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Thread: CIS Russia - Calling all masochists! 75% teacher turnover rate!

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    CIS Russia - Calling all masochists! 75% teacher turnover rate!

    Teaching in Russia can be a wonderful experience, but I would like to encourage all those considering working at an international school in Moscow to avoid CIS (Cambridge International School). There are many issues with this school, so I've broken it down into categories to make it easier to digest.

    1. Organization
    There is none. The branches of the school don't communicate with one another, nor do management with teachers or teachers with teachers within individual branches. Events and initiatives are announced at the last minute and just as quickly abandoned. E-mails to members of management from individual members of the teaching staff are usually ignored. In fact, teachers have been reprimanded for attempting to communicate with management directly. Communication through the "appropriate channels" involves relaying your message through a layer of middle managment bloated with the director's lazy and incompetent buddies.
    The main branch of the school is located far outside of the city, and although transportation is provided, it is frequently late and often unclean.
    No support is provided for internationals in setting themselves up in Moscow. Individual teachers must find housing and learn the ropes of life in Russia independently.

    2. Nepotism
    The school's CEO has hired many friends and family members with no background in education for important posts within the school. They haven't the faintest idea how to begin running a school, or what issues are crucial to teachers and students. Even those hired for non-academic posts, like the bus coordinator, are clearly there just for a paycheck. (For their incompetence they are rewarded. The bus coordinator, for example, has already been put in charge of both sports and the entire Russian language curriculum for the secondary school, despite the fact that he does not have a background in education.)

    3. Cheating and lies
    The school pays each month based on a different euro - rouble conversion rate. The school changed its method of calculating the conversion midway through the year, and halfway through the year took money from the teachers for a supposed overpayment in August - obviously the rouble amount taken out wound up being higher than the supposed overpayment due to the changing course. The euro - rouble scheme is not mentioned in your official contract, however a much lower monthly rouble figure will be. This means that if (when) the school decides to cheat you, you have little legal recourse to recover your lost funds.
    This year, the school attempted to cancel health insurance 3 months early for those teachers who are not returning in the next academic year. (At one campus this number is at least 75%!)

    The school frequently presents international teachers with papers to sign only in Russian, despite the fact that many of them do not speak the language. When questioned about the purpose of the paper, or why an official translation was not provided (according to Russian law!) HR becomes very aggressive and attempts to intimidate teachers into signing - threatening to withhold documents without which they cannot continue to work in Russia. This is also a violation of Russian law, but that does not seem to bother the school. For all of this trouble, the salaries at CIS are not competitive, to put it mildly.

    4. Teacher development
    As a teacher at CIS, you will be required to attend 6 Saturday "Professional Development" days. These days will have nothing to do with teacher development, which is not provided by the school in any form. They will be smile and wave events at which your presence as an international teacher will be required in an attempt to impress the parents.
    Some teachers were promised promotions based on professional development which they were funding with their own money. Later, after significant money had been spent, these promises were withdrawn. Teachers who had earlier received promotions for such courses found that the promotions they had already received were rescinded without warning or discussion.
    Those who truly care about the quality of education they provide to their pupils will find that their mindset is not rewarded by the school, which values employees who don't ask questions, don't make suggestions, parrot back the party line, and attend non-educational extracurricular events with a smile on their face.


    5. Quality of Education
    Although the school purports to teach according to Cambridge and British National Curriculum standards, there are many obstacles teachers meet when trying to make good on this promise. First of all, there is a fundamental lack of appropriate office equipment at at least one campus. Additionally, the company through which the school suggested the parents order textbooks is actually a daughter company of the school, and delivered many textbooks late. Some textbooks never came at all, despite parents having paid for them!
    Many "specialist" teachers are never hired, or leave and are not replaced for extended periods of time. Classroom teachers at the Kindergarten and Primary levels are expected to cover these classes for months at a time.
    Due to the school's never-ending desire for more money, students are always promoted, regardless of academic, emotional, or psychological readiness. Students who need psychological help are usually unable to receive it, as there is only one psychologist for more than 100 children, and she is usually busy administering intake exams to potential new students the school has recruited to make more money,
    The school frequently hires non native speakers (from countries other than Russia) to fill native speaker positions.
    In short, if you are passionate about education, you will find yourself making compromises with which you are very uncomfortable on a daily basis.

    In conclusion, the turnover rate this year is astonishing, and extends not only to classroom teachers, but also to subject teachers, head teachers, and staff. Many of the reasons for this "carousel" model of employment are listed above, and considering the management's disdain for teachers and their greed, there is no reason to think that conditions will change any time in the forseeable future.

  2. #2
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    Wow we haven't had a thread like this in ages!

    Oh the good old days!
    If you trust the government you obviously failed history class. " George Carlin"

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    FatAndy (26-06-2017)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Wally View Post
    Wow we haven't had a thread like this in ages!

    Oh the good old days!
    why not send a letter to each parent? and let them know what the situation is there? no students, no school, as simple as that.... how many people will read it here? a few future teachers? why not send a letter to the Ministry of Education? a letter to the districts administration?
    There is no greater treasure then pleasure....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    why not send a letter to each parent? and let them know what the situation is there? no students, no school, as simple as that.... how many people will read it here? a few future teachers? why not send a letter to the Ministry of Education? a letter to the districts administration?

    Because this person is not Russian I guess. They would have to find someone to report them.

    I don't think you could get a list of parents.
    If you trust the government you obviously failed history class. " George Carlin"

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    Quote Originally Posted by teachinginrussia View Post
    Teaching in Russia can be a wonderful experience, but I would like to encourage all those considering working at an international school in Moscow to avoid CIS (Cambridge International School). There are many issues with this school, so I've broken it down into categories to make it easier to digest.

    1. Organization
    There is none. The branches of the school don't communicate with one another, nor do management with teachers or teachers with teachers within individual branches. Events and initiatives are announced at the last minute and just as quickly abandoned. E-mails to members of management from individual members of the teaching staff are usually ignored. In fact, teachers have been reprimanded for attempting to communicate with management directly. Communication through the "appropriate channels" involves relaying your message through a layer of middle managment bloated with the director's lazy and incompetent buddies.
    The main branch of the school is located far outside of the city, and although transportation is provided, it is frequently late and often unclean.
    No support is provided for internationals in setting themselves up in Moscow. Individual teachers must find housing and learn the ropes of life in Russia independently.

    2. Nepotism
    The school's CEO has hired many friends and family members with no background in education for important posts within the school. They haven't the faintest idea how to begin running a school, or what issues are crucial to teachers and students. Even those hired for non-academic posts, like the bus coordinator, are clearly there just for a paycheck. (For their incompetence they are rewarded. The bus coordinator, for example, has already been put in charge of both sports and the entire Russian language curriculum for the secondary school, despite the fact that he does not have a background in education.)

    3. Cheating and lies
    The school pays each month based on a different euro - rouble conversion rate. The school changed its method of calculating the conversion midway through the year, and halfway through the year took money from the teachers for a supposed overpayment in August - obviously the rouble amount taken out wound up being higher than the supposed overpayment due to the changing course. The euro - rouble scheme is not mentioned in your official contract, however a much lower monthly rouble figure will be. This means that if (when) the school decides to cheat you, you have little legal recourse to recover your lost funds.
    This year, the school attempted to cancel health insurance 3 months early for those teachers who are not returning in the next academic year. (At one campus this number is at least 75%!)

    The school frequently presents international teachers with papers to sign only in Russian, despite the fact that many of them do not speak the language. When questioned about the purpose of the paper, or why an official translation was not provided (according to Russian law!) HR becomes very aggressive and attempts to intimidate teachers into signing - threatening to withhold documents without which they cannot continue to work in Russia. This is also a violation of Russian law, but that does not seem to bother the school. For all of this trouble, the salaries at CIS are not competitive, to put it mildly.

    4. Teacher development
    As a teacher at CIS, you will be required to attend 6 Saturday "Professional Development" days. These days will have nothing to do with teacher development, which is not provided by the school in any form. They will be smile and wave events at which your presence as an international teacher will be required in an attempt to impress the parents.
    Some teachers were promised promotions based on professional development which they were funding with their own money. Later, after significant money had been spent, these promises were withdrawn. Teachers who had earlier received promotions for such courses found that the promotions they had already received were rescinded without warning or discussion.
    Those who truly care about the quality of education they provide to their pupils will find that their mindset is not rewarded by the school, which values employees who don't ask questions, don't make suggestions, parrot back the party line, and attend non-educational extracurricular events with a smile on their face.


    5. Quality of Education
    Although the school purports to teach according to Cambridge and British National Curriculum standards, there are many obstacles teachers meet when trying to make good on this promise. First of all, there is a fundamental lack of appropriate office equipment at at least one campus. Additionally, the company through which the school suggested the parents order textbooks is actually a daughter company of the school, and delivered many textbooks late. Some textbooks never came at all, despite parents having paid for them!
    Many "specialist" teachers are never hired, or leave and are not replaced for extended periods of time. Classroom teachers at the Kindergarten and Primary levels are expected to cover these classes for months at a time.
    Due to the school's never-ending desire for more money, students are always promoted, regardless of academic, emotional, or psychological readiness. Students who need psychological help are usually unable to receive it, as there is only one psychologist for more than 100 children, and she is usually busy administering intake exams to potential new students the school has recruited to make more money,
    The school frequently hires non native speakers (from countries other than Russia) to fill native speaker positions.
    In short, if you are passionate about education, you will find yourself making compromises with which you are very uncomfortable on a daily basis.

    In conclusion, the turnover rate this year is astonishing, and extends not only to classroom teachers, but also to subject teachers, head teachers, and staff. Many of the reasons for this "carousel" model of employment are listed above, and considering the management's disdain for teachers and their greed, there is no reason to think that conditions will change any time in the forseeable future.
    Can I suggest that you post the above, and a Russian translation, on the school's Facebook page!
    Если враг в пределах досягаемости, то и вы тоже!


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    Uncle Wally (26-06-2017)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TolkoRaz View Post
    Can I suggest that you post the above, and a Russian translation, on the school's Facebook page!

    That's a really good idea.
    If you trust the government you obviously failed history class. " George Carlin"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Wally View Post
    Because this person is not Russian I guess. They would have to find someone to report them.

    I don't think you could get a list of parents.


    Tolka has a very good suggestion. also on vkontakte and adnoklasniki. where many locals are surfing.
    There is no greater treasure then pleasure....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post

    Tolka has a very good suggestion. also on vkontakte and adnoklasniki. where many locals are surfing.
    That goes without saying.................
    Если враг в пределах досягаемости, то и вы тоже!


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