1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by grdwdgrrrl, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    Something I’ve been thinking about recently. I have a friend from Ghana, who’s British, who’s school has terminated her contract saying that they don’t have student numbers to keep her. She works for a big organisation but they haven’t helped her to find another position in their wide network. However, they have done it for at least one other teacher I know of who’s offer was rescinded but was immediately offered a job at another location. I don’t know if it’s racially motivated e.g. she’s more expendable because she’s black. This organisation’s CEO has recently made an announcement to say they are putting together a working party to look into diversity in their organisation.
    So, what are your thoughts on international schools diversity and inclusiveness in their curricula, admin and teaching staff?

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Is it at all possible that the decision to find the other person another place was based on his/her ability to teach ?
    If student numbers were down then that would suggest an economic reason for your friend's contract being terminated. It's not great, I know, but it doesn't help black people at all when skin colour is suggested as reasons for negative outcomes. If a person is good or bad, the colour of her/his skin has nothing to do with it.
    I've met some amazing teachers and some not so amazing ones. I've met people who claim to have all sorts of qualifications and sadly they have been lying. Diversify is now turning into a ' must have' and if that drives any industry we may feel better for it, but the true drive should be the selection of people well qualified for the job, their nationality, gender of skin colour should have nothing to do with it.
    There are more female PS teachers than male. Perhaps the simple truth is that female teachers in Primaries are better at what they do ? I don't know but the figures seem to bear that out...
    Kartoshka, Mitochondria1 and suem75 like this.
  3. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    And curriculum?

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    The Uk curriculum isn't too bad when it comes to diversity. We should be careful not to equate diversity with quality. A bad painting by a Native American artist is still a bad painting.
    Mitochondria1 likes this.
  5. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Yes, there big issues being voiced around the world.

    But in this case, emphasis on this case presented by @grdwdgrrrl. One shouldn't quickly jump to the conclusion that a person's race or culture was the ONLY deciding factor in the decision made. Just because a CEO has made an announcement wanting its company to be MORE diverse doesn't automatically mean there's no diversity.

    It's unfortunate that your friend @grdwdgrrrl didn't get another position. But plenty of caucasian British/American/Australian/Dutch/Kiwi teachers miss out on jobs every job hunting season. In fact there are currently 7 that I know being told their offer has now been withdrawn.
    agathamorse and ACOYEAR8 like this.
  6. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    To me, the smaller numbers of male primary teachers point to historical (and sometimes current) cultural attitudes towards the role of women and men in society and schools. Women were pointed towards little kids, while men worked with the older ones, and got paid more for it too. I find it insulting to both men and women to say that men are worse as primary educators.
    Similarly the smaller numbers of POC as teachers in international schools point towards historical (and often current) systemic racism. With the unfortunate history of international schools as bastions of white western civilization, and the tendency still present today that us foreigners come in to civilize or modernize the local population, that we’re here to shine a light in a dark place... Well, to me that links directly to why some schools resist having too many POC at the chalk face. Even those that hire POC tend to stick mostly to POC who are demonstrably less “other”, like British Indians rather than Indian Indians. Or a black woman as an early years teacher, fitting the stereotype of the nurturing WOC who leaves her own children at home to raise white people’s children.
    We have work to do.
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    In response to the OP, it's hard to say for sure what the difference is. Possibly racism. Possibly something less despicable. But without a lot more data, we can't tell from here.
    Possibilities include:
    • lazy person who let her go not bothering to connect with other parts of the organization
    • the organization already let all their HR people know what positions they need, and they don't need anyone with her specific qualifications
    • The organization knows who they need, and they do need someone like her, but in the country where she might be needed, the visa situation precludes her being hired
    • organization is contracting expenditures, and your friend is now too expensive for their taste due to advanced qualifications or experience
    None of those get your friend a job, which sucks.
    Whatever the reason, I hope your friend is soon sorted with a great new position.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'and got paid more for it too.'

    I am not sure about this gulfers, I was always told that teaching was the only profession that has always paid men and women the same salary for the same job even back in the day!! The old Burnham pay scale and before!!!

    Not true any more of course as since the academy system (privatisation) was introduced there is now no longer a national pay scale, I hear!!
  9. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    It may depend which country you’re considering. And whether you’re comparing women with men, or primary with secondary.
    There still exist countries today that pay primary or early years teachers (predominantly female) less than secondary (predominantly male).
    And countries that used to or still do pay more to male teachers, whether by policy or practice.
  10. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    The argument was men got promoted more (it wasn't uncommon to have primaries where the only male teacher was the HT). Others say that's because the women chose to stay pt/not seek promotion when they had their own children, and that teachers are even more likely than the 'average' woman to want them. True, or not? You decide...
  11. cherpat87

    cherpat87 New commenter

    As a black teacher I can say there is little to no diversity on the international circuit. I have worked in Europe and Asia and experienced racism, from the schools I worked in, to parents who did not quite understand how a black person could be qualified to teach their children. Most notable example, in the first week of me starting at a new school, a parent requested a meeting with me, she then proceeded to ask me where I grew up, where I studied, and how come I ended up in the UK. The same parent then sent an email to the school that having "people like me" in the school was spoiling the schools reputation. It has helped me that I am a woman born and raised in the UK, so I am somewhat more palatable. Comparing lack of diversity to having more female primary teachers is absolutely ridiculous. We have no control over our skin color. Being a white face in places like Asia gives you automatic respect, I work twice as hard as my colleagues to earn the half the respect. Schools know that having black staff and people of colour is less desirable, and this is why there are less of us on the circuit, not because we are not as good, we just need to be absolutely outstanding to be given a chance. Schools are also about image, and having a bunch of coloured teachers no matter how good they are is not desirable.Thankfully the school I am in now is quite supportive, and I will just add that this prejudice never comes from the students, always the parents and sometimes colleagues.
    MsOnline, redname, grdwdgrrrl and 2 others like this.
  12. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

  13. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    None of us know what the real reason is. All we can do is speculate. Neither jumping to accusations of racism nor blaming the teacher is going to change the situation.

    The only thing we can do is try and hold our own insitutions to account. Ask yourself the following questions about the places you work, and see how many ring true.

    How diverse is the workforce (all employees, not just faculty)?
    How accurately does it reflect the make-up of the student body?
    How diverse is the management and leadership team (ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.)?

    There are, of course, many reasons as to why schools may not be diverse and I am not suggesting that they are down to systemic racism or gender bias. However, to ignore the fact that racism and gender bias are not present in many, many international schools is about as deluded as one can get.

    As to the OP, have a look at the leadership team and the board of both the school and its wider parent body. If it is not at least slightly diverse, then you probably have your answer.

    cherpat87, MsOnline and gulfgolf like this.
  14. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'It may depend which country you’re considering. And whether you’re comparing women with men, or primary with secondary.
    There still exist countries today that pay primary or early years teachers (predominantly female) less than secondary (predominantly male).
    And countries that used to or still do pay more to male teachers, whether by policy or practice.'

    Interesting, gulfers and it would seem that your experience is very different to mine!

    In my original post I was talking in general about the profession and the UK (historically and in principle) as my reference to Burnham and the current Academy situation, I hoped, made clear.

    It may be different in some countries and in some schools but I would say/hope that they are in the minority. In all my years and in all my schools I have never known a school differentiate between one section of the school and another or between male and female teachers, but then I have studiously avoided the kind of schools that have a negotiated pay scale - which from some of the more recent comments on this forum seems to be almost de rigeur these days.

  15. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    I obviously can't comment on this particular situation but it is clear as day that there is a lack of diversity on the international teaching circuit, certainly in my experience in Thailand.

    My school currently has not a single black member of staff of any nationality. All the non-Thai staff are white or Asian. Among the Asians there is a clear hierarchy, with Chinese teachers paid less than, for example, French teachers (who tend to be white). Learning support staff, TAs, and EAL teachers are a mix of mostly Thai and Filippino, but an Indian is paid more and a white person (regardless of nationality) even more. This is an open secret, everyone knows it is the case.

    We do have at least one new member of staff joining us who is black. I'm not sure of nationality. But really, that seems like an unnaturally low proportion of the expat staff. I'm not sure why this is or what the answer is.

    On the other hand, we have a lot of gay staff so in that regard we are pretty diverse at my school. But oh so very white.
    MsOnline and agathamorse like this.
  16. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Perhaps it is just the schools I attended, but I can only recall two non-white teachers during my time as a student and no non-white teachers during my teaching career in the UK. Now, that was in the private sector in boarding schools but, seriously, not one?

    It was not only in the schools that I taught in but also across different schools when we met up for sports events.

    It is not so easy, though, and while I am not making excuses, there are also difficulties in recruitment.

    Over the last decade or so, being involved in numerous recruitment processes, I have looked through literally thousands of C.V.s and applications. I cannot recall any applications from black teachers that had the right to work in Europe (forget getting work permits for non-EU citizens unless the job is highly specialised). Non-white teachers, yes, but not black. Non-EU certainly, but not EU.

    I don't know what the answer is to this question. Certainly there are routes we can take and inclusion is becoming an absolute necessity. Yet we feel that we are falling behind and see no short term solution. We don't wish to engage in an exercise in virtue signalling without any real change either.

    I visit a lot of schools as an accreditation team chair, and many schools are struggling with this. Seriously, if someone wants to become an expert in inclusion and equity, there is a whole world of opportunity out there.
  17. Mitochondria1

    Mitochondria1 Occasional commenter

    Why is diversity so desirable in the workplace again? Why should it not be the best person for the job regardless of 'diversity'?
  18. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Seriously, if you need to ask this question, just read up on the material. There is plenty out there.
    MsOnline and grdwdgrrrl like this.
  19. 4019775

    4019775 New commenter

    It is long past time there were different pay scales in teaching. One for those who teach maths, chemistry physics etc and another for those who teach subjects like History, geography etc.

    If private industry cannot fill certain vacancies they pay more. A maths, chemistry, physics teacher is more in demand and more employable out with teaching.
    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  20. cherpat87

    cherpat87 New commenter

    What is wrong with having a diverse workforce ? Furthermore some people are good enough for the job, but not getting the opportunities, simply because of the colour of their skin, especially in schools in Asia.
    grdwdgrrrl likes this.

Share This Page