Celebrate The New Year with Our Top-10

December 29, 2016


..Here’s our Top-10 most popular Blogs. Of course, there’s hundreds more to choose from & each delves into important Topics directly affecting International Educators like you! International Schools Review is honored to provide the platform preferred by thousands of International Educators & encourages you to utilize this vast resource of material, all of which has been contributed by International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed.

..In the new year, ISR will continue to keep abreast of issues affecting International Educators & present these timely topics for discussion. It’s the continued support of the International Teaching Community that makes ISR possible & helps us to continually evolve into an ever more useful tool. Your input is important. We encourage you to submit your ideas. Your voice counts!

Top-10 ISR Blog Topics

Best & Worst School Benefits Packages (214,543 visits)

Schools w/ High Savings Potential (31,289 visits)

Overseas & Over-50   (28,710 visits)

Canceling a Contract After Signing – Where do you stand? (19,108 visits)

Working in International Schools – a Good Career Move? (15,993 visits)

Does Teaching Overseas Help or Hurt Your Career? (13,679 visits)

What makes an International School a Tier-1 School? (13,581 visits)

Can I Really Live on that Salary? (12,850 visits)

I’m Ready to Run! (12,291 visits)

Be Prepared for Tough Interview Questions (11,719 visits)

Happy New Year from International Schools Review


Tis the Season for Random Acts of Kindness

December 22, 2016

Sexism in International Schools

December 15, 2016

An ISR member recently made a request. She had been suffering under a Director who regularly made sexist remarks and wanted to know if her situation was an isolated one.

..In response, we discovered 61 School Reviews/Admin Reports that contain the term “sexist.” Of the 10,000+ Reviews hosted on International Schools Review, this figure represents less than 1% of all Reviews. Although the percentage is thankfully low, it does sound an alarm that something is terribly wrong at some International Schools, as exemplified by the following excerpt from an ISR Director Report:

The Director continuously shouted, threatened, belittled and publicly humiliated me and other female teachers throughout the period I was under contract. After I left the school in June, 2016, I received this abusive email from the Director when I requested money due me…

“Your advice is meaningless. You are beneath me in every possible way so your opinion matters as much to me as mine does to Mr. Obama. You are old and you probably don’t have many years left before you return to hell and we have gotten enough laughs out of you already. (Leather mini skirt for someone as old as you, really?!? LOL) Please just die or quit emailing…or both.”  Members can sign in to read entire Review

..ISR asks: In what universe is harassment such as this not a prosecutable offense? Unfortunately, in some lawless voids, individuals who would otherwise find themselves on the losing end of a lawsuit, consider themselves free to abuse defenseless teachers.

Excerpts from other Reviews increase our cause for alarm:

  This director needs to be investigated for his sexist remarks that are completely inappropriate

  Unsupportive, judgmental, unapproachable, dishonest, lacks integrity, poor leadership skills, intimidating towards staff and students, sexist (hates women)

  His lack of knowledge results in a complex environment that prevents him from acknowledging good work completed by competent teachers, but instead valuing those that serve as his yes-men (men being the operative word, as his sexism is blatant)

  His sexist (sometimes racist) remarks were a constant. No racial minorities are represented amongst staff

  Once again, good ole boys’ drinking culture, racism, sexism, reserved and restricted privileges and practices which often define “international schools”

  He is a pathological liar and extremely unprofessional. He is sexist and racist. He dresses in very inappropriate clothing and is embarrassing to work for

  Mid-management is very sexist and your status is dependent on how much time you spend in the office complimenting each other on how great you are…and I am a man saying this

  Did his best to make this even more of a hardship post than it already was. He’s a sexist who grunts and acts like a caveman and chooses favorite teachers to be in his “inner circle.” Absolutely no focus on creative, progressive ideas. VERY sexist! Huge double standard and outrageous amount of males in senior staff positions

..It goes without saying that sexism goes hand-in-hand with other undesirable qualities. And although it may be difficult, if not impossible, to stop school sexism in countries that lack anti-harassment laws, it IS possible to avoid signing on to work in such schools, thus motivating school boards and school owners to re-evaluate their choice of administrative individuals. The teacher who requested ISR query our database for occurrences of the term “sexist” is most certainly not alone.

Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools is All About.  


The Truth Hurts!

December 8, 2016

Every year around this time, a few International Schools contact ISR. Why? Because poor School Reviews are hurting their recruiting efforts, and instead of using the Review information to constructively affect improvements, they just want, sometimes demand, that the Reviews go away. Now!

Schools that withhold salaries, switch contract terms, substitute poor housing for promised housing, fail to reimburse travel and/or shipping allowances, renege on health insurance, or engage in other dishonest practices are not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. If schools complain that Reviews of their modus operandi are affecting recruiting efforts, ISR affirms: This is as it should be. Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is all about.

One organization that manages 3 schools recently sent this email to ISR concerning 86 ISR-hosted Reviews:

“Dear Sirs, I would like to request you to remove all the reviews related to our schools and remove our schools from your database for any candidate to write any reviews. These reviews are creating negative impact while recruitment and we are losing good prospective candidates. I hope you can do the needful ASAP. Thanks.” (Name withheld)

  Without naming names, ISR would like to share with you excerpts from recent Reviews of the schools in question. Each excerpt is from a different School Review, and each of the 5 reviewers, among other things, is concerned with an insufficient housing allowance — a problem, in ISR’s opinion, that could be easily remedied:

• “I like the school. Some great people work here, but that’s not why I am leaving. I am leaving because the housing allowance is really low compared to what actual rents are…”

• “Teachers do not leave because it is a bad school, they are leaving because the salaries are not good compared to other schools. Bigger problem: Many are now saying that our allowances for housing are poor. The allowance will not get you good housing…”

• “I don’t know how I will manage next year because my rent allowance is not high enough. Well, it is…IF I want to live in a shoe box…”

• “This is a rant regarding the shameful situation about housing and housing allowances…”

• “If they won’t give you a good allowance, I advise you to not come here. For a family with 2-3 children you must have at least 11,000 Riyal/month for decent housing…”

..As mentioned, there are other, sometimes huge, issues outlined in these 86 Reviews, but the inadequate housing allowance is stressed in each and is something that could/should be quickly/easily addressed and corrected. But instead of responding to teachers’ needs, a request was made for ISR to remove all traces of the schools from the website. Had we done so, prospective teaching candidates could be lured in. Some web sites may comply with take-down requests, especially when legal threats follow. But most definitely, ISR is not one of them!

Staking your career on the word of a School representative during a thirty-minute interview can be risky, as many, many ISR School Reviews have demonstrated. We recommend that, without fail, you must thoroughly research any school before committing to a Contract. This recruiting season, as always, you can rely on ISR to provide a safe, secure venue dedicated to Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed!

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Why Keep Salary Levels Hidden from Candidates?

December 1, 2016

salaries Dedicating your life to educating children is highly commendable, but few among us can make this commitment without a salary that covers life’s necessities: student loans, food, heat, transportation, decent housing, etc.

While public schools in the West almost always include a disclosure of salary and benefits when advertising for teaching personnel, many International Schools have been accused of purposely keeping salaries undisclosed right up to the face-to-face interview with candidates. Even then there can be hidden variables that alter the quoted salary, and not for the better. Here’s an example:

Assume you hold a Master’s degree plus 9-years teaching experience. At ABC School the pay scale puts you at $52,000. “Pretty good,” you say. But there’s a catch: The contract you haven’t yet seen states that incoming teachers will be credited for up to a maximum of 5-years experience on the pay scale. Additional pay-scale years will be earned while at the school.  This puts you, an incoming teacher, at the level of a Masters plus 5, which translates to $46,000.

Teachers have been quoted saying it’s a waste of time to interview with schools that keep salaries hidden. Some complain schools inflate their salaries on the web sites of the ‘big’ recruiters, only to offer far less at interview, as in the above example. A generally held belief among many International educators is that any school which hides its salary scale is a school that does not respect teachers and, thus, a school to be avoided.

ISR advocates for salary-scale transparency and our School Review evaluation rubric incorporates a field that clearly displays salary ranges. Still, things do change and some schools have even been known to make behind-the-scenes negotiations with teachers. So, ISR recommends you always verify your salary level and have it stated clearly on your Contract.

ISR asks: What has YOUR experience been in regards to schools that keep salary scales hidden? What advice to YOU have for colleagues?