I subscribe to a site that posts anonymous (really) reviews of international schools and their leaders, commonly called directors instead of principals like in the USA. Many, but not all, of the international schools have a review posted there about them from a former teacher who worked there, and most of them (not all, but most of them), are not positive reviews. The site is http://www.internationalschoolsreview.com, and it costs about 40 bucks a year to subscribe. I repeat, most of the posted anonymous reviews are NOT positive ones.
Partly this is because a satisfied customer is unlikely to write a review, because they expect to be satisfied, and if you mostly meet that expectation, they don’t complain, because they expect to be satisfied, so when they are, that is…..expected. It is the UNsatisfied customer who is pissed off and mad as hell who obtains the necessary motivation to write a review, and/or tell their friends, and friends of their friends, and perfect and total strangers on the street, how piss-poor this school actually was (or is). They are the ones who will go into exquisite detail about just how piss-poor, too, including sometimes naming names!
It is obvious that these reviews were not written by happy campers. Therefore, one must read the reviews of a school to which you are considering applying for a teaching or administrative position with a grain of salt, size large. Remember, happy campers usually don’t write reviews. However, there is some consolation in reading the bad ones anyway, because you know an unhappy camper is going to write every bad thing they can think of, so if it is not TOO bad, that probably means the school is about average. No school is perfect, trust me.
And then, there is the occasional glowing review among a cast of dozens of piss-poor reviews, which one instantly suspects was written by as ass-kisser in the process of sucking up, or barring that, by the administrator of the school him or herself, who is trying to mitigate the damage done by the reviews of the other reviewers. People really do read those reviews and consult that site for the worst that can be said about the school they are applying to – or considering applying to – or the one they have just accepted a contract for and are now doing their homework about (belatedly), so they can back out at the last minute if it is truly terrible.
EVERY school has some issues, just like every marriage, and every family. People COME with issues, so it won’t ever be perfect anywhere. But that does not mean you want to shackle yourself for a two-year contract with Attila the Hun, either!