Who’s Looking Out for Teachers at YOUR School?

looking-out-for-teachers-160670873-blog..Thanks to the many teachers who post in-depth School Reviews to ISR, we’re all well aware of which schools treat teachers right and which schools stoop to despicably low practices. The good news is, the majority of International Schools honor their Contracts and look out for their teachers!

..In schools that are focused on the well-being of their staff, Parent-Teacher Associations and faculty representatives to the Board are commonplace and give voice to teachers’ concerns. In many Reviews, teachers report that their PTA is quite effective. School Boards can also be beneficial when it comes to looking out for teachers. Embassies can be an ally.

..There are, however, schools that have banned Parent-Teacher Associations, and often times, school Boards are composed of local parents, many of whom will not speak out in defense of teachers for fear of retribution from an influential school owner. Reviews show that embassies may also be hesitant to get involved in looking out for teachers, even when Contracts have not been honored. This is probably because embassy employees need a place to school their children and don’t want to make waves.

..Ultimately, how teachers are treated appears to boil down to the attitude of a school owner and the Head of School. If an owner is driven by profits at all cost, and sees education as strictly a business, teachers suffer. At such schools, the only one looking out for teachers are the teachers themselves.

..International Schools are not static entities. They are regularly bought and sold, or taken over, by large management companies. This makes it important that you keep current on behind-the-scene dealings at schools you may be interested in. A change in management can mean no one is looking out for teachers, or hopefully, quite the opposite.

..ISR asks: Is YOUR school looking out for International Educators? Do you have a Parent/Teacher organization? Is it effective? Is the school Board responsive to teachers’ input? Could you depend on your embassy in a legal dispute, if needed? Or, is it every teacher for him/herself? If your school has banned Teacher Councils or Parent/Teacher organizations, ISR is a good place to spread the word!

Please scroll down to Comment

Please stick to the topic: Feel free to name your school. This Blog is expressly for sharing information on what schools are doing to look out for teachers. If you wish to otherwise Review your school, please submit a School Review.  

11 thoughts on “Who’s Looking Out for Teachers at YOUR School?

  1. I’ve been teaching internationally for seven years now and I have learned that most who go overseas failed back in their home country. They are running the schools on false pretenses and ruining the credentials of good teachers. The bottom line is that learning about other cultures while working can be extremely rewarding, but you must also weigh in the long term cost to your retirement and career.


    1. That is an extremely judgemental and negative thing to say- Especially when you are lumping so many people into your opinion. I am a retired teacher (retired at 50), who got bored and tried overseas. I am now in my 3rd position and can travel, experience a life teaching at home (USA), could not offer and am saving a shit-load of money on top of it… Yes, a good amount of International teachers at less than upstanding schools are less than stellar themselves, but you find that everywhere. I just think it is dangerous to lump “most who go overseas” into one negative category, because the word “most” is hard to back up in and of itself.


  2. It is amazing how many old men are principals in Asia with very young uneducated local wives. My current school has an old fart around 60 with a Filipino mail order bride in her early 20s. He struts around school like a rooser cllutching her hand and groping in public. Disgusting. Needless to say, he hates assertive WEstern women as they remind him of wife No 1. Of course, he has no interest in his staff or attaining high standards and only cares about how much money he can stash away and how little work he can do. Sadly not unusual.


  3. The admin at my school is only looking out for themselves and their pocket books. They cheat us one way or another, every chance they get. Problem is there is nothing we can do about as they just dream up things and take money out of our pay checks. Here’s an example. The school decided to have a parents appreciation day to be sponsored by the teachers. It was basically a catered lunch with gifts presented to parents that contributed their time to bettering the school At the end of the month we all saw a deduction of $30 US from our check with a notation that said “parent appreciation.” Okay, I don’t mind showing the parents they are appreciated but the least the school could have done was ask us if we want to contribute to this.

    At the start of the year they took all us new teachers on a bus to a shopping area so we could buy stuff like brooms, and house hold things we would need. On my first pay check there was a $15 transportation charge that read “shopping.” With 10 of us on the bus that’s $150 to the school. I could have taken a taxi for less and not been on the schools schedule.

    I went to see the school nurse on day with a raging headache. You guessed it, I was charged for it.

    We have no representation. They just do what they want and we are stuck. I’m out of here at the end of the year. No one will renew. In the end it’s the kids that loose out because there is no continuity. But the only doesn’t care. He nickle and dime us to death. This is just a business for him. A problem with international schools is that all sorts of money hungry people have gone into schools as a business. It wasn’t that day twenty years ago.


  4. The school I just left was definitely every teacher for himself. From there being no set pay scale (you were paid based on who liked or disliked you), non-academically experienced managers/principals, “teachers” with no experience, training or certifications (example-you speak English, you can teach!), references not being checked on teachers or administrators (saw this first hand over and over) and the list goes on- And that’s just the academic side… No supplies, no curriculum, no set pay day, no toilet paper, not being able to take anyone’s word on anything, even your contract, your salary being held as punishment if you resign (why teachers run), and basically just be ready for everyday to be a new adventure! I was lied to, overworked, lied to, put in substandard housing, lied to, whole different job when I got there than what I was hired for, lied to, given subjects and grades to teach of which I was not certified or for goodness sake even familiar with, lied to… Did I by any chance say “LIED TO”??? Oh! And since it was all about money, kids as a rule knew they could do what they wanted with no consequences, because all their parents had to do was threaten to pull their kid out and WHAMO! No suspension for fighting, no anything for having a test complete with answers under their desk during finals (supplied by the teacher who “tutored” them at home), or on their phones, and absolutely nothing except the teacher being told by the newly hired principal who had 8 jobs in the last 10 years (really), and was hired without references being checked (really again), to give even the students with a 4 average (yes, 4 out of 100, because he did NOTING in class except disrupt), to give all the students passing grades. Dedicated teachers get angry, disgusted and quit, new teachers become ruined and teachers who cannot get a job anywhere else have tenure. I know there are good and great international schools out there, but I was not in one.


    1. Yeah, There are so many bad “schools” around that I don’t have to even imagine what you went through. What is amazing to me is that some are accredited by WASC – money talks!


    2. Sounds like one in Yangon!!! Any good teachers who accept the low pay don’t stay very long. Imagine having an alcoholic principal and an owner dumb enough not to know how to hire anyone better.


    3. “…Non-academically experienced managers/principals, “teachers” with no experience, training or certifications (example-you speak English, you can teach!), references not being checked on teachers or administrators…” All-too-familiar in Japan, even at reputable private schools. WASC accreditation is essentially useless in my opinion, for the very reason that many institutions that have it are exactly as the OP describes. IB certification is on the fast-track of becoming the same.


  5. I must be very fortunate. At my school we have complete autonomy. PTA and a teacher’s organization. The director and the board are quite receptive to our needs. It’s not top down. Sounds like I lucked out .


  6. Phew… where to begin. Most individual owners, hire totally crap principals as they have no idea what qualities and experience to look for or how to hire properly. The crap principals set a low bar and create a negative culture by mishandling conflict amongst teachers, screwing up curriculum and creative low expectations and moral amongst teachers – some of whom may not be qualified as the lazy principal can’t be bothered proper reference checking. I heard of an incident recently where one teacher physically assaulted another on school premises and despite being a clapped out old fake, was allowed to remain employed at the school with no consequences. In small communities, word gets around amongst other teachers real fast. Can embassies do anything? No, not interested. Could the police be called in some situations? depends on the country I guess? International teachers have few rights or reprisals if maltreated. Buyer beware indeed!


  7. What a dangerous place to post. The international school world is too small! Of 10 schools I worked at in Middle East, Near East, Far East and India only 2 were fantastic. The rest were dreadful. I am highly credentialed and have 20 years experience. Buyer beware!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.