Admin w/ Fake Credentials

April 13, 2017

..If you’ve ever suspected your School Director or Principal hadn’t actually earned the degrees and credentials prominently displayed on their office wall, you’re not alone. When journalism students at Pittsburgh High School (Kansas, USA) decided to look into the background of their new Head of School, Amy Robertson, their suspicions proved legitimate. Miss Robertson, who had spent the past 19 years involved in International Education in the UAE, joined Pittsburgh High School in early 2017.

.. The journalism class began investigation into Miss Robertson by looking at her advanced degrees and credentials. Her Master’s degree and PhD were both from Corllins University. The students soon learned, however, that Corllins is a school characterized by many critics as strictly a diploma mill — a place where you buy advanced degrees. The school board thereafter asked Miss Robinson to produce transcripts to substantiate her undergraduate degree from a well-known American university. She was unable to do so. She did state that Corllins University lost its accreditation after she had graduated. Miss Robertson resigned the $93,000-a-year position, stating it was “in the best interest of the district.”

..Fortunately for International Educators, as far back as 2012, teachers working under Amy Robertson at Dubai American Scientific School had their own concerns and shared them with International Schools Review Members. Fourteen ISR Reviews of Dubai American Scientific School make references to Amy Robertson and include links to news articles covering Miss Robertson’s problems with the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which said she was not authorized to head the school. All educational permits associated with Dubai American Scientific School were later suspended. The school had failed inspection every year from 2008 to 2012 and was closed in September of 2013.

See the following links for articles related to the incident

The Kansas City Star:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article142682464.html

ABC News:
 http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/principal-resigns-student-reporters-raise-concerns-46594320

CNBC:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/these-high-school-journalists-uncovered-a-principals-resume-lie.html

..Amy Robertson’s case is not unique. International Schools Review hosts more than just a few Reviews in which teachers, based on their personal experience with administrators, question the authenticity of an individual’s degrees and credentials. Of course, school administrators are human and surely not everyone will agree with their decisions; but when an admin has a full alphabet of acronyms following their name but does not, nor cannot, display insight into curriculum, best practices, current trends in education and/or basic organizational/management skills, one can only wonder about the authenticity of their degrees. Trust your intuition!

..When in doubt, follow the lead of the journalism students at Pittsburgh High School and research, research, research! Then Share your findings with colleagues here on International Schools Review. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is ALL about!

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Professional Boundaries: Should teachers befriend students on Facebook?

March 30, 2017

A Letter to ISR:

Dear ISR,  I’ve noticed that some teachers think it’s “cool” to befriend students on Facebook and post social pics and personal messages online. I think there should be boundaries between a teacher’s personal life and how much private information they allow students to access. I’ve seen some teachers posting pics of themselves with students at parties and in restaurants, and of course, students post social pics with their teachers.

Apart from being unprofessional, I feel it creates jealousy and a perception of ‘favored treatment’ among other students. Some teachers use this to manipulate their students and gain popularity through being overly friendly. Many professionals regard communicating with students on personal social media websites as inappropriate.

It would be interesting to know teachers’ opinion on this topic: How many schools have a policy on social media posting? Does your school monitor such activities?

Regards,
(name withheld)

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One Lying Director…

March 23, 2017

..If things don’t go well between a teacher and a school director, historically we’ve seen directors who’ve used their position to destroy the teacher’s International Teaching career. Of course, there are two sides to every story, but when recruiting agencies automatically choose to consider only one side of the disagreement, that of the bigger-of-the-two paying-customers, it’s always to the teacher’s detriment.

..International Schools Review is the result of just such an incident. A teacher had a misunderstanding with his director. The director told his own version of the ‘truth’ and had the teacher blackballed. Letters of protest and explanation from the teacher were met by the recruiting agency’s standard phrase: “We weren’t there to witness the events which took place.” Translation? Your word isn’t worth a damn! Teacher’s response? We need a site to inform and support teachers. Translation? Welcome to International Educators keeping each other informed at International Schools Review!

..Today, fourteen years since the inception of ISR, we still find isolated cases of teachers being blackballed, based on a vindictive director’s claims. Here’s a case in point:

from the ISR Forum

  Hello All, Our first international job landed us working for a terrible director and the relationship between us ended badly (as in we really did not like each other). When we tried to sign up with Search she outright lied about us, saying something to the extent that we were let go before the end of our contract for “conduct unbecoming of a teacher.” Based on her feedback, Search denied our application. From this same school we have SEVERAL outstanding peer and parent references.

Since that time we’ve had two other positions, completed contracts, and have great references from our administrators. So, we tried to apply to Search once again, only to be told that because of what this first woman said they can NEVER take us on as candidates.

I am upset that the words of one lying director can outweigh the multitude of positive words of other administrators. This seems wildly unfair!

Is our only recourse to go with ISS? Have you heard of a situation such as ours, and what did people do? Cheers and thanks for any feedback

..Beyond helping International Educators make the right choice of schools, ISR helps Recruiters to know what’s going on at various schools, and to realize that some schools and school leaders are literally a menace to educators’ careers.  We have witnessed, since the inception of ISR, that when a conflict arises Recruiters are now more likely to take a fair and unbiased approach to reaching a resolution.

..Some people just aren’t cut out to be International Educators; but, when a vindictive director uses their position to punish Educators with whom they’ve had a disagreement, there’s a problem. Fortunately, teachers in such a position have taken it upon themselves to Share their experiences on ISR so others can avoid making the same errors. Don’t let a school director be a menace to YOUR career, or that of colleagues!

..Comments? Please scroll down

 


Making a Difference in Students’ Lives

February 9, 2017

phrase-for-teach-34450898

  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the recruiting season, ISR proposes we step back to take stock in the role that WE, as International Educators, play in shaping the future. In the words of the Dalai Lama: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

  Teacher-isms, concise statements about teaching that get right to the essence of the profession, are the perfect medium to express how Teachers make a difference. We’re sharing a few of our favorite Teacher-isms to get things started. Please join us and add your favorite words of wisdom to this growing compendium. Then, refer to these when you want to feel extra good about your choice to become an educator!

Our Favorite Teacher-isms

Teachers affect eternity; No one can tell where their influence stops.

The test of a good teacher is not how many questions s/he can ask pupils that they can answer readily, but how many questions s/he inspires them to ask which are hard to answer.

If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.

If kids come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.

Now it’s your turn. Scroll down to share your favorites 


Who’s Looking Out for Teachers at YOUR School?

January 26, 2017

looking-out-for-teachers-160670873-blog..Thanks to the many teachers who post in-depth School Reviews to ISR, we’re all well aware of which schools treat teachers right and which schools stoop to despicably low practices. The good news is, the majority of International Schools honor their Contracts and look out for their teachers!

..In schools that are focused on the well-being of their staff, Parent-Teacher Associations and faculty representatives to the Board are commonplace and give voice to teachers’ concerns. In many Reviews, teachers report that their PTA is quite effective. School Boards can also be beneficial when it comes to looking out for teachers. Embassies can be an ally.

..There are, however, schools that have banned Parent-Teacher Associations, and often times, school Boards are composed of local parents, many of whom will not speak out in defense of teachers for fear of retribution from an influential school owner. Reviews show that embassies may also be hesitant to get involved in looking out for teachers, even when Contracts have not been honored. This is probably because embassy employees need a place to school their children and don’t want to make waves.

..Ultimately, how teachers are treated appears to boil down to the attitude of a school owner and the Head of School. If an owner is driven by profits at all cost, and sees education as strictly a business, teachers suffer. At such schools, the only one looking out for teachers are the teachers themselves.

..International Schools are not static entities. They are regularly bought and sold, or taken over, by large management companies. This makes it important that you keep current on behind-the-scene dealings at schools you may be interested in. A change in management can mean no one is looking out for teachers, or hopefully, quite the opposite.

..ISR asks: Is YOUR school looking out for International Educators? Do you have a Parent/Teacher organization? Is it effective? Is the school Board responsive to teachers’ input? Could you depend on your embassy in a legal dispute, if needed? Or, is it every teacher for him/herself? If your school has banned Teacher Councils or Parent/Teacher organizations, ISR is a good place to spread the word!

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Please stick to the topic: Feel free to name your school. This Blog is expressly for sharing information on what schools are doing to look out for teachers. If you wish to otherwise Review your school, please submit a School Review.  


Sexism in International Schools

December 15, 2016


..
An ISR member recently made a request. She had been suffering under a Director who regularly made sexist remarks and wanted to know if her situation was an isolated one.

..In response, we discovered 61 School Reviews/Admin Reports that contain the term “sexist.” Of the 10,000+ Reviews hosted on International Schools Review, this figure represents less than 1% of all Reviews. Although the percentage is thankfully low, it does sound an alarm that something is terribly wrong at some International Schools, as exemplified by the following excerpt from an ISR Director Report:

The Director continuously shouted, threatened, belittled and publicly humiliated me and other female teachers throughout the period I was under contract. After I left the school in June, 2016, I received this abusive email from the Director when I requested money due me…

“Your advice is meaningless. You are beneath me in every possible way so your opinion matters as much to me as mine does to Mr. Obama. You are old and you probably don’t have many years left before you return to hell and we have gotten enough laughs out of you already. (Leather mini skirt for someone as old as you, really?!? LOL) Please just die or quit emailing…or both.”  Members can sign in to read entire Review

..ISR asks: In what universe is harassment such as this not a prosecutable offense? Unfortunately, in some lawless voids, individuals who would otherwise find themselves on the losing end of a lawsuit, consider themselves free to abuse defenseless teachers.

Excerpts from other Reviews increase our cause for alarm:

  This director needs to be investigated for his sexist remarks that are completely inappropriate

  Unsupportive, judgmental, unapproachable, dishonest, lacks integrity, poor leadership skills, intimidating towards staff and students, sexist (hates women)

  His lack of knowledge results in a complex environment that prevents him from acknowledging good work completed by competent teachers, but instead valuing those that serve as his yes-men (men being the operative word, as his sexism is blatant)

  His sexist (sometimes racist) remarks were a constant. No racial minorities are represented amongst staff

  Once again, good ole boys’ drinking culture, racism, sexism, reserved and restricted privileges and practices which often define “international schools”

  He is a pathological liar and extremely unprofessional. He is sexist and racist. He dresses in very inappropriate clothing and is embarrassing to work for

  Mid-management is very sexist and your status is dependent on how much time you spend in the office complimenting each other on how great you are…and I am a man saying this

  Did his best to make this even more of a hardship post than it already was. He’s a sexist who grunts and acts like a caveman and chooses favorite teachers to be in his “inner circle.” Absolutely no focus on creative, progressive ideas. VERY sexist! Huge double standard and outrageous amount of males in senior staff positions

..It goes without saying that sexism goes hand-in-hand with other undesirable qualities. And although it may be difficult, if not impossible, to stop school sexism in countries that lack anti-harassment laws, it IS possible to avoid signing on to work in such schools, thus motivating school boards and school owners to re-evaluate their choice of administrative individuals. The teacher who requested ISR query our database for occurrences of the term “sexist” is most certainly not alone.

Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools is All About.  

Comments?


Why Keep Salary Levels Hidden from Candidates?

December 1, 2016

salaries Dedicating your life to educating children is highly commendable, but few among us can make this commitment without a salary that covers life’s necessities: student loans, food, heat, transportation, decent housing, etc.

While public schools in the West almost always include a disclosure of salary and benefits when advertising for teaching personnel, many International Schools have been accused of purposely keeping salaries undisclosed right up to the face-to-face interview with candidates. Even then there can be hidden variables that alter the quoted salary, and not for the better. Here’s an example:

Assume you hold a Master’s degree plus 9-years teaching experience. At ABC School the pay scale puts you at $52,000. “Pretty good,” you say. But there’s a catch: The contract you haven’t yet seen states that incoming teachers will be credited for up to a maximum of 5-years experience on the pay scale. Additional pay-scale years will be earned while at the school.  This puts you, an incoming teacher, at the level of a Masters plus 5, which translates to $46,000.

Teachers have been quoted saying it’s a waste of time to interview with schools that keep salaries hidden. Some complain schools inflate their salaries on the web sites of the ‘big’ recruiters, only to offer far less at interview, as in the above example. A generally held belief among many International educators is that any school which hides its salary scale is a school that does not respect teachers and, thus, a school to be avoided.

ISR advocates for salary-scale transparency and our School Review evaluation rubric incorporates a field that clearly displays salary ranges. Still, things do change and some schools have even been known to make behind-the-scenes negotiations with teachers. So, ISR recommends you always verify your salary level and have it stated clearly on your Contract.

ISR asks: What has YOUR experience been in regards to schools that keep salary scales hidden? What advice to YOU have for colleagues?