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05/16/2015 - Dave
Is living in a bubble good or bad? I think the answer is yes. We do tend to create a bubble wherever we are, and tend to gravitate toward those most similar to us. Supposedly, we evolved to function optimally in a community of 150 people, and if so, it seems quite natural for us to limit our reach. If I create a personal community of 150 people and it's not as varied as yours, that may be less optimal. Or, it may not.
Teachers tend to make their students part of their 150, and I think that is fine, and just possibly not an administrative plot to trap people. In my 20+ years in 4 overseas schools, the idea of administrators trapping us never occurred to me. I think if someone feels trapped, that's not healthy for them; they should push back, find creative ways to get some freedom, or just find somewhere less oppressive.
While in theory, reaching out to an infinite number of people is ideal, put me in the camp that says "Problem? What problem?"
05/14/2015 - Guy
As a teacher with over five years international teaching experience I totally disagree with this. I greatly appreciated the efforts of the schools to help me be comfortable in a new and foreign environment. I had some wonderful experiences being introduced to some fascinating places in Morocco, Turkey and Egypt. Cultural integration and awareness was always a big part of the settling in process. I have wonderful memories of this and on a teachers salary I was able to have experiences I could have never been able to afford.
05/13/2015 - cliff
Wow, I retired some years ago after spending over 30 years in International schools. I do not recall the schools or school administrators that I encountered
trying to isolate and keep overseas staff from being part of or learning to underestand and appreicate the local culture and customs. Just the opposite was my experience. Certainly schools supported and protected their staffs, both overseas and local----but
control was not the goal, wellbeing and safety is something that made our staffs better and more productive teachers. And yes, teachers work long hours at every school overseas or in their home country.
It sounds as if you've had a bad personal experience,but please don't white wash
the International schools and administrators with your negative brush. Max's comments were right on target.
05/13/2015 - Max
I'm not sure if this is one school you are talking about or a mashup of several. If it is your school, you sound unhappy.
I'll offer my views on a few points.
The amount of support that is necessary is obviously tied to the location. Although all places (even the first world) have their quirks and bureaucratic frustrations, some are much worse than others. Survival requires some support. Those are the kinds of places that my career has taken me.
Most of the schools I have been at have offered degrees of support as you have described them. I have never felt like it was so that they could control me or to make sure that I had no contact with the outside world.
At one school I worked at, the director said that his goal was to make life easy for the teachers so that they could do their best in the classroom. If they are worried about their plumbing, the threat of having their electricity being turned off, or having to go to some government offices and figuring out which lines to stand in, then they are not going to be very focused on their classroom.
I appreciate your point that teachers should be learning the local language. I would say that I am one of those rare international teachers who makes an effort to learn the local language beyond greetings and the market level. I feel good about my ability to communicate, although I am no linguist. I have never been able to get my level up to the point I could confdently deal with bureaucracy, a phone company, or a bank. Support is appreciated and often necessary.
In terms of extracurricular activities, schools usually offer them because there are no viable alternatives in the local communities for foreign children (and, yes, sometimes it is babysitting service). I have never heard of a school forcing teachers to run them for other teachers. Some staff members do organize games or leagues, but it has been their choice--again, usually because there is no viable, local alternative.
I would agree with you on the locking up of passports. Fortunately, I have never worked at a school that was afraid of its teachers like that.