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If you told people, they would never believe it

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by MsBuzy, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. MsBuzy

    MsBuzy New commenter

    I have had some wonderful, some terrible, and some hilarious experiences teaching overseas.

    When I talk to people back home in the UK, I'm not sure whether they think I am just making stuff up- expat colleagues usually share the range of experiences, but then again, it depends where they have been.

    I wondered whether anyone would like to share anecdotes, from the sublime to the ridiculous?
  2. migratingbird

    migratingbird Occasional commenter

    My most random - arrived at a job in a brand new school firstly to find all the overseas hires having to share a 5-bedroomed house because the accommodation was still being built. School grounds were a building site. Only ground floor accessible. Three days before opening we had completely empty classrooms. No books. No printers. No photocopier. No coloured paper. Not even pencils...yet they wanted us to jazz up these rooms for a pre-opening cocktail function. School opened with 35 children. From Nursery to Y10. I had 2 children in my primary class. Mid-September there's a message on the staffroom whiteboard for everyone to meet their at snack time. The Principal had been escorted off the premises and a new Principal in place. This was the beginning of two years of madness. School closed its doors for the final time in July.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I got a phone call from the principal just after midnight. Did we have a spare bedroom? Yes, okay, well go round to another apartment block and collect two teachers. Yours truly did as he was told. When I arrived, I saw that the block next door was on fire. A squatter was killed when he tried to jump to safety. Some of the exit doors were locked, the sprinklers did not work and the alarms never went off. Some of the teachers' cars were wrecked when the Doha Fire Dept. decided to move them "out of harm's way". Oh yes and then a day or two later some idiot sent all of the teachers a soppy poem about butterflies, to cheer them up.

    International schools! Don't you just love 'em?
    sparkleshine, ed717, yasf and 2 others like this.
  4. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I could write a book...in fact I have done. Just google 'No Baboons in India'. Amazon will sell you the paperback or the Kindle edition for a ridiculously modest sum. Mostly outrageous and all absolutely true.
    ed717, Mr_Frosty, T0nyGT and 2 others like this.
  5. MsBuzy

    MsBuzy New commenter

    I was quaking in my sensible shoes when a parent wearing the wealth of a small country in jewellery announced at the parent's open day that she wanted to speak to the Principal to lodge a complaint about me.

    Her complaint was that I refused to beat her boy. My sparing the rod would lead to him growing up corrupt, apparently.
  6. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I remember about twenty years ago I was flown to London from Berlin for an interview for a class teacher position in another country.

    Interviewer turned out to be a member of the royal family of said country.

    offered me the position. I turned up and was told “this is your office”. I enquired as to why I needed an office to be told “errrr. All heads have their own office”. Turned out I was the head of primary. The principal didn’t seem that surprised I didn’t know.

    taught a full timetable to my year six class though. And yes seven English. And tutored several children at the school’s request.

    after two years I was shattered!
    sparkleshine, bonxie, yasf and 2 others like this.
  7. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Oh go on then . . . the head who was sacked for stealing, the teacher who killed herself during the term, the drunk guy who abused embassy staff and had his contract cancelled, the woman who refused to plan, the job i was given that did not exist, the boy who threw chairs, the inebriated teacher who did a runner when he crashed his car, the male colleague who slapped his wife about . . . endless weak leaders, numerous parents who don't care, a few chancers that should be nowhere near a classroom and endless kids with rather interesting personalities.
    the hippo and SPC2 like this.
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have had two colleagues who were murdered, one in Egypt and one in Qatar.
  9. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Came back to Shanghai to restart a new year as usual. All staff handed passports in for visa renewals and a week later they came back with a 30 day exit visa. The certificate for the school to employ foreigners had been revoked. I have 6 30 day exit visa's in an old passport to remind me of the experience.

    Also the deranged principal at the time said if we didn't turn up for work we would be breaking our contracts and we had to renew/resign by the 31st February.
    bonxie likes this.
  10. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Hence your user name?
  11. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    My first job overseas in my early 20s we were given shared accommodation on campus. I preferred to stay in town, but as we weren't given a housing allowance I kept the use of the school accommodation to use during free periods. My music teacher flatmate was happy as he had the use of a school flat to himself, pretty much.

    One day I was asked by my Principal where he was as he hadn't turned up to some of his classes. I was told the Head of English's wife was missing too . . . (Apparently my return during one of my free periods to watch telly and have a cup of tea had trapped them in his bedroom as they were having illicit nooky.) It was a double free too, and I believe a couple of friends came over for a natter :).
    ajrowing, frogusmaximus and bonxie like this.
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    which country? and were you paid?
  13. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    The teacher living in the car park and drying his socks in the classroom. The students who threw chairs and tables around, threatened teachers with lighters. The sixthform boys stripping off in the lesson, the student sitting down to copy out answers his teacher had given him for controlled assessments, in the canteen, in front of the SMT. The science teacher who asked students to pick up solid sodium hydroxide in their bare hands, then who ran away and vanished forever mid lesson.The years 9s enjoying HCl fights, the table set aside in a year 8 tutorgroup for the mothers in the class, the moderation meeting that ended in a fist fight, the teacher who killed themselves during term time, the drug dealer selling through the fence at lunch time, the teacher who came in with black eyes dished out by her 11 year old daughter. The lock down resulting from one gang hacking the school computer and finding the timetables of members of a rival gang, then storming the school. The attack dogs.

    (All state schools in London)
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I did teach one of the nephews of Osama Bin Laden. (The teachers usually called him "bin liner".) I reported him to the principal for smoking when he should have been in prayers.
  15. migratingbird

    migratingbird Occasional commenter

    Kenya. Yes, but on average a week late every month. 2 of the 6 overseas hires did a runner before Christmas.
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  16. soulhalshall

    soulhalshall New commenter

    The Europe-based school I was joining had booked me an early morning flight from the UK at the start of my contract, which I suppose was fine but on arrival I needed a rest. The head collected me and told me that the accomodation intended for me wasn't ready yet so they had made alternative arrangements for a few weeks. He didn't take me there, though, we went straight to school where he left me to work with the one other teacher at their summer school. I hadn't slept since the previous day and all my belongings were in the back of his car. When he eventually took me to the flat at the end of the day, it had a terrific view but no running water. I was applying for jobs elsewhere within the week but ended up suffering through two years of his aggressive chaos.
  17. MsBuzy

    MsBuzy New commenter

    Students throwing chairs is definitely a recurring theme, and one of those experiences I happen to share.
    Teachers drinking during the day, an owner who loved to flirt with one teacher by sitting on his knee in the staff room, a principal who ran away in the middle of the night...all these things and more do make me smile when I hear how blemmin marvellous teaching overseas is.
    Anyone else been paid in cash- plain envelope from the principal each month?
  18. 576

    576 Established commenter

    My experiences pale beside these.

    They gave me the worst tutor group in the school and one day one of them brought a Cockrell to school, someone else opened the bag and I had a Cockrell running round the classroom in registration. (he said he caught it to take home and have a **** fight with another one he had).
    In the same school we experienced a 5.8 earthquake in the middle of the school day.

    My 2 schools since have been much saner places to work.
  19. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Can’t really blame the school for that one
  20. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Dunno about that. If they’d built the school in Milton Keynes everything would have been fine.
    rouxx, yasf and 576 like this.

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