I’m Running ‘Cause Ds & Cs Turn into As


“Do the math,” said our school director. “It’s simple. Robert earned a D on each of 2 tests. Add those up. One point each. That’s 2 points. Now factor in his 2-point C and the total becomes 4. An A at this school is 4 points so Robert should have seen an A on his report card, instead of the D+ you gave him. Just this morning his mother was in to show me the mistake.” 

Yes, I had made a mistake! A big one! It was painfully obvious now that I should never have returned to this hell-hole after summer vacation! Was I a glutton for punishment? Maybe. But now, back in the States for the Winter Holidays, I have no plans to return. I didn’t become an educator to play servant to rich, spoiled kids that can’t/won’t wipe their own rear-ends. The director may have put a price on his integrity. Not me!

There’s more. The school is systemically flawed, from the local-hires that bend and bow to parents and kids, to the head of maintenance who steals construction supplies on Sunday morning. I saw him do it! He loaded his truck with materials designated for the soccer field renovation and drove off. After I reported the episode to the director, he did nothing. He told me the man has a kid in the school on a hardship-scholarship, so who would he be punishing if he fired him? I’m thinking the director is getting a kick-back from the sale of these items…

My conscience won’t let me be a part of this place, plain and simple. I don’t like myself when I’m at this school. My self-esteem and integrity are at stake. Of course, they withheld our last paycheck before the holiday to ensure we returned. That should tell you something. Guess what? There are some things money can’t buy. I’m one of them!

I’m really curious. Anyone else doing a runner this holiday season? I think of it as a present to myself. How about you?

Happy Holidays!

Sincerely, K

P.S.  Some years ago I read a review in which a teacher told how their school director turned Ds into Bs using the very same logic. I thought the reviewer was making it up. Not anymore! Maybe that review gave my director the idea? It seems nothing is beyond possible in these schools. Thanks in advance ISR if you post this.

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26 thoughts on “I’m Running ‘Cause Ds & Cs Turn into As

  1. I can understand the moan and groan about corruption, working in private schools where owners are involved in school life, life in different cultural/economic/political systems etc. But why the whining about grades. Its the logic of cash for education, the logic of user pays system in education. Don’t feel bad our whole society is corrupted by cash, or that education is not an ivory tower, cocooned from this venal way of profit making that infects all aspects of life. Think of user pays in medicine where the results of this system are harsher and possibly life threatening. Changing a few grades is a walk in the park by comparison with little immediate impact.

    Roll with, smile, the whole system is rotten and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Besides, they pay your measly wages and to cross swords with ego and power over something as trivial as some grades is probably not in your best interest. The kids are going to go, mostly, to whatever university or school they wish to go to – because they have cash, lots of it. You changing a few grades is not going to change that trajectory. And if you think there is corruption in schools over a grades, then take a longer look at universities across the world: a sinkhole of venal cash making, where cash is king, come with an open wallet and they will take you. Numerous countries know in their hearts and gut that cash for higher education degrees has debased the whole enterprise, as the customer rules. A basic degree is now just an extension of high school, and they introduce new standards of “degrees’ to make money and for you to genuinely show you might have got educated. Think of Masters degrees as part of this money grubbing. Think of masters in education, outwardly it is meant to show you are dedicated to your profession, willing to pay cash to get up the next step in the career ladder, very rarely I would think in international school education does anyone enjoy or learn much, its more a right of passage to show you are a potential member of the next rung in the ladder of the ‘for profit international education system,’ tipping your hat to the folks above that you are willing to become one of them, you share their values that you personally are willing to fork out your own cash, so you can help extracted cash from others.

    Take heart, don’t think too much about it or let it eat your soul up too much. Heck why not go full on and accept personal bribes to make changes, don’t carry or spout a misplaced western attitude of holier than thou outrage, or swagger as a white savior from awful corruption, as it is western countries that lead the way in many of cash for education practices, thought to be fair, more so in higher education.

    Smile, suck it in, collect your wage and get on with enjoying life outside of school. Or continue to hit your head against a brick wall to your own personal detriment. First options are better.

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  2. I was called into the principals office just yesterday, because the school’s OWNER was not happy with the grades I gave his daughter.Yes- the owner. I just changed the grades.

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  3. worked for a school in Vietnam as a secondary principal and watched the parents bring money to the owner who changed failing grades to “A”s for kids that were dumber than a sack of rocks. Lots of school like this with no integrity. It’s all about the money.

    My experience after years of working abroad was this was common as were accrediting bodies licensing these schools. It’s all about money and a good “dog and pony show”. Just because a school advertises itself as having accreditation do your homework first before accepting a position. It’s probably all show!

    Just know this is how it is so don’t fight it – Western integrity is alien to most of the schools overseas.

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  4. Welcome to international education. Besides, who cares. I don’t care if my grades are changed. Life will eventually catch up with cheaters. Just enjoy the country you are in and don’t worry about the rest,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is a spectrum of disorder at many schools not just international. The moment governments, via bureaucrats made teachers increasingly responsible to be a fix it parent was the slippery slide to grade manipulation and kids/parents running schools. Fee paying schools, even not for profit need to keep their clients so they will facilitate the impression that kids are brilliant. Where is the fun in this for teachers, find a group of people you enjoy working with in a location you like and with most of the students. Make the most of the remnants of the old factory model school system because many students will learn from you and provide a level of satisfaction at grass roots in the classroom and via their candid comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One has to be careful with IB internal assessment – in a school in China where I worked last year students and parents expected that teachers would provide extra, detailed help with IA work, thus bending / breaking clear IBO rules on this aspect. I suspect that some may even have written the IA work for their students. So beware – do not compromise yourself in this area. The student must do the work. Do not bow to pressure from unscrupulous managers and parents.

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  7. The IB itself cannot be compromised. The exams are graded thousands of km. away. What goes around comes around. As long as you get paid on time, have good accommodation, good kids and no micromanagement, go along, finish your contract, and laugh about it. Its not you, its them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with the fact that IB can not be compromised. Having been an examiner with them for the past ten years, I can vouch for the fairness of grading system and their authentic assessment processes that leaves no room for manipulation of grades. Go for teaching in an IB curriculum, the most satisfying professional experience you can ever expect…..

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    2. AM, I’m sorry, but maybe the grading isn’t compromised( I don’t believe You!!), but the school I was teaching at in Mexico did compromise the IBO, by having the IB people who interviewed me tell me that the school wasn’t worth anything, but money had changed hands and it would be accepted no matter my objections and then I resigned, but was told I would have been fired, if I hadn’t resigned, because I wasn’t a team player.. By the way, if money passing hands to admit a school as IB what would stop money from passing hands to have grades changed.. Especially when the grades go back into the schools and parents hands.. Please don’t give me this doesn’t happen, if you accept corrupt schools from the third world this will happen I’ve seen it first hand, both in Mexico and in the Dominican republic, so like I said, before I don’t believe you!!

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  8. I taught at a school in Australia many years ago and refused to change marks and comments on one child’s report. So the Principal did which then made the report sound like a different child. I refused to sign it!! To this day, I have no idea if the Principal forged my signature on the report or sent it to the parents unsigned!!!

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  9. I’ve never had this happen in any school, stateside or abroad. It is illegal in my state and a teacher can sue if it happens. However, in my first job in my state, I was STRONGLY encouraged to give nothing lower than 60% even if a student had done nothing. At first I was horrified, but my mentor teacher pointed out that (according to the way grades were configured in those days) if a student had a 59% or less in the first semester, there was no way to pass the course.

    However, if my grades were ever changed, I don’t know if I would do a runner, but I definitely wouldn’t renew my contract!

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  10. Never have done a runner. Always given a short answer that I intend to leave and in time left. Idle threats from employers doesn’t affect me. Grade inflation is far too common these days and the earliest indications are when reports are published. You only have to compare them with actual exam grades.Even UK Ofsted has fudge this issue. Just goes to show where the problem lies and DfE is the office which has oversight which is accountable to the PM. A leader who says the right words but these are far too often empty words. An issue which has lacked action from previous leaders. But life has to go on and we all need to see this whole life through.

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  11. About 15 years ago, I had grades changed at a public high school in New York. I was told state law allowed administrators to change any grade at any time without informing the teacher. Sadly, it’s pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I did not do a runner, but I did leave a school in Saudi Arabia when my contract ended because grades changed during the summer after my first year there. The director was eventually removed, but I would never return to that school.

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  13. I worked in a school like this in Guatemala City. Not only were we strongly “encouraged” to raise the students’ grades, the director was busted with $50K US that he had accepted from parents as gifts. In the end the piper has to be paid. The kids of parents who pay for grades go on to attend colleges and universities in the States and Europe and quickly fail out and return home. Back home, they attend a local university where there parents money buys them a diploma. Eventually they take over the family business and loose it. Imagine knowing that your entire life is a farce with a phony façade paid for by your parents? No one is doing anyone any favors by continuing this cycle. And it’s not just happening in the developing world!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I had every intention of pulling a Christmas runner this year, but the school folded before I had the chance. Turns out, the director was siphoning money out of the school coffers, which explains why we never had materials and our salaries were consistently short. He’s run similar scams in Taiwan, China, and Mongolia. Poland was his latest caper.

    Every teacher’s due diligence should include researching their prospective director not only ISR, but also LinkedIn, Interpol, and national newspapers.

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  15. My own recent and extensive experience as an expatriate teacher in three different schools on three different continents tells me that this behavior by international school administrators has
    Become endemic, and that a large part of the blame for it should be assigned to the International Baccalaureate Organization, which regularly authorizes schools which are incapable of delivering a true version of the Middle Years or the Diploma Programme, and therefore constantly engage in the kind of “malpractice” described here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pat, You are so right.. I just quit a school in the Mexican city of Tehuacan which was just visited by the IBO and was accepted by the IBO for the DP program.. Some of the teachers don’t even have a BA from an accredited University.. Some of the teachers have no licenses.. The owners of the school demand that no student fail.. All of my grades were moved up from a 70 or 60 percent into the 80% range.. When I was interviewed by the IBO people I was told the School was going to get their accreditation even though the school is an academic JOKE!
      I protested and I quit, but as I quit I was told, if I hadn’t quit I was going to be fired, because I wasn’t a team player!!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. This is an interesting comment regarding IBO. I cannot confirm nor deny your experience. However, I strongly feel that the MYP program is significantly less developed than the DP program. The documentation and support for the MYP Projects from IBO is a joke.

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    3. This obviously isn’t an ib school if they are grading in letter format. I think the IB is a great way to keep this from happening with external grading

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  16. Ive been in a school where we had to ensure that students got no less than 60%. I think its very common in certain parts of the world. I also think that this happens at all levels of this school and in this country. I would never have my kids in a school like this. Nor would I ever teach in one again.

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