School Not as Described

Educators who rely solely on the word of an interviewer may soon find they committed to two years in a city hard-pressed to offer enough points of interest to even fill an afternoon stopover.

Alarm bells should clang if an interviewer makes statements such as:  “It’s the best kept secret.” Or, “It was once the Paris of the East.”

Sadly, there ARE school Directors who will say just about anything to lure unsuspecting educators to their poorly located schools, knowing full well that once they’re there it’s not so easy to leave.

What’s your options when you arrive at a new school, only to find things are 180 degrees out from how they were described? In other words, What do you do when you’ve fallen prey to a con man?

Possible solutions:

A) If you’re financially solvent and can afford to walk out, consider taking the next flight home. The financial consequences of such actions are something not many of us are able to absorb, so this option may be off the table.

B) Hang in there and collect a few paychecks. Then, jump ship at the first long vacation. This way, you’ll have a few bucks under your belt and no one will wonder why you’re headed to the airport with a couple of big suitcases in hand.

C) Do as many (most?) of us would do:  Suck it up and make the best of it. Walking out on a Contract could do irreparable damage to your career. But then again, it IS your life we’re talking about.

It’s your career. It’s your future. There should be consequences for Directors who deceive educators into accepting positions that are far different than represented. As it stands, deceiving people out of their money can be a punishable offense, yet there are no consequences for deceiving educators into spending years of their life in some hellhole of a location.

With the school year getting underway, we’re seeing some recent ISR School Reviews exposing Directors who purposely misled educators into a lousy location. If you find yourself in such a situation, ISR encourages you to submit a School Review to warn your colleagues.  International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is What ISR is All About!   Send a School Review

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20 thoughts on “School Not as Described

  1. PS- added to my last rant, there are NO STORES HERE- NONE!!! After I had a fit the school offered to drive by bus to the 35 minutes away once a week- And since we are in the mountains walking anywhere is IMPOSSIBLE!!!


  2. I am at a school right now for just a week and am ready to bolt, a huge problem is it is a 3-hour ride from Beijing with NO TAXIS, BUSES or any mode of transportation here. Once here, you are trapped. For literally the only apartments in the area the rent is 4500 yuan a month and we are given a 2000 allowance have NO AIRCONDITIONING and we pay or own electric, water, gas, and internet. The first month’s deposit comes out our pay without the 2000 stipend so the whole amount, plus the 2500 hundred rent clipped from 1 check. We pay our own air flying in, pay all our own document authentication. All the school pays is for our visa. On top of that, I have had a fever and stomach flu- throwing up and just being sick and there are NO doctors in the area OR transportation. If I can get transportation out of here I am GONE this weekend. And I’ll kiss the over $3500 USD I have thrown away as a bad investment. How they made this all sound good I don’t know except to say they lied-lied-lied…


  3. The biggest enablers to these Directors are the recruiting agencies themselves. Search and ISS are perfectly fine peddling lies so long as their bottom line is not impacted. Teachers are nothing more than $$ to both them and the schools. It was not until I arrived in SE Asia that I learned that brochure pictures I’d been shown at an ISS fair of the apartments were pictures from the DIRECTOR’S flat and not the one I’d be living in.
    The head of Admissions would take pictures of the white children, all five of them, and use them to inflate the “International” diversity. They knew what they were doing, they knew it was a falsehood. However, they all sold it as literally “Alternative Facts” and that I had made assumptions based on the brochure.
    I eventually just left and never looked back. The school black listed me on recruiting platforms for shining a light on fraud and embezzlement. The 401k plan was illegal and designed as a tax shelter for the Admin team. These schools are nothing more than multi-level marketing schemes owned by wealthy locals to enrich their families. Nothing more and nothing less.


  4. Choose option 1 at any cost. Anyone is allowed to take a career break. You have a sick parent; a relative to place in care. Just go – and choose another of the many unfilled positions anywhere you fancy.
    If you have just arrived in Oman and about to start as an early years teacher or indeed any teacher at AGS Global School, Muscat then get the hell out now!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When the recruiter is in your home province, is listed as a School Director and has regular meetings with the Provincial Education Authority in your province-you would tend to believe that you will find a school that is not full of rats that will make you ill, regulations, that the rules and safety precautions in place are actually followed and that the benefits as written are actual ! Then when you as a certified and experienced educator and Principal report to the Recruiter/School Director and MB Education that the rat feces are making you ill, the rules for HS graduation are being broken and the safety requirements are ignored…guess what…you become one of the revolving door casualties missing $$$ owed to you…while the school in Dhaka keeps rolling right along…even when reported to Education Canada their ads are still there luring in more Canadian educators !


  6. What school is exactly as advertised? We have to be smart and do our research beforehand. If we don’t that is on us.

    Most issues with schools really aren’t false advertisement or lack of being correct, they are simply issues of not as we expected. The school is the school, facilities, faculty and all. It may just not be what you envisioned in your mind. If that is the case, suck it up. Do better research and ask better questions.

    On occasion, schools are misrepresented. Salaries, duties, expectations, discipline, school culture, etc. Sometimes, intentionally misrepresented. That is an issue on the school. ISR is a great place to comment on the school and the issues. But make sure it is an actual issue and not just a misconception you have.

    IF nothing else, be professional about it. If you don’t like the way things are going. Talk to the admin about it. Make professional decisions about leaving the school rather than just pulling a runner or surprising them with you leaving.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happens even in so called tier one schools. I’m in early years in probably the most well known British chain of schools in China. Safeguarding is everything…on paper. The reality is it is quite unsafe. Playground behaviour is irresponsible and allowed – dangerous behaviours are repackaged as “risk taking”. Not enough safeguarding measures are in place. There is precious little planning that’s really put in action for very young children’s safety. Rules are bent and very young children (2 and a half, should be 3) and those who are not toilet trained are accepted for a full school day (with no nap time). The school CEO recently remarked how the world is facing an environmental crisis and the collective schools must come up with plans to educate and equip children to deal with this…. well resource waste is huge just huge- kids can trash resources at this school, “they are learning” apparently. A single child can use gallons of water just to have fun. It’s very disappointing


  8. I’ve finished close to three weeks in my sixth posting, and I’m loving it. Luckily for me, none of my previous schools were truly unendurable, and two of them were excellent. The iSR reviews from teachers of the school I’m in now were BAD, and almost made me not consider my current position. Then a good friend, who new the whole situation, filled me in. Many teachers in this school were let go, justifiably, and were not happy about it, so they slammed the school. Read reviews carefully for the motives of the posters, and as many teachers have stated on this site, do your homework. Gather as much information as you can, especially from as many teachers as possible in a prospective school. International teaching connections, if you have them, are far-reaching; you may not personally know anyone in a school of interest, but the chances are good that “a friend of a friend” will tell you the truth about a school.


    1. You sound like a school director trying to belittle ISR. My bet is someone said some true things about your school and you can’t handle it. Shame on you!! People like you try to prove yourself right by discrediting people with legitimate gripes. You and Trump have lots in common.


    2. Or… he/she is just telling the truth. The advice, to do your own research beyond just read the ISR reviews, is sound. If you do that, you’ll find out what the school is like anyway, and that might be just as it’s painted on ISR, or it might not be.
      And I don’t see the comparison with Trump, also because the sentences are coherent.


    3. Shame on you, for jumping to conclusions without any actual facts.
      You wouldn’t tell/let students use a single source, so what Anonymous said about reading carefully and doing further research is a perfectly valid point.

      Also, there are very few schools on here that don’t have an overwhelming number of negative reviews; a lot of people come on here to b**** and moan.


  9. If you go overseas you must realize that you will rarely find good working/living conditions. I have been at 7 schools, only 1 was good. The other 6 were truely dreadful but not a threat to my personal safety so I sucked it up and stayed to end of contract. Many schools are filled with untruthful administrators who are incompetent and run staff as if it is a popularity contest. You can be subject to unfounded accusations, random “disciplinary” actions against you for no reason, sexual harrassment, etc. Very few parts of the world have unlimited freedom or protections for workers. The really sad part is you must usually get a positive letter of reccomendation from current school to get next job. Using the two big employment agencies also is no guarantee of school quality.

    Always look at what is in your own best interest because guaranteed no one will be looking out for you ever. Do not even consider going overseas until you have enough cash banked to cover 3 months living expenses.

    If you arrive and it is really beyond terrible, it will NOT get better. Leave immediately and do NOT list it on your CV. There are NO perfect places so try to reserve this leaving option if things are really intolerable across multiple areas. Listen to your own inner warning voice, it is always right. I get the phone number for a taxi service at the airport before I get picked up by my new school, just in case plus a sim card. Luckily I never needed to use it but better prepared than not.
    Be ready to do an all smiles, mouth closed, suck it up dance at most schools around the world. Rarely give your opinion, best to look thoughtful and say, “I never thought about it.” Always be agreeable unless it violates your core ethics. In many countries grades are bought with money- impossible to change local culture. I don’t teach anymore in the Middle East or China because of this. If asked “How is this country/school/apartment” the correct answer is usually “Fantastic”. Do not talk about previous schools or countries as it may be used against you. Keep work and personal life far apart.


    1. Shame on you for writing such appeasing rubbish on ISR. What you are advocating for is a see no evil, hear no evil and speak platitudes and outright lies so YOU can slither through your overseas experience while unsuspecting candidates fall into the same unbearable conditions you refuse to reveal! I see why you prefer to remain anonymous…..because you cannot stomach the justifiable criticism you’d surely receive from true educators. Isn’t one of the greatest qualities of any educator the ability to truthfully stand up for fellow educators, rather than tell them to suffer in silence?


    2. Agree but the invisible aug.22.2019 anonymousey isn’t warning anyone, they’re advising people to submit to whatever is happening and pretend that it doesn’t exist…..not the same as actually calling out bad schools by name and with specifics.


  10. It’s also your responsibility to do due diligence before you go. You can research the location with a quick google search, and you can ask to correspond with current teachers before you accept the position. If they’ve enlisted teachers to lie, that’s a whole other kind of fraud, but if you ask the right questions, you can almost always get accurate information from fellow teachers.


    1. Yeah, research is important. Not only on the school but also the country and the political situation.Look at inflation and factors like housing, power cuts and water shortages. I got totally scammed by a school in Khartoum , Nile Valley aka Vile Valley. When doing your homework, see who owns and manages the school and what the turnover of directors and teachers is. Stay away from unaccredited schools in grotty old buildings as this will give you a big clue!!!!!.


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