Schools w/ Super High Savings Potential

Compare teaching in the trenches of some third-tier school in a country often considered a hardship post, to spending your days on the beautiful, well equipped campus of a tier-1 school. Obviously, they share one thing in common: The job requires the same dedication to quality teaching. Something they share in stark contrast: They yield vastly different salaries. If you’re going to give it your all, why not get paid for it?

It’s been argued by convincing school Directors that salaries considered meager by US or European standards could well be fantastic in terms of the economy in which their school is located. This may be true and you probably could “live like a king” in that country on $2K US a month. But IF you have an eye on compiling substantial savings, you need to compare apples to apples and evaluate salaries in terms of what your salary and potential savings are worth back in your home country economy.

There ARE schools offering the kind of financial remuneration that allow teachers to sock away yearly savings of $80- $100K US while living a comfortable life style overseas. While obviously, a teaching couple can more easily realize the highest savings potential (banking one complete salary and the better part of the other), single teachers, too, can pull down big money at the right school.

ISR asks: Which schools currently offer savings potential upwards of $80K US yearly? If your school fits into this category, ISR invites you to Name your School and share with colleagues a little about your school’s salary, perks, etc.

Please school down to participate in this ISR Discussion

How Do You Get Paid…or Not?

Getting your monthly paycheck from an International School can be as easy as 1, 2, 3, or a cliff hanger you’ve come to dread. Most schools pay like clockwork, others a bit late & still others always have one excuse followed by another for why the money is not appearing in your bank account.

Granted, unforeseen political situations, changing banking regulations & poor technological infrastructures can make transferring money into your personal bank account a difficult task for even the most well-intended schools. However, the good ones always find a way to get it done! Excuses are of little consolation for teachers with loans &/or mortgages to pay.

International Schools have a responsibility to pay on time so schools situated in politically unstable areas of the world may ensure they meet this responsibility by parking the bulk of their finances in a country with stable political/economic foundations. They then simply wire-transfer salaries from these accounts into teachers’ accounts. The only excuse for failure to pay on time is poor planning, a hidden agenda, or both. Which brings me to my next point…

As a result of Covid-19, droves of International Educators returned home for health/safety reasons & continued teaching their students remotely. With foreign-hire teaching staff now thousands of miles away from campus, there’s few repercussions for a school that sends out an email saying, “We’ll TRY to get your money to you next week,” as did a school just recently in Myanmar. If a school has a history of late paying or cheating its teachers out of money, ISR School Reviews & the ISR Member Forum are where to find out!

ISR Asks: How do YOU get paid….or Not? Wire transfer, cash, local bank account or combination of local & your back-home account? Do you get your salary on time each month? Does your school owe you money? Please scroll down, NAME YOUR SCHOOL & Share your experience with colleagues who may be considering your school for a career move.

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Beyond School Reviews

Sometimes you need unique information about a school or administrator that you’re not finding in the comprehensive School Reviews section of ISR. No worries! For just such situations, ISR offers a Member Only Forum that’s just a click away.

Ask detailed School-Review type questions & get replies from Educators in the know, join a candid conversation about the good, the bad & the ugly of a school on your radar, search through 100s of current topics of interest to International Educators, name & praise or name & shame, the ISR Member Forum is an important part of your ISR Membership.

When you need information outside the scope of the tens of thousands of School Reviews hosted on ISR, look beyond to the ISR Member Forum for information you need to make the best career decisions for YOU.

Don’t leave your career to chance.

When Do You Know It’s Time to Move On?

No one ever said an International School teaching position is a forever job. Quite to the contrary, it’s understood International Educators move around the globe experiencing different cultures and bringing that experience to their next school. There are, however, motivating factors to Move On. Oftentimes, sooner rather than later. For example:

  • Some schools withdraw foreign-hire benefits from teachers who stay longer than a few years. “Overstayers” essentially go from foreign-hire to local-hire status overnight. Housing allowance, health insurance and flights home disappear from the Contract. Time to Move On?
  • Some countries levy hefty taxes on teachers who stay past a set deadline. The start date of this tax burden will, for most teachers, dictate a Moving On date. Of course, you could stay on if 40% lobbed off your check is acceptable. Time to Move On?
  • Aging out of the ability to obtain a work Visa often motivates older teachers to Move On and experience different locations while they still qualify for a Visa.
  • COVID, and how admin dealt with the situation, changed many educators’ outlook on their school. A “perfect fit” suddenly turned into a desire to Move On.

It’s been said, “International schools are great…until they are not.” Disenchantment can come in many forms and strike within weeks, months, or even years after arrival. There can be many reasons to Move On beyond those mentioned here. ISR asks: When do YOU know it’s time to Move On?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion Topic

A Positive Side to Negative Reviews

Dear ISR. I have a unique way of looking at ISR School Reviews that I believe your readers will find interesting. I’ll explain in terms of a short history…

Some years ago, I interviewed for a secondary position in Ecuador. After telling me the job was mine, the interviewer, the school director, said he wanted me to know exactly what I would be committing to as far as living in Guayaquil, a port city where the school is located, is concerned. Words like ‘hot, humid, dirty, dusty, little cultural redemption, aggressive drivers, greasy food, not very friendly citizenry’ were among the adjectives that stuck out. Yet, I accepted the position.

Weeks into the school year I realized the director was spot on, but just partially. There was still plenty to enjoy about Guayaquil. In many respects it was better than described. And having been prepped for the worst, I had no rude awakenings. No let downs. No feelings of being deceived by a smooth talker telling me some BS like ‘it was once the Paris of South America.’ I hit the ground running and shrugged off what otherwise may have felt like a deal breaker and found a lifestyle that fit me perfectly.

I think of ISR School Reviews in much the same way I do the director of the school in Ecuador: They both tell it like it is! As an ISR Member, I’m privy to the inside story on schools and locations. If I accept a position, I go in eyes wide open. Surprises don’t taint the experience. I’m prepared for them and I deal with them. It’s when, as in past jobs, I’ve been deceived that countless hours are wasted wondering: Is it just me? Is what I think happening here actually the reality? Frustration and resentment soon follow.

I’ve relied on ISR for 11 years and counting. I accept there is no school with 100% positive reviews. I don’t, however, think negative reviews are a red flag that screams, Don’t go! In the same way the honesty of the director in Guayaquil helped afford me a great experience in Ecuador, I find that same positive aspect to negative Reviews. Knowing before you go can make ALL the difference in the world. It does for me!

All the best and thanks for the great service ISR provides,

(name withheld)

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Tattooed & Pierced Educators Overseas

What we in the West have come to accept as a simple body adornment may well create the wrong impression on the first day at an International School in a foreign land. Over the years ISR has visited the topic of tattoos. We revisit the topic here with the addition of the ever more popular body piercings.

Cultural norms die hard. Ingrained perceptions of the types of people who wear tattoos & body piercings don’t change in an instant. Adornments in some societies can & will be interpreted as the mark of an unsavory class, not the type of person parents want exposed to their kids. In other societies, piercings & tattoos may be perfectly acceptable.

As an adorned educator, making a poor first impression is the last thing any of us need. Depending on where in the world you’re teaching, it could be wise to first earn the respect of students/parents & later reveal your “artistic side.” This approach should go further to assuring acceptance than simply strutting your stuff on day one & thinking you’ll transcend cultural norms because you’re “the educator from the West.” This approach has worked for more than one educator.

ISR asks: What’s the current level of acceptance of tattoos & piercings in the International School arena? If you’re an educator with body adornments, How did YOU approach revealing them to parents & students, if at all?

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Sycophants, Brown-Nosers & Snitches

Full of compliments, wheedling for information & eager to use you for their own end, sycophants, brown- nosers & a snitches have one thing in common: They’re not your friend, & given the chance, can prove quite detrimental to your emotional & professional well-being at your current school & beyond.

The aforementioned species of teacher is easily spotted. They compliment admin no end at faculty meetings. They pump you for information when they just happen to run into you in the hall. They have their noses where they don’t belong. They’re the self-appointed eyes & ears of admin, reporting all they see/hear back to their “master.” Members of this species may even enjoy favored teacher status, chumming around with their Director or Principal who have been known to send them out on “spy missions” like so many minions. Sadly, instances of this are well documented in ISR School Reviews.

My last school had its share of sycophants, brown-nosers & snitches who hung out with the Director. A member of this group unfortunately had it in for an outstanding teacher & filled the Director’s ear with gossip & half-truths. Sadly, the Director encouraged & rewarded the ‘snitch.’ Soon the situation led to a conference where differences of opinion quickly escalated into an ugly situation. The targeted teacher was soon thereafter drummed out of the school.

The question is: How do YOU deal with sycophants, brown-nosers & snitches? If they are supported by a weak, suspicious administrator it can be a particularly delicate situation. Short of isolating yourself in your classroom, how do YOU rise above this situation?

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The New American President’s Effect on International Education

On January 20th, a new American President, Joe Biden, was inaugurated into office. America’s relationship with the world is about to change. In YOUR opinion, will the hand-off of power in America help or hinder the average Western International educator’s image in the eyes of host country nationals? Take our short Survey.

As an International Educator, I believe the new American president will:

Please scroll down to tell us why you chose your Answer

Last-Minute Overseas Teaching Positions


If you’ve been contemplating a move overseas but haven’t yet taken the leap, now may be a good time to make yourself available. Sure, recruiting season is well over, but Covid-19 is causing some newbies, as well as seasoned International Educators, to reconsider travelling to certain areas of the globe during what appears to be a worsening pandemic. The result:  unexpected job openings.

We all have different thresholds for what we consider dangerous and ISR is not advocating that you ignore travel warnings. If, however, you’re comfortable moving and teaching overseas at this time, there may be some last-minute opportunities on the horizon.

Here’s 12 popular ISR Articles sure to help you make an informed decision:

Do International Schools Promote Colonial Racism?

Dear ISR,

Years ago, I worked as an international educator, happily exploring the world through the better part of my 20’s. With the increasing racial tension, violence and divisiveness here in the United States, my husband and I are considering taking our kids and reentering the circuit.

My concern is that while I will be introducing my children to different cultures and the wider world, I worry we will be jumping out of the ‘frying pan’ of racial tension in the U.S. and into the fire, so to speak. I’ll explain:

Part of why I previously left international teaching was my dislike of the culture of colonial-era social racism that pervades the whole concept of international education. Not in every international school, of course, but generally speaking the hierarchy tends to be:  A few (usually) white men in leadership roles, a bunch of white teachers, and a large group of grossly underpaid, host-national staff and teachers in subservient positions. This microcosm of the ‘colonial model’ of society is pervasive. I’ve witnessed it extend to off-campus life as well.

The idea that a white face bringing Western values and a curriculum such as CCSS or Cambridge is somehow perceived as superior to anything and everything local is colonial racism, at best. The narrative begins with school websites and brochures featuring almost exclusively white teachers and white students, and extends to the very fabric of the school itself.

Wealthy people around the world have apparently bought into the belief that a white, Western education is the expected path for their children. At least that’s how it was before I left the profession. For example, at one school that I know of, parents refused to allow their kids to be taught by a credentialed, African American who had been recently recruited. Rather than stand up for their teacher the school cancelled the contract and replaced her.

As a parent I worry that early exposure to the antiquated hierarchy of international schools is not the world view I want to instill in my girls. Short of only looking for schools in Europe, I am not quite sure how to avoid this dynamic. I am seeking feedback. Is the culture of international schools as white-washed and outdated as it was, or has social progress changed it for the better?

Sincerely,

Mrs. B

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion.

High-Tech Cheating


If you’ve ever suspected cheating may be responsible for some uncommonly high test scores, Cheat-Tech may be the culprit. Not surprisingly, an entire tech industry has grown up around helping students cheat on exams in ways impossible to detect, and just as difficult to prove.

Is Cheat-Tech prevalent in International Schools? We’re not in a position to say. Except one thing is for certain, privileged students have the financial resources to purchase any or all Cheat-Tech devices.

If you believe your exams are falling victim to technology, here’s some helpful insight into how students use Cheat-Tech in, and outside the classroom, and what you can do to deter offenders.

IN the Classroom

Smartwatches – So-called smartwatches are the perfect device for streaming test answers sent by an accomplice in a remote location. Special screens can make a smartwatch appear to be turned off to all but the user who is wearing special lenses. Solution:  In late 2019 the Independent Commission on Examination Malpractice in the UK recommended all watches be banned from exam halls, even what appears to be normal watches which may be a smartwatch in disguise.

Smartphones – Would-be cheaters have gone beyond the obvious, using tiny earbuds to listen to prerecorded information transmitted from their smartphones hidden away in their purse or pocket. Solution:  Signal Jammer

Spy Cam Glasses – This may seem extreme, yet students have been caught cheating with spy cameras hidden in eyeglass frames. These micro cameras read and transmit exam questions to an off-site helper who sends back the answers to a smartwatch.  Solution:  No watches allowed in exam hall

Invisible Ink Pens – Perfect for creating cheat sheets, invisible ink pens have a special light at the tip of the pen that makes otherwise invisible ink, visible to the user. Solution:  Pass out easily identifiable pencils/pens and erasers. Prohibit the use of any other writing device.

Electronic Erasers – Like spy glasses, this device can transmit questions and receive answers. Solution:  Permit cross-outs. No erasing.

Calculators – We’re talking calculators that look just like ordinary scientific calculators but can stream answers from an offsite accomplice, store and retrieve information and connect to the internet for a quick Google search. A push of the right key instantly puts the device into calculator-only mode – a handy feature if the user thinks the teacher is watching. A code is needed to return the device to Cheat-Tech mode, making it impossible to prove the device was used for cheating. Solution:  Insist on the use of school-supplied calculators during exams.

Fake Fingerprints – Although we’ll never encounter this form of cheating in our classrooms, it’s interesting to note that students in China have been caught using fake fingerprints to appear to be another student for whom they had planned take a college entrance exam. Chinese education authorities now have taken to using facial recognition systems, fingerprint verification, metal detectors, drones, and signal jammers in a bid to thwart unscrupulous pupils.

 

OUTSIDE the Classroom

Auto-summarize – The latest trend in student cheating involves students using auto-summarize features in programs like Microsoft Word that extracts the most important information from a large piece of writing and generates a much shorter version that anti-plagiarism software has difficulty detecting. Summarizing software is easily found online. Solution:  On the first day of class, get a writing sample from every student. A few paragraphs, handwritten, on an impromptu topic should be enough.

Have something to add? Please scroll down to join the Discussion.

Beyond the School Gates

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

•••••

  If you frequent our Discussion Boards, you’re well aware our recent Survey revealed that nearly 50% of 650 surveyed teachers would break Contract if they could do so, consequence-free.

If you are ready to take the next flight out, it may help to know that seasoned International Educators will sometimes accept positions at poorly reviewed schools solely for the opportunity to experience a culture and country of great interest to them. It’s a bold move, but it is done all the time. If you’re unhappy with your current school situation, take pause. ISR encourages you to look outside the school gates to all your host country has to offer.

No one says it’s easy to rise above a school when everything about it flies in your face. Your objective, however, for going overseas was far more than to just be part of a school — you could have done that without leaving home. It’s YOUR choice:  You can wallow in the dissatisfaction of being at a lousy school and let negative feelings destroy the incredible overseas adventure you’ve worked so hard to earn, or…you can just let it be and do like seasoned International Educators and focus on, and savor, all that’s happening outside those school gates.

Comments? Have Something to Add?

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Consequence-Free Early Departure?


.From time to time teachers write to ISR and ask:  Why would anyone teach overseas? They reason that based on negative School Reviews, no one is happy.

No situation is perfect. Annoying and even unacceptable situations worth writing a School Review about do not necessarily translate to:  “I’m miserable here and I’d leave today if I could.” A negative School Review may simply be intended as a heads-up to other teachers. Helping each other Make Informed Decisions is what International Schools Review is All About!

ISR Asks:  Are you sufficiently satisfied with your current International School situation that you’re looking forward to honoring the remainder of your Contract? Or, would you leave on the next flight out if you could do so without suffering any financial and/or career consequences? 

Take our survey with real-time results:

GOOD Things Are Happening!

These days, you can hardly turn on the TV or open a news source without being bombarded with bad news.  It can feel like the world is imploding…

The good news is, International Educators around the globe are creating student-powered Community Service projects destined to make a positive and lasting difference. 

In the words of the Dalai Lama: 
If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Here’s a sample of some projects IEs around the globe are spearheading in an effort to make the world a better place for one and all:

• Beach/river/lake/park clean-ups
• Planting trees
• Bake sales/carnivals to raise money for designated charity
• Adopting a local school – Help repair/paint and donate supplies
• Big buddy for kids at an orphanage/hospital
• Habitat for Humanity – teacher/students volunteer in building homes
• Packets for the homeless – socks, snacks, toiletries

ISR invites YOU to share what you, your school and colleagues are doing to make the planet a better place, one small step at a time. When we share our ideas, projects and insights with each other we become a source for positive change! Thank you!

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ISR’s Top Discussion Topics, 2019

ISR Weekly Discussion topics often prompt 50 to 100 (or more) insightful comments from our readers. If you missed any one of these timely and popular Discussions, now’s the time to catch up and join in:

.
International
 Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what International Schools Review is All About!.

Slipping Out Early w/ My Possessions & My Sanity
(90 teacher comments)

Hooks-Ups & Breaks-Ups:  Taking Relationships Overseas
(82 teacher comments)

Back-Stabbing Director As My Confidential Reference
(62 teacher comments)

Why Don’t Schools Post Age Restrictions?
(88 teacher comments)

Back Home w/ the Job Search Blues
(68 teacher comments)

Are the Golden Years of International Education Over?
(53 teacher comments)

I’m Choosing to Have a Good Overseas Experience

An ISR Member Offers Timely Advice:

I”m in my second year at XYZ International  School. Is the school as spectacular as represented by the director at the recruiting fair? Not quite. In fact, it’s not even close.

It’s not a bad school. But certainly not what I was led to believe by our illustrious leader. Last week I decided to write what I consider to be a factual ISR Review of this school. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep other international educators informed.

As it turns out, our director follows ISR like a watchdog. As such, he called an emergency faculty meeting right after my review was included in the ISR weekly newsletter. Following his senseless rant we were all “given the opportunity” to sign what amounted to a gag order, the alternative being….“pack your bags and go.” Essentially, we were agreeing to never post information or opinions about XYZ International School to ISR (or any other website). Yes, we all signed.

Violating the new gag order carries some heavy consequences, culminating in immediate termination and prosecution….”to the full extent of the law.” By signing, we also gave the school the right to financial compensation for any perceived loss of revenue which may result from a specific school review. That is, if they can figure out who wrote it. Good luck with that!

It’s no secret what happens when you tell a child to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Well, overnight two new reviews mysteriously appeared on ISR. If you know anything about ISR (and apparently our director does not) you already know your identity is completely protected when you submit a review. Whoever it was that posted the newest reviews did so knowing there would be no consequences, unless they included specific personal information that led straight to them. That they did not!

By mid-afternoon, via the school’s intranet (working for a change), the entire staff received an aggressively worded memo from the office. It looks like a witch hunt is on!

I know I acted truthfully and responsibly in sharing my experiences about this school. I also feel that for me, right now at this point in my life, I have a responsibility to myself to ignore the school’s shortcomings and make the most of this overseas experience. I’ve wanted to live in this part of the world for a very long time, and since nothing at this school flies in the face of my principles and/or integrity as an educator, there’s no reason to ruin this opportunity by obsessing on all that’s wrong here.

You can’t fix stupid and certainly not guys like the one running this school. If you’re in a similar situation, the choice is yours. You can focus on the negative and frustrate yourself until your blood pressure is off the charts, or you can choose to accept and work with the situation.

Is the glass half full or half empty? That’s open to debate and, to me, it kinda depends on what, exactly, is in that glass. My best advice:  Stay Positive!

Sincerely,

B.

ISR Invites your comments

Do The Pluses Still Outweigh the Negatives?

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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Thinking About Teaching in Dubai? Read This First

     It wouldn’t be fair to say all schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are represented by the comments that follow. However, one thing is certain, all Dubai schools are subject to the requirements of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the consequences of which can seem archaic in relation to Western educational standards. If Dubai is on your list of places to live and teach, the following commentary from an ISR Member is something to consider.

_____________________________________


…..The first and obvious thing you should realize before coming to Dubai is that it is an authoritarian state. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that schools in the UAE are also authoritarian in outlook.

If you decide to come here, do not expect open, confident, consultative organizations that value your input or expertise on decisions or matters that impact your teaching/approaches to learning. Your role is to shut up and accept whatever latest BS initiative comes from the Ministry of Truth (head office). At least that’s how it is at my school…

A huge concern about teaching in Dubai is the need to satisfy the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) inspectors. They come around EVERY YEAR to rate schools. A good inspection grade attracts parents and means fees can be raised. As you can imagine, the impact of this annual inspection is brutal on the teaching staff. Teachers at my school teaching core subjects are prepared to work a 60-70-hour week with most of that time spent preparing detailed lesson plans and gathering data to support/validate their teaching and assessment. This emphasis on data is suffocating, not least because the majority of it is spurious.

Indeed, almost every department at my school is, to my knowledge, manipulating data to show progress amongst its students. This is encouraged by management through a policy that requires staff to provide re-takes of summative assessments until a student reaches their target level. As the head of Secondary at my school told staff recently: “No student has the right fail.” What his obfuscating edu-speak doesn’t appreciate is that if a student submits something of poor quality, the teacher MUST have the right to fail the student. It is very hard to convince someone of something when it is in their interests to not understand.

Besides overwhelming staff in terms of the volume of work, this no-fail system creates, even worse it encourages students to be lazier than normal because they will always have another chance to do well and the teacher will be forced to mark it until the requisite grade is reached. If a student fails to meet their target at my school, the teacher will, regardless of the student’s effort or work ethic, be held accountable. The result is that teachers are now simply front-loading by inflating grades to mitigate the possibility of any comeback against them.

As a result of such relentless pressure to justify and make visible every aspect of your practice to satisfy external organizations and parents, the outcome is a toxic culture and work environment. This is the only way to describe the bullying that is rife within certain departments as heads are put under pressure to provide evidence of student progress. If you value your autonomy and you have a modicum of self-respect and/or dignity, then this school is not the school for you.

Dubai itself is a place where people go to live life without actually living. Paradoxically, all life is here, but every experience is mediated through the artificial spectacle of consumerism and status. If that’s your thing, you will love it; if not you’ll hate every moment in this manufactured oasis. Good luck!

(The preceding is a redacted excerpt from a School Review added to ISR on 7/16/2019. ISR Members wishing to read the entire School Review can sign in and locate this UAE school on the Most Recent Reviews page. Then scroll to Review #11.) 

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Can a School Ever Really Be All 10s or All 1s?

…  Does any school really deserve all 10s or all 1s on the ISR School Review Rubric? I love my school. But hey! It just does not rate all 10s. In fact, it’s not even all 9s. Personally, I’m suspicious of any Review that displays an over abundance of 9s and 10s. Ditto that for Reviews with scores of all 1s.

Every rose has its thorns (I love that song) and International Schools are no exception. Just because I rate a couple of things a 6 or 7, it doesn’t mean it’s not a simply fantastic school. It just means the reality is this:  There are a few things you’re going to have to live with to be truly blissful here.

Like I said, I’m suspicious of Reviews with copious extremely high or low ratings. Take a school in France for example. I know for a fact the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category will never will be a 10 in overpriced Europe. My research (and every educator I know who has worked in Europe) tells me teachers have to take on an outside job just to make ends meet. The only person I can think of who would assign a 9 or 10 to the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category in a Western European school is an admin trying to attract candidates. Such misrepresentation makes the rest of the ratings look suspicious to me. I discount such Reviews.

Here’s another example of what makes me suspicious:  A school in Mexico City with a “Security rating” of 10 would make me wonder who’s behind the Review. Likewise, a score of 1 for “Community things to do” would be ludicrous for Mexico City with its endless museums, art galleries and cultural events. A low score in this category would render the entire Review useless in my opinion.

Can a school ever really deserve scores of all 10s or all 1s? I believe the answer is NO. Common sense and a bit of logic will help you to read between the lines and look for hidden agendas. When the ratings in certain categories coincide with what you know to be true about an area of the world, this is a signal that it most likely is safe to rely on the Review as a whole. However, if things seem out of sync with your intuition and common sense, most definitely, proceed with caution.

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Would You Teach Again at a Previous School?

At any school, 2 years, 3 years max, & it’s time for me to move on to a new school, a new adventure. I became an international teacher to see the world, not permanently transplant myself.

Would I teach again at any of my previous International schools? I’ll answer that with a resounding, NO! I’m glad for the experiences garnered at each, but once was enough for me.

One school Director’s idea of an intranet was his scribbles on the faculty room dry-erase board. We were all expected to pop in for updates between classes. At another school it literally took days & an act of God to get a photocopy or a few pencils for the kids. My last school made getting your paycheck a 90-minute after-school ordeal. Ridiculous practices like these were just a peek behind the curtain. I’m thankful for the experiences but I’d have to be a masochist to subject myself to such lunacy again.

I would, however, gladly return to most of the countries where I worked. Thailand, Romania & Pakistan are tops on my list. Recall of poor experiences at schools has faded, but vivid memories of the places I lived & traveled have made indelible imprints on my life. I’d say this:  I most definitely met my “see the world” goal!

ISR Asks:  Would YOU return to teach at any of your previous schools?

 

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