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Profit making schools?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by percy topliss, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    Greetings, happy new year etc. I am at the end of my contract and am casting around for a new job. All of the schools I have worked at have been not for profit but I note that many of those advertising at the moment (and there are a lot!) are profit making.
    Would anybody wish to share any stories, good or not so, on any of the profit making schools at which you have worked? No names no pack drill but it would be interesting to know what I may be letting myself in for!
    Cheers from the Bullring, Percy.
  2. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    Greetings, happy new year etc. I am at the end of my contract and am casting around for a new job. All of the schools I have worked at have been not for profit but I note that many of those advertising at the moment (and there are a lot!) are profit making.
    Would anybody wish to share any stories, good or not so, on any of the profit making schools at which you have worked? No names no pack drill but it would be interesting to know what I may be letting myself in for!
    Cheers from the Bullring, Percy.
  3. Hi percy,
    My experience has not been bad compared to what I read from others BUT there are frustrations. I am (with a couple of exceptions) looking at not-for-profit schools this time around.
  4. rosyanna

    rosyanna New commenter

    From my experience of both profit and non profit schools in the middle east, I would say if you have the choice, go for non profit! They tend to be the better paying schools for one thing, but also it can be galling to see the school owner buying another property in Duabi when there is no backing paper for displays etc because of budget cutbacks.
  5. I would never work in a 'For profit' school again. In my experience just want as many students in the school as possible with no thought for quality of education.
  6. It is a strange thing, this profit or not business.

    I have worked in schools which claim to be not for profit, yet the owner overseas all. You can't tell me they are in the business for the love of it. Money must be going into their pockets.

    I don't understand. Unless schools are a charity, surely they are out to make a profit.

  7. From my understanding the schools run as a business seem to have a group of businessmen who put up the money for the school. Profits go to them or towards building more schools - not a cheap busniness. Non profit schools seem to have been around longer, may have originally been set up by a company to provide educational facilities for their employees children, or may have had humble beginnings if a couple set up a school. Over time the money is ploughed back into the original school which may now be owned by a 'trust' so no 'businessmen' are involved. Companies which set up schools for employees children are not probably going to make a huge profit from the school and are therefore more concerned with providing a good standard of education to attract good employees. A school started by individuals was usually set up for altruistic reasons and again profit is probably not the main concern. I am sure that there are exceptions to the rule.
  8. I am teaching overseas for the first time at a profit making school. I never gave it much thought at the time but as I am leaving this Summer, I certainly would be very wary next time. It is very hard to see class sizes increasing and budgets for resources at a ridiculous minimum when it is clear that the owners' main concern is profit. Extra teachers or teaching assistants would mean a cut into the millions of pounds profit which is being made so in effect the children (and staff) are suffering. It seems unethical to me. Also it is easy for staff to feel undervalued when not even a free cup of coffee is offered at events such as parents evening when you are working a 10 hour day.
  9. To post 7 I wonder if we are at the same school! I too didn't give it much thought, am leaving after one year and would have loved a cup of coffee! Are you in the middle east?
  10. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    The no coffee schools are quite ridiculous. There are two ways to run a business - give the staff as much as you can afford or give them as little as you can get away with. Sensible application of either of these methods leads to maximum profit. The school owners that apply the second method would not survive in any business other than education or slave labour as they would have no staff. Posts 7 and 8 I'm glad you are walking after a year and hope you keep on walking until you find a place that meets with your standards. Thumbs up!
  11. shadocg

    shadocg New commenter

    A profit-making school is misleading. I think the OP meant to say "For Profit" Schools, meaning one with an owner who pockets the money to do things like buy fancy cars, motorcycles, and properties worth millions.

    A non-profit school takes the money left over, puts it into a reserve fund, plans for the future, and nobody does any of the things mentioned in the first paragraph with money paid to the school.

    I have worked at non-profits and wouldn't want to go to a for-profit, unless there was a compelling reason.
  12. Do not touch a school connected to the rubies and diamonds bunch based in Dubai because they are out for profit, profit, profit. They are also very good at cooking the books so that people don't even realise how much they are taking out.
  13. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    Just thought that I would bump this one up. There are so many profit schools out there that I was hoping for a little more info!
  14. Ive worked in both kinds of Schools and let me tell you, there is bad and good in both.

    The for Profit I worked for had scant resources (although sports and IT were fantastic) and the staff were great, the best Ive ever worked for. But Ive heard the horror stories too.

    The not for profits had bullying management and bizarre decision making.

  15. Ah, the great debate- to profit or not to profit. I started out at a for profit school with the usual allied problems. No money for resources, enormous classes, poor pay, high teacher turnover,a draconian administration deferrring to the owner on all issues etc etc. I then decided never again!. I took a job in a not for profit school, which was set up by a group of parents. My experience was mixed to say the least, albeit better than at the for profit school. As the school was effectively "owned" by the parents and run by a BOG comprised of the parents, many new problems came to light; parents making comments about teaching methods, administration, the financial situation of the school etc etc. I'm not saying that this does'nt go on in all schools, all I am saying is that in a school of this type, a forum was given to a small group of parents who felt that they could do a better job that the teachers and the admin. In addition to this, there was very limited funding for resources, salaries and teacher accomodation, as the parents did not want to raise the fees to meet these costs.This really affected morale. I felt that it was very much a double edged sword, on the one hand you felt that you were working for an organisation that ploughed all of its resources back into the school, and on the other hand you lacked strategic direction due to the infighting of a number of different groups of parents. Overll, I would say that it is very difficult to make generalizations about for profit and not for profit schools. Each has its own problems.
  16. I have served as head of four schools, three international and one a US independent (Quaker) school, during a long career. My view is that the most favourable set-up for school governance is the independent not-for-profit corporation, where the Board of Trustees (or Governors) is only partially composed of parents. Other members would be local business people and others with a genuine interest in the school. It is often desirable to have an outside educator on the board as well. In fact I now serve as Chair of the Board of a local independent Quaker school here in the US. On our board there are 12 members, only 5 of whom are current parents in the school. All of the others have a genuine interest in education and in this school in particular. They include people with backgrounds in business, finance, law and social work - all of which are excellent preparation for serving on a board.

    Schools which are completely parent-owned, even if not-for-profit, do come with a myriad of problems, as there are almost invariably parent board members with personal agendas.

    For-profit schools vary tremendously. In my current work as a consultant on international edducation, I am well acquainted with many such schools. Those that are operated by bona fide educators are more likely to be strong institutions with a genuine interest in children and teachers. Those that are operated purely as a business are more likely to see children and teachers as the raw material of their business, and treat them as such. It is certainly worth looking at the background of the owners/operators of a for-profit institution before signing on.
  17. Sorry wrong thread
  18. IAMBOG

    IAMBOG New commenter

    Well, as the thread has reached the top again after four years, I thought I may as well post.
    Before I started teaching overseas I read many of the horrors on *** and on here. It was enough to put off even the most resilient of people. As a recent graduate I knew my chances of ending up in one of those schools was fairly high. I researched and researched for two years and eventually sent out about 60 CVs last year, to which I got only three replies. I am happy to say two schools offered me jobs and I accepted one of them.
    Many of you would probably consider my school third tier, or what I see written as local international, but it is a decent place to work. The principal is certainly not in the pocket of the owners, in fact, the owner is a nice guy and the two of them seem to make a great working combination. Sure, sometimes people have issues, but those seem to be from teachers who don't like doing things differently from home. We could always do with more resources, but efforts are being made to improve things (school is in its sixth year). Nobody batted a eyelid today when I made 2000 photocopies, in fact, someone offered to do it for me. If resources are not there and you can make a case for them, then they will probably be bought (or the teacher will be reimbursed). The only downsides are student behaviour is rather poor and the school is quite some distance from the city, which is compensated by the very reasonable salary, which is on par with some of the second tier (possibly 1st) schools closer to the city.
    As I said to one of my colleagues the other day, if this is as bad as international teaching gets, then the future looks rosy.
    I only write this because I see a lot of negativity toward new graduates and the possibility (or lack thereof) of them landing in a good school straight out of uni. There are a lot of **** schools out there, but there are also decent for profit schools that are good places to work, where you will be able to get the experience you need. The key to finding one of the good ones is research....and research.....and research. I am sometimes amazed / amused / baffled by teachers posting for info on TES after they've been offered a job. Of course, I have done the same, but in most cases the research was done long in advance. That's why I applied.
    .....................just sayin'
  19. in terms of "for-profit" schools, I've posted on *** about this, but I believe I work for a "good" for-profit school. While the school is "young-ish" (about 10 years old now), it has put money into education and resources, while living on the good will of staff. Though the package offered is by no means a poor one, it could definitely be better. But, I believe that the Principal and owner are doing what they both believe to be the right thing for the students. I don't always agree with their educational beliefs, but I also don't think they're trying to save money at every turn at the expense of the students.
    I was also at a non-profit school that seems like it is doing many of the same things my current school is doing, except that it has wasted the good will of the teachers by overworking them to the point of leaving. All of the money being made appears to be going into building and rennovation at the moment, but remember, I'm not there anymore, so take all of this with a grain of salt; I could be completely wrong in this.
    I'm now off to another school in China now (the really boring female child-eating school) and I'd love to know whether its affiliation with an English school and profit status has given it any sort of reputation, good or bad...just askin'...
  20. This is a long-running thread with some serious wisdom hardly bettered from cdrt four years ago. Cdrt is spot on about the ideal combination of school boards. Unfortunately, few achieve it. I've worked in both for-profit and not-for-profit places and, like other posters, I've had all kinds of experiences in both sorts. Now, I think I'd prefer the not-for-profit type.

    Yet I do think it's a bit odd that thousands of companies employ staff in other for-profit industries and do manage to do it without exploiting them or generally making them feel miserable. Why should for-profit schools be any different? Aren't teachers more marketable than we give ourselves credit for? That is to say, if we're being messed around by shoddy employers then shouldn't we just walk?

    The best organizations, for-profit or otherwise, surely know that treating staff well is one of the certain routes to ultimate profitability. I have little experience of working outside teaching but some short stints as a lowly operative in a certain British supermarket chain known for its mouth-wateringly good prawn cocktail sandwiches proved a salutary experience. This company really looked after its staff. So we all felt far more inclined to go out on the sales floor and ensure that more prawn cocktail sandwiches were purveyed.

    Simple, huh?

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