Reviews & Comments
For teachers by teachers
The following information has been unverified... but as a science teacher who has been teaching internationally for the past 14 years, I think the most honest & genuine information always comes from other teachers.
Please, tell me what you think... Send me an e-mail, updating, agreeing or denying any of the following information...
ianwikarski at gmail.com
Please don't forget: good schools go bad & bad schools do improve.
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Comment #1: The school's population in the lower school is about 50% Indian and in the upper school is mostly Ivorian (85% Ivorian & 10% Other African Nationality). More than 50% are currently receiving ESL support or required support within the past 4 years.
Keep in mind the statements below are a generalization, and should not be construed to be true for every teacher & student at ICSA. There are always exceptions to rules, this is no exception.
The upper school students largely come from the well to do families of Abidjan. Typically, they were doing poorly in the local Ivorian schools, so their parents transferred them to ICSA. As a result, academic performance is very low. Many of the students are English- as- a- second language (ESL) learners and they receive very little support. Many of them come to ICSA performing poorly in the French- speaking schools. Conversely, the students’ overall classroom behavior is good, but discipline is intermittent and not consistent. Academically, many of the students who should be retained are instead promoted. For example: Student A failed three core subjects and earns a D in the fourth subject and was still promoted. Meanwhile, Student B & C failed two subjects and was retained, while students D & E also failed two, but was promoted. Students seem to be arbitrarily promoted at the director's discretion. The biggest problem with the school is the culture of laziness which prevails. Good students, upon arrival, become poor performing students very quickly. This culture is only a reflection of the teaching faculty which is a result of poor leadership. It is difficult to see this changing anytime soon with the current teaching staff. Many of the current teaching staff is mostly local hire with many of them not holding current certification of any kind.
The School claims to teach a college prep American curriculum, but due to large number of ESL students, the curriculum is reduced to spoon feeding the students the information. This mean high performing/ or gifted students may suffer the low academic expectation and the negative school culture. The school was recently accredited by CIS, unfortunately the accreditation report was written like a great fiction novel.
The school has very little supplies. The school did suffer from the crisis of 2005; however, the school receives a large amount of money renting its “old” campus to the UN. Some of this money is used to pay the rent at the temporary facility (villa). In any event, the school lacks basic supplies and has out of date tech equipment, etc. It did recently purchase a new server, however. It is many on the staff belief that the director is stealing the schools funds. According to the budget, we should be receiving new supplies every year, but never do. The US Embassy also gives a $40,000 textbook grant to the school. In my years at the school, we have never ordered anywhere near $4,000 worth of books let alone $40,000 in one year. The director lacks credibility as he would outright lie to the board about our performance & activities. Another classic example of his lack of credibility: We were told we would only have to pay 18% local taxes. To our horror, we were being tax nearly 30%. After the staff complained, he revised his claim and gave us a detail breakdown of the Ivorian tax structure. Despite this, he still told an incoming OSH that she will only be responsible for 18% local taxes.
If his shady financial dealings weren’t enough, he also uses & acts inappropriately around students. He would often be seen around Abidjan with underage Ivorian women (several embassy personnel relay this story to me). He also had a long extra- marital affair with a young Ivorian woman. (2nd hand info) He supposedly (told by two different people) set fire to her bed when he was informed by his “girlfriend” that she was leaving him to marry a Frenchman. He also made inappropriate statements about female students at school. Example: “[Name omitted], she has a body and knows how to use it” He also come to school after spending all night in piano bars in and around Abidjan, and spent most of last year mentally distressed. (He was seeing a psychologist until she told him she will not see him anymore). GOOD NEWS---Recently, the board announced that school will be hiring a new director; so much of the above may change in the next few years. However, I do have my suspicions about a board member. I do not know if the shadiness will end with the departure of the director.
I suggest extreme caution if you are planning on coming to ICSA. The first year with a new director will be very difficult. Many of the teachers and students, who are a product of poor leadership, will still be there.
ABIDJAN: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
As far as the country is concern,… well if you want an adventure, you will find it. It is a developing country, but it has malls, groceries stores, great Chinese restaurants, etc,… If you don’t know any French it can be very disorienting to you. I suggest learning some phrases & words. Ivoirians are wonderful people, but they can also drive you crazy. They can be lazy one minute, and meticulous the next. The worse parts about the Ivory Coast are the police. They have check points where they will “extort” you for money. Do NOT give them your passport,… make a photo copy. Lastly, Ivoirians love Americans, but have a love hate relationship with the French. Just to let you know, I am not leaving because of the country, I am leaving because I have reach my breaking point with the school.
Despite everything, the school did graduate 4 students a year ago, with all four of them attending colleges in the US, Canada & Italy.
(Comment posted Feb 29th 2008)
1.Luanda International School
1.Lincoln The American International School of Buenos Aires
Comment #1: Good school with lots of ressources
2. St. George's College
1.American International School Vienna
1. Ibn Khuldoon National School
2. Al Hekama International School
3. Modern Knowledge School (MKS)
Comment #1: The school was designed to only hold about 5-10 students per classroom. Most of the classrooms are simply too small to fit all the students that you are given. Ventiliation is absolutely awfull and for most of the year you feel that you are suffocating because the air does not move around at all.
If all you want is money this school will give it to you. But if you want to have a job in which you feel appreciated, supported, and like you are doing something good don't even think about it.
(posted March 14th 2006)
4. Naseem International School
1.International School Dhaka
Comment #1: I hated Dhaka as a city. It is dirty and dangerous.
The International School of Brussels
Comment #1: Great school. You need to be willing to learn French or Dutch.
1. American Cooperative School La Paz
Comment #1: Best school in Bolivia, great staff, weather cool as city is high.
2. American International School of Bolivia
Comment #1: School in Cochabamba, owned by one family, great staff and students, too bad there is no direction of school or it would be very good.
3. Cochabamba Cooperative School
Comment #1: School is improving, good director there now, will be good in a few years
4. Santa Cruz Cooperative School
Comment #1: City is nice, school is okay but not as good as La Paz
1. Escola Americano do Rio de Janeiro
Comment #1: Shared housing
2. Associacao Escola Graduada de Sao Paulo GRADED school
Comment #1: One of the best schools in South America (GREAT BENEFITS) but Sao Paulo is a dump.
3. International School of Curitiba
4. Pan American School of Bahia
1.The Anglo-American School of Sofia
1.American School of Yaounde
1. The International School Nido de Aguilas
2. The International Preparatory School
3. Santiago College Educational Foundation
4. The Grange School
1. Shanghai American School
Comment #1: One school, two campuses. Very different feel at the two campuses. The East side is much more laid back, as opposed to a very serious, intense atmosphere at the West side.
Admissions at Shanghai American School is EXTREMELY competitive...mostly privileged, spoiled Asian kids go there... The parents of the students will nag you about their grades if it is not an A, but I'm sure that's the same for all the other schools. Most of the families who send their children to SAS are in Shanghai to stay (family businesses). Many of the students I've met are somewhat condescending. Despite all this, I assure you, the students at SAS will be the brightest of their generation you meet. These kids have no idea of the potential they've got!! Great facilities and benefits for teachers too. (posted September 2010)
2. Concordia International School Shanghai
3. International School of Beijing
4. Beijing (BISS) International School
5. Chinese International School
6. Clifford School
7. International School Development Foundation
8.Nanjing International School
9. Western Academy of Beijing
10. Maple Leasf International School in Tianjin
I worked for Maple Leaf International School in Tianjin, China in the fall of 2012. It is a British Columbia (Canadian) offshore school, which has several campuses throughout Asia. I can't speak for the other campuses but only about the experience my friends and I had at the Tianjin campus. A teacher was fired for her perceived sexual orientation by the Canadian administrators a few weeks after she was in the hospital with severe kidney stones. The health insurance that the school provided the teachers was discovered to be fake and not accepted anywhere, so teachers had to pool their money together to cover her medical expenses. When teachers complained to the principal about it he said it was something he'd look into, and never did. The school had no textbooks, limited paper and other resources despite them promoting themselves to Chinese parents as one of the best and most modern Western schools in the world. A Canadian vice principal was seen pushing and manhandling Chinese students while "disciplining" them.
Two female teachers were sexually assaulted near the campus and a third teacher was chased home by an assailant with the same description. Another teacher was hit by a car, which broke two of his vertebrae. After one of the teachers who was sexually assaulted told her parents what was happening her father came to China from Canada and brought three of the female teachers back to Canada ensuring their safety. 1/3 of the teaching staff quit within a few short months because of the mistreatment and lack of morals. The school was reported to the Chinese Education Bureau, Chinese Foreign Expert Bureau, a Chinese lawyer, and also the American and Canadian embassies, as well as to Canadian newspapers, and the Canadian Teachers Regulation branch. The school was notorious for breaking their contracts with the teachers, not paying them according to their contract, or making them sign new contracts for lower pay once they arrived in China. They also promised housing and then didn't provide housing to every teacher they were obligated to.
When teachers began to complain about the mistreatment the principal would threaten them and became increasingly more hostile. Two of the teachers who quit in December attended a University of British Columbia job fair where the school recruits a lot of young teachers to work for them. These teachers warned students about the school and relayed their experience, as well as handed out written testimonies from other teachers about how bad the work environment is. Several of the students said they had read about the school in the newspapers and their professors used Maple Leaf as an example of what not to do when becoming a teacher or administrator.
1.TASOK The American School of Kinshasa
1. Lincoln School (1200 students)
2. Country Day School (890 students)
3. Marian Baker School (200 students)
4 . The British School of Costa Rica
1.The International School of Curacao Margie Elhage-Cancio (well liked, good director)
1.Nicosia, The American International School
Comment #1: Walid Abushakra terrible Director, very rich man who doesnt care about staff.
Comment #2: My wife and I worked in Walid's school systems for 10 years and have recently retired. The vast majority of employees I met were extremely satisfied with the schools and the administration's treatment of teachers.
1.International School of Prague
Comment #1: Beautiful city, good money, housing cheap, travel opportunities great, my top choice!
1. Carol Morgan School (Great school, 1150 students)
2. Int'l School of Sosua, Dominican Republic
Comment #1: Small school, small class sizes, great Caribbean climate/culture, friendly locals, lively social scene, but very low salary (one of the lowest in the world I think) and the local peso has devalued greatly so prices have risen drastically, so it's no longer affordable on the salary they give to save any money. Good for couples who want to live a Caribbean lifestyle but not so worried about money. Fun for singles as well, but the money thing can be a problem.
1. Academia Cotopaxi American Intl. School, Quito.
Comment #1: Nice school, good programs, city is getting more dangerous to live in.
2. American School of Quito
3. American School of Guayaquil
4. Alliance Academy International
5. Inter-American Academy
1. Escuela Americana (1760 students)
1.The American International School Cairo.
Comment #1: Walid Abushakra, very bad schools.
Comment #2: We were very happy working in Walid's schools and would highly recommend them. If he was that bad of a Director, he wouldn't be running 8 schools employing hundreds of expats.
Comment #3: Walid, , has been recently inducted into the Association for the Advancement of International Education's (AAIE) Hall of Fame. Also, our schools graduated over 100 IB diploma students this year with a graduation rate near 100%.
2. Learning Support Center, Cairo
3. Cairo American College (Probably the best and most reputated school in Egypt)
Comment #1: Cairo American College pays teachers very well and it is a beautiful campus, but there is a lot of educational BS.
Comment #2: Beautiful campus, college open in 1945. Good reputation, amazing facilities set in a nice neighborhood.
4. Modern English School, Cairo
5. Narmer American College
Comment #1: Great country, but this has a long way to go to meet standards. It is housed within a private Egyptian school in right on the "Metro" line. The physical building is in shambles and there is no space or grounds for physical education or sports. I would stay away from any schools which are "privately owned", especially in the Middle East!
Comment #2: I taught there for one year on sabbatical and chose not to return the second year. The north American administration has its hand in the school's pockets. It is unscrupulous; has little regard for quality education; and no concept of the value of quality educators, nor how to effectivelyy use them.
The facilities at Narmer American College are substandard and the school is located in a 'rough' neighborhood near a national prison. Some of the students are well motivated, but they've been lured there with the false promise of an 'American-style' high school education. Caveat emptor
6. Canadian International School of Egypt
7. British Columbia Canadian International School, Cairo, Egypt
Comment #1: Canadian certified school with decent facilities and fair administration.The kids lack motivation but reasonable and manageable.Recently the teachers formed groups and started harassing fellow teachers by stalking them , following to places and spread rumors about their personal life.It is unfortunate that the professionals come all the way from Canada and create unhealthy,and unsafe conditions for the members of the community.There are even rumors that some bad elements from Canada are supporting and funding such kind of unprofessional behavior to create chaos in the school. The school management is very patient and helpless to contain the situation.
This school will definitely improve if the bad apples are disciplined by the BC College of teachers,the professional regulatory body responsible for certifying teachers in the province of British Columbia,Canada.
The Principal of the School,Collette is a reasonable person, supportive,helpful to the staff and so is the school board.
The school needs dedicated and ethical teachers in the future which is lacking at present. (comment posted October 20th 2011)
1.International School of Estonia
1.International Community School of Addis Ababa. (People speak highly of the school)
1. International School of Helsinki (Excellent school)
Comment #1: This is an IB School offering PYP, MYP and DP. It is a truly international school with students from all over the world attending. Class sizes vary from 9 to 20, with most being at about 14. Not all students are fluent in english which can be a bit challenging at the higher grades in the high school when they do not have as much ESL time scheduled as in lower grades. The school facilities are good but space is becoming an issue as the student population grows. The school provides housing and the flats are very centrally located, which is a major bonus in Helsinki. Finland is a great country for outdoor activities but the winters take a lot of adjusting to; it's easy to deal with the cold and get warm clothes but the lack of sunshine takes a lot of getting used to. It is an expensive country to live in but the salary is more than adequate to live comfortably and travel on holidays. There is very little written english which can be difficult but in the capital area most people can (and will happily) speak english, with the exception of most bus drivers and anyone involved in transport - also a bit frustrating. (posted February 27th 2006)
1. (posted August 09)
1.International School of Bremin
2. Schule Schloss Salem Dresden (Boarding school, need working knowledge of German)
3. John F. Kennedy School, Berlin.
4. Dresden International School
5. Bavarian International School
Comment #1: Well-equipped school in pleasant location a little way outside Munich, which has a lot going for it.
Package attractive, BUT offtakes from salary for tax and social security are around 45%.
Renting expensive (no allowance from school, but help in locating). Cost-of-living reasonable. Excellent travel opportunities.
Adverse comments from both teachers and long-term administrative staff: Many students from rich families; used to getting their own way. Too many
parents interfering. Director appears very friendly and sympathetic towards concerns of teaching staff, but is really a snake - completely at the mercy of influential parents, many of whom are Board members. (posted April 26th 2006)
6. Berlin British School
Berlin British School (BBS) is located in the western part of Berlin in the beautiful green area of Charlottenburg and is well connected to the public transportation system. The School operates three sites (Early Years, Primary and Secondary School) with approx. 400 students from more than 40 countries. All class rooms are equipped with a smart board and Apple Macs.
BBS follows the English National Curriculum from Nursery up to Year 9 and then offers the internationally recognised IGCSE and IB diploma courses.
Teaching staff are almost exclusively native English speakers mainly from GB, Canada and the US and usually stay on for a long time. In the recent years the academic results of the public exams (IGCSEs and IBs) have been excellent. (posted August 30th 2011)
7. Berlin Brandenburg International School
8. Frankfurt International Sc hool
1. The Land of Eternal Spring (1450 students mostly from Guatemala, bad)
2. American School of Guatemala
3. Colegio Interamericano
1.Union School (Poor country, unstable government)
1.Escuela International Sampedrana (1840 students)
Comment #1: I normally never go out of my way to badmouth anybody, but I don't have many positive things to say about Escuela Internacional Sampadrana in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
2. The American School of Tegucigalpa (1150 students)
1. International Christian School
2. Hong Kong International School, Jean Lau, (2700 students)
3. Hong Kong Academy (Primary school, bad)
4. Yew Chung International school (bad school).
Comment #1: I am in the Early Childhood section and the hours are long 8.00-4.30 or 5.00pm to be changed at the directors discretion.
Lots of working Saturdays. Three weeks annual leave and no mid-summer break from August to December. It is disgusting.!! The principal tells many lies to get new teachers in.
American International School of Budapest (great school)
The American School of Bombay
1. Jakarta International School
2. Surabaya International School
Comment #1: We are leaving Surabaya International School after 5 years. It has been a great experiance. Small school (240 students) in a building meant for 1000 students. Technology is great and kids are polite. Great southeast asia living.
3. Bali International School
4.Bandung International School
American International School in Israel.
1. American International School in Genoa. Director Gary Crippin (Nice town, small school)
2. International School of Trieste
3. Marymount International school, Rome
4. International School of Milan
1.The American School in Japan, Tokyo.
2. Marist Brothers International School, Christian brothers school Kobe, Japan
3. Katoh Gakuen (School year starts in April)
4. Nishimachi International School (K-9, gym on roof, benefits good)
Comment #1: A new assistant head came in late August 2003 and life has changed completely. Please be aware of the
following: Many teachers have suffered under the regime of this present headmaster who is leaving but leaving
someone worse as assistant. We had a reading specialist and science specialist leave within the year of their hiring. Last year he tried to fire two
people, principal and teacher but had to reinstate them but it left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. The teaching faculty's morale is below zero and this was evident yesterday when very few attended the staff Xmas party. We had 9 teachers leave last year and this is standard these past 4 years.
5. K. International School Tokyo,
6. Nagoya International School (300 students)
7. International School of the Sacred Heart catholic school (nope)
8. Osaka International School
1.American Community School Amman (Great school)
1.International School of Kenya.
Comment #1: Director Monica N. Greeley (well liked), lots of travel opportunity, safety bad, Rob lived here, pay good.
1. Seoul International School
2. Seoul Foreign School.
Comment #1: The best school I was in was Seoul Foreign School. Harlan Lyso is great and portrays the school very well. They treat teachers very well. The downside is that it is campus living with many very, very "fundamentalist" type Christians, which can be a bit much.
3. Indianhead International School
When you request these reasonable things, consider how the administration responds. Do they freely offer them to you with a smile, or do they come up with excuses not to provide them? If they don’t provide them, beware!
1.The American Creativity Academy
2. ATakamul International School
3. Dasman Model School. Director: Dr. Michael Lloyd
4. The American School of Kuwait
5. Al-Ghanim Bilingual School ( located in Salwa)
It’s my opinion that you should stay away from Al-Ghanim Bilingual School in Kuwait. These are some of the things that I disliked about the school:
1. The turn-over rate is very high for new “Westerners.” I think the reason for this is the administration does not provide the appropriate classroom support. Instead, the climate at the school is one in which some administrators are critical of teachers. In fact, the Director, Dr. Afaf El-Gemayel said in a meeting with new staff members, “If you look hard enough, all student problems are the teacher’s fault.” As a result of this attitude, the probability of surviving for very long at this school is low. Given the low probability of surviving at this school, it is not worth the financial, emotional, and time investment to go here.
2. The administration is constantly popping into classrooms to observe teachers. In some cases, they will go into a teacher’s classroom five or more days straight . . . And, then they will still come back to do more observations at-will. It is very uncomfortable and nerve-racking for the teachers who are being watched. The administration says that they are doing it to “help” the teachers, but it feels more like they are doing it to “push” them out of the school. It seems barbaric.
3. On a regular basis, the school “docks” people’s pay. As a Westerner, this was abhorrent to me—the idea that you could work a day and then lose that day’s pay based on the judgment call of an administrator. (My belief is that if someone has done something egregious enough, suspend them without pay. But to have people work and not pay them seems too self serving.)
4. The school does not live up to financial commitments. You may or may not receive money owed you. Just because an administrator says in an e-mail that she will reimburse you for expenses, does not mean that she will. Also, I heard stories about how this school refused to pay summer salaries and “indemnity” pay owed to some teachers.
5. The housing the school provided smelled. I think it was a combination of cigarette smoke and feces (no joke) from poor plumbing. When I returned to the “West,” I had to wash all of my clothes because they smelled.
6. During the interview process, Dr. El-Gemayel said that the school had all the necessary classroom resources. The classroom decorations that were supplied to a colleague of mine were old and dirty, and several important resources were not available for the start of school.
7. Even though the school is not licensed to teach special education students, the school has numerous low-level classes called “Special English.” Guess what the “Special” stands for? These classes have many students that should be evaluated for special education services. It appears to me that the administration does not want these students evaluated because if the results determined that these students needed special education services, then the students would have to leave the school, and the school would stand to lose a lot of tuition money. So, when teachers have trouble managing and teaching these students, the administration acts like the problem is with the teacher rather than acknowledging these students need services beyond the scope of a regular educational classroom.
Although I recommend staying away from this school, if you are even considering working there, make sure that you get the following before making a final decision:
1. A copy of the contract.
2. A copy of the staff manual. If it’s the same staff manual that I received, you’ll find a list of things teachers should not do and the consequences—including the number of days pay that will be lost.
3. Your assignment and schedule in writing. (There were teachers who were told that they would be doing one thing, and when they arrived they were told that they would be doing something else.)
If you make the mistake of accepting an offer from this school, then make sure you receive copies of your Initial and Final Approval Letters. (These approvals are sent to the school from the Kuwait Ministry of Education.) Also, once you receive copies of these items, contact that Kuwait Ministry of Education to make sure an original copy of your contract, as well as Initial and Final Approval Letters are on file. PLEASE DO THIS BEFORE YOU EVEN BOARD THE PLANE TO KUWAIT! I sought the assistance of the Ministry of Education when I was experiencing difficulty with the school administration. A ministry representative informed me that she couldn’t help me unless she had my original contract and approval letters on file (which she didn’t). Fortunately, the ministry representative was kind enough to refer me to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. (This ministry was a big help.) Unfortunately, I think the school administration purposely delays giving teachers these items so they won’t be able to seek assistance from the Ministry of Education when they’re being mistreated.Please read additional reviews for Al-Ghanim Bilingual School and its director, Afaf El-Gemayel, on internationalschoolsreview.com. You must pay a membership fee to read reviews.
Comment #1: Great students, very unethical and corrupt school, Headmaster and Board of Directors.
Comment #2: A really dodgy school I have been working at!! Things are always "iffy" and they will tell
you any lies to get you there only to find they have no equipment, no teaching space and the swimming pool in the website never existed!!!
Comment #3: Used to be a good school to work at in a beautiful little country; but cannot be recommended under the present Head and Board: underhand and double-dealing. There's a comment on ECIS which I'd like to echo re. their sister organisation, CIS. They have repeatedly turned a blind eye to damning reports of the
above-mentioned school, which is supposed to come under their guidance & observation. (posted December 2005)
2. Maseru Prep School
Comment #1: Great location for travelling throughout southern Africa, nice accomodation, not a lively social scene, small expat group- can be boring, unstable board of governors and admin overall, crime increasing due to high crime rate in nearby South Africa.
1.The international School of Kuala Lampur.
2. Montkiara International School (good money, small school)
3. Canadian Matriculation Programme, Sunway, Malaysia
Comment #1: 700 students on huge campus, low salary but you can make good savings as Malaysia is farely cheap, don't count on your last pay cheque or be ready to wait for a year.
4. Dalat International school in Penang
Comment #1: The pay is lousy.... but most of the people here are 'missionary types', so they're in it for other benefits. The teaching environment is fine. A lot is done 'by committee' and discussion is encouraged, so your input is taken into account. Since it is a relatively small school, both my kids had wider activity options available to them than if they had been in a bigger school (ex. daughter: yearbook editor, varsity basketball, StuCo her senior year). Currently, there is a big influx of Korean students that the school needs to address in a way that differs from its usual missionary mindset. (posted April 12th 2006)
1. American Schoool Foundation of Chiapas
Comment #1: I taught at the American School Foundation of Chiapas and the school is run extremely poorly. Many teachers left mid-year due to terrible disorganization and an administration that did not understand American/International academia.
Comment #2: I believe that comment #1 likely comes from someone who worked there some time ago, as the current teachers all seem to be happy and there is a good understanding on behalf of the administration about academic programming and educational philosophy. I do admit that most aspects of society are disorganized in Mexico, this is not something limited to the educational sector, but teachers who come to live and work in Mexico generally understand that this is part of adapting to the society in which they've chosen to explore and enjoy.
Comment #3: Let me weigh in as a current teacher. If I had to sum up the school in five words, they would be:
Incompetence, corruption, nepotism, dishonesty and fraud
The things that I am going to write are things I wish I knew before I came to the school - for the record I worked with the administrators trying to help the school improve nearly all year and was politely listened to but eventually realized that the administration at the school does not have the leadership abilities to change anything. The principal insists that things will be different this year. I really hope so, but I think it is unlikely. I am not writing this out of revenge. I hope that by bringing these things to light, they will perhaps be changed.
ASFC takes disorganization to a new level. The school is incapable of developing a system for attendance. The first time they tried to start taking attendance lasted two days. The second time (which occurred after a student seemed to go missing, but no one knew if he was there or not) lasted three days. My two coordinators never once produced an accurate class list this year. Sometimes the school does not have the money to pay its staff. This year they wrote all the teacher contracts to last until July 6, but school ended on the 11th. There are no standards of behaviour or teaching whatsoever, no evaluations, and staff are never confronted about poor teaching. This creates a disastrous, anything goes setting (my classroom was often trashed after the Library and Music teachers were finished teaching a class in there). The curriculum reaches a staggering low in pedagogical standards. AMCO seems to have been thrown together by people with no teaching background.
There is no consistency, conceptual progression, no thought paid to the reading level of the students and the English is often incorrect. What should be an entire unit is done in one lesson. For example eight body systems are taught in eight lessons in science. This almost works as the students only need to parrot the information back on the question page that is facing the information page. I would need to write for days to properly describe the deficiencies of this curriculum.
The school frequently has banda de guerra (military drumming) right outside your windows. One coordinator (the sister of the owner) insists that her kindergarten students must practice right there even though there are many other places they could practice that would not disturb 300 other students.
Many other events take place and music is played at full volume during teaching hours, no amount of pleading or complaining will change that.
One of the coordinators (they are like VPs) is the sister of the owner. She has no teaching credentials at all. Her sole qualification is being the sister of the owner. Both the Mexican and foreign teachers in her department say she doesn't know anything about education.
Early in the 06/07 school year, one teacher had a student who crapped himself. The family of this child was related to the owner. This family scapegoated the English teacher even though no one knew when the accident had taken place. Hysterical family members told the teacher that she should be slapped in front of the owner. The owner didn't say anything. The value of the month was 'respect'.
I have had parents ask for special treatment for their kids and threaten to go to the owners if they didn't get what they wanted.
ASFC cheats us in every way possible. They offer us a week's pay as a bonus each semester for perfect attendance. By the time they have made all the deductions it is just over half what they told us we would receive. They deduct income taxes from the bonus. We don't know if they really pay them, but they deduct them. Even though it is a week's bonus, they say that a week is five days and thus don't calculate the weekend days to make it less money. I was told to pay my rent and the school would pay me back (10 days later each month). They were often late paying me and the last month I was informed that they would only give me half the month's rent because it was only logical that they are not going to pay my rent after my contract has expired. The fact that I have a contract with the landlord that does not allow me to pay part of a month's rent didn't seem to matter to our accounting department. The contract does not state they will only pay a portion of the last
One of the coordinators who I respect was lamenting the complete lack of honesty in this culture. About two weeks later she made a bald-faced lie in front of one of the other foreign teachers. One of the values we 'taught' this year was honesty. One administrator told my landlords and I that the school would continue to rent my suite when they had no intention to do so. I realized that she was lying when an she informed me they would be removing the furniture soon (I am staying an extra month). So I inquired why they would do that if they were keeping the apartment. Then the administrator made a big show of coming to see the apartment because maybe they would keep using it. She told the owner she would rent it. I am waiting to see the outcome of this situation.
I don't mean fraud in the legal sense, although it would not surprise me. I mean that the school portrays itself as a progressive American school. The only thing that is American about the school is that most weeks we play The Star-Spangled Banner at the weekly flag ceremony. There is nothing else remotely American about the school. Even hiring Canadians and Americans to teach does not help it to be more American as we can't teach in the way that we are trained to. We are too busy ramming information down their throats to complete the books.
IS ASFC THE SCHOOL FOR YOU?
If you are a poor to mediocre teacher with no standards, ASFC is the school for you. If you are satisfied with every decision being made in terms of whether or not it will please the parents, ASFC is the school for you. If you are satisfied singing happy songs about values, but never holding students and staff accountable to them, ASFC is the school for you. If you are satisfied teaching a curriculum that is literally everything you were taught not to do, ASFC is the school for you. (posted July 11th 2007)
2. The American School of Pachuca (Near Mexico city)
3. The American School Foundation (Mexico city)
4. The American School Foundation of Monterrey, 2100 students.
5. Colegio Americano de Torreon. (Torreon, Coahuilla)
Comment #1: Excellent school, very organized, good students & good academic integrity. Facilities are fantastic. New pool openened in Dec. 2009.
The only downside is the city: somewhat ugly, little to do and lately very dangerous due to drug cartel war. (posted September 2010)
Mali (West Africa)
American International School of Bamako (Irene Epp, K-9 school)
Comment #1: Great School, French spoken here.
Comment #2: Irene Epp is no longer Head. It is currently David Henry. AISB is now pre-K through grade 12. It's not too bad, considering it's in a very poor, landlocked African country.
(posted march 29th 2009)
International School of Ulaanbaatar
Dr. Bruce Gilbert
Rabat American School
Best school in Morocco, David Randall (in Lima before) (Michelles former student likes Rabat)
Anglo-American School of Moscow
Great school, student of Michelles from Chile there and loves it
American International School of Mozambique
The American School of The Hague (Good access to Europe, nice school)
Lincoln School Kathmandu
Muscat Private School
Comment #1: STAY AWAY FROM IT!
International School of Karachi
1. The International School of Panama
1. The American School of Asuncion
Comment #1: Elsa Lamb is a very dishonest and weak person; she is no longer there.
Colegio Franklin D. Roosevelt
1. Brent International School, Manila
2. International School Manila
American School of Warsaw
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (Good school, low pay)
Blannie Curtis good director, Michelle likes this school
1. Qatar Academy
2.Academic Bridge Program
Comment #1: The Academic Bridge Program is a post secondary program for Qatari students to help them increase their TOEFL scores for the 5 American Universities in Education City. Small classes, fair pay and benefits, good students, fairly normal attitudes toward school work, college schedule of classes, two 15 week semesters. Has been some distraction at the Director level, but that for the most part has not bothered teaching. Living in Qatar is not hard as most things are available, not as strict as other Middle East countries. It has been a good experience for my family. (posted April 26th 2006)
3. Direct English Centre
Quality Schools International
Structured schools, Rob likes, small schools
Many schools in remote locations (Kazakhistan, Slovakia, China, Ukraine, Belarus, Yemen, Albania, Russia, China, Armenia)
American International School of Bucharest
Michelle loves this school, new campus.
1. SAIS Jeddah (wants married couples)
2. International Schools Group Dhahran, (bad)
3. Saudi Aramco Schools
Comment #1: I have been teaching at Saudi Aramco Schools for 6 years. As far as international schools are concerned, this is the crème de la crème…
I do believe I am possibly one of the highest paid teachers on Earth. That being said, it isn’t for everyone. The ideal candidate is married with children (to reap the most benefits the company offers)
For singles (especially younger ones) there is definitely a pretty big party scene… but besides that, not much opportunity for living a life of substance…. (ex.. you will definitely not be coming here for the ‘cultural experience’) (posted November 16th 2011)
4. American International School-Riyadh (live in compound, big party place
5. IPS (International Programs School)
Comment #1: Owned by Walid Abushakra, bad director.
Comment #2: My wife and I worked for Walid in Egypt, Kuwait and Cyprus. We were very happy working in Walid's schools.
Comment #3: I, too, have taught at IPS. It is a good school. Walid does not interfere and I would not hesitate to work for him again. I am not sure from where arises the bad reputation that some teachers have slung. (posted March 29th 2009)
6. Saudi Arabian International School
The International School of Aberdeen
Singapore American School (Great School, lots of $)
1. American School of Bilbao (Very good, on coast, impressive)
2. The Benjamin Franklin International School
3. American School of Valencia
4. Bellver International College
5. Runnymede College (Madrid)
6. International College of Spain
7. American School of Madrid
8. American School of Barcelona
1. Overseas Family School, Rob says a great school, in Colombo.
Khartoum American School
1. The Damascus Community School
Comment #1: I worked at Damascus Community School in Syria for two years (2006-2008) and the entire HS teaching staff left the year I did; except one mid-contract and the spouse of an administrator. Students and parents control the school and the administration does nothing to promote a positive learning environment. "Lord of the Flies" is the book that
comes to mind. (posted May 2011)
1. Kaohsiung American School (bad)
2. Morrison Academy (Christian Perspective)
3. Taipei American School
1. International School of Tanganyika, (Dar es Salaam)
Comment #1: Rob says is one of the best African schools, 1100 students.
2. St. Constantines International School, Arusha. Tanzania
Comment #1: An awful place to work due to the current headmaster of St. Constantines International School Mr. Hendrich Gericke and his unprofessional practices which include:
Poor Organization, Communication and Leadership: Mr.Gericke rarely addresses Staff or Students and leads no meetings with Teaching Staff at the school. Staff that have joined in August 2009 have already stated that they will not renew future contracts due to his poor leadership and confrontational management style. Staff who ask about their welfare are branded as ‘irritating’ and the majority of Staff openly mock him – he is know variously as ‘the tall man whose brain doesn’t work’ or simply as ‘poison’.
Bullying Members of Staff: Female members of Staff have left his office in tears at the way in which they have been intimidated by him and he has forced them into giving intrusive details of their private lives. Staff members have previously stated how they were ‘held to ransom’ by Mr Gericke who knows full well the power he holds over his staff with his ‘what I say goes’ style of management.
Tanzanian staff are often shouted at and belittled in front of other staff members, pupils and parents for ‘bothering’ him or for simply not understanding him.
Bullying Students: There are cases of 2 girls in Keystage 4 (November 2009) who have been intimidated into following arbitrary school rules. One girl was cornered alone into a room and confessed that ‘he (Mr.Gericke) bullied me’.
Discrimination of Staff and Students: Staff members are singled out for small misdemeanors such as punctuality or forgetfulness and usually receive terse and at times aggressive letters, whilst other staff members receive no written or verbal warnings for the same transgressions. This is a organization that requires staff to befriend the headmaster knowing full well this will make your life ‘easier’. When it comes to punishing students invariably the punishments severity will be decided upon the student’s family status in the community or simply their wealth. If the family is not rich they are seen to be a smaller threat and given harsher punishments.
Inappropriate touching of Male Students: Mr.Gericke likes to be overly physical in his approach to the male students in the school, he will come from behind them and grab their shoulders, or rub their upper arms or attempt to hug them. I have seen students feel very uncomfortable with this and previous members of Staff have complained.
All in all the school is a wonderful place ruined by this brutal man. Staff are hemorrhaging from the school as we have to deal with him. Please avoid, avoid, avoid ! (posted September 19th 2010)
St.Constantines school have got rid of Gericke the previous arse and now have this guy - a corrupt egotist with responsibility for a childs death !
Academic honesty: Average exams have been known to be 'extended' to give students more time.
Moral of staff: If your one of the heads favourites then great, if not then is that even a question. He is importing his friends in and if your outside that clique then forget it
Main concerns/problems: Poor management, the Hellenic society who control the school are more corrupt than FIFA - bullied and illegally deported staff
Most recently the Art teacher has resigned. (posted November 3rd 2011)
1. International School Bangkok
2. Dominican International School
3. Thai-Chinese International School
Comment #1: I worked at TCIS (Thai-Chinese International School) in Bangkok, Thailand in 2006 and the administration was extremely poor and treated the entire staff with disrepect. Several staff members complained of experiencing one or more of the following by Dr. John Jenckles: harassment, discrimination, intimidation and inappropriate questions and comments with frequent use of sarcasm. Dr. John demonstrates a general lack of leadership, lack of knowledge and interpersonal communication skills. His wife, Dr. Lalima, is the other administrator, leaving you little recourse for the reporting of Dr. John's unprofessional behavior. Several staff members broke their two-year contracts after experiencing such a negative work environment and were retaliated against by acts of slander to any email addresses the administration could find.
Comment #2: The administrative staff, Dr. Lalima Jenckes and her husband, Dr. John Jenckes, of Thai-Chinese International School is exacltly as said in the previous comment. They do not care about the school environment, especially the teachers and staff, but mostly cares for their own well being. They aren't able to make their own decisions for fear that they may create problems and thus pushes the decisions for other people to decide. Therefore, they will be able to blame the staff and teachers instead for taking the blame themselves. When something goes wrong in TCIS, they push the blames on the board directors, teachers, and staff instead of taking their own blame. I have even heard of Dr. Lalima threatening students, but they do not threaten them in a straightforward way; she rounds about all the things she's in charge of, for example, sending letter to colleges/universities, contacting the colleges/universities, and writing the recommendation of the students, and hints that if the students do not respect her, she will say or write something bad to these universities/colleges which may as well ruin the students' chances in the future. According to many complaints i heard from students, and being a teacher myself, this is what keeps them and us from speaking up against her. As I had heard, when confronted by the staff/teachers, Dr. Lalima acts as though it is not her problem and does not even consider a slight bit of thought into changing her own attitude, but instead accuses the teachers/staff of having an attitude problem with her. Also whenever the lower school director, Dr. John, makes a decision and although Dr. Lalima may know that it is a bad decision to make, she never opposes his decisions but insteads follow through with them, probably since he is her husband. However, this is a school not her family, so she should be making decisions for the school instead of submitting to her husband's decisions. The school board of TCIS does not prove to be much better than the administrative staff either. They, too, succumb to Dr. Lalima's every decision, which as i highly believe, because she is not an asian like what the school board mostly consists of. (Please understand that I am not being a racist but actually am stating the obvious). I cannot tell you how happy I am to finish my contract with this school and is now going to teach in another school. However, I will very much miss the students, my fellow teachers and staff, and hope they would do fine in TCIS and not be tormented by the school board and administrative staff. (posted June 20th 2007)
Comment #3: TCIS will have new person to replace Dr. Lalima Jenckes and Dr. John Jenckes in next term, August 2009. (posted March 23rd 2009)
Comment #4: ''I have been working there as the school technology assistant from 2007 – 2008 and I have a chance to provide my IT consultant services to both of these teachers during my services. I think that the comments above about both of these respectable teachers are not even close to the truth.
Currently both of these teachers have already left TCIS to enjoy their vacation in States. I'd like to correct the comment that this is not the school decision to find somebody to replace them but they are leaving the school with school board’s resentment to let them go.
I personally believe that these comments belongs to just one person in the school who was being ejected from the school by the board of committee's decision neither Dr. John nor Dr. Lalima for great misconduct in school office and against both of these teachers.'' (posted October 2009)
Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
1. The International school of port of spain.
Comment #1: Good school, but tax free for only 2 years, so teachers don't stay long...
2. Maple Leaf International School.
Comment #1: Nice little school on a very pretty island. Good school, good students, good life. Expensive, so savings are minimal.
1. Robert College
Comment #1: I have graduated from Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey. I think it is the best school in Turkey and may be in the top high school list in the world. Housing is provided to teachers on the campus and most campus houses view the Marmara Sea. The school has a wonderful campus and it is in nice neighbourhood. The students are taken according to a national exam and only the top 150 students can get into this school. Therefore, it is pretty competitive. Upon graduation, between 20-40 percent of the students study university in USA. They mostly go to ivy leagues or good ranked liberal arts colleges.
2. The Koc School, Istanbul.
3. Uskudar American Academy, Istanbul.
Comment #1: Lots of govt. regulations in all the Turkish schools
4. MEF International School
Comment #1: MEF International School, Izmir, is a sister school of MEF International in Istanbul. They also have a national school in Turkish which has been operating for a couple decades. The Izmir campus is on a small plot of land next to the airport. It boasts a small gym, swimming pool, and a garden with a gazebo, but does not have room enough for a play ground or a field, which is unfortunate as the students' favorite sport is soccer.
5. Tarsus American College
6. Tarsus American Schools
Comment #1: great school
United Arab Emirates
1. American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS)
2. The American School of Dubai
3. The American International School
4. The American College for Women
5. Emirates National School
6. Higher Colleges of Technology
1. Colegio Internationaal De Carabobo, Valencia (small school, poor.)
2. Escuela Bella Vista (Maracaibo, hot climate, bad, big roaches.)
3.Escuela Campo Alegre (Only good school in Venezuela, Caracas).
4. Colegio International de Caracas (Not very good)
United Nations International School
Best School in Africa
Harare Internatioal School
More International schools
Inter links: More international schools around the world!
African Schools: List of private schools in Africa.
Ministry of Ontario, Canada: List of overseas Canadian schools.
Teachers on the move: An excellent site if you are interested in supplying on the international scene.