like what I encountered. Some of the senior staff members at this school had been fired from previous schools yet hired at this school. These incompetent staff members are like the boards that back them, they know nothing about running schools and don’t care about the students or teachers. Both are just stage props to ensure profits. The squeeze the life out of you and demand as much as they can get from you at minimum pay. Their motto is to provide each teacher and student with the basic necessities – enough to keep it moving. Yet there is a grave cost and that is poor morale and high turnover amongst staff.

    I loved the students and enjoyed working with many of my co workers, yet after 6 months there I was ready to go. The school had potential, but I knew I had too much potential to be working in an such an environment that was determined to make all that was dysfunctional and disturbing as functional as possible by any means necessary. I hold a doctorate in Psychology and am now a practicing Psychologist. It went against my nature to be a silent ass kisser, nor to be bullied or intimidated by anyone. I value integrity, sound and honest communication and mutual respect and sincere professional work efforts. What I experienced was far from this reality in the end.

    I ended up leaving the school 3 months earlier over X mas break. I served my resignation letter via email that cc’d the administrators, owners, and entire faculty- once I was safely back in my home country. I wanted to ensure transparency and accountability for what truly transpired to explain my early departure. I knew nothing would be most likely done, yet this culture thrived in NEGLIGENT PROFESSIONAL DENIAL and sometimes others can use a little help in waking up as well. This school was smoking in stupidity and I hold no regrets. It took me a about 6 months to get over that experience because I had always had wonderful experiences in education, despite some of the schools having some issues. I had never worked for an administration this negligent and downright evil. Its just the nature of the beast. Sometimes experience like these are a blessings in disguise. The witch hunts can bring out latent traits and maturing opportunities that need to be cultivated in you. It can raise your level of self worth and make some strive for higher ground in employment. While you should pick your battles wisely, never allow people to dangle employment carrots over your head in an effort to intimidate or demean your integrity and self worth. Overall, I have nothing but compassion for those administrators and even the staff who kiss their ass and sit silently as their peers get thrown under the bus. They live and work in profound professional fear and a wasteland of continuing ignorance and negligent delusion.

    I encourage all to Always work in Integrity because it has spiritual and professional merit that will always land you in a better place- if you stand in your truth and remain optimistic. Forgive those who committed the witch hunts on you not because they deserve it yet because you deserve to be free of the dastardly thought and intention of someone attempting to harm you. Let the dead bury the dead. I am sure that if they had knew better they would have done better.They forget that true change starts at the individual level or personal level. They by pass personal and professional development in favor for hoodwinking delusions, fear and control tactics over others, witch hunt tactics to aim at increasing financial greed and anything that keeps them from having face their issues. TRUE TRANSFORMATION IS NOT ON THEIR AGENDA. Yet, they forget that intrinsically no sound minded person has a desire to be mistreated, unfairly discriminated against, controlled, hurt nor exploited. Something and someone has to relinquish and liberate itself from this disturbing trend and its usually the wise teachers who wake up and fly away.

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  12. We, as teachers, are in a similar situation now. There are corrupt politics going on with a very poor director and hands-off board/owner.

    We had enough of all the corrupt things going on, so we start posting reviews. In our case, it is just not a few teachers, it is a majority of the staff as well as parents. We are FED UP!

    Can the administration legally come after us? Or can they just “threaten” us?

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  13. Scott says:

    I can confirm that this type of stand over was alive and well in Vietnam at (EDITED, PLEASE DO NOT NAME SCHOOLS HERE – THE MEMBER AREA IS FOR REVIEWING SPECIFIC SCHOOLS) I read the reviews on ISR, they were 50-50 so I took a chance. About 9 months in to the year, after numerous staff (and Management) had come and gone, it was my turn. When I left I wrote an honest review of my experience, giving numerous examples of the issues.

    About 4 months after that, I was still living in the same place but had a job at another school, I get a note left on my door asking for me to ring the legal dept of my past school. Out of curiosity I did, and was told that they knew it was me who wrote the review and that they would sue me if I didn’t remove it. They also threatened to have me deported from Vietnam through one of their “friends in Immigration”. I ignored all of these threats as I knew that in 6 weeks I was leaving the country anyway and going to another country to work.

    Since that time I have spoken to numerous ex staff who had received the same threats from the company. This appears to be standard practice for this school.

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  14. I had a somewhat similar situation. The director was “friends” with a teacher on Facebook and was able to spy on all of the other teachers. We received an angry email threatening all of us because during our cancelled school flood days we were supposed to be directing class from home on our computers. Instead he said that he saw that all of the teachers went away on short vacations and this was inappropriate and we would be held accountable. My overseas experience has taught me that a lot of these directors are scam artists.

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  15. gerryb58 says:

    My guess for school location would be Thailand. Here any damage done by means of criticism amounts to criminal defamation regardless of truth. Amazing Thailand right!

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    • anon says:

      Be careful with trying to figure out the country. It could well be any country in the Middle East also. This phenomena is not restricted to certain countries only. It is worldwide.

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  16. omgarsenal says:

    Dear witch hunt……….please give us the dates this occured on. We can then go to the archives on the right hand menu and find the school!

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  17. Mohanambal Seenivasagam says:

    I am sad that you have gone through such a bad experience in an international environment. I have worked in 3 international schools in Malaysia and we have always respected all employees, locals and expatriates who are treated similarly. Don’t be disheartened of such an experience, just treat it as a passing stone and move on. Best wishes in your new environment.

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  18. Down but not Out. says:

    I made a huge boo boo and work for an absolutely horrible school that I joined this year under false promises. It was not reviewed on ISR despite being around for awhile so stupid me assumed it was OK. Materials are inadequate, some teachers do whatever they feel like including falsifying grades, teaching anything they feel like including inappropriate movies and empower badly behaved students in order to be popular. They then backstab anyone doing any real teaching. The local owner is in it for the money. The ‘director’ is a drinking buddy of the crap teachers …. come the holiday, I am gone but no problem for the school as there are others lining up for an easy ride. Hit the bar with the director and they will be fine forever.

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    • Sarah Hall says:

      Sounds like the school I just left. At the moment I can’t tell more but I will. The first thing the administrator at another school said to me in an interview for another job was, “I wouldn’t be a very good administrator if I had a position open for you now” which I thought was very insightful and encouraging. I’ll be ok as my talent and commitment is recognized but it will be some time before I forget this trauma. It should be a BIG WARNING to anyone that any schools with immediate openings now or at other odd times should be considered with extreme caution. The fact that they have not been evaluated here is not encouraging, rather that the fear is keeping mouths shut. Thinking you can perhaps make it where others have not is just setting yourself up for reasons to later regret your decision and complain. And possibly do worse damage to your career. Local owners and directors are one thing, but that the horrendous conditions are facilitated by unscrupulous “foreign” administrators is something we can do something about here. Name them and shame them. Also, that many of these schools are IB schools and that the IB is not being implemented with integrity or honesty in these places should also be a consideration. I wish it was of more concern to the IB organization itself as these schools are effecting the reputation of the IB.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think that is a huge generalization. Immediate openings can happen for legitimate reasons. Two years in a row we have had teachers leave mid-year, one for illness and another for an extreme family emergency.

        Also, “Name them and shame them”? Really? As professionals we are supposed to lower ourselves to the same level as the very people we are critiquing?

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        • Sarah Hall says:

          What is a generalization? That sudden openings be handled with caution? Yes, they can happen for legitimate reasons, but they often don’t and if they do then they may be for “legitimate” reasons and this should be made clear. Too often I suspect that people are fired as power plays by administrators with no leadership abilities who do not know how to navigate staff through tricky situations. I am now hearing from the same school that a second person is now being threatened for not going along with the “program”, in this case signing off on DP exams that are knowingly falsified. And yes, name and shame. I’m surprised at such an attitude on your part. A huge part of the problem in international teaching is just this fear and where are the administrators otherwise evaluated and why shouldn’t they be? Teachers are far too timid for their own good and I think it works against them. “Naming and shaming” doesn’t have to be unprofessional. Just the facts. It isn’t going to get them their job back, but it might just take one more corrupt, incompetent administrator out of play or save some other poor soul the same fate.

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  19. Val says:

    I too would be very grateful to know what school this is. It’s helpful to try to avoid these places when looking for a teaching post!! I’m glad you found a school you’re happy at!
    v

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  20. Irene says:

    It is deeply troubling that administrators like your director exist in schools. How someone can work in a hostile environment like that is beyond anyone’s comprehension. Do you mind giving us the country where the school is at?

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  21. This happened at the school I worked at. Administration is still eager to find and terminate the messenger(s) rather than address the message(s) put forth in the online reviews.

    How one responds to critical feed-back speaks volumes.

    Like

  22. Rachel says:

    I had a similar experience in a school in Spain, where the Headteacher was a nutty woman with a whole host of personal issues. I was driven out of the school and then sacked when I was 8.5 months pregnant ( I later won an unfair dismissal case in court). But can you tell me how you got around not having a reference from your most recent school? Where you honest with potential employers from the outset? Thanks

    Like

  23. Bit me on the Ass says:

    I had a similar experience. We were threatened with all sorts of outcomes if we as a faculty didn’t produce the teacher who wrote the review. It was like we were supposed to sacrifice one of our own.

    Eventually a powerful parent came forward to say he had written the review and now planned to sue the director in the local courts for failing to produce the education that was promised. Texts were never ordered, we lacked equipment and materials and it was obvious. Class were packed with 28 kids and so on and so on.

    He apparently scared the c**p out of the director because he unexpectedly did not return after the summer break. ISR is a good tool to expose this type of treatment because parents and boards read what is posted.

    Like

  24. If you at least told us which country it was in some of us may have taught there and could warn others against taking positions at that school or indeed in the country.

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    That is definitely a troubling experience. Good to hear that none of the teachers buckled/squealed/etc., which can happen. Though, I think for this & other such stories like this, it carries far more weight if the name of the school & director is given as well. But, good job standing up, notwithstanding!!!

    Like

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