Where Expectations Meet Reality: Your New School


I finally decided to go for it! I’d been lurking on ISR forums and reading reviews of international schools for almost 3 years. So, just to see what would happen, I joined SEARCH and low and behold! I found what I believed would be the right school for me.

Based on 18 ISR reviews of my new school, I am here to tell you that what I thought the school would be like, as compared to what it’s actually like, are pretty darn close.

No school is perfect. Even the public school I worked for in the States, with Union protection, had its issues, believe me! Reading reviews of schools on ISR and knowing pretty much what I was committing to has made this entire experience far, far better than if what goes on here came as a surprise.

I can accept lots of situations, particularly if I know ahead of time what’s coming down the tube. Screaming directors who belittle teachers, powerful parents who have administrators under their thumb, unanticipated deductions from my paycheck, and grade fixing are some of them. ISR’s reviews made me privy to that sort of information so I could successfully avoid such schools. Seriously, this is the best $29 I’ve ever spent. And yes, I know I sound a bit like a cheerleader…

Initially I found some Reviews really hard to believe. The stuff said to be going down at some international schools is so outrageous it’s completely outside anything I could’ve imagined, seeing that I come from a public school background. It’s striking the number of reviews in which teachers say they didn’t believe previous reviews could be true, took the job and were now hating life at a crappy international school.

I’d like to know what other teachers have experienced in regards to the relationship between school reviews on ISR and the actual reality they encountered upon arrival. I’m writing to ask you use my letter as a discussion topic.

Thanks for all you do.
Best Regards, Ms. C

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7 thoughts on “Where Expectations Meet Reality: Your New School

  1. I joined a toxic and horrible school in Vietnam, part of a huge chain of factory schools. It is much worse than anticipated and the reviews were true.

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  2. I taught at international schools in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and China for fifteen years. If you can’t find any written reports on a school, that’s usually a positive thing. “No news is good news” pretty well sums up what’s going on. However, when several teachers write in about a particular school in a short period of time, something is up, and it’s generally not good!

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    1. I’d agree with this statement except that my former school has no reviews, and it appears to be a very healthy and beautiful IB school in its 4th year. The staff was so small and the experiences so specific, it would be easy to identify the reviewer, and potential retaliation from the sociopathic higher-ups seems all too possible, hence the total lack of reviews.

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  3. I joined ISR not to get info on a school, but on an administrator. This fantastic site has such great school reviews that its admin review section is often overlooked. When our school principal began acting erratic and unprofessional, personally targeted several teachers he decided he didn’t like (Including me! My crime was telling him to his face that his behavior was unacceptable, and reporting him to HIS boss.) AND began an inappropriate relationship with a married subordinate, it was time to act. I found many reviews of him on ISR proving that he had a long history of doing the exact same thing at other schools. Long story short, he got fired. This website saved an entire school, and at least 20 jobs. That $30 is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. ISR will always have a special place in my heart. You guys are great!

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  4. I had a terrible experience at a school in Egypt. They offered me the job and I signed the contract. Then two weeks later they said I had a “bad” reference
    I then found this website
    Apparently other people applying to the same school had had the same experience. Honestly it made me feel better knowing it was the school at fault and not me. Incidentally the two people who wrote my references told me honestly that they had not written a bad reference. I trust them as I have worked alongside them for 15 years now.
    Question …. Why appoint somebody and then just reject them days later ? It makes no sense to me
    Thankfully I have not lost confidence in myself and my abilities due to this website showing me that others were treated in the same disrespectful way as I was . It’s the school that was to blame

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  5. As a longtime member of ISR, through several different international-school moves, I agree about its importance. Reading all the reviews provides context — we don’t simply attach a numeric score; rather, reading both the words and the tone of a post allows us to make a judgement of the writer and the situation. Some posts are stooges of a school’s owner; some posts are rants by crazy people; and most are thoughtful advice from teachers who could be our colleagues. What a valuable service!

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  6. I would agree with this poster and don’t for a minute think he’s a “sponsor” of ISR. It’s the only voice we teachers have in the international teaching realm. There are no unions, there is no recourse! Once you start working in the field you hear stories from teachers who have worked at those nefarious schools and realize the reviews are real..

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