Survey: Your School’s Reaction to a Poor Review

At ISR, we believe the majority of International Schools take the concerns of their teachers to heart. After all, when teachers feel valued they exude a positive attitude & work to their highest potential. Everyone benefits: students, staff, admin & parents, alike.

A supportive school, confronted with a negative Review, sees an opportunity to improve. They may call a staff meeting. They collaborate with teachers. Together, as a team of educated professionals, they change for the better good of all. This process is what you would expect from an institution dedicated to education. Such schools are well represented on the ISR website.

Given the opportunity to improve, however, not all schools act in accordance with how you would imagine an educational institution to proceed. Discovering one or more negative Reviews, some schools summarily brand the author/s as disgruntled malcontents & launch extensive witch hunts to ferret out the culprits. Calling in an attorney to interrogate teachers has been the tactic of more than one school, as revealed in ISR School Reviews. Some schools simply jump to sending attorney-written letters to ISR, threatening legal action if said Reviews are not removed in X number of days.

When schools threaten teachers, they are often acting in accord with the Review/s they find objectionable, essentially validating teachers’ comments. Subsequent Reviews submitted by teaching staff frequently speak to this unprofessional reaction to criticism in all aspects of administering the school.

ISR asks: If your school has received a negative Review, how did they react? Take our short Survey:

Upon becoming aware of negative Reviews,
my school did one or more of the following:

Comments? Please scroll down to participate

16 thoughts on “Survey: Your School’s Reaction to a Poor Review

  1. I am reviewed on isr, I dismissed a teacher for being high at work on meth.

    It was an instant dismissal as it should have been, he should have been arrested but instead we bought him a ticket and sent him on his way.

    A few weeks later I joined isr ranks of the reviewed schools and directors.

    I don’t care, never have, never will. If I am character assassinated because of my integrity, then I’m good with that

    I know of another head who had his career ruined for standing up to a group of bullies who had been at the school for years. This included being dragged through isr and shared with parents.

    ISR has its place in the recruitment tools. For heads and for teachers, but it needs to be taken with a hefty line of salt


    1. Sorry you got stung but I don’t think it is a pinch of salt we need. We need to get if a school supports families, ill health, pandemics, political unrest etc. Sometimes a single teacher can skip through all of these and come out unscathed, giving a fantastic review, compared to a battered and bruised parent who has many more variables to think of. Our experiences are unique and you can normally spot a thread of underlying discontent, over a single outburst of sour grapes. Yeap, don’t go if you think you will be treated as it home, you all say, but actually, some quality international schools do treat staff better than in our home countries!


  2. My last school had a spot on review that really caused a rumpus, the Head of Secondary resigned (he was an officious toad whose ‘resignation’ was likely due to parental complaints) and the Head of Primary wrote a glowing review of herself to counteract it. The school is in deep financial difficulties and its reputation is in tatters, the new director didn’t even last a year. I’d love to know who wrote it!


  3. Almost ten years ago I sent ISR an assessment of my Director in Harbin, northern China, after my unprofessional and illegal dismissal, which I suffered for no professional reason, after an episode of bullying including groping, patronising and open contempt. It seemed I had angered the Chinese owner because I contacted my embassy about retrieving my passport from the local immigration office. Once the posting was published, I received an abusive, insulting and threatening e-mail, telling me to “wipe my nose” and warning me that “my ass was cruising for a bruising” [sic]; there would be “no more mister nice guy”. I had to report this arrogant lout to police, embassies and schools. I found out from a school manager in Guangzhou where he went later, that he had left “a trail of destruction” there. ISR had the professional courtesy to apologize for a false submission the same character had made about the Guangzhou school.Even though I cannot use this immature anti-social yob as a referee, (his reply to one agency was “Yes?”), my career has actually improved since I moved to Jiangsu province, where I now have responsibility for departments in six schools. The lesson is not to be intimidated by their immature playground behavior. It is these criminal garbage who “have issues” not the professionals who quite rightly report these crooks to ISR. Long may your excellent website expose these arrogant good-for-nothings and their abuse of mature professionals.


  4. I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly. It is also interesting to see patterns in posts. Is there a bad seed in management or in faculty? If you read back you tend to work it out. Experiences and therefore opinions will differ. A school that is excellent for a family might be atrocious for a singleton. What are the conditions like if you take maternity leave or are sick etc. We need to know and navigate our way through. It is also interesting to see how schools dealt with covid 19. Bring those reviews on, people. We need you and suck it up if you are a lousy manager and do not learn from it . It’s why you are up there. To deal with the knocks. Opinions matter and this is not a court of law


  5. I worked at a school in Egypt that is fine if you’re a Brit or European and pretty toxic if you’re America. Many, many reviews reflect that dynamic and the top-down, “I say jump; you say ‘how high’?” attitude of the admin. Except–surprise!–the few glowing reviews obviously written by admin themselves. As far as I know, no action was ever taken by the school to ferret out who wrote the negative reviews. They just added in their own positive reviews and attempted to recast the negative reviewers as poor teachers who weren’t up to the school’s high standards. 😂


  6. I encouraged a legal complaint against ISR because of the malicious and unfounded comments against the Head and other staff. How can it be right that absolutely anything can be written in complete anonymity? How do we even know that the comments derive from a faculty member? In this case a teacher had his contract terminated because of his inappropriate relationships with students and he decided to do everything to destroy the reputations of colleagues and the school. That’s not what ISR is for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David, how can we be sure what you say is also the unabashed and the whole truth or that you arenèt a troll? This is the advantage and disadvanmtage of the internet, where anyone can post anything under an anonymous avatar or name and say whatever. Everyone on ISR knows that there are dubious submissions and revenge posts but what can ISR do to determine what is the truth and what is a campaign to discredit a reputable school. When you can figure this out, then please let ISR know. The idea of verifying the identity of posters will still permit anyone to post what they want.


    2. Welcome to the teacher’s world, where admin can say anything they want as a reference and blackball a candidate. Unless the interviewer specifically asks (which seldom happens) teachers have little recourse. So, while there are problems with ISR, overall, it’s a necessary part of the system.


  7. My school has only had one bad review since I’ve been here and it was clearly written by a couple who was fired for cause. The admin does not seem to care about it, or ISR reviews in general.


  8. My previous school had had glowing reviews for years until a new administration team came in. After I left because of this, the negative reviews started and they were beautiful. Whomever had written them, had it down exactly. Then more and more appeared, all extremely accurate. The new Principal went on a witch-hunt. He berated the teachers for their unprofessionalism and threatened to withhold bonuses and even hinted that criminal charges would be laid back in Canada. He had his lackeys going around, trying to draw out who had written the reviews and spend entire staff meetings lecturing the staff about their attitude. The school board removed one half of the problem that year but the other half (and some of his sycophants and enablers) remained. Instead of fixing the obvious problems, they decided to go after the messenger. From the (very) few people left there that I know, the place is a mess, which is a shame because it used to be a great place to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Most schools drop recruiting standards to teachers that don’t do their homework, which is indicative of what they think of their kids and education in general.


  10. One of my former schools reacted with a witch-hunt and very aggressive scare tactics that drove about 10% of the teaching staff to either resign or leave in the summer. When I mentioned to the DG that this behaviour was counter-productive, his reply was that there were many teachers out there happy to work tax-free and earn a paid holiday so he didnèt care what the disenchanted minority wanted. He asked me if I was one of them and I offered to prepare a list of changes that could help improve school morale, teacher and student life and parental support. He said that heèd get back to me but it was no surprise when he called me in to meet the owner and she berated me as a poor professional and one who didn;t know on what side my bread was buttered on. She didnèt want to fire me because I knew that finding a college counselor to replace me would be hard, so she mollified her ¨outrage¨ with a bit of honey, saying I could form a ¨teacher¨ committee to look at the schoolès issues and report back to her. Of course nobody was silly enough to join such a committee and nothing ever transpired. I left that summer and found a real school in Germany.


  11. My school does nothing. I have had reviews where I was hard pressed to recognize myself in what was said. Subsequent reviews made the point that others didn’t either, though they knew who was talked about. I get my school isn’t perfect and I get that it’s not in the best place in the world. Most reviews reflect that. As a group, leadership encourages people to voice their concerns and ideas for improvement. It’s the only way to create a community of teachers who want to stay and grow together as part of a shared mission. Thank God that’s the type of school I have worked at through my career!


  12. At my former school, teacher’s got fired and some were forced to do damage control by writing a glowing review.


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