I’m Choosing to Have a Good Overseas Experience

An ISR Member Offers Timely Advice:

I”m in my second year at XYZ International  School. Is the school as spectacular as represented by the director at the recruiting fair? Not quite. In fact, it’s not even close.

It’s not a bad school. But certainly not what I was led to believe by our illustrious leader. Last week I decided to write what I consider to be a factual ISR Review of this school. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep other international educators informed.

As it turns out, our director follows ISR like a watchdog. As such, he called an emergency faculty meeting right after my review was included in the ISR weekly newsletter. Following his senseless rant we were all “given the opportunity” to sign what amounted to a gag order, the alternative being….“pack your bags and go.” Essentially, we were agreeing to never post information or opinions about XYZ International School to ISR (or any other website). Yes, we all signed.

Violating the new gag order carries some heavy consequences, culminating in immediate termination and prosecution….”to the full extent of the law.” By signing, we also gave the school the right to financial compensation for any perceived loss of revenue which may result from a specific school review. That is, if they can figure out who wrote it. Good luck with that!

It’s no secret what happens when you tell a child to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Well, overnight two new reviews mysteriously appeared on ISR. If you know anything about ISR (and apparently our director does not) you already know your identity is completely protected when you submit a review. Whoever it was that posted the newest reviews did so knowing there would be no consequences, unless they included specific personal information that led straight to them. That they did not!

By mid-afternoon, via the school’s intranet (working for a change), the entire staff received an aggressively worded memo from the office. It looks like a witch hunt is on!

I know I acted truthfully and responsibly in sharing my experiences about this school. I also feel that for me, right now at this point in my life, I have a responsibility to myself to ignore the school’s shortcomings and make the most of this overseas experience. I’ve wanted to live in this part of the world for a very long time, and since nothing at this school flies in the face of my principles and/or integrity as an educator, there’s no reason to ruin this opportunity by obsessing on all that’s wrong here.

You can’t fix stupid and certainly not guys like the one running this school. If you’re in a similar situation, the choice is yours. You can focus on the negative and frustrate yourself until your blood pressure is off the charts, or you can choose to accept and work with the situation.

Is the glass half full or half empty? That’s open to debate and, to me, it kinda depends on what, exactly, is in that glass. My best advice:  Stay Positive!



ISR Invites your comments

6 thoughts on “I’m Choosing to Have a Good Overseas Experience

  1. A lot of bad schools out there. Was in one for 2 years in Turkey but really enjoyed it as no one took much of anything very seriously (the kids were taught well). After 27 years in international teaching I discovered that there are 4 things that make or break an experience;
    1. Housing 2. Good kids. 3. Paid on time. 4. no micro-managing. Meet those requirements and you will easily survive.


  2. Sometimes there really are no positives. I have successfully completed contracts in 4 different international schools, however, just this week FLED a school in “Asia” because not only was the administration toxic and bullying but lied, lied, lied, about everything from scheduling, length of workday, grade and subject to money, housing and how we get refunded for starting expenses (air, aduments, Visa, etc). I am out almost $4000 for being fool enough to lay out my own funds, which I have never been asked to do by a school before as well as having to sign my own housing lease, gas, electric and internet. Every international school has its own type of crazy going on, but Never-Never again!!! And yes- I WILL be leaving a revue and naming names.


  3. Hello everyone … we worling for the same system. It doesn’t matter you come late, you got deducted as well as you write with the wrong color or you are going in a hospital they not accept … you can hear it at any meeting, Follow me or leave. There are a lot of gag orders … more and more personal restrictions, mopping and bullying became admins hobby. However … as told, stay positive. Be calm … look for a new challenge, do not make too many compromises and go if you want go.

    Whatever the reason


  4. I am also at a very bad school. (It is in Asia, in case someone is thinking Middle East.) My 2 year contract ends this year. Like you, I have tried to stay positive. I focus on the factors I can control. Our admin is beyond toxic and controlling. Witch hunts, unsubstantiated accusations, and admin led cliques are every day features of life. I could rant on and on as my school and its large parent organization are fatally flawed for-profits pretending to be nonprofits—but won’t rant about all the problems, as I can’t change it. I choose, for my time left here, to make the best of it and help my students and colleagues. I posted on ISR a truthful review while on holiday in a different country (and using a friend’s computer- he is not working in the same country as I am) to further protect my identity as in countries with government control on internet everything is trackable and our school owners have connections. I will look for a new job. For those of you who say “Do your research…” The good admin left at the end of school year before I joined. They did not disclose this change would be happening. All new admin hired! So there were no negative ISR reports before I accepted their offer. My other friends were working at the school and said it was ok. (Now they are leaving too) I feel sorry for all teachers at these sorts of schools! At our next interview for a new job, the interviewer may ask, “I see you stayed only 2 years at those schools–why?” If we tell the truth the interviewer will think we are problem employees “complainers”. Really we deserve a gold medal for enduring those schools until the end of the contract! Of course we come up with clever, acceptable “reasons” why 2 years was enough…


  5. I think you’ve got to focus on the positives, and treat it as an experience that builds up your CV and acts as building blocks or steps. If you find a good one, you’ll stay longer.👍


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