Professional Boundaries: Should teachers befriend students on Facebook?

March 30, 2017

A Letter to ISR:

Dear ISR,  I’ve noticed that some teachers think it’s “cool” to befriend students on Facebook and post social pics and personal messages online. I think there should be boundaries between a teacher’s personal life and how much private information they allow students to access. I’ve seen some teachers posting pics of themselves with students at parties and in restaurants, and of course, students post social pics with their teachers.

Apart from being unprofessional, I feel it creates jealousy and a perception of ‘favored treatment’ among other students. Some teachers use this to manipulate their students and gain popularity through being overly friendly. Many professionals regard communicating with students on personal social media websites as inappropriate.

It would be interesting to know teachers’ opinion on this topic: How many schools have a policy on social media posting? Does your school monitor such activities?

(name withheld)

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One Lying Director…

March 23, 2017

..If things don’t go well between a teacher and a school director, historically we’ve seen directors who’ve used their position to destroy the teacher’s International Teaching career. Of course, there are two sides to every story, but when recruiting agencies automatically choose to consider only one side of the disagreement, that of the bigger-of-the-two paying-customers, it’s always to the teacher’s detriment.

..International Schools Review is the result of just such an incident. A teacher had a misunderstanding with his director. The director told his own version of the ‘truth’ and had the teacher blackballed. Letters of protest and explanation from the teacher were met by the recruiting agency’s standard phrase: “We weren’t there to witness the events which took place.” Translation? Your word isn’t worth a damn! Teacher’s response? We need a site to inform and support teachers. Translation? Welcome to International Educators keeping each other informed at International Schools Review!

..Today, fourteen years since the inception of ISR, we still find isolated cases of teachers being blackballed, based on a vindictive director’s claims. Here’s a case in point:

from the ISR Forum

  Hello All, Our first international job landed us working for a terrible director and the relationship between us ended badly (as in we really did not like each other). When we tried to sign up with Search she outright lied about us, saying something to the extent that we were let go before the end of our contract for “conduct unbecoming of a teacher.” Based on her feedback, Search denied our application. From this same school we have SEVERAL outstanding peer and parent references.

Since that time we’ve had two other positions, completed contracts, and have great references from our administrators. So, we tried to apply to Search once again, only to be told that because of what this first woman said they can NEVER take us on as candidates.

I am upset that the words of one lying director can outweigh the multitude of positive words of other administrators. This seems wildly unfair!

Is our only recourse to go with ISS? Have you heard of a situation such as ours, and what did people do? Cheers and thanks for any feedback

..Beyond helping International Educators make the right choice of schools, ISR helps Recruiters to know what’s going on at various schools, and to realize that some schools and school leaders are literally a menace to educators’ careers.  We have witnessed, since the inception of ISR, that when a conflict arises Recruiters are now more likely to take a fair and unbiased approach to reaching a resolution.

..Some people just aren’t cut out to be International Educators; but, when a vindictive director uses their position to punish Educators with whom they’ve had a disagreement, there’s a problem. Fortunately, teachers in such a position have taken it upon themselves to Share their experiences on ISR so others can avoid making the same errors. Don’t let a school director be a menace to YOUR career, or that of colleagues!

..Comments? Please scroll down


Scam Alert!

March 16, 2017

ISR has learned that CBIS, Collegiate British International School (UAE), is nothing more than a web site designed to extract money from unsuspecting teachers.

The business office at Deira International School (also in UAE) reports that the Collegiate British International School web site is a theft/clone of the Deira International School web site, with the addition of minor editing and modifications.

Collegiate British International School (fake school):
Deira International School (authentic school):

Unsuspecting teachers who apply on line to teach at Collegiate British International School are offered jobs and soon thereafter asked for money to cover fees, visas, etc. This is a scam!

The Deira International School business office verifies this information and reports their legal department is working on the situation. You can find this information, and other scam alerts, on the Scams and Recruiting Alerts page at ISR.

Do you have experience with this school?
Are you aware of any other scams to report?
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Telling the Kids

March 16, 2017

Now that you and your “better half” have landed your first overseas teaching positions, how do you tell your kids the family is moving to a foreign country? For middle-school/high-school aged kids in particular, the news could be traumatic. Join this conversation on the International Schools Review Forum. Registration is FREE and open to all!

Suspiciously Silent

March 9, 2017

..Here’s the scenario: At a Recruiting Fair you discovered an “invitation to interview” in your candidate mail box. You took the bait. The interview went well and the job is yours. Problem is, you can’t find a recent Review of the school, if any, at all!

..It strikes us as suspicious when there are no Reviews for a specific school, or multiple Reviews that span a few years and then suddenly stop coming in from years back. Why are there no recent Reviews? Why did they stop coming in? We can’t say for certain, but based on teachers’ letters and excerpts from Contracts, there are schools that have taken to contractually preventing their teachers from writing School Reviews. In legal terms, this is called a ‘gag order.’ It is legal and leads one to wonder … what are these schools hiding?

..It’s been said that “happy” teachers don’t write School Reviews. So maybe, just maybe, Reviews stop coming because teachers, in their utter contentment, suddenly stopped writing Reviews. Of course there are other reasons why Reviews of a school don’t exist or stop posting; however, we’re not aware of what those reasons are or we would, most certainly, share them with you.

..When you don’t find current Reviews, or any Reviews for a school, it could be a flapping red flag. But before jumping to a final conclusion, ISR encourages you to consult the ISR Member Forum. Located inside the Members’ area of the ISR web site, this Forum is an adjunct to the School Review section. It’s the designated place to post questions that solicit review- and analysis-type information about schools.

..ISR Members have been quite successful using the ISR Member Forum to request and receive up-to-present-day information about various schools. You’ll find thousands of current posts on various schools already available. Go to the ISR Member Forum.

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what International Schools Review is all about!

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Tax Time For International Educators

March 2, 2017


Why did the Cannibal accountant get disciplined?… Because she was buttering up her clients!

  All kidding aside, it’s probably safe to say that many American International Educators are not well-informed when it comes to the overseas “tax thing.” We’re all pretty sure we won’t have to pay taxes back home, but for the most part, that’s as far as the knowledge base goes.

When tax time rolls around, as it always does, we are obligated to file, even if we don’t owe one cent. For help with taxes, some International Educators turn to on-line, mass-market software; others visit one-stop tax offices when back home on vacation. A small group, of which we all know a few, procrastinate for years, fearing the day the IRS catches up with them.

Do-it-yourself tax software works, but usually fails to clearly explain all the overseas issues. This leaves you wondering if you’ve filled in everything correctly. One-stop tax shops are normally not well-versed in the details of overseas tax issues, costing you fees and errors that may result in paying extra tax. Long-term procrastination, always a poor choice, is hard on your psyche and can lead to problems with the tax man, “who isn’t going to butter you up.”

Useful points to keep in mind this tax season

  • US citizens and residents living/working outside the US are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file (to June 15), plus additional time depending on circumstances. Any tax owed is still due on April 15, so you’ll owe some interest when you pay later.
  • Your first year living overseas you will often need an extension beyond June 15 if you expect to qualify for the Foreign-Earned Income Exclusion, which requires 330 days out of country. An extension request should be filed by the regular deadline. For the 2016 tax year, the exclusion is $101,300.
  • If your school grants a tuition break to allow your kids to go to the school where you teach, the tuition amount is generally not considered taxable income. Housing benefits, on the other hand, even school-provided housing, are taxable in most cases.
  • Over the years I’ve relied on an accountant to take care of my taxes. She’s up-to-date on the tax code, charges a fair price, and I’ve not paid a cent in US taxes for many years. Best of all, I’m legal and feel secure in knowing that should a problem arise, she’ll handle it. Her fee is a small price to pay for convenience and peace of mind.

If you decide to go it alone and take the do-it-yourself route, be sure to check out the very active discussion on this topic taking place on the ISR Open Forum. It’s chock-full of useful advice and information from overseas educators with first-hand experience on the topic of taxes. You don’t need to be an ISR member to read/post to the forum.

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