Too Frazzled to Go Back

stress_127115303-word-press
..Hello ISR, I’ve noticed you post teachers’ letters from time to time and open them up for discussion. The situation I’m in is literally making me physically ill from stressing over what to do. I’m just frazzled at this point and could use some advice and support from other teachers. Maybe someone out there has been in the same situation? Here goes, I hope you post this:

..This past school year, I (a single woman in my early 30s) was teaching in the Middle East and can honestly say the place I’m in is disgusting beyond words. I do take care to cover up very well, yet I literally can’t walk 10 steps on the street without some jackass ogling me or making disgusting sounds. Men have even lewdly touched me in crowded situations. From the city to the the school, just the thought of the place sickens me.

..The final straw was when I turned to walk away from a little kiosk and glimpsed the driver of a parked taxi eyeing me with his hand down his pants — you can fill in the rest. The entire scene is repulsive and oppressive and I feel like I’m trapped inside a nightmare. The school is no gem either. I won’t go into it but it’s definitely a candidate for a seething ISR School Review.

..The point is, I hate my life at this school so much that I am seriously considering not returning after the summer. Actually, I don’t know if I can face another moment of it. When I left for the summer I took everything of any value with me. Any ideas, anyone? I really need some advice. Sincerely, Stressed to the Max

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64 Responses to Too Frazzled to Go Back

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like we are down to how can I do this and not feel like I am doing something wrong time. You need to do yourself a favour,and go to another place. How, is the question, as there could be repercussions.However it doesnt sound like an A,B or even C level school, so your name may not be as tarnished in the international circuit as you may worry about. Getting the next job will be a worry, but not an impossibility. If you return, avoid complaining and trying to leave with approval before contract is over. If you return your fears just may come true, and they could come from some unsuspecting thing like you innocently sharing information about how you feel and that gets overheard or transmitted to someone who can make an official complaint to local authorities,or you school.Simple things can offend and get you into trouble which will mess you and things up worse. You actually do not have to do anything wrong,just be accused of it and voila, problems,firing,even jail and what all that goes with it. Making the break from your job/cotract is the hardest thing when you have a conscience, but if you feel you can’t ignore and be comfortable there, then the “conscience” of the place itself is wrong, so save yourself worry.There is always another job and a better place.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I see that you have had a lot of replies -colleagues really feel for your situation as do I. You can either change yourself or change the situation. If you do decide to go back, consider making yourself look as uninteresting as possible for these perverts. Good luck.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I too live in the region. As a fair skinned, fair haired expat I have had to embrace modesty. It is a have to. Modesty in dress, a very passive social life and limited outdoor activity. I understood this would be the case before coming here with my family, and so far, it has worked well for us. The troubling thing that we have observed in our time in the region is that the majority of single expats, be they educators or otherwise, are restless and quickly become disgruntled. What confounds me is that administrators continue to hire singles under a certain age and it does not work out well for anyone. The negativity is toxic. It spreads quickly in these small international communities and the disgruntled cost the employer a ton in time (constant reassurance, constant one on one meetings) and money. In summary, administrators need to set the right expectations upfront – the Middle East and South East Asia are not ideal for singles – and the singles need to do your homework thoroughly. These two do go hand in hand.

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    • Glad I'm Retired says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Admin needs to consider the realities of life for singles in their countries and applicants need to do their homework. I simply cannot stress that enough. The internet offers a wealth of resources. One that people don’t talk about enough is Virtual Tourist. Before accepting an international position and sometimes before even applying, I contacted people my age who lived in the country/city to get information. Admin who are eager to fill positions may not tell the truth, neither will current teachers who are handpicked by admin for prospective teachers to contact. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

      Like

  4. Lina says:

    There are a lot of good places to live and teach in the Middle East. You are not in one of them, have you applied anywhere else? If you would like to stay in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are great, Doha and Oman are quieter but also nice, Amman is a good option. Avoid Egypt, Lebanon and the other places where there is unrest. Either way, get out of where you are as soon as possible and good luck.

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  5. Paco says:

    You have made your choice already, and you are looking for support, for people to tell you that your choice is the right one. I also think it is the right choice, and you should leave, but I really think you knew that already.

    However, it is easy to say “Oh, just leave” from the safety of one’s computer. One aspect that hasn’t been adequately addressed is this: Can you afford to leave, or will it cause you financial hardship that might be just as stressful as the situation you are in?

    It’s a nasty double-bind to have to chose between the stress of an unhealthy environment or the stress of a massive downturn in personal finances. And it’s even worse to have to make that situation when life ALREADY feels horrible.

    As a counselor, I took note of your comment “The situation I’m in is literally making me physically ill from stressing over what to do”. This would indicate to me that the problem is more one of mental health rather than physical health? And if that’s true, what little surprise considering the terrible things you described!

    You obviously had the strength to ask for help here, so that’s good! But definitely think about engaging the help of a trustworthy advisor in your area–a cleric, a licensed counselor or psychotherapist, a psychiatrist, whomever you feel most comfortable with. Consider social workers in particular! If finances are an issue, they can give you very valuable advice on how to get financial help until you find that next teaching job.

    And, like everyone else has said: You WILL find a new teaching job if that’s what you want. I once had to terminate a contract for health reasons (a sudden-onset seizure disorder that couldn’t be adequately treated in the country I was in), and the school still gave me a very good reference and was extremely supportive. Excellent schools DO hire people who have had a few shaky years here and there. It’s a sign of administrative excellence when a school really listens to an applicant’s story and hires him/her because they believe him/her to be a strong teacher, not because there have been difficult years on the resume.

    Good luck and blessings!

    Paco

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  6. Emma says:

    Listen to your gut and the large majority of people on here (sorry Kathy, you’re in the minority). Do what you feel you need to do. In an ideal world there would be fairness and justification but there isn’t.
    You’re the only one who fully knows how you feel and you’ll know more about your administrators than any of us.
    In some difficult cases in the Middle East giving notice to break contract isn’t worth the deducted pay/lost flights/extra bills/accusations/abuse you can get. Make your own mind up about whether you need to say anything or not.
    Of course, most teachers are good people who want to help children. Your feeling uncomfortable and unhappy in your setting might affect your ability to do your job but it won’t change your intentions! I assume you intended to find a decent place to do a job you enjoy. It hasn’t turned out like that which is really unfortunate.
    The very fact you’re stressed is likely because you’ll find it difficult not to put the children first and go back but this might be what you have to do. Don’t guilt trip yourself just deal with the situation as it is.
    I hope you found the support here to help you make the decision that’s right for you.

    p.s. I’d also like to thank Kathy for giving me plenty to talk to others about.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, meant to say that, if it was me, I’d leave in a heartbeat. I’ve worked at 3 different international schools in the Middle East and Asia and though I haven’t broken contract myself I know that sometimes it’s actually foolish to try and stick to the rules of a piece of paper that administrators themselves can take lightly – or change at whim. Of course we should have rules and regulations and yes we should try and abide by them but extenuating circumstances and grey areas do exist and these call for understanding at the least and compassion and allowance if need be.
      Teachers aren’t charity workers who should put their undoubtedly delightful charges first no matter what.

      Like

  7. JMS says:

    If you “took everything of any value” with you when you left for the summer, I would say you’ve made your decision already. It would have been more mature and professional to resign at the beginning of the summer so that the school had time to find a replacement, but better late than never. You may find it difficult to get another international teaching position, or you may not, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? Although you say your school isn’t very good, your specific complaints are about being sexually harassed in public. While this behavior would upset any woman, you need to understand that you are being targeted because you are a FOREIGN woman. If having locals stare at you upsets you this much, then perhaps international teaching isn’t for you. You should stay in your home country where you feel safer.

    I have taught in 7 different countries over the past 25 years and can assure you that no matter where you go overseas, you will always stand out and be treated differently because you are a foreigner. Oddly enough, the country where I felt the safest in this regard was Kuwait, because almost everyone is a foreigner there! In 5 years of living there, only once did a man touch me inappropriately. He grabbed my arm on the street and immediately four other men pulled him off me and started yelling at him. I have had strange men make lewd comments, grope me, proposition me, scream obscenities in my face, and expose themselves to me in public in Europe, North American, South America, Africa, and East Asia. Did it rattle me? Yes, every time. Did I decide to give up international life and move back to my home country? No. I realized early on that for me, the benefits of international life outweigh the risks.

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    • time to leave says:

      JMS, Sounds like you like the attention — ” I have had strange men make lewd comments, grope me, proposition me, scream obscenities in my face, and expose themselves to me in public.”

      I have never had such a problem and I have lived overseas in 4 different countries. I’m good looking and shapely by any standard. Men look at me and I get a few comments, but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t have guys jacking-off in public while looking at me. Maybe you like this sort of stuff and belong in places where it takes place.

      I choose to work where people show respect for each other. If you like being the center of attention for the wrong reason than you have picked all the right places to work. Some of us have a higher degree of self respect and avoid these places.

      My advice to the author of the letter is to ignore these “tough girls” who say suck it up or your don’t belong overseas. These women are off balance. Leave this job and go some place where women aren’t just hamburger.

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      • JMS says:

        time to leave, I am not sure what made you think I enjoy being sexually harassed (I don’t, which is why I stated that I was rattled by it) or why you felt the need to try to psychoanalyze me based on my post. The incidents I mentioned were scattered over probably a dozen countries in 25 years, and were not all in the countries I lived in. If you have never been sexually harassed overseas, then I am sincerely happy for you. However, when you say that women like “this sort of stuff and belong in places where it takes place” or “like being the center of attention for the wrong reason” you are blaming the victim, which is what men who treat women this way do in order to justify their actions. I never asked for it and neither did Stressed to the Max.

        The original letter asked for ideas and advice. Most of the responses suggested leaving and moving to another country where these kinds of things won’t happen to her. I simply pointed out that a woman is vulnerable to this treatment in any country, probably more so when she is a foreigner, and that returning home is also an option. I did not intend to judge, blame or insult her or the other posters who replied to her request.

        Stressed to the Max, I hope you have been able to take all of this advice and make an informed decision with which you are at peace, and that you feel safe and happy wherever you spend the rest of your life!

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  8. Glad I'm Retired says:

    The best advice for anyone considering a job internationally is to do your homework! I worked in the Middle East for four years, and I agree it is challenging. But I checked it out first and knew what I was getting into. I would never recommend a single woman go to the Middle East.

    I’m glad I’m retired now, but I am still amazed at people who just don’t bother to do their homework. For example, while I was in Guatemala, a new teacher complained it wasn’t Europe. She wasn’t in the country for a full 60 minutes when she proclaimed she hated it because it wasn’t Barcelona. HELL—OOOO. Have you looked at a map? She broke contract after a year, but during that year she was miserable, made her students miserable, and made her colleagues miserable.

    Then there was the teacher in China who got off the plane, looked around, said she hated it and got back on the plane the next day and broke contract a week before school started.

    And both of the these women got good jobs afterwards.

    Quit. Chalk it up to a learning experience, and learn to do your homework!

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  9. Mary says:

    A friend of mine teaches in Vietnam and says its an awesome place… Try there and good luck! … And I agree life is too short to be unhappy!

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  10. hitesteacher says:

    I have been teaching for 20 years now, ten of which have been internationally, and it always disappoints me to see teachers who hate crowds taking jobs in densely populated countries… teachers who hate all unfamiliar foods, don’t like the humidity, can’t stand the heat, despise the cold, don’t like the attention and complain about the lack of facilities/conveniences they expect in their home countries…teachers who arrive bags in hand full of best practices and pedagogy, fully expecting to be treated equally or better than they are in their own countries regardless of their gender, age, skin color, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs and how those are culturally relevant or not in/to their host countries.

    No one should teach in an environment that is not safe nor conducive to learning. That is why it is very important to do your homework before accepting a teaching position anywhere, even in your home country.

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  11. Sunpflower says:

    Don’t go back. Your mental and physical health are most important. Some people are heartless. Leave their comments in the trash bin. Listen to your soul.

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    • The best advice yet. So many of the other comments are arrogant and completely lacking empathy. I have been in China/Hong Kong now for seventeen years and love it, but I do believe men have less of a challenge than a single woman. Definitely do not return. Your safety and well being must be paramount. Bonne Chance

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  12. Roger Underhill says:

    Hi,

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience in the middle east. Working abroad can be very tough at times. I am a male and have been teaching in china for 10 years and my experience here has been largely positive and the people are very respectful. What i have learned is that i have had to adapt to my environment even if I didn’t think i should. But that was based on a world view that others should conform to my expectations and way of thinking which they don’t.

    Which brings me back to your situation. 1. Some men’s only knowledge of western women is through pornographic movies. My understanding is that in that culture women are not allowed to walk alone only with their husband or another female. Both of these factors may be affecting your experience. The first you cannot change the second you won’t want to change but would benefit from doing so (cultural adaptation) 2. Singapore, Hong Kong and some parts of China as examples may not offer the same salary but are pretty good for a living experience and the people are respectful especially of teachers. Don’t be afraid to move on, we have to consider our sanity. 3. Most cultures would feel embarrassed if you call them on their lewd or rude behaviour behaviour. A colleague used to ask people in the elevator if they’d farted when they stared. Personally i found staring back at people until they noticed and looked away to be effective. I have also found that engaging people in a positive or humorous way would almost always change the balance in my favour. In sales heavy shoos i would ask ‘hello, what’s your name, where are you from, do you like this job etc. This may not exactly work in your situation but you may be able to find ways that would. Perhaps by taking the initiative and somehow controlling the interaction. Taking photos or videos can stop certain behaviours. Are there any other women who you confide in and find ways to deal with these cultural situations? I hope so.

    Really happy you have reached out. Hope you find a happy solution.
    Best wishes
    Roger
    Best wishes

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  13. Beth says:

    I empathize with your situation. I, too left a position in the middle east after one year, finding it intolerable. Resigning and breaking contract was the most difficult decision I ever made. The final straw for me was when my colleague was falsely accused of abusing a student and the parents wanted to have her arrested. Parents threatening to have teachers arrested was not uncommon! She left at spring break and didn’t return. Another veteran teacher of 29 years also “did a runner” earlier in the year.

    Some people will say there is no excuse for breaking contract, and there are certainly valid reasons for this position. But isn’t your life worth it?

    Oh, and I found another international teaching job at what appears to be a reputable school in SE Asia. Most schools won’t consider a candidate who has broken contract, but for some unknown reason my current employer didn’t even ask about the one year on my resume. School begins next week and I am thrilled to be here. Teacher morale is high, always a good indicator. Can’t wait to meet the students.

    It sounds like everything in your being is telling you not to return. I’d like to second that. Former Principal has good advice about obtaining a letter from your doctor.

    Best of luck to you.

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  14. Laurie says:

    Why didn’t you resign?

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  15. fumanchu says:

    Leave. Get outta Dodge. Ignore the guilt trippers. Life will go on but it is also short. Looking for the next job can be a pain in the butt but so so so so worth it to leave that kind of situation and the feelings it evokes in you.

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  16. Colleagues whom you would want to work with in the global international school community will understand completely your staying only one year in that situation. My wife had to break a 2-year contract in the Middle East after one year because it was horrendous (the students and parents were mean beyond belief) and she would have left teaching had she remained in that situation. She was hired immediately at an excellent international school in Africa, and loves it there. If your heart says to leave, follow it and all will work out for the best.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Don’t put yourself through this. Walk away if you can financially. You may have to take a job for less pay for a year or two but mentally you will be in a better place.

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  18. Rhonda says:

    I agree with the recent 2 postings. Sorry I can’t read the other responses as I’m just in the middle of something. I teach in the Middle East and know EXACTLY what kind of scene you’re talking about. Hey, we may even know each other! LOL! I too have yet to break a contract but there is nothing new noble about that. Nothing. People say life is too short but the truth is, comrade, life is too amazing to worry about indemnity and whether or not people are going to like it or like you if you break contract. Don’t even think of it as “breaking contract” as I know what’s going on in and outside of your school. Maybe your school is cool. I don’t know. All I know is, leave if you want to. I’ve taught in another middle eastern country and people did runners all of the time. The behaviour of the locals is beyond shocking. You’ll start to accept nonsense and have no gage for what is acceptable. Go. That’s my encouragement. No one is judging you. Your family (your folks and siblings is you have them) will totally understand and support you. I know I do and I don’t even know you!

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  19. Shelley says:

    Yup, I agree! Learn from it, after you go home and decompress. You need to get out and maybe don’t give too much information, just say for health reasons, because assuredly it is your emotional health as well! How rude of that woman who spoke so dis heartedly. I guess there is one in every crowd as the saying goes. I like what someone said, ‘you feel sorry for her students’, lol

    At any rate, you are a professional and deserve to be treated like one. Would a nurse or a doctor stay if treated similarly – just a thought and not really an argument… just saying.

    You have many years left to teach, but be safe. If you were your own daughter, what would you want your daughter to do? Just another thought to consider. I wholeheartedly agree with most of the others who support you – give two weeks notice!

    Shelley

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    • Former Principal says:

      I agree with Shelley. However, I would advise you to go to either your doctor in the USA or a counselor and tell them about your situation. Perhaps they would be willing to support you with a letter that can be part of your resignation.
      Do NOT go back if you feel endangered. Your gut reaction to the country and school would make the upcoming year very difficult. There are quite a few openings this time of year in other places, and I believe you could find another teaching position.

      Like

  20. Cheryl says:

    I absolutely agree with all of our colleagues’ advice to you. I’ve taught in 9 different countries and have never broken contract. But if I were in an awful situation like you are in, I would do it in a flash. You’ve only got one life and living it in misery and fear is such a waste. Trust your gut level feelings and don’t return. Just give them as much notice as you can. And please do write a review on the school/city after you are safely done with your leave-taking. All the best to you!

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  21. Niki Underwood says:

    Leave. You are miserable and don’t need to be. Just bite the bullet and go.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I am certain that you are a talented, enthusiastic teacher with good instincts. I am also sure you already know the answer to your question. if your instincts are telling you that it would not be in your best interest to go back, you should not go. Remember, you deserve the same kind of safe and nurturing environment that you work so hard to create for your students. Try as hard as you can to live a safe and happy life. God Bless you in your next endeavor.

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  23. Scott Campbell says:

    We leave our home countries expecting adventure, culture and excitement. Making some great money and travelling are also two lovely additions to the experience. We don not go to feel terror, harassment or unsafe. Life is not about this. Please do go home for a while, recharge, refresh, advise the school, take stock and get back on track. Perhaps do some casual/relief work and get ready to apply again January. There are many wonderful schools out there who would love to have you on board. Take care and God Bless.

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  24. Mark Burke says:

    No job is worth that. You could be in real danger and no reasonable employer would hold it against you if you left. Give at least two weeks and your conscience is clear, contract or no. Is someone seriously suggesting you endure sexual harassment for the sake of the students? Perhaps slaves should have tolerated slavery and thought about the cotton more?

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Don’t go back. You know deep down you can’t go back, you just need a few other international teaching colleagues to state openly what your inner self is already telling you.

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  26. Jean says:

    Good grief! What other roof do you need? Go home and seek another job. No woman I know could tolerate what you have witnessed and endured. Go home but don’t feel like a failure. You triumphed!

    Like

  27. Sarus says:

    If it is that bad post a review to warn others. Imagine an NQT in you position. Also, do please name and shame not only the school but the country itself. This really is disgusting.

    Like

  28. Kathy says:

    You either want attention for your dismay or have no ability to make decisions for yourself.

    O traveled overseas to make a difference. I have done so, happily, and chose to stay, also in the Middle East. I’ve been in Kuwait 10 years now and won’t be leaving anytime soon. I’m here for the children. Is that why you went? If yes, you’ll stay. If no, you won’t or you’ll move to someplace you, too, can make a difference.

    Assume for a moment you choose to stay: buy an abaya and where it and a snood ir hijab when you go out. Wear sunglasses to keep from being identified if you are white or from looking attractive to men. Don’t wear makeup and keep your hair slicked down or pulled back. If you don’t want to be noticed, you won’t be. Bur it depends on why you went there in the first place. Looking for a man??? Congratulations – you’ve found the best that town has to offer! Going to the Middle East to find a mate is a stupid plan in the first place.

    Oh, well!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      You could be a little bit more supportive in terms of your tone. But yes, your advice about what to wear is ‘on the money’.

      Like

    • Victoria says:

      Your response is revolting! Nobody should have to withstand sexual abuse “for the kids.” You’re making it sound as if she is “asking for it.” Shame on you and your arrogant, disgusting point of view!

      Like

      • Kathy says:

        So you’ve given her the sympathy she wrote in to get! Good on you. No problems solved; no growth to be found; no critical thinking between you; but you got the chance to stand up for YOURSELF for not being in international teaching for the kiddos, and you got to do so by attacking me for not feeling sorry for a thirty-something “teacher” who goes to the Middle East – of all places – to find respect from local men!
        And THEN she has to ask strangers what she should do after admitting she is so horribly uncomfortable and discusted living there. She needs to go home to live in her comfortable little hometown and grow up some before trying to go anywhere else, if ever again. (She would never get or keep a job at my school – thank God. You probably wouldn’t either.)

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        • Blue Rose says:

          Oh my goodness! Kathy – wow, did you actually READ her post? Did she actually say/write she went there looking for respect from local men?! You’ve made a lot of assumptions. There are people who do all the things you mentioned and STILL get harassed or even sexually assaulted in the Middle East! For example, I personally know women who have been sexually assaulted in Kuwait and what would you say to them? What if it was your friend, family member etc.?! Furthermore, with people like you- who would want to work at your school?! You poor excuse of a human being; dread to think what kind of teacher you are and how you treat the children that you’re ‘there for.’ With attitudes like yours, it’s no wonder violence or attacks on women go unreported or punished in places like the Middle East.

          Like

          • Kathy says:

            Blue Rose,
            I have no time for whiners or complainers, nor the people who enable them. And, yes, I read the sad tale she told and, unlike you, read between the lines and “heard” what she actually said. You missed it because. . . Well, you don’t want to know why. But it’s over. No one needs to chime in. Words won’t fix her immaturity or inappropriate self-placement. Of course she should leave – DUH! That was my point – but she felt she needed to have all of you comiserate with her plight. Too bad – so sad – whine on, whine on. I know she can’t see that she has helped to create her own misery by not changing what she did and where she did it but you should see that as an onlooker. Instead, you’ve chosen to “champion” her and , thus enable her with the pity and outrage she wanted from you. Congratulations on doing such a fine job at that. Next time, have the courage to leave your name.

            Like

            • Blue Rose says:

              Kathy,

              I really pity you and your students. Wow, going to you for advice (as the writer was clearly seeking) must be a treat!

              ‘Chiming in’ is the point of this forum. You know- sharing experiences, getting advice, opinions, views etc?! So, like you I’m entitled to my opinion, response and the rest! It’s interesting that you call her immature and again you state it’s her fault. Again, with people like you educating our children…mmmmm…

              P.s. I am courageous as that’s my real name.

              Like

        • Josephine says:

          You are right, she needs to acknowledge that there is no respect for women in the Middle East, and probably there will never be. So, the best thing to do is to try and have a low profile. Yet, it is an awful kind of life that she probably didn’t really know she’d be facing. I was lucky that I was with my husband in Qatar because it can be rough there too. So, diminishing this girl is not something we should do, sometimes we need a bit of advise, it doesn’t matter our age and specially when we are new in the international teaching arena. True, she may not endure in your school, and probably not the majority of women who put themselves first before putting students (stranger’s kids, honestly) before their own sanity. We have to help ourselves better so that we can help others. Your toughness doesn’t make you a better teacher, you simply found a job that you like and are willing to take more “stuff” from people.

          Like

        • Bizboi says:

          It’s “disgusted” Cathy not “discusted” I would have though YOU of all people would have got that right!!! I was in Kuwait for 15 years and I’ve seen teachers turn into camels before. The one good thing about you – you’re not taking up a position in a place that’s worth living in!!!

          Like

    • Bill from Sydney, Australia says:

      How cruel & unsympathetic – as a teacher you certainly are judgmental. This woman deserves respect, especially considering what she’s had to endure

      Like

    • Beth says:

      Whoah, Kathy. Sounds like you are having an argument within your own head. Looking for a man? Where did that come from?

      Your tone is extremely hostile. You might even have some valuable advice but I can’t get past the hate.

      I did, however, enjoy sharing your comments with my co-workers at lunch. Thanks for that.

      Like

      • Bizboi says:

        Yes I thought the same about her – maybe she’s got a thing about men in white dish dashes with no personality!!!,

        Like

    • Bizboi says:

      Hope your life is always sweet Kathy I’d hate for you to be in a bad situation and someone tell you to suck it in. Best of luck in the land of oil. By the way do you ever feel like someone’s maid because that’s all you are there!!!,

      Like

  29. Bill Brown says:

    Don’t return. You’ll feel a huge weight off your shoulders. You need a change of scenery. I couldn’t stand being at my school any longer. I laid low throughout this past year at my school and counted down the days of the school year. If you need an excuse, say you have health problems just like someone else suggested. I’m home now and I feel far less stressed.

    Like

  30. Donald Kirk says:

    Time to leave — no point fighting the system, suffering, hating it.

    Like

  31. Guate says:

    Tell them you are leaving because of health reasons. Things come up all the time. You have to take care of yourself first. No one else will.

    Like

  32. Vision says:

    I think you must submit your resignation on these grounds and include the fact that you feel unprotected and unsafe in the environment around where you teach and clearly outline what is oppressive and distinction so in the school as well. The world will only change through the strength of those like yourself who call attention to what is dangerous and wrong.

    Like

  33. Mark says:

    Get a job somewhere you feel safe and are respected. Like in China. China has its problems too, but women feel very safe here.

    Like

    • I hated China, but other than a couple of teachers getting mugged, it generally felt safe.

      Like

      • Bizboi says:

        I just resigned a position in Dubai after a year and I’m so happy to be going to China. I’m married to a Thai and the final straw for me was being told by the Directors Russian secretary “I don’t know why you worry about your wife’s Visa she should get a job in a massage parlor like all Asians” after that I told them where to stick their job and their Head of Department position!!,

        Like

  34. Pro Teacher says:

    Get out. Life is short, too short to be miserable, and it’s certainly not worth putting yourself at risk. And in terms of getting a new teaching gig…there are still openings, and you could probably just leave this past year off your resume in order to conceal the broken contract. Good luck!

    Like

  35. Anonymous says:

    As the others here have said, it’s not worth it. The Middle East can be very hard for women and even men sometimes. At least those of us with a conscience or whom are disturbed by seeing men act this way toward a woman. They have no respect. It is worse in some countries than others. Men from Qatar are some of the worst behaved I have seen. Many see women as nothing more than property or a place to stick their manhood for a few minutes. I am based in the UAE and had to step in when I witnessed a Qatari male being very disrespectful to a local Emirati woman on the escalator at the Dubai Mall. As many local women in Dubai do, she was wearing her head scarf slightly back, so the front of her hair was visible and she had her abaya unzipped in the front. You could see that she was wearing regular western clothing, like jeans etc. underneath, because the front of her abaya was open.

    As I went to get on the escalator behind her, I tripped. I instinctively reached out to catch myself and my arm accidentally brushed against her back. She turned to look at me and I vehemently apologized, explaining that I lost my balance and it was an accident that I touched her. She smiled and said not to worry, she was not upset. That’s when the Qatari guy behind me started muttering in Arabic in a quiet voice for only her to hear. Well ,whatever he said must have been extremely offensive, because she turned around, wide-eyed and looking very upset. He kept talking to her the whole way down to the lower level, At the bottom, she and I turned to the right and he went straight to join two of his companions. They just stood there, staring at her. She looked back at them, afraid, so I asked her if she was OK. She said, “it’s nothing. I’m OK”. But I knew she was frightened.

    So I turned around, looked straight at him and his friends and yelled in English, “Go ahead. Say it again and this time have the guts to say it in English so I can kick your behind for insulting her. Go ahead. Say it again, you wussy!” Him and his friends just looked at me and walked away. This poor woman was so shaken and didn’t know what to say. Apparently this has happened to her before and no one ever came to her defense as I did. I realize that cultures are different, but as an American man, who was raised to behave like a gentleman, to respect all women and defend a woman’s honor, I couldn’t stand by and let her be accosted like that. My one Emirati friend later told me that I could have gotten into trouble for doing this. But it’s still bad behavior to speak to anyone, much less a quiet young woman, like that. He deserved a beating. Even in Egypt I had to stop a woman from being raped. You have to be somewhere where you will be comfortable and safe. Find a new school and country where you will find happiness. Good Luck to you and try to relax. There are so many places to work where you will probably be so much happier.

    Like

  36. Anonymous says:

    Clearly you should not return to such a repressive alianiating environment. Life is too short — relax there are many jobs available
    Trust your spirit 🐱

    Like

  37. modi says:

    This an easy one, don’t go back! Dont even think of going back, don’t pass go, don’t collect 200 ( or is it 400 ).
    Tefl teachers are welcomed all over the world and easily.
    there are so many markets, try googling daves esl cafe.
    Japan, s. korea, china and many more countries pay well and treat you with respect, careful in china, they can cheat you too easily, no principles.

    So, you gotta tell us, which country are you in?
    Good luck
    Modi

    Like

  38. JANE EVANS says:

    Don’t go back, life’s too short to spend another year (or month, or week, or day, ….) in a situation that makes you physically and emotionally sick. Good luck in your next job, there are lots of wonderful schools and countries out there for you to go to.

    Like

  39. Elizamina says:

    Don’t go back. If it’s making you physically and emotionally sick to even contemplate going back, then don’t go back. You’ll find another job. The school will find another teacher. But your mental and physical health has to come first.

    Life is too short for you to be stressed to the point of sickness over a job that you have the privilege of walking away from if you need to. Many people are trapped in horrible jobs with no recourse, but if you can safely walk away, then do it.

    Like

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