…The majority of international educators go overseas with the idea that they’ll check out international education, spend a year or so in some exotic location and then return home. Not surprisingly, 2 years turns into 3, then 4 and before you know it, it’s 8 years and counting!
…Take our Survey to see how many years International Educators stay overseas. Clicking the “View Results” link at the bottom of the Survey will display up-to-the-minute results.
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…A couple of weeks into every academic year I begin seeing a sprinkling of School Reviews that claim a slick school director duped the reviewer into accepting a job at their lousy school. My reaction to such comments has always been the same: stick it out, stop whining. YOU signed the contract. I couldn’t imagine that any school would be half as bad as what these teachers were describing…
…Well, the tables have turned and I stand corrected. I now find that I am the victim of severe duping by a fast-talking director at a school not reviewed on ISR.
…Everything here is contrary to what I saw (on the school’s website) and was told during my online interview. There’s no disciplinary support with known disruptive kids, and believe me, there’s plenty of real “prizes” at this school. There are no classroom supplies — not even pencils. The internet connection is so sketchy it might as well be shut down. There is no AC in the classrooms — it’s like a sauna in my room. Textbooks are all photo copied from one purchased edition. Software is boot-legged and glitches to a standstill constantly. To top it off, the director has proven himself to be an egocentric, buffoon who lacks any semblance to an educator.
…I might be able to bite the bullet and put up with everything wrong with this place, but the crowning assault on my sanity is that the majority of students are local kids with poor, to non-existent, English skills. Try teaching high school Literature to a classroom of students who can barely muster enough English to ask to use the restroom, let alone read and discuss a story by Edgar Alan Poe. It’s like a bad joke.
…The job was advertised online and not through a recruiting fair. So, if I walk out and don’t put this job on my resume, what might be the long term consequences, if any, of doing so? Also, what is the best way to bail? Should I give the school notice that I plan to leave ASAP or send them an email once I’m safely away and out of the country? I’m leaning towards the ‘wait until I’m safely away’ idea…
…To those of you who have suffered the disastrous consequences of being mislead by a slick website and/or a fast-talking director, please accept my sincere apologies for having doubted you and thereafter posted such to the ISR Forum or Blog. Once I’m out of here, I’ll post a lengthy review of this place on ISR. Any advice would really comfort and reassure me at this time.
Duped big time
…Your first days at a new school can be a window into the year ahead. From airport arrival to help transitioning into the school and community, how your school treats you right from the start speaks volumes about the experience to follow. Which of the following describes your arrival?
Scenario 1. You knew you were off to a terrific start when the Director met you at the airport, escorting you to a waiting apartment replete with fresh linens, a few staples, plus a bottle of chilled wine. City tours, sampling local cuisine and organized shopping trips are just some of the things your school did to welcome arriving teachers. You’re looking forward to meeting your students and colleagues. You had a good feeling about this school when you signed the contract!
Scenario 2. You found yourself (and your luggage) left standing at the arrival gate. You called the school and no one answered. Hours later you took an unmarked taxi to an unknown hotel, hoping beyond hope that you’d still be alive the next morning. You began to think that maybe coming here wasn’t such a wise idea. This thought was confirmed when you had to find your own apartment in a community you knew nothing about. Worse yet, no one seems to even have time to show you to your classroom! Yikes!
…Tell us about your experience / Name your school (optional)
International Educators keeping each other informed is what ISR is about!
- How did your expectations compare with the reality of coming to your new school?
- Did the school and admin support you and your colleagues in settling into the community and school? Did you feel welcomed?
- Did you ever have that funny feeling about working for this school and wish you’d listened to your instincts?
- Are you just thrilled and pleased as punch to be embarking on a whole new international teaching adventure?
- Do you agree that the first few days at a new school are very reflective of how the school will treat you later on?
(based & reprinted from an earlier ISR article)
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Report cards for the first reporting period of the academic year recently went home for parent review. The question is, were these grades a true reflection of student progress? A number of teachers have reported they were directly or subtly made to understand that “every student will do well.”
A teacher recently wrote ISR to say that after a student achieved 4 ‘Ds’ on a series of exams, she was instructed to alter her method of grading and count each ‘D’ as two points. On a scale of 1-10, the four ‘Ds’ added up to eight or 80%, which equaled a report card grade of ‘B.’
Another teacher reports that he gave his student a ‘C’ on the report card and later noticed the grade had been changed to an ‘A’. When he questioned the director he was told, “This is an honor student, and to help you save face we raised the grade to what this student would have earned if you were a better teacher.”
Altering kids’ grades to keep the paying customers (aka: parents) happy is certainly the exception and not the norm. But the practice may be far more prevalent than previously assumed. ISR recently received a letter from a teacher outlining how his school expected teachers to alter the grades of a few students on a special list, “the wealthy and/or powerful client list.” This teacher felt belittled and betrayed, but also extremely concerned for these same students naively applying, and being accepted to Western universities.
Have you personally been asked to alter grades? What’s your school’s policy? In the end, teachers may experience a conflict of conscience in the short-term, but ultimately it’s the students who suffer from this deception. Exposing schools that encourage grade fixing on ISR reviews is one step toward curbing this practice. What are YOUR thoughts and experiences with grade fixing?
National universities have long been ranked according to a system known as Tiers. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia in the US, and Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College in the UK appear on the list of Tier-1 institutes. Inclusion on this prestigious list is subject to a clear set of specific criteria.
With no similar system for rating international schools, overseas educators appear to have adopted the concept of Tiers, creating their own comparative system based on salary, first-hand experience, and the impressions/comments of colleagues working at other schools. Academic quality does not appear to be part of the equation for what makes an international school a Tier-1 school.
The idea that an international school would be considered a Tier-1 school, based merely on high salaries and glowing benefit packages seems questionable. While we agree it’s important to be remunerated for your talents, a pocket full of cash is no substitute for a host of other important attributes that should be considered for a top rating.
With the intent to reach a consensus on what qualities constitute a Tier-1, Tier-2, or Tier-3 international school, we invite you to contribute to this topic.
When a student’s love of knowledge & learning blooms right before your eyes, you know you’ve made a real difference in a child’s future. Adhering to a curriculum is the standard expected of us all, but quality teaching goes beyond the simple transfer of knowledge & extends far into the realm of helping students become all they can be. I’m sure most teachers in international schools have had their own Outstanding Moments in International Teaching. Read Complete Article