But…is it a healthy place to live?

December 31, 2015

When choosing a school for your next career move, it’s well worth the effort to research potential long-term effects a location may have on your health. Whether it’s air quality issues, the very real potential to contract malaria in areas that don’t practice vector control, heavy-metal poisoning from bathing in/consuming lead-tainted water, pesticide-laden produce, or exposure to spit on the sidewalk, the lack of environmental consciousness in both developed and developing nations can have serious, long-term effects on your health. And, of course, the resulting problems are especially potent in children, pets, and those with compromised immune systems.

Tainted water or the potential to become mosquito bitten will keep very few of us from accepting an overseas teaching position. But the air we breathe, the tainted food that’s the only food available, streets littered with garbage and its attending vermin, are most definitely causes for concern and reconsideration. Air pollution, such as seen in China and even Los Angeles, has been positively linked to higher instances of asthma, respiratory complications, skin problems and some forms of cancer. And we all know the problems associated with lead plumbing and mercury found on produce.

ISR recommends researching more than just a school and the local tourist sights. We’re all concerned about our health and each have a different threshold for what’s considered an acceptable/tolerable environmental situation. Air quality index, pesticide regulations, water quality standards, sanitary practices and pollution levels may be more than just potential inconveniences for some —- they could have major, long-term health consequences for both you and your family.

We invite you to use this Blog to ask questions and share information on the health concerns associated with living in locations around the world.

From the Staff @ International Schools Review

December 24, 2015

staff95118011As we reflect back on 2015, ISR would like to thank our Members & visitors alike for their revealing, informative Reviews of International Schools & the many insightful contributions to the Forum & Blog discussions.

We are most appreciative of your editorial efforts that have collectively elevated ISR to the most relied upon source of first-hand information on International Schools around the world. It is your participation & dedication that makes ISR what it is today. Thanks for all you do!

In the upcoming year we have many updates in the works that will make ISR an even more comprehensive platform through which you will be able to share information on International Schools with colleagues in every corner of the world.

peace-sign-23752544From all of us at ISR We Wish You a Happy Holiday Season & a New Year filled with Peace on Earth.

DoD Schools May Be for You

December 17, 2015

eagle  We were a bit hesitant to introduce this topic since it’s outside the usual scope of International Schools Review. However, we’ve noticed several active DoD schools conversations on the ISR Forum & think it’s a good idea to bring this topic to light, especially since recruiting season is underway.

  If you’re not familiar with DoD (U.S. Department of Defense) overseas schools, you may want to consider one for your next career move, especially if you’re a U.S. citizen & your area of certification/expertise falls outside the realm of positions generally offered at the vast majority of International Schools.

  DoD schools recruit for a wide variety of positions: education technologist, library information specialist, guidance counselor, nurse, school psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech/language pathologist, special education, as well as classroom teacher.

  Unlike some International Schools reviewed on ISR, the U.S. DoD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants are considered without regard to political, religious, or labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, marital status, race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation or non-disqualifying physical or mental handicap, or any other non-merit factor. Additionally, DoD schools offer health benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits & shipping of household goods/pets. In some locations your car will be shipped as part of the package.

  Of course, DoD schools aren’t for everyone. The most notable difference between a DoD school & an International School is that a DoD classroom will be comprised of American students who are the children of government employees, such as military and embassy personnel. You may find your school is located on a military installation. You will, however, be overseas, well-paid, receive great benefits & free to travel/experience the local culture.

  We created this special DoD Blog to facilitate discussion & the sharing of information about DoD schools among interested teachers.


December 10, 2015

Definition: to attack critically where a person is vulnerable


..Directors who blindside staff are far and away the most despicable sort of people to pollute the international teaching arena. If you’ve ever been blindsided by your school Director, you know just how devastating an attack can be. The modus operandi is to deliver the knock-out punch the day before a long school vacation, thus ruining their victims’ holiday while instilling a sense of insecurity, frustration and anger. Here’s some examples of blindsiding as excerpted from the ISR web site:

I had a sucker punch incident at a school in Thailand. The director left me feeling vulnerable and insecure, asking, “Are you happy here? You seem very negative sometimes. Many of the faculty don’t like you.”

I got a call into the office and was told several parents complained about ‘something’ I had done. The Director would not tell me what I was being accused of doing or which parents complained. He was very, very vague about what they were unhappy about. I left his office confused and angry.

It seems I’m not ‘warm and fuzzy’ enough for the parents at my school. My principal called me in and basically said it could be a potential deal breaker down the line if I don’t fix it.

He said, “I’m getting complaints about you from your colleagues who shall remain unnamed. They’re telling me you don’t make an effort to know them and cultivate their friendship. Some parents complain you are a bit distant.”

ISR wants to know why worthless comments of this type are sprung on teachers who, up to the moment of blindsiding, felt good about their contributions to the school. Do directors blindside teachers to keep them feeling insecure and thus make them yes-men to an inept administration? Is it an underhanded way to get teachers to work harder? Or is it merely an insecure “leader” keeping experienced educators off-balance so they won’t question an obvious inability to carry out their admin duties?

We all welcome the type of criticism from which we can grow as educators. Well intended criticism structured in a way that promotes positive growth is a good thing. But nebulous, vague, unfounded comments that cannot be qualified and intend only to wound, belittle and/or create anxiety have no place in any setting, least of all in an educational institution.

If you work for a blindsider, you have either experienced or witnessed the devastation that lies in their wake. What has your experience been with Directors who blindside educators? How did you deal with it? What advice do you have for teachers who have been blindsided?

Wanted: Your Opinion of IS Classroom Mgmt/Discipline

December 3, 2015

principalsoffice71845522bigA discussion of classroom management in International Schools was recently initiated on the ISR Forum by a contributing Member. ISR is transplanting this topic here to the ISR Blog to foster a wide exchange of ideas & experiences. This a topic not yet explored on ISR. Your input is requested:


.I recently returned to the US to finish up my alternative certification program. I was placed in a low-income school to do my student teaching. It is a bloody circus in my mentor teacher’s class! She is constantly having to tell students to stop talking, stay in their seat, etc. They don’t listen to her and laugh when you try to discipline them.

If a kid gets crazy-crazy bad, I have seen her send them to the administration. But for the most part she is content with just repeating herself a thousand times during class, I presume. For reference, my only experience has been mostly ESL work and some student teaching in Korea. The kids at the IS’s were behaved. As for the kids at the language academies, they can be unruly if you let them, but usually if you are stern, consistent, and discipline them they will shape up. I think the main problem with education is schools are not committed to having controlled, engaged, high learning classrooms.

It is frowned upon to send kids to admin, in-school suspension, after-school detention, and suspension. If a kid is incapable of refraining from disrupting the class, they should be removed from the classroom and school. The hell with hurt feelings and any other bs reasons to try and accommodate these types of students.

I do not imagine this is as big of an issue in the IS scene as that is a different type of demographic. But I am sure there are some outliers.

What has been your experience and opinion with this?

Please scroll down to join the Conversaton