Academic ‘Participation Trophies’ – Good or Bad?

October 17, 2019

Diane Tirado, an eighth-grade history teacher at Westgate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Florida, gave her students two weeks to complete an assignment. Students who failed to turn in any work received a zero in her grade book.

Diane, who had been teaching for 17 years prior to starting at Port St. Lucie in 2018, believes she was fired for refusing to comply with the school’s alleged policy of no grade lower than a 50%. Admin claims, however, that Diane was released from her duties for substandard performance.

A school spokesperson said the school’s grading policy does not prohibit a teacher from recording a zero for work not turned in. However, a document to the contrary, alleged to be taken from the school handbook, later surfaced:

 

Whether or not Diane was fired due to poor job performance or simply for refusing to comply with a No Zero policy is beyond the scope/focus of this Discussion Board. The incident, however, does illustrate two distinctly polarized philosophies…

Awarding kids credit for just showing up to class is an example of a trend known as the Participation Trophy. The premise claims that rewarding kids for participating on any level will boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. Those who support Participation Trophies believe zeros contribute to a “loser” stigma, while Participation Trophies allow kids the recognition needed to foster motivation to improve. Opponents of Participation Trophies maintain that giving credit for just showing up sends a message contrary to how the real world works, and furthermore unfavorably dishonors those students who do the honest work to earn grades.

ISR asks:  What’s YOUR take on Participation Trophies in regard to academic achievement? In your opinion, do Participation Trophies for simply occupying a classroom seat, foster self-esteem and future motivation? Or do they demotivate kids into doing little to no work? Showing up and participating in a 5-K run comes with a T-shirt and/or a Participation Trophy, and rightly so. Should sitting idle in a classroom, refusing to do any work at all, fall into the same category?

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Trashed!

October 10, 2019

Imagine this: You recently attended your first-ever International Teacher recruiting fair and walked away with a rather attractive Contract. But months later, after resigning your public-school teaching position, renting out your house and putting cars and furniture into storage….the phone rings. Your job offer has been withdrawn!

The voice on the other end of the line offers nothing more than a meager explanation such as insufficient enrollment, but no monetary compensation. Your life has been trashed! 

Incidents such as this are admittedly few and far between, but they do occur as evidenced by a smattering of alarming ISR School Reviews. The most recent such event can be read by logging onto ISR  and then returning to this page and clicking Here

As teachers, we unfortunately have little or no recourse when it comes to dealing with schools that treat us like disposable commodities. Few of us could afford to pursue legal compensation, and the schools know it! Do you have the resources to wage a lawsuit against a school in Malaysia when you’re physically in Wisconsin and unemployed?

Recruiters assert they provide a venue or conduit between schools and teachers and cannot be held responsible for unpredictable actions of their various school clients. That said, why are teachers blacklisted and held responsible by recruiters when they fail to live up to the terms of a Contract — even when an abusive school makes breaking that Contract necessary for self-preservation?

ISR asks: Why are there no safeguards in place to assure educators’ security? Why aren’t schools required to post a substantial bond with recruiting agencies (or a third-party agency) to assure teachers are compensated should a school renege on their Contract? ISR believes recruiters can and should put safeguards into place to ensure schools are held accountable when they trash the future for unsuspecting International Teaching candidates.

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Admin w/Phony Credentials

September 26, 2019

Ever get the feeling your school director, principal or another key figure at your International School lacks the credentials they claim to have earned? A group of students at a prestigious International School had that exact feeling about their incoming Head of School and set out to find the truth.

Quite possibly the impostor could have successfully flown under the radar, but his aggressive attitude and relentless obsession with severe consequences for minor school-rule infractions motivated students to look into his history.  They had had enough!

An exhaustive internet search finally revealed Mr. X was not who he claimed to be.  In fact, Mr. X was not even his real name! Having been fired from a school in Canada for falsified credentials, Mr. X was now masquerading as Mr. Y. Needless to say he was gone from his new International School in just a few days’ time.

If you have evidence that an administrator at your school does not hold the credentials required for his/her position, be aware of potential consequences. Proceed with caution! Openly demonstrating you know what he or she is hiding could be detrimental to your job. You never know who’s friends with whom. Plus, the Board may already know what’s going on and not even care and/or be hiding that information.

A prudent approach to exposing an impostor may be to alert Board members using an anonymous email address, or by dropping a physical letter into their home mailbox. Be wise and protect yourself from unscrupulous revenge seekers.

Enrolling in a couple of singing classes does not make a vocalist. Likewise, a principal training class or leadership workshop does not make a leader. As with every industry, the International School circuit has its fair share of upper management who DO have valid degrees/admin credentials but lack the true strength of character, vision and fairness to be leaders. So, before you jump to conclusions and stick your neck out, consider you may simply be dealing with pure incompetence.

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Rejecting a Job Offer Got Me Banned From Mexico!

August 29, 2019

Hello ISR, I have a unique situation I hope your readers can help me with:

In 2012, I applied to teach at a handful of international schools and accepted a position at a school in Mexico. When the school later contacted me, it was explained that I would have to book my own flight and upon arrival, arrange to find and rent my own apartment! That said, I backed out of the job.

 Had the details of the job been made clear in the beginning, I would have declined the Mexico offer right then and there. Some time later, I accepted a job at a school in the Middle East where everything was arranged in advance of my arrival.

At the time, I didn’t think much about turning down the school in Mexico. After all, I had no reason to give it another thought. That was, until I recently traveled to Mexico on vacation and was denied entry into the country!

Upon consulting with the Mexican embassy in the United States I learned I had been put on a blacklist of sorts, all due to rejecting the Mexico school offer. It seems so insane someone actually had the power to do this to me!

I just wanted to check in with ISR:  Have you heard of this happening to anyone else before? This would be helpful information.

I appreciate your time.
T.

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School Not as Described

August 22, 2019

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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Do The Pluses Still Outweigh the Negatives?

August 8, 2019

I grew up in International Schools. Today, with a teaching credential and 3 years classroom experience under my belt, I’m preparing for my first ever International Teacher recruiting fair. I’m ready to get back overseas where life feels so much more authentic to me!

I recently discovered ISR and have been reading Reviews of schools I attended as a student (grades 4-12 in 4 different international schools). In my teen years I was well aware some stressful stuff was going on for the teachers, but not to the degree or magnitude of what I’m now seeing on ISR.

My question:  Do ISR readers who’re currently overseas think the positive aspects of living internationally as an educator outweigh the negatives, especially the really harsh stuff I’m reading on ISR?  Memories of life overseas are among my most treasured possessions and I’m willing to take the bad with the good….to a reasonable extent, that is!

Sincerely,
Grace

Survey:

 

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My Point of No Return

July 31, 2019

I’ve reached the point of no return. That is, I’ve reached the point where I’ve decided not to go back to my school after summer break.

My reason? I’ve had all I can tolerate of being used as a pawn in a high-priced diploma mill where white-faced teachers are strictly valued for our ability to complete the facade. I’m done being used by this business enterprise masquerading as an International School.

Okay….I could deal with the school scene if I had to. But, the final straw in my decision not to go back is the fact I cannot walk down the street without some ASS making a sexual comment, lewd gesture or “accidentally” bumping/rubbing into me. I must be some special sort of gullible to let a school director convince me I would love Egypt and this hell-hole of a school.

I did read all the reviews and seriously thought nothing could be as bad as portrayed on ISR. Some of the stuff sounded too far-fetched for me. I was wrong! My seething school review is now on ISR and truthfully, now that I’ve experienced the place first-hand I think some of the reviewers before me went too easy on the place. That’s my opinion.

So….now what? I’m in uncharted territory, living under my parents’ roof with no car, no job and soon without health insurance. I’m starting over at 31 years of age. My plan to stay 2 years in Egypt and then move on to new international schools has hit a roadblock.

For me, this episode in Egypt is just a blip on the radar or as you might say, a slight stumble out of the gate. Fortunately, I found “the job” without the help of a recruiter, so I’ll sign on with one of the big agencies and leave this school in Egypt off my resume.

That’s my story. Any advice anyone? Am I missing something here? I’m all ears!

Thanks in advance.
C.

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