What’s On YOUR Mind?


..We’re doing something different this week. Something we’ve never done before and that should be of real benefit to our readers. We’ve created a space on this page and invite YOU, our readers, to use that space to initiate and participate in discussions YOU introduce.

Here’s how we envision this working:

The 1st person to visit this page will kick things off by initiating a topic they wish to discuss. Anyone may respond by clicking Reply, just below the entry. More than one person can respond to a topic.

Anyone may start an entirely new topic. To do so scroll to the bottom of this page, add your question and/or statement in the Leave a Reply box and click the Post Comment button. This new topic will appear just below the previous topic of discussion.

To recap, click Reply, just below a topic, to add to that discussion.
To start a new topic, scroll down to the Leave a Reply box < Post Comment button.

For example: Someone interested in discussing the effects of ‘currency devaluation’ on International Educators would initiate the topic by posting a question and/or statement using the Leave a Reply box < Post Comment button, found at the bottom of this page.  Colleagues could then chime in by clicking Reply, just below the posted question or statement.

..What the results of this experiment will be is anyone’s guess. We envision a series of topics, community discussions and the opportunity to share ideas/opinions, and to further benefit from each others’ knowledge and experiences. Thank you for your participation!

Please scroll down to participate

39 Responses to What’s On YOUR Mind?

  1. Wizzy says:

    What I find astounding is the lack of experienced and credentialed teachers schools hire. Most places, I had to get my papers authenticated for visa purposes. I paid around 1200 USD’s for all the paperwork. Some of my colleagues, hopped on a plane and got a teaching job? How?

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  2. Greg Robinson says:

    A student of mine is writing an extended essay on how close Cognita’s practices are to their community’s interests. Her question is : To what extent does Cognita’s network of schools represent Shared Value? (Shared Value means the business has the same values as the community in which it operates.) It would be appreciated if anyone has taught in a Cognita school could comment. Scope and depth will be appreciated. Thanks in anticipation. GR

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  3. Brad says:

    I completely agree with Ester Joseph. I have always said if I had the ability to write a book about the scam that is international teaching I would do it. I agree completely that international teaching is getting worse every year. I was out on the circuit for 16 years. I finally retired last year. I taught at 9 different schools ranging from South American to numerous countries in Asia and Africa and one in the ME. These directors and principals and VP’s who have little to no teaching experience but get promoted through the ranks because they are in good with the admin, that is there at the time who also, incidentally, are unqualified over blown egos themselves. Every school I have worked at and I worked at so called tier 1 schools, consistently promoted the teachers who no one liked were horrible in the classroom and who even had complaints from parents. But since they were some how “in” with admin they got principalships and VP and directorships. I have worked at nonprofit schools and they were just as bad as for profit schools in cutting teacher salaries benefits and then giving admin raises or not cutting their packages at all or receiving end of year bounces and this was at a nonprofit school. Disgusting! I think it is just gross and unjust that directors and principals overseas are able to retire early with millions of dollars in their pockets and teachers are lucky to be able to retire by 50 or 55 and have enough to never work again. I am sorry but our salaries overseas are not that great compared to directors or principals the gap is way too wide. Yes I know I worked in the ME there are some good high teaching salaries there but directors get even more and work less years and retire earlier. It is a total scam that these schools are running in terms of luring teachers in and then not abiding by the contract or changing the handbook before arriving. It is a very dirty game and we are the losers every time. I also think it is sick that people like Bambi Betts is considered an expert in anything. SHe is a so called expert that is often hired by international schools. I worked at a school in SA where they paid her big bucks to come in and talk about ethics. The nerve of them to have this major scam artist talk about ethics when she runs the biggest scam in international education the PTC. She also loves to say all surveys for admin should never be anonymous. IS this a joke? Is she serious?
    What about all of us teachers who are constantly screwed over by confidential references from these horribly unethical people who get promoted to principals and VPs and directors and say one thing to your face and then turn around and give a terrible reference so teachers can not get jobs or even know this has happened. The problem is her very negative attitude towards teachers is the philosophy on which many schools use for their guiding principles for their admin leadership, reprimanding teachers, spying on teachers and overall workplace environment. Bambi Betts needs to get out or be pushed out or laughed off the stage she is a big joke and should never be listened to again. SHe just likes to line her own pockets. She is a total hypocrite and has no ethical standards whatsoever. I found her to be an over blown ego with no substance and these admin people buy right into it because they have each others backs but not ours EVER! I would not recommend teachers to come overseas anymore. NO respect, no trust, no ethics, no morality and no equality.

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    • Dave says:

      Brad, agree with you 200%! Bambi Betts is a real scammer who saw a gap, schmoozed a lots of principals and voila! I think it is time that CNN or the New York Times did an expose on these places especially in South East Asia. I’ve had horrible experiences in Korea and Myanmar but at least Korea is cracking down on some of these fake ‘international’ schools starting with the Canadian ones that are full of lazy and inept teachers. Contact some of the news agencies. If you get anywhere, post on here and many of us would be happy to point the press in right direction. WASC is another overseas scam and I am convinced that in some cases inspections only pass because money changes hands as some of the schools are so bad.

      Like

    • Anon says:

      Confidential references allow directors and principals to say whatever they like about teachers, often with very little thought or foundation in fact. Several years ago I became suspicious of one reference written by my employer and arranged for a copy to be posted to a neutral address. When I opened it, I was horrified to discover it consisted of three lines, and contained almost no details about my service at the school. It had obviously been written without any care or research, and no doubt took the writer – a very high profile director who has led Tier 1 international schools for over 25 years – all of five minutes to dash off. Every year this director required me to take over his IB class while he went on a three-month recruiting jaunt, attending every single job fair on the calendar from January to March, a practice that he continues to this day, apparently without attracting any criticism from his staff or board of governors. His thanks to me was a reference that really was not worth the paper it was written on.

      Like

  4. Worried says:

    Atlas Rubicon – reactions of teachers who have been in schools that required it?

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    • Anonymous says:

      A waste of teacher’s time. It is just another gimmick that someone made money selling to incompetent admin and so-called curriculum coordinators. When will they learn?

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    • Dave says:

      Dear Worried, don’t worry about Atlas – it is pretty simple and if you play around with it for a couple of hours, you will soon learn all you need to know. In fact if you look on YouTube there is probably a ‘how to’ video for it. Actually, it is pretty worthless but it does have all the CCSS components that you need.

      Like

      • Worried says:

        I am actually quite adept at Atlas, having been at multiple schools that required it to be maintained. However, other than ticking that box for admin., no one ever used it. Was just trying to get some feedback without giving a bias. Are there teachers who find it a valuable tool and actually have the time to use it as one?

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        • CAM says:

          Well worried, the only time that I used it was prior to a WASC inspection. I did occasionally check into the LOs and curriculum units to remind myself where I needed to be. Grade Quick is more useful but as someone else said, a lot of these programs are just expensive gimmicks!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    When incompetent people are given great power over others, the result is often a disaster. i have dealt with wonderful students, parents and even some good administrators, but the majority of them stink. Our most recent top people are mainly puffed up, bombastic little dictators who have no idea of pedagogy or even simply how to work with people. These so called administrators are put in charge of teachers’s lives and students’s futures.
    Yes, I know what i am talking about having an admin credential myself. I choose to remain in the classroom.
    I have also always had good evaluations by my administrators, so that is not a problem. In spite of that, I realize that they have no idea what goes on in a classroom or what should go on in a classroom.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I totally concur. It is these appalling administrators who drive away top teachers and demoralize a school. The administrator you are describing sounds like one that I have just fled from working under for the last two years. The man was amoral, unqualified, played favorites with staff and students to undermine others and had the personality of a dead fish. He knew nothing about curriculum and talked absolute garbage every time he opened his mouth. He lied to the stupid owners about teachers and protected cheating students. Anyone who got into an active discussion and disagreed with him did not get their contract renewed or got a ‘warning’ letter. High turnover and low quality teachers are the result. Life is too short for this crap from idiots who should be nowhere near education.

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      • Janet Price says:

        With the unprecedented growth in int’l education it is only logical that finding quality administrators would be the weakest link. Good admin are developed by experience and if they have established places at home they are probably are not inclined to move about.

        Good teachers should not be pulled from the classroom into admin as the jobs do not require the same skill sets. It is up to the boards of directors to sufficiently vet admin hires. Unfortunately, boards also must learn what makes a good admin and are often are swayed by smoke and mirrors in this learning process.

        I survived 5 HoS in 3 years in Suzhou, China. A lot of good teachers were lost in the process but the survivors were instrumental in maintaining the school’s learning environ. A different set of challenges than at home but just as important to the students we represented.

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  6. Mark says:

    As an international teacher there is little recourse when a school behaves badly or cheats you. Accrediting agencies such as WASC or IB ignore complaints from teachers who are often the only ones who know what goes on beneath the sycophantic shows that are enacted for inspection visits. All you can do is report such schools to your local embassy and the country’s education department and hope that they will make sure such establishments are not on an approved list of embassy schools. Teachers should not allow themselves to be bullied by unpleasant money grubbing local owners and crooked creeps posing as heads of school. Any other thoughts?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. The biggest problem I see is that there is a circle of distrust. The schools may have had some problem teachers in the past so they get a bit protective and then there are teachers who’ve been mistreated and they are a bit defensive. However, the schools always have the least to lose as they have the resources and recourse to replace teachers. Us teachers on the other hand have no recourse, no one to advocate for us. We either take the abuse or walk. If we walk we may burn a bridge, lose a reference and have difficulty finding another position. Those of us with children are even more vulnerable.
      I love the adventure and our alternative life and can’t imagine repatriating (especially since we are a blended family), but we really need an advocate for teachers. ISR isn’t enough.

      Like

      • Esther Joseph says:

        Thanks for the comments – I fully agree with everyone on this issue. I have worked over an 18 year period in 4 countries and had to take the severe mistreatment, abuse, being terminated ( and in some cases, threatened with termination), suffered huge financial losses (with being underpaid/unfair salaries) and also endure racism and discrimination on the basis of skin color, nationality, gender and being single. The truth is, (the way I see it) is that things get worse by the year. The greedy, wealthy school owners are becoming wealthier which gives them even more power over teachers and license to abuse, mistreat, manipulate and exploit qualified foreign professionals who simply walk away and seek alternative work opportunities.

        Whilst we are very grateful for ISR, nothing is addressed on a global scale except through ISR but nothing is publicized in the media, for example on CNN or other global TV networks – there is no program covering the stories of foreign professionals and what they have to endure in other countries, just for the sake of a job and a salary or exposing the injustices. But I don’t blame teachers for sharing their story openly because it will only jeopardize their chances of securing their next work opportunity-this is difficult especially when supporting a family is top priority, paying bills etc.

        I have come to the end of my international teaching career, and would love to share my story globally (newspapers/TV ) about, everything I have endured and witnessed over the 18 year period but I have no idea how to begin doing this or where to begin. I fully agree that we need someone (or a group of ex-international teachers) who would be willing to become an advocate (or advocates) for teachers, their rights and the justice they desperately long for. It’s time some of us (ex-international teachers who are willing to make that sacrifice) to go global, to tell our stories and expose what is really happening in international education and schools worldwide. We need to stand up and speak out for all teachers, even if it’s starting out in a small way – I believe our voices will be heard and we will get a lot of support.

        For example, there are many organizations advocating for the rights of people who are victims of human trafficking/sex slavery/child labor etc and support for these organizations are growing considerably and they are making a difference, however small it may be but at least their voices are being heard. So too, do we teachers (or ex-teachers) have to make that start. I cannot express enough how much I deeply hate, detest and resent the injustices against foreign teachers and what they are forced to endure at the hands of slave drivers and tyrants who manage and control ‘concentration camps’ disguised and ‘window-dressed’ as ‘international schools’ all in the name of ‘international education’!

        With the rise of tension, frustration and anger in teachers, I sense that one day soon, the boiling cauldron is going to explode and it will probably explode on the international arena! This might be beginning of a new global movement. I am eagerly waiting for this moment!

        Like

        • take_a_hike says:

          What a great posting. You are absolutely spot on by saying that issues in international teaching are getting worse by the year.

          At the substandard school that I am about to leave, teachers do not require a criminal record background check or indeed a proper credential check.. However, I was recently beyond shocked when one teacher who definitely has mental health issues, physically assaulted another teacher by slamming him against a wall and threatening him. The victim refused to respond and complained to administration who tried to brush it off as ‘nothing.’ The predator should have been immediately fired but wasn’t as he was buddy with the incompetent administrator and it is a school that has a hard time recruiting and keeping decent staff. He merely got a written warning which meant nothing. This gave him license to be verbally abusive to his victim when passing in the hallway to try and provoke an incident. He also bad mouthed him to other teachers and to students. Due to the lack of safety and ineffective administration, the victim a much more highly qualified teacher than the psycho.(whose problems stemmed in part from his inadequacy) decided there was no choice but to leave. If this had happened in the USA the police would have been involved and the school sued. Because of the location, the teacher victim had no recourse apart from a complaint to the embassy. I only hope the psycho doesn’t lose it again before the end of the school year and actually injure someone or attack a student. The administrator was angry that the victim vocally complained about the incident and as a result, blamed him and tried to say any complaints were ‘lies’ instead of behaving professionally and firing the guy! Some of these so-called international schools are frightening places and you really are on your own. Roll on June………….

          Like

          • Dave says:

            That is outrageous! The local police should have been called immediately and the owner should have fired the assaultive party and the administrator for failing to do his job. I am sure this is going to become more common in some of these unprofessional local owned schools.

            Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, a teacher in China who was unfairly fired by AIAN, took the director and school to court and won. She received 6 months salary as compensation. This arrogant rodent thought he could just fire ‘at will’ without written warnings or due process and got quite a shock. Interesting that China labor laws will work for everyone but I am sure it is stressful and costs having to lawyer-up. She also forced a reference out of the school and got a good job elsewhere.

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      • Janet Price says:

        I have known a number of foreign teachers in international schools in China that have depended on the local courts to handle tenancy, contractual payments and other workers’ right cases that have been pleasantly surprised at the outcomes. Administrators often do not expect to be challenged and when they are do not expect to be held legally responsible. At one time we were told that if we were hired at a job foreign fair our legal recourse was based on the country of hiring regardless of where we ended up working. I believe that international teachers are the largest unrepresented, unorganized group of migrant workers in the world. It would be interesting to know legalities of our collective situation, if any. Someday maybe the Search Assoc and CIS groups will address this.

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  7. Finding a school that welcomes older teachers is a real challenge. I am an American tech teacher (IT and design fields), over 60, in excellent health, highly certified and credentialed (PhD). I’ve taught in the US, UK, China and now in Australia. I’d love to be a remote/online teacher but international schools have not yet developed a need for online consulting/teaching. I’m betting that there are quite a few others like me that could add to school programs. Anything happening at you school(s) of interest in this area.

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    • Mature_Teach says:

      Dear Dr Janet, you need to explore schools in Myanmar – they love older teachers as they can hire them for a lower salary and fill positions that many mid-career teachers won’t take. Teaching in international schools there is largely unregulated. I am sure your expertise would be welcome and students would benefit greatly if you can stand the obnoxious local school owners and fake administrators that run some of them.

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      • Janet Price says:

        Hi Mature Teach,
        Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, disingenuous school boards and fake admin are part of the int’l school dynamic. I’ve visited Myanmar and the surrounding regions many time and can only hope the students and parents survive the confusion. Maybe I will re-investigate my options there. Cheers

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        • Simon says:

          There is also Cambodia or Vietnam.

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        • Anon says:

          Janet, there are people in their early 70s teaching in Myanmar. Try Yangon Academy. I left there when I was 60 by choice but they still hire mid to late 60 age group.OK it is not that great a school and the facilities are cramped and crowded but the kids are fun and you are left to do what you like in the classroom. You could easily deal with the joker who called himself “administrator” The Elementary Head is 72 so go figure.They are always looking for teachers.

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          • Pokemon says:

            Don’t know when you worked there Anon but I would recommend Janet avoid this place like the plague unless you want to be denigrated by the admin., worked into the ground, see local staff treated like slaves, work for a clueless twenty year old something spoilt rich local kid whose mom owns the school and has put him in charge. There are no facilities not even a library! Admin always lies to teachers. Some teachers are just there to collect a pay check and get away with anything. It is an example of the schools some of the other contributors are talking about and is all about profit and nepotism.

            Like

      • Global Nomad says:

        Have you tried Korea? They employ older teachers. Good luck! Hard to give up the addictive overseas teaching!

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      International educators need to be aware that it is impossible, or near impossible, to change schools after the age of 60 if you are a classroom teacher (it may be different for administrators, I don’t know). Despite an excellent track record, numerous qualifications, and recent high-quality professional development I have not been able to get a single school in the international sector to take an interest in my applications for English teaching posts in more than six months of trying. There is an undoubted over-supply in this subject area (huge numbers of young female English teachers, especially, chasing limited openings), but it is my age that I am convinced counts against me, despite being in very good health, as the first blogger also stated, and having up-to-date, recent experience.

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      • Simon says:

        Sorry to hear that and you are right about schools hiring young NQT or indeed, unqualified teachers as they are inexpensive and put up with poor housing or lower salaries. However, I am 62 and am leaving my current school this year and received several reasonable job offers for teaching science…. it is harder with English but China has a huge demand for teachers and will in some provinces take people up to the age of 65 – I know several over 60s who are working there. As someone else mentioned, there is also Myanmar or South America.

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        • Janet Price says:

          China is an interesting mix of Yes and No (lol). In 2012, I was working for a foreign-owned int’l school when, almost on a whim, the Shanghai-area govt. cancelled all teaching visas for those of us over 60. However, my partner was working for a long-established Chinese-owned English Language School the question of age never came up. Each year he was issued a new teaching visa up until we moved at age 70 when he left. I believe this was an effort to control the population and employment of teachers and the popularity of foreign schools while the PRC introduced their newly established English sections in domestic schools. I agree entirely that it is all subjective as I feel I could probably go back today, at 70, and find a local job. His salary was not that shabby by the end either!

          Like

          • LOL says:

            You are spot on with your analysis. Write an article about your international career for TIE or contact the New York Times. Lots of good info that should be exposed.

            Like

        • Anonymous says:

          A lot DOES depend on subject area, you are right: maths and science teachers are in shorter supply than English and humanities teachers. However, I would add that many schools on Search Associates UNDERSTATE the age limit for issuing a work visa in their country. I have found many examples where schools say the limit is 60 or 62 and yet when you go to that country’s immigration website no age limit is stated, or it is much higher. Is this incompetence, or are they actually concealing their own hiring policy behind the cover of a false legal requirement?

          Like

          • Anon says:

            There are agencies like Teacher Horizons or Teach Anywhere (I call it Teach Nowhere) that claim you are too old to be on their books at 55 or 60 as their schools won’t want you. However, when you contact individual schools it is a different story entirely.Avoid recruitment agencies, the waste the goodwill of your referees and seldom come through.

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  8. Susan says:

    I’ve moved my dog to three different countries and it was traumatic every time (for me, not for him!). I’ve also left him in my home country with friends and family, which has not worked out well. He has moved with me as excess baggage on the plane and travelled by himself. Do your research online, pick a company that is part of an international pet moving association, interview them (online or in person), and make sure you follow all your paperwork carefully.

    Like

    • Cat Lady says:

      Maybe time to get rid of the dog or stay in one place. Life is full of choices. I have moved my cats three times with no problems at all.

      Like

  9. Done That says:

    Looks like I’m the first one to jump on this opportunity. Here’s my situation. I’m here in South America and I plan to stay here through the summer months I’m trying to figure out how to get my dog here from Utah, USA.. I see companies on line but can I trust them is the big question? Anyone have any experience with this? Can someone recommend a company they have used already? I’m super paranoid when it comes to my dog who is right now at my parents house and starting to overstay his welcome.

    Like

    • omgarsenal says:

      Lufthansa and British Airways have an excellent reputation for handling pets securely and safely. I have used both in the past.Make sure your South American country will allow dogs in and what are the requirements, do this well before initiating arrangements with the airline. Do NOT let them sedate your dog as this has nefarious consequences for many breeds. Usually the airlines know how to handle such transportation. Make SURE that the cage they transport your dog in is large enough for him to stand up fully erect and with his head in its normal position.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Be aware that the breed of dog that you have can affect when you can fly them. I have a part pug and the airlines will not let him fly between may and september because he is a “smoosh” faced breed.

      Like

      • Done That says:

        Thanks everyone for all the info about dogs overseas. You’ve all given me some things to check into that had not occurred to me. Thanks omgarsenal for the info on the airlines and other tips.

        Like

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