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International Schools
Overall rating 
Overall Quality of Teaching 
Quality of School Leadership 
School Facilities 
Computer and ICT Provision 
General Happiness of Students 
Sense of Community Within School 
Extra Curricular Opportunities 
Student Behaviour 
Involvement in Wider Community 
Reviewed by Ford September 13, 2016

Poor Administration and a Checked-Out Board

I am a....
Expatriate teacher
I work in....
Date joined
August 01, 2014
How many years have you worked at this school?
Approximate monthly salary
Years of experience and responsibilities as a reference for the monthly salary
Other benefits included in the package
  • Accommodation
  • Education for your children
  • Flights to home base
  • Medical insurance
  • Pension contribution
  • Tax free
Salary relative to cost of living in the area
Are you paid on time?
Payscale transparency
Competency of management
Very high
Professional development opportunities
Career progression opportunities
Parental Support
Special needs support
EFL support
Overall job satisfaction
Not really satisfied
As a teacher, what are the major plus points for working here?
- Eager, well-behaved students
- Exceptionally helpful and thoroughly professional Mongolian faculty and support staff
- Supportive, engaged parents
- Competitive salary & benefits package
- Exceptionally clean facilities
- Excellent health care/insurance and very good housing
- Reasonable cost of living
- Many faculty are upbeat, dedicated and chose to avoid the director's games of favoritism and arbitrary privilege.
- We found the people of Mongolia to be warm, friendly and helpful.
What areas do you feel are in need of development?
- It was frustrating to see a school with such great potential so thoroughly stuck in an outmoded management system. Who knew that in an IB school meaningful collaboration would be all but nonexistent? Or that there would be a strict adherence to hierarchy, favoritism and cooperation forced by directive and threat rather than cooperation based on collaborative agreement? "Hey, ISU! It's someone from Moscow in the 1950's on the phone for you. They want their management system back!"
- An outside facilitator, upon learning ISU administrators' definition of "collaboration," took great pains to explain the difference between forced "cooperation" and true "collaboration" during an in-service training. Administrators should have been listening.
- The favoritism and threats of reprimand and punishment have a chilling effect on the kind of open discussion that is necessary for institutional growth.
- The faculty committee is toothless. Over a two-year period, according to the director's own verbal report, the only area they were able to have any meaningful impact on was the school cafeteria menu. One of the faculty committee leaders observed that the director "doesn't take the process seriously."
- As could be expected given the above, the grievance process is ineffective, and...
- Evaluations are sometimes used to intimidate and punish.
- The underlying problem at ISU is an apathetic Board of Directors that, in the words of the director, "does not involve itself in these matters."
- The director, other administrators and the board should work toward developing the kind of institution they wish to have; in that way, they will be able to answer questions truthfully when asked during the interview process.
- As a country, Mongolia needs to work hard to get a handle on population growth and associated problems, particularly hazardous air quality and inadequate, unsafe infrastructure for pedestrians.
What advice would you give to other teachers considering working at this school?
For teachers with strong (or even decent) résumés/curricula vitae, experience in a collaborative environment, solid letters of recommendation and who expect to be part of a growth-oriented team that puts service to students first, we advise that you avoid ISU. Your expertise will be neither desired nor appreciated, and doubtlessly have more fulfilling, satisfying options. Avoid being fooled by what is said during the interview process; turnover at ISU is high, and they have a difficult time recruiting teachers. These factors may lead administrators to paint an overly generous image of ISU. We ended up feeling that the interview process was not honest.
For teachers who are just entering the field of education, who have limited experience, or who perhaps got off to a rough start in their first years, ISU could, we suppose, be an option. But our advise is to proceed with great caution. The favoritism is not going to go away, and that presents some challenging choices. Nor is ISU likely to transform into a collaborative environment. If you get into trouble, you're on your own: the grievance system is broken and the board is of no use. And take an air pollution mask.
I certify that this review is my own opinion based on my personal experience of this school. I understand that International Schools Advisor may remove this review if it is found to be in breach of the site's Terms & Conditions.
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Written by Teacher168
September 27, 2016
Love this review...Well written and funny! Thanks for sharing...
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