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The international school review!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by zdaea, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Roseea123

    Roseea123 New commenter

    Well as advised by many I paid for the *** and feel like there is no point going to the ME. I can't find one school with a half decent review. My opinion is one of two- either every teacher out there is miserable and bitter or all the schools are about money making and treating the teachers as slaves. Where the hell are the good reviews and excellent schools? I have spent 3 days reading the majority... Surely I can't have missed all the positive ones!
    dljames2013 likes this.
  2. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    *** is a rant station. People who are having a good time don't post there. I'm not saying that many of the posters don't have legitimate gripes, in fact, I'm sure they do. However, if a school has employed 200 plus teachers over a period of ten years and there are only two or three negative reviews, then those reviews are probably worth ignoring.

    I'm finding the new members forum more informative, more up to date and more useful.
    ea123 likes this.
  3. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey New commenter

    I understand your concerns, and there are things that are frustrating and difficult about working in a ME country, I can only speak about one country in the ME and my school. More than likely you would be working for a company and the majority of them are only interested in making money, my tv fell off the wall in the classroom and it hasn't been replaced, that happened in October. The parents complain a lot and management give into them because it's easier etc, however if you can see past these things and keep your head down then it's not a bad place to live, the holidays are long and the workload considerably less than in the UK. The money is not really as good as you might think but you will be able to save and travel.
    I am just finishing my second year, I won't be coming back next year but I would not say it has been a bad experience overall. quite a number of staff here in my school have been here for more than 5 years so it can't be all bad.
    WOMANONAMISSION50 likes this.
  4. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Oh yes, the ***. A hardy perennial that blossoms every year, producing poisonous seeds. Well, you will find many, many different opinions about the merits and demerits of the *** on this TES forum. In many ways, the TES and the *** do not serve the same clientele, although there is a bit of an overlap. Yes, you do have to pay in order to join the *** and read the "reviews". Yes, a lot of the reviews are extremely negative, laced with scandal and loaded with exaggeration. I have written three or four reviews, of different schools, and I tried to make mine a bit more objective, factual and balanced. If you feel that you have been badly treated by the school's mismanagement or by the parents, then of course it is not always easy to be fair and impartial.

    Having taught in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Qatar, I would say that the ME has more than its fair share of lousy international schools. Perhaps it has something to do with the climate.
    ea123 likes this.
  5. Roseea123

    Roseea123 New commenter

    The issue I'm finding is not that I want to go to the ME to save money, it was more of wanting to live out there as life seemed to be better when I had visited a few years back. However now I'm wondering if it really is worth it, seen as there is so much negativity. My other issue would be not only finding a school I'd enjoy teaching in but a school I would be happy for my own children to be educated at. From these reviews I really don't think I want that for my own children never mind myself.
    There has got to be some good out there, as why would so many people work and stay for many years. I've heard of people returning to the UK to then decide to go back as they then recognise it beats living in the UK! Ha! There's no pleasing some! :)
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Having taught in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Qatar, I would say that China is a much better place than most of the ME. Who in their right mind would want to teach rude and lazy Qatari or Saudi brats when you can teach polite and hard-working Chinese students?
  7. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    You forgot Kenya and didn't refer to yourself in the third person - hope everything's OK.
  8. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    My *** subscription has lapsed but I did used to enjoy some of the reviews where acid wit clearly served as a decompression valve for some contributors. There are some gems on ratemyteacher too where the content shows the contribution came from colleagues rather than students. Neither probably has much to do with more than subjective experience but entertaining nevertheless.

    I reckon there's a gap in the market for a collegial review of schools free from the proxy censorship of advertisers and the emotional release of the hatchet-squad. As it is, once they've been on the circuit for a few years and a couple of schools, most teachers I know do a bit of informal 'due diligence' about any school they don't know about before applying/interviewing/accepting but that's not much use to those new to The Great Game.

  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, SPC2, I have also taught in Romania, but neither Romania nor Kenya are in the Middle East and so I thought it best not to mention them.
  10. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

  11. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Reading reviews about schools in the ME It is a bit like panning for gold. There are some decent to good reviews there but they are few and far between. I may be a bit biased but I do think that reflects reality: There are some decent to good int'l schools to work for in the ME, but they are few and far between. That doesn't mean that the non-sparkling schools are horrible places that should be avoided at all costs, but the vast majority are likely to be "it is what you make of it" experiences. We had one of those experiences when starting out and it was just fine for a couple of years. I wrote a review that was balanced but honest and looking back I can't say that I would really recommend the school to someone unless they were quite desperate to get overseas and/or went in ready to roll with the challenges of the school and the location.

    It may also sound prejudiced to mention that schools in the ME are mainly attended by students from the ME and owned by businessmen from the ME. In many/most instances this is going to have some negative contribution to the working/teaching environment. Harsh but generally true in my experience and that of many others.
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    It may be worth mentioning that some of the reviews on *** are well out of date. On the Malaysia thread a couple of us mention a school which hasn't existed for 10 years or more, yet the *** review is still there.
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As usual, the Sage of Walmington-On-Sea has made a valid point. Many *** reviews are indeed well past their "sell by" date. On the other hand, one of the most depressing things about rubbishy schools, especially those in the ME, is that the dreadful reviews that were written five or ten years ago are still valid, as these establishments really have not changed very much. One wonders whether the
    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]

    has indeed recovered and is now flourishing after the thorough pasting it received in the TES.

    One of my reviews, of a school on the outskirts of Nairobi, was written a few years after I left and the *** were honest enough to admit that it might be a tad outdated, although one or two sources of info have made me think that it might not in fact be completely unhelpful and inaccurate. A happy ship can stay a happy ship, according to some maritime acquaintances.

    To return to ea123's original point, should bad reviews in the *** really put us off from going to a particular school? Whether it is in the ME or anywhere else? Hmm. Schools do change (for the better and for the worse) and young(ish) teachers have to start their international careers somewhere.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2016
  14. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    You don't need to read the *** to know that the ME is a place to avoid at the moment, just read the newspaper headlines of all the bloodletting going on in the region. Then take into consideration the price of oil for the next few years and the region is bankrupt and penniless to pay your wages.
  15. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    While I don't know the truth either way as my ME time was back in the 90s, a friend of mine in the UAE recently surprised me by saying his (good) school is having problems recruiting. When I worked there, I was told the old saw most people will know about the bucket of money/bucket of **** balance. I guess the relative weightings are changing.
    bec_payne likes this.
  16. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I was recently in Dubai for a conference, the first time I had been back for several years. I can say I didn't find the place as enjoyable as I use to remember it. The building developments have taken the soul away from the place and traditional streets and places replaced by 5 star hotels and shopping malls.

    If you can't spend $1000 USD a day you are regarded as worthless trash who should use the back door to the shopping malls and site entrance to the hotels!

    Not many of the teachers there are enjoying the place as you now get two buckets of S.h.!.t to carry to the one you fill with money. Also a lot of concerns about the political situation from teachers in other Gulf States who where at the same event.

    There was a lot of interested questions about working in China over coffee during the conference, looks like the Hippo will have company heading his way.
  17. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    The thing about *** is that it should really only be part of your overall research. As a newcomer it's going to be difficult to get contacts, but believe me that once you've done your first stint abroad you will get to know teachers there who move, and who will also know teachers elsewhere. That means that the first one has an element of a leap in the dark about it - I based ours on a gut feeling after the headteacher interview and also just by searching *** and others and not finding any recent bad reviews.

    China does seem like where to be just now though, at least in the money sense. There are though just as many horror stories about schools (siezing passports, requiring teachers to take on additional classes they are not qualified for such as primary teachers teaching IGCSE, etc) so be careful. My rule of thumb is that if a school wants to keep my passport all the time, I don't want to teach at that school.
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some wise words from amysdad.
  19. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    Just my thoughts on this - generally if you are happy and content in a school then you don't consider posting on *** as it is thought of as a "***** & moan / get them back" sort of collective. However, saying that I have posted a positive comment about my current school just prior to my subscription expiring - one that I've not renewed!

    It is also worth remembering that every school, city and country has an appeal to different individuals and what is right for one is totally wrong for another. *** is not capable of showing this

    I agree with others that China is a much more pleasant place than ME! I've taught in AD & Qatar and have returned to Shanghai for the 2nd time (now just signed for a further 2 years). Money here is equal to the salary I was receiving in Qatar plus I don't have the expense of a car (not the petrol just the buying/leasing of said vehicle)
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, lovely.lady, I am sure that a lot of what you have written is absolutely true, but of course many of the reviews in "The International Schools' Review" are pretty blooming awful because the schools being reviewed really are ghastly places. Therefore the reviewers are being truthful and accurate. However, it does seem that some heads think that it is wizard jape to write glowing *** reviews of their own schools, so maybe *** is not really much help at all.

    Yes, of course the Middle Kingdom is better than the ME, but only if you are somewhere where you can actually breathe without getting some nasty respiratory infecton and / or cancer.

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