Surprising Survey Results

Considering the quantity of School Reviews, both good and bad, that fill the pages of International Schools Review, our recent survey  What’s Your Next Step?  — produced some unanticipated results.

Of the 357 Educators who took our survey, a  full 80% of International Educators are staying in the game. Of the remaining respondents, just 5.3% said they will be breaking Contract.

It’s this number that surprised us. At ISR, we anticipated more Educators could be breaking Contract due to the increase in School Reviews from teachers obviously completely disgusted with their schools.

ISR Asks:

*  Is the fact 20% of International Educators are dropping out, some “unannounced” to their schools as of yet, an indication that job openings will be popping up in the near future? Is now the time to contact schools directly or are sudden vacancies just prior to the new school year a red light?

* Are International Educators willing to stick out truly awful schools, as reviewed on ISR, in order to keep the door open for a future opportunity to recruit for a better school?

*  Are International Educators willing to put up with the abuses outlined in some School Reviews simply for the opportunity to live overseas?

Please scroll to participate in this Discussion

14 Responses to Surprising Survey Results

  1. Anonymous says:

    In a lot of these crappy little schools, contracts don’t mean anything and if you have a bad administrator you will get a negative reference anyway. If your sanity is at risk, it is not worth staying. I totally understand people who break contract especially when they have tried it for awhile. Most of these schools think nothing of dumping a teacher when it suits them – where is the contract value then?


  2. mbkirova says:

    A few years back I ran into some difficulties in my American school because a handful of jerks decided you had to have this or that degree/cert to continue, but tg this only lasted a few years and those generally unpopular folks are gone. These were the typical breed of those who cannot adjust to international/local conditions and are trying to create Little America is a place it doesn’t belong. My school is now under more local and practical admin and are more concerned about whether you are doing your job well and that the students like you instead of what paperwork you come with. They begged me to return, and while the pay is not great, the cost of living is low and the students are excellent, something I would not say about the better paid jobs I took elsewhere in between my contracts.


  3. Carla Magenheimer says:

    I’m in a school that has its problems, but I’m staying put for now. I had really planned on retiring and moving back to the US, but with the political situation going on there, I will stay here as long as I need to. It’s not a well paid position, but I’m tired of moving and starting over, so I’ll adapt. I love living here, which makes the job bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael Rossouw says:

    It would be interesting to find out what the survey showed regarding those teachers who are now considered “too old” to teach in an international school.

    Blog Moderator Note:
    you can see those results at the following link. Scroll to the survey and then click the “see results” option at the bottom of the survey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark says:

    People don’t want to break contract because it looks bad on the CV. Even leaving after a year by mutual consent looks bad on a CV. Which is why people stick it out.

    A lot of international teachers are also older. And getting a new jog becomes increasingly difficult after 50. Especially if you didn’t finish the last contract.

    At age 60 I will be starting a new job in UAE, which is a three year contract. I will finish the contract and probably renew it. Even if there are frustrations.


    • Lew says:

      If you break contract, you leave it off your CV or have a good reason for doing so. Not such a big deal as it used to be.


      • Anonymous says:

        After one year, I was asked to volunteer to resign and was then replaced by a local hire the following August. I would like to have stayed but the school was shuffling people and let some go to save money. I put it on my resume but got no interest after that from reputable schools even though it was not my decision to break contract. I have learned that contracts are for the employer and they assume we are cowered into completing contracts for fear of not getting a good reference or not committed. But I was committed and happy to stay. Try explaining that to a new employer.


  6. Everyone puts up with some level of crap to keep the lights on. I stayed with my bad school for 2 years to avoid the expense of moving and the possibility of getting into an even worse situation elsewhere. And I’m glad I did! Being in this particular city has opened up a wide variety of unexpected non-international school related opportunities, and now when my contract ends next week, I will be leaving international education in order to pursue those opportunities full time. Never would have happened if I hadn’t been willing to swallow some you know what in the meantime. It’s amazing how much of that stuff your system can tolerate once you get used to it!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Not Again says:

    I thought the “breaking contract” group would be much bigger. There is also the “taking a break” group and the “leaving international education for good”, group. So it’s looking like about 15% of teachers leaving the field are voluntarily leaving, with 5% of that group so desperate to leave that they are breaking their contracts.

    When I first got into international ed. about 15 years ago there were far less of these phony school that are in it only for the money. Years back the schools came into existence because expat parents and embassies needed a place to send their kids to school. The emphasis was on education. Today it seems most of these schools just need some white faces with US diplomas to make themselves look like and “American” school.

    I salute the teachers that had the guts to walk away from a bad situation. If enough of us do the same at crap-hole school they will be forced to improve

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anonymous says:

    I AGREE with the above response. Money is a big part of being overseas. If you are lucky enough to get into a school that has a decent salary, pension, housing provided and health care… It’s difficult to leave and come back to the US where things are pretty tight especially in Public Education.
    The lifestyle overseas is often exciting and addicting. That was a big appeal for me and many of my friends.
    Most school’s problems aren’t serious enough to break a contract. I feel for people who are genuinely stuck in a bad situation and have to break a contract. The stress of the situation plus worrying if you are still someone people will hire must be extremely difficult.


  9. JS says:

    My guess is many people are in it for financial reasons and stick out bad situations to secure their financial security or goals. It’s probably the same in home country- people stay in miserable situations because change means risk and they prefer the “devil they know”. Also, recruiters do a great job scaring international educators into thinking if they break contract they will be blackballed — even teachers repeat this to coworkers! Of course, it’s untrue, but recruiters know that you leaving makes their job harder as schools will recruit elsewhere.
    I admire the 5% who actually leave toxic contracts and expect better for themselves and risk a little insecurity in order to find a healthier environment.


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