I was an International Schools Recruiter – The Industry is Racist


For some time, I was a placement consultant at an American recruitment agency for international schools, mainly in China. The anti-Black racism that I was complicit in and benefited from while working there is something I’m ashamed of; more shameful would be not speaking out so that others can understand how this industry wo
rks from the inside, the practices that are commonplace, so that we can begin to dismantle it. The individuals I worked alongside were largely well-meaning white people. However, I hope to explain here the practices that made my former employer complicit in racism and discrimination, and by shining a light on the industry, I hope to encourage recruitment agencies to do better and work for change.

At my former employer, the majority of placement consultants were young twenty-somethings, mostly white. We each started out making a small salary that wasn’t enough to live on in our city, but were given a commission for every person we placed in a school. Once you had made a certain amount of money for the company, you were moved up a level as a placement consultant, which led you to make a higher commission.

Recruitment agencies are complicit participants in the racism in the teach-abroad industry, and it’s time to do something about it.


The company was paid a percentage of the salary of the hired teacher, which would motivate placement consultants to spend more time working with teachers who would make more money. We were actively encouraged
not to ‘waste our time’ working with candidates for whom it would be difficult to find a job. A principal position at a large international school in a major city would bring in more money for the company than a placement at an English-language training center, which are the types of schools where you could typically place Black candidates. Even there, Black candidates would be offered jobs less often than their white counterparts, and would make less money.

Schools are significantly more likely to hire white or light-skinned candidates. Many schools will reject any Black candidates they receive.

A quick detour to lay some groundwork on how we worked with each candidate:  first, we would receive their resume, which was randomly assigned to a placement consultant. Each individual consultant would review it and decide to either reach out to them or not. If we wanted to work with them, we would interview them and then send them some positions we felt they’d be qualified for. If they were interested we’d apply on their behalf by passing their information to the colleague who managed the relationship with that school, who would further vet the candidate by reviewing their information and then either passing them on to the school or deciding not to. We had agreements with all of the schools we worked with and they were able to specify what they were looking for in a candidate. They were allowed to tell us they would not consider Black candidates. They were also allowed to change their minds — if they told us they were no longer considering Black candidates, we would stop sending them.

Internally, we were made to refer to candidates as either Level 1 or Level 2. Level 1 candidates were white or light-skinned. Level 2 candidates were Black or Asian. In the recruitment system we used to track candidates and schools, each candidate had to be labeled as Level 1 or 2, and each school was labeled as either accepting Level 2 candidates or not accepting Level 2 candidates.

Often, the internal employees who managed relationships with the schools would impose a limit on sending Black or Asian candidates for a position. I would receive responses along the lines of, “Sorry, I’ve already sent a few Level 2 candidates for this one and want to send some Level 1s now.” It was treated as if all Black candidates were the same. The thought was that the schools would be displeased if we sent them too many Black candidates, no matter their qualifications, even if they would technically consider them. And so, in order to preserve the relationship with the school over the success of our candidates and the Black teachers we worked with, we did not. Within the company, we were gatekeepers, barring qualified candidates of any opportunity to interview with a school.

It was especially difficult for Black South Africans. Despite their status as native English language speakers (often bi- or tri-lingual), schools were heavily prejudiced against hiring them. One of my supervisors told me that if the person had a ‘tribal-sounding name’ they would be harder to place and we should consider not working with them, as it would be a ‘waste of time.’

Multiple times, I would have two South African applicants together — friends who had met at school, usually, and wanted to teach abroad. One would be white and the other, Black. They’d have the same qualifications and same amount of experience. The white teacher would typically be given an interview and an offer within 2–3 weeks. Her Black counterpart would be passed up time and again, either by those within our company or by the school itself.

I could typically place a white candidate at any level within a few weeks. There were many times I worked with Black candidates for months, sending them to every school who would consider them and some who would not, and raked in rejections in the dozens. Most of the time, I was able to ultimately place them, but it was often not for the salary or at the level they deserved. It usually took months and tenacity on the part of the candidate not to stop applying for jobs and interviewing. It was incredibly disheartening. Myself and many of my fellow placement consultants worked tirelessly to get our Black candidates hired, but were actively discouraged by management from spending this much time on a single candidate, especially on a Black candidate. We were often told to just cut ties. At the end of the day, our time affected the bottom line because of the commission-based model of the company.

Recruitment companies benefit directly from the racist hiring practices of these schools. Just before I quit my job, we were advised internally to no longer work with Black South Africans at all, as schools were rarely hiring them at that point. There was no attempt to push back at these hiring practices. Management was beholden to earnings and success. There was a focus on how we could save our own skin, how we could use our own time to make more money. There was no discussion about cutting ties with schools that racially discriminated throughout the entire time I was there.

Recruitment companies benefit directly from the racist hiring practices of these schools. They have no incentive to change, and have monetary incentive to institute racist practices of their own.

What comes next, I don’t know. Change needs to happen at many levels. But it can start with the individual, with hiring managers, placement consultants, and recruitment companies refusing to go along with and benefit from discriminatory practices. If you aren’t actively working against discrimination, you’re complicit in it. Your money is dirty. Your success has come at the expense of qualified Black teachers and administrators around the world who were not given a chance, of students who, year after year, learn only from white teachers, many of whom are less qualified than Black applicants who were passed up for the job. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to the racism you perpetuate. It’s time to fight against it.

Note: I originally planned on writing and posting this with my name as well as the name of the company attached. I don’t think we’re in a place now nationally in the U.S. or globally to be hiding people’s bad deeds for the sake of their privacy and comfort. This being said, I could not open myself up to any potential legal action that my former employer could have taken against me by attaching either my name or their name to this. Further, while these practices are common at my particular former company, I’m certain they’re in place at others as well. No one should be off the hook. The focus shouldn’t be on one company: let’s focus on them all.

Sincerely,

Anonymous Ex-Recruiter

(This Article was condensed and reproduced with permission from the author, Anonymous Ex-Recruiter)

Comments? Please scroll down to participate

94 Responses to I was an International Schools Recruiter – The Industry is Racist

  1. Anonymous says:

    God help us all to change our minds and perceptions.

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Many parents who pay high fees for their students to go to elite International Schools do so because they believe they are giving their children the key to the world.
    Their view of this world is ” a US ivy league or an Oxbridge education. This world to these parents is English speaking and “white”. I worked at an International school with the majority of teachers being “white”, and from England. These teachers also fell short of expectation as many had accents other than Standard BBC English.
    Many parents found it hard to understand, dialects from Manchester, East End London and Cornish. Strangely, they believed that my Australian accent was a closer fit to what they deemed standard.

    Then there are issues of behaviour management. If the school has challenging students, teachers from Asia, who are used to highly disciplined compliant students, often have difficulty with classroom control. Naturally, these perceptions are generalisations and have no bearing on individual skills and attributes.

    The lens on equity in hiring has always been on white hiring practices and ignores the longstanding endemic racism that exists elsewhere. In Asia, the “the white monkey”, is still used to attract students to an educational institution, regardless of competency. I’m not sure how this situation can be turned around, when there is no domestic will.

    Like

  3. JREWING says:

    Many thanks to the author for being so honest and explaining in precise detail what some of us have experienced all too often.

    Like

  4. US Marshal says:

    If you call out someone as a white supremacist or white privilege, then you are marking that person to be hunted and that violence against that person is justified. This is on the same level as Al Qaeda.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      @US Marshal, as much as we may want to skirt around the issue of racism by clouding the topic with big words such as Al Qaeda, white supremacist or white privilege, the fact remains that discrimination based on colour is bad. It is an injustice that can not be wished away by simply diverting away from the topic.

      Let us all say that racism is bad and acknowledge that some international schools, recruitment agencies and associated recruiters have promoted it; can you say otherwise?

      Do you support them for promoting it? I am sure that THE ANSWER IS NO !

      Like

  5. Anonymous says:

    Racism is real and all over the world, it is being tackled appropriately.

    We have seen IB (a respected education organization) take a stand, we have seen EPL ( a respected football league in UK) take a stand and we have seen many forward thinking organizations and people take a stand against racism. Racism is there and we are fighting it in all fronts – including in international education.

    I have lost many job opportunities because of my race (black African) but I am also grateful that I have managed to get jobs from Asia and Africa in those international schools that did not view me solely as a black African.

    I have emails and even video recordings related to job interviews which prove that racism is REAL.

    Like

  6. Dismayed Observer says:

    Let’s get back on topic. Teachers don’t get a true insight into their host countries, no matter how hard they try. Having worked in education and business in China, I have some insights. Firstly, you need to understand that their racist attitudes are in the most part the product of CCP propaganda. Their upbringing, and to some extend their education, teaches them that they are from a separate, superior, branch of humanity. On their branch, they are the natural leaders of the world due to their innate superiority (this attitude is also present in South Korea and Japan). This means all others are inferior. secondly, until very recently, white people were treated differently. They needed white majority rich western countries to line their coffers by buying everything from them. This demoted non-whites on economic return potential alone. So, the racism is endemic in Chinese society, not just educational recruitment. So let’s not beat up international education……China needs it more than most to counter the propaganda.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      China has racism everywhere. Now there are so many viral videos of blacks in America punching women, elders, or ganging up on anyone. Why don’t the Chinese show videos of white men assaulting innocent people in America. This is racist.

      Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    Minors are already taking charge, if adults fail, they will take over.

    Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Riots and random violence by young blacks in America are feeding the fear of hiring and working with young black people

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Do people ever say this when white men and boys are shooting up entire schools and murdering people en masse? Stop with this nonsense.

      Like

    • mbkirova says:

      This stuff is really off-topic. Racism in hiring has been going on..since international schools started.

      Like

  9. abie says:

    Well the world is so unfair. I am of Asian extraction (not oriental). I am a retired chemistry teacher now (thank god). I felt I had always been put at the end of the queue for selection throughout my career. I had never had a chance as long as a white equivalent candidate existed. Nonetheless, there had always been schools that needed me as I had been in the shortage subject category.
    At the end of my career I had been applying for chemistry positions in dubai etc. They hire white recruiters and they tend to select teachers who look like them. I have been told that non-white schools in middle east prefer white teachers. There is a saying ‘it’s a white man’s world’.

    Like

  10. FredSanford says:

    Racism worldwide will get worse. Media clips of looting, burning down stores, violence, wicked behavior, all will paint a terrible visual memory of what happened in America within the black community

    Like

    • Unfortunately most of that violence was perpetrated and carried out by people who were not part of the protest but rather outside agitators whose motive was to make the protesters look bad and foster racism. The media, which loves sensationalism, then picks up on those clips and promote them worldwide.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Parents dont need to bow to radicalized racists. When the parents see black people on the media committing violence, they can demand more safety for their own child. The author here most likely is not a parent. To him or her everything is simple minded. Like pattern recognition that all creatures can use. Simple racism and racism to protect their own child

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      @ FredSanford and Co. you are missing the point. What is the point? The point is that racism is bad and no parent out there wants to bring up a kid that thinks, leave alone practice, racial behavour.

      Another related key point is that many international schools out there have condoned, practiced and even celebrated racism either knowingly or unknowingly. Unfortunately, it is mainly the black people all over the world, ( mainly from South America, North America, Africa and Europe), who have suffered as a result.

      Have you ever thought about inter-racial marriages; their suffering as result of discrimination?

      I NOW THAT GOOD PARENTS OUT THERE WILL NEVER CONDONE RACISM, IRRESPECTIVE.

      Like

  11. George says:

    This problem is not just in Asia. I’ve seen it also in central America. Expecting recruitment agencies to change is silly. Recruitment agencies discriminate based on race, religion, etc because that is what the private institutions want. And those private institutions discriminate because that is what the parents / clients desire.
    As long as private institutions focus on profit and not quality, this type of discrimination will only go away by getting the parents / clients to change their views.

    Like

  12. Jane Taylor says:

    This situation is sadly a very accurate picture of my experience living in China, where black teacher friends from the US were treated really badly by schools and frequently the subject of overt racism by many people they encountered. This was 20 years ago and I hoped things had improved, but it seems not.

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    What the author states is prevalent in the Far East. As a school director, I was, on several occasions, told by the school owner who not to hire. The “not to hire” list was not limited to people of color, but also of difference religious beiefs or sexual orientation. I left the school after only one year, and this was one of the major reasons.

    Since that experience, I have intentionally looked to diversify my staff at my current school. Some job fairs offer much more diveristy than others, and that is why I continue to choose these over others. I am happy to say we have Black, Brown, White and LGB teachers on staff, and guess what? They are amazing teachers!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      So you have intentionally looked to diversify your staff. To me, that sounds like you intentionally looked to recruit black, brown, and LGB teachers, right? And you hired those teachers over white heterosexual teachers, right? That’s racism and discrimination based on sexual orientation. So how are you better than those racist recruiters mentioned? I’m pretty sure you feel good about yourself and your actions with the caveat that the ones you hired are such amazing teachers. I’m sure the white teachers you rejected were amazing, too. But you’ll never find that out. Hypocrite.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree that he/she is a hypocrite. Looked at in a holistic way, this is excellent and maybe part of the solution to racism. What is wrong with the statement below?

      “I have intentionally looked to diversify my staff at my current school. Some job fairs offer much more diversity than others, and that is why I continue to choose these over others.”

      He/she said that this was done to DIVERSIFY the staff and not to EXCLUDE.

      He/she is simply saying that, please consider all and all in this case is called DIVERSITY.

      Now, racism is something totally different: it EXCLUDES and DISCRIMINATES, solely based on your skin colour and nothing else!

      Like

    • White Boy who can teach says:

      As an outspoken racist you obviously don’t get it and jump to conclusions. The director said that rather than just look at white candidates he looked at people from all sections of life. He didn’t say he hired a black or brown or gay person over a more qualified white person. You no doubt realize your limitations and inferiority as an educator and resent more competition than you can handle. The real hypocrite and racist here is you!! Admit it. One thing about racists is they always say they are not

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      White Boy who can teach, I’m so sorry I triggered you. You had better go get in your safe space and calm down.

      Discrimination or reverse discrimination in the name of seeking diversity should play no part in hiring because in choosing one candidate over another based upon factors not related to their professional abilities, you are excluding people and denying them the opportunity to work. People should be hired on their accomplishments, skills, and knowledge, not skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc.

      So the school owner has a hit list of people who he doesn’t want for his school. Is he a racist and does he discriminate? Sure, that’s easy to answer. However, it is the righteous school director that is also practicing discrimination. I don’t know if he hired the best person for the job, but if he allows race and sexual orientation or other factors not related to the job to play a part in the hiring decision, then he is also discriminating. Sorry if the truth hurts.

      Like

    • White boy who can teach says:

      Agreed! If the director chooses a black, brown or gay candidate over a more qualified white candidate and does so solely on skin color or sexual orientation, then he/she too is a racist.

      Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect, I think that you are insensitive to what the author wrote or maybe you did not understand the author.

    The truth is that, as a human race, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. If you state that, “They didn’t cry like little babies like some people on this board”, then you are part of the problem: the good news is that we, as a global, well-meaning citizens of this world will surely find a solution to this problem.

    I am speaking as an international teacher from Kenya, Africa, with over 16 years experience of teaching at international schools in China, India and parts of Africa, (but not Europe).

    Let us all be in the right side of history.

    Like

  15. MICHELLE MYERS says:

    I agree

    Like

  16. Simone Sharpe says:

    I think from reading the comments that you are all missing the point and it is because of white privilege that you can make it about your own experiences of racism ( comments about China). The fact of the matter is there are statistics everywhere that prove if you are black you are more likely to suffer from employment, police brutality, ignorance of others, discrimination, the list is endless. The plain underlying message is if you are black in today’s modern society someone out there is not going to respect or simply like you because of the colour of your skin. Which means us as black people always have to work harder to be noticed in all fields wether it’s teaching, medical, entertainment, another endless list. Are qualifications and experience could be way better than our white counterpart but it makes no difference because we are black and this a fact. So I hear all that you have to say but until you experience the absolute disgust that we receive all the time because of the colour of our skin you have no idea how it feels to be denigrated because I am BLACK.

    Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Thank you for your comment, its 100% true.

      Like

    • Cheri Watkins says:

      I can’t believe you are still having to deal with this, and that this age-old conversation continues in 2020. Please know you have many allies who will continue the fight for anti-racism until our dying breaths.

      Like

  17. MICHELLE MYERS says:

    They posted on “Ageism ” on February 7, 2020. If you want to deal with that topic look it up in the archives. You can read the oringal post and interesting comments. But, today’s topic is about racism towards blacks and other melanied people. Dont hijack the topic PLEASE!

    Like

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, not surprising. I was commenting to my wife the other day (we met at an international school and have been to 3 more since) how WASP the recruiters and fairs are and how lacking in diversity most international school faculties are.

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    How about If white teachers refused to work at these schools and be used by racist parents?

    Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Thank you, thats how you.make a difference.

      Like

    • Mr Teach says:

      And who feeds my kids when I can’t get a job?

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Funny that’s what blacks say as well Mr.Teach.

      Like

    • Mr Teach says:

      So, would you have me decline a job offer? Would punishing my family right a wrong? Particularly a wrong I haven’t committed and find as offensive and repugnant as any other human? Taken a step further, should all white folk now leave the international sector? Interested in your views here Michelle Myers.

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Mr. Teach its clear you arent intrested in my views. The aggressive manor of your message is intimidating and make me feel uncomfortable. Clearly, equality isnt something you can process and if I try to explain it to you, you might become even more aggressive so I wish you and all people a chance to leave a safe and hopeful life. Shalom

      Like

    • Mr Teacher says:

      Dodging a valid question is tantamount to censorship. You don’t seem to want to open your mind to alternative views. I’m not an aggressive person and nor is my post.

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      aggressive people never think they are until it’s to late. I said to you Mr. Teach vour tone was intimidating me and very aggressive. I also said good luck and good bye and yet you came after me again trying to force me to comment. Mr Teach once again you are negatively aggressive, pushy and intimidating. Please examine this in regards to your character. Please have a relaxed, peaceful, joyful, and calm day. Once again, shalom Mr. Teach.

      Like

    • Mr Teacher says:

      Anyone who isn’t fully informed and comments on complex issues that they simply aren’t qualified to engage with in a public forum can easily hide behind accusations of aggressiveness against people they don’t know. Perhaps you should take the time to add some substance to your knowledge beyond the superficial?

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Mr. Teach, I have committed on several post. Talking to people who seem open, non angry and peaceable. Mr. Teach I am the substance of this converstaions. Mr. Teaach Let’s try this once again. Have a nice life if you can manage. GOOD BYE AND SHALOM.

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Mr. Teach, i wont be pulled into a subtanceless debate tou want to have. I dont agree with arguing. Mr. Teach let’s all try to be open to each other and try new approaches to thinking, responding and reacting. I know I will. Good luck Me. Teach to you and your family and be safe internaltionally. SHALOM

      Like

    • Mr Teacher says:

      “Mr. Teach I am the substance of this converstaions.”. You don’t need to say any more. You’ve summed up your self absorbed position in a single, short sentence. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Michelle says:

    Most countries have a age limit. When you apply to a job internationally, your age is checked because of work visas requirments. Being a racist is NOT law, it’s a choice. 9 times out of 10 if a school rejected you not because of qauiflitcation but because of your white skin, you would feel dishearted. If you can process this now, it’s okay, you will one day. Shalom

    Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    Not posting the company, the schools , let alone your name is a prime example of white privilege

    Like

    • Mr Teach says:

      This statement is incredibly ignorant.

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      I agree

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      They should post the school and agency. So us with a moral compass in life can avoid them and tell other international teachers these schools and company are races. Shame can produce change. The ironic thing about racism is today its us and tomorrow it’s you.

      Like

    • Anon says:

      Search Associates is one of them.

      Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      One down and a few more to go!

      Like

    • Anonymous Ex-Recruiter says:

      Hi – author of the article, here. I hear what you’re saying and agree. I have tons of white privilege.

      I couldn’t even begin to name the schools because there are so many. And I could name the company (and have, elsewhere), but the focus shouldn’t be on them, but the whole system. Unless a recruitment agency is speaking out against this, they’re complicit, and you can safely assume this article is about them.

      Like

  22. Mr Teach says:

    My experiences come from all over Asia. Overt racism is endemic and an acceptable part of life in many, dare I say most, Middle Eastern, Asian, ASEAN and Far Eastern countries. If recruiters choose not to adapt to this, they will simply cease to exist. They are in a no win situation. The international education sector isn’t the driver but it is a service industry. The real challenge is confronting racism in host countries. And whilst it may be worse if you are black, racism in places like Japan and South Korea, for example, is directed at all foreigners of all colors, races and religions. I’m white. I’ve been sworn at, spat at, ignored and in one SE Asian country, assaulted, because of the color of my skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Al durst says:

      Teach guy, let me know when you get a chokehold for 8 minutes and 45 secs. See how your whiny post stacks up. For black educators, the chokehold lasts their entire careers. People like you, neoliberal white punks of various shades of prejudice, always manage to paint themselves as both victims and saviours of the system that benefits you so much. Cut the pearly clutching routine here and stick to the writers point which is about complicity and silence. U think u can manage without going man baby here or should I just ignore your trolling crapola? Don’t get triggered, tough boy.

      Like

    • Mr Teach says:

      Very disappointing reply Al durst. Probably not the right time for this type of hostility.

      My takeaway from this is that, in the true spirit of ISR, poor quality educators with axes to grind after not landing their dream job, are hijacking an important discussion and diluting it. Its having the same effect as TV screens full of looters at BLM demonstrations.

      Like

  23. MS says:

    Most international schools are also ageist! What’s the difference!

    Like

    • Michelle says:

      Most countries have a age limit. When you apply to a job internationally, your age is checked because of work visas requirments. Being a racist is NOT law, it’s a choice. 9 times out of 10 if a school rejected you not because of qauiflitcation but because of your white skin, you would feel dishearted. If you can process this now, it’s okay, you will one day. Shalom

      Liked by 1 person

  24. WatchingChina says:

    China racism is getting worse. There are restrictions on black people being hired if they are not already in China. They say it is because of the virus but it is not. It is racism. Wechat is full of viral videos of black people in America committing crimes, attacking others and looting. These videos are almost always black people doing crimes. Racism is everywhere in China.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of China state media showing violence in America. Its very popular. Unfortunately most of the criminals are black which reflects China’s view toward ‘hei ren’ black people

      Like

    • Michelle Myers says:

      What a statement you have made. Criminals are black. Just the ones they show in communists China are. They could show whites that are criminals but they dont. Please dont be so ignorant to think blacks are the only race breaking the laws in states. If your american you know that isnt true. CHINA has made a choice to promote fear, uneducated facts and racism and whites benefit from it. On judgement day please dont think white privilege will get you out of jail. It wont. You will have a big surprise on that day. Shalom.

      Like

    • Al durst says:

      Sooo, TV criminals are black, ergo all black people are bad? How about this? Most Chinese TV people are subservient and obtuse. Therefore, all Chinese people are subservient and obtuse? And you call yourself an educator? Nuff said…

      Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    This counts for age to. Many schools won’t someone over 50. Got more to say about that but will keep those words out of print.

    Like

  26. Unfortunately the practices described in this article are only too real, certainly because many countries do not have anti-discrimination laws on their books, much less as part of their culture. At the international school I worked at in the Middle East the director of the school took only the teachers from the US and UK, which included one black American teacher, but no teachers of color from other countries, including South Africa, on a special trip to a hard to access archaeological site. The director was quite clear that the other teachers didn’t rate the trip, because the school hadn’t invested in them as they had in the US and UK teachers. I left that school after this incident. At the highly-rated American international school in Africa where I worked, the board of directors actually eliminated an administrator position rather than hire the black American who had been “accidentally” hired by the hiring committee for the position. The members of the committee apparently didn’t know that such an appointment was a no-no with the parents of the school. I left the international school movement after this incident.

    Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      What we need to do is list all schools that are open to hiring qualified educators of any race. All melanated teachers, need a support system in this sometimes rascist idustry. We need a website for us by us to help us. I think I might just start one.

      Like

    • Al durst says:

      Lots of posters here refuse to acknowledge that they are part of the problem,immediately equating any view they dislike with looting and their boogeyman du jour. The ideological blinders are strong with them. The cycle goes a bit like this: Local elites wish to train their spawn with the same disregard for black educators as they have towards (insert here your locales’ untouchables name) i.e., their lower orders at home. Recruitment agencies get rewarded, schools get bums in their seats and everyone makes some coin. Of course, not every school or teacher rolls this way but like the OP said, we all have a role to play in enabling, supporting or perpetuating the Relations of Ruling. It is definitely no accident the way they get immediately defensive and act offended, projecting onto others that which they dislike in themselves.

      Like

  27. Asian says:

    Even worse is discrimination against Asian teachers for teaching roles in international schools.

    Like

    • MICHELLE MYERS says:

      Racism being accepted is the worst and Asia needs to deal with this fact. People of melanined skin dont even get interview for a chance to teach internationally. Now some might say thats the worst. Now I do realizes things not being “far” is subject to personal discomfort. But for today, let’s not hijack the ornigal topic. It’s about people of color okay! Let’s stick with the topic and its facts for today people. Other races and topics of things being unfair tomorrow. Thank you

      Like

  28. Shawn says:

    Well, it’s finally good to hear this from someone who was working on the inside! I wrote an article about this very topic about 5 years ago entitled: The Color of English: A Black American’s Perspective on the Global Predilection for White ESL Teachers. https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-color-of-english-a-black-americans-perspective-on-the-global-predilection-for-white-esl-teachers-wcz/

    Like

  29. Anonymous says:

    It’s even harder for African Americans without experience in UK curriculum or IB curriculum. Those schools want teachers with IGCSE, ALevels and IB, and readily hire anyone from non American countries no matter the skin color.

    Like

  30. Anonymous says:

    Roman Empire

    Like

  31. Dr. Sarah Nixon, Ed.D. says:

    As an administrator for an international program in a NE China school I found it very difficult to recruit North American teachers, especially young ones, partially because of the remoteness of the area and partially due to the salary that was being offered. It was stressful trying to staff a growing school population and I was relieved to discover a very well trained /capable group of educators from the Philippines that were anxious to work and anxious to improve and learn. I offered contracts to the best qualified professionals and I felt that they were very successful. They were reflective and current in their teaching strategies and were very respectful and accountable, unlike some of the “veteran” North Americans that we had on staff. Yes, there had been some grumbling but that occurs in all settings. Therefore I was shocked when I was told in my last hiring round “No more Phillipinos!!!” Parents wanted foreigners, but only those with white skin. Qualifications and experience didn’t matter….only skin colour. It was time to come home!

    Like

  32. gator says:

    This is interesting. You were a recruiter; you know about ISR; you’re no longer a recruiter; you report this on ISR. Why ISR? Why not report this to a journalist or a lawyer?

    By only telling ISR, you’re not helping anyone except maybe ISR because it’s salacious reading, but other than that, it’s a dead end.

    If you told your story to a journalist and/or a lawyer, your identity would be protected. A responsible journalist and a lawyer would cross-reference what you are asserting and find more evidence than your anecdotal story. Your story may be the beginning of a positive change if what you say is true.

    My guess is that you did not work for ISS, Search Associates, or one of the nationally recognized job fairs such as UNI. All of my black colleagues were recruited by using one of them.

    In my nine years of living in China, I was aware of the Chinese being wary of teachers with the non-“traditional” UK, Canadian or American accents, but I personally never witnessed them suggesting they wouldn’t accept a black teacher. Then again, I only recruited my own teachers from one of the agencies listed above so I don’t know any better.

    You are in a position to do more. Do it.

    Like

    • anon says:

      This was not reported to ISR directly. It was originally on medium.com and an ISR rep asked to share it here. I am a white international teacher, not an admin, and well aware of these biases. YOU can do better.

      Like

    • Anon says:

      I won’t even bother trying to argue with you but this is a load of crock. My guess is that you work for Search.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      @gator, please, please, see the bigger picture. Let’s stay focused and not look for excuses.

      FACT is: there is racial discrimination in recruitment agencies and also in international schools. Once we accept that, (and I hope you do), let us look for lasting solution not finger-point.

      Europeans and Arabs were very much active on slave trade; at that time it seemed OK, now it is illegal.

      Let us be on the right side of History.

      Thank you.

      Like

  33. Anonymous says:

    I have seen racism, sexism, ageism, and singlism. The system is fair and unfair in a hundred different ways.

    A Indian English teacher, respected as a senior grader for the IB, refused interviews because she is not considered a native speaker.

    My most successful Black peers are not American. They have taught internationally for decades, have the credentials, and are well-respected.

    Jobs I lost out on, so a school could hire someone’s spouse who was less qualified than I or my peers.

    In some schools being American is an asset, at others a deficit. (UWCs)

    Young people are cheaper, so age and experience either are underpaid or not hired.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      One more- an Arab, female teacher of physics- highly qualified, hired but never respected because the parents wanted a male and a foreigner.

      Like

  34. Pauladene Steele says:

    Well, this article has only confirmed my suspicions … I am a DP Coordinator with over 10 years of IB experience as a teacher and Spanish B examiner, led the 5 year Diploma evaluation … been to various PTC and IB workshops and for the love of me, my resumé has not impressed a soul enough to get me an interview. My picture is not included but as a Jamaican, it apparently disqualifies me on a couple fronts. What further aids my conclusions is that in many of these workshops that I attend, the social media forums of which I’m a member and errors I encounter as an examiner that schools commit, it is clear that some of these persons have no better professional experience than me. The recruitment agency that I join often does not even respond to my expression of interest so this article is truly enlightening. The sad thing is many of these international schools offer IB programmes that encourage inclusion and international- mindedness yet they continue to utilize tools of division and stratification that defies this all.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. omgarsenal says:

    This is not just about overt and covert racism. It is about capitalism placing human value in a monetary scenario. How much are people worth; a white North American is more ¨valuable¨ to the recruiters than a black South African. I wonder if a white South African would have had better success in getting recruited?

    Like

    • The article indicates that a white South African would have better success:

      “Multiple times, I would have two South African applicants together — friends who had met at school, usually, and wanted to teach abroad. One would be white and the other, Black. They’d have the same qualifications and same amount of experience. The white teacher would typically be given an interview and an offer within 2–3 weeks. Her Black counterpart would be passed up time and again, either by those within our company or by the school itself.”

      Like

    • Anonymous Ex-Recruiter says:

      Hey there! Author of the article here – I did post this on Medium and ISR reached out to me, just to clear it up 🙂 I was happy to have them republish it! I am also reaching out to journalists about this. Hopefully we can make a bigger splash!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous Ex-Recruiter says:

      It looks like this may have posted to the wrong comment (yikes, sorry, I’m on mobile!). This is in response to Gator.

      Like

  36. Marian Catholic says:

    I suppose someone aged over 55 or 60 could be a Level 3 candidate nowadays. Racism isn’t the only form of discrimination.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Ethics Matter says:

    I have witnessed the discrimination of which describe working internationally, especially in the Middle East. It isn’t hidden, it is verbalized. While participating in interviews, there were times after interviews were concluded that a statement would be made about being “too black for parents to accept.” I remember how shocked I was the first time I heard this. But the bias and racism doesn’t stop at blackness. Frequently, teachers were offered lower salaries and benefits if they were from countries like the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, etc., while Westerners or EU staff were paid more generously. Private schools just dismiss this as business as usual.

    Like

    • ammarmerhbi says:

      I totally agree with you. Only few months ago, on the capacity of a senior English teacher, I interviewed a candidate who happened to be from Jamaica. I highly recommended him. The HR were reluctant because he was “too black” and pants and students will not accept him. Still, I insisted. When he was hired, most faculty members, students and parents have him a vet hard time because he was too black, and more importantly had a residue of Jamaican accent. In the Middle East, racism is everywhere and something normal although Islam preaches that there is no one better than the other except than being righteous and God conscious.

      It is important to note that before European colonialism, the Middle East did not have racism as we now it now. We have imported it and it stayed while evryone else moved on, albeit slightly, forward.

      Like

    • Marian Catholic says:

      Are you kidding? The Arab slave trade was most active in West Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Africa. In the early 20th century (post-World War I), slavery was gradually outlawed and suppressed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. Arab Muslims in North and East Africa sold captured Africans to the Middle East. Muslims, on the other hand, including African Muslims, were not allowed to be enslaved, according to Islamic legal views. “Initially, the Arab Muslims in Eastern and Central Europe took white slaves to sell them to Arabia,” Senegalese author Tidiane: “But the growing military power of Europe put an end to Islamic expansion and now that there was a shortage of slaves, Arab Muslims were looking massively to black Africa.” Etc.

      Like

    • omgarsenal says:

      Sorry Ammarmerhbi but the slave trade originated in the middle East well before there were Europeans profiting from it or trying to colonize the Middle East.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      @Marian Catholic, I tend to disagree. The race card is played almost in ALL international schools – either implicitly or explicitly. There is nothing wrong acknowledging the fact that humanity has gone wrong on some occasions in this planet.

      Haven’t you seen international schools, some in Africa, advertising for position that are only available for Europeans yet that particular school has got kids from all over the world, including Africa?

      No hard feelings, we can move on and make it better.

      Remember, at some point it was very much OK to import slaves, (from Africa to Europe) and keep them. Obviously we moved on and we don’t do it legally nowadays.

      History is interesting.

      Like

    • Marian Catholic says:

      I understand the main point, but I replied to Ethics Matter’s comment about non-whites being paid less. It so happens that some employers pay Filipinos or Pakistanis less to save money on the pretext that these teachers come from countries with a much lower average salary.

      Like

    • Marian Catholic says:

      Not all international schools. These past two years I taught at an international school in Uzbekistan that had hired seven teachers from India and one from Zimbabwe, although their teaching style was archaic and their English inadequate for an English immersion program. Still, it appeared to be the case because the school had had a difficult time in finding Western native English speakers. But the only complaints from the parents I heard of was that many students found it hard to follow what these teachers were saying. The problem wasn’t with their skin color.

      Like

    • Heads Up says:

      Marian: I think you are missing the point of the article. It’s not about what local teachers are paid, it’s about Black teachers from Western countries not being hired to teach in International Schools due to discrimination in recruiting practices. I agree with you that local teachers are systematically underpaid in International Schools.

      Like

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