The salary was once good, but it was slashed and there have also been several instances where administration has threatened not to pay teachers their salary due to mistakes they made and tried to cover up. Your salary is NOT ensured and you cannot trust that it will be paid to you. Some teachers at this school have been deducted pay for taking needed sick days, which was never listed in our contracts. The school will try to control you by threatening to cut your salary if you do not abide by regulations and policies that they decide to just make up last minute which you did not to agree to in your contract. It is incredibly unprofessional and juvenile and a living nightmare.
I have met some nice staff members here but we are all affected by a negative toxic environment. You may be assured that every lunchtime conversation solely revolves around complaints about the school.
What areas do you feel are in need of development?
The reality is that not only is this not an IB school at all but it is not a school period. It is the biggest scam I am sad to say I fell into. It is missing a base foundation that is required for a school to exist. There is severe disorganization, poor treatment of staff, no regard for student learning and development, administration that will try to take advantage of you left and right, facilities that are very poorly maintained and barely any teacher resources. There is no excuse as to why this so called "school" should be this awful as they have been around for 20 years which goes to show that conditions will not change. Before arriving to this school and reading all of the poor reviews out there I had just thought that they were written by expats who could not crack it in the Chinese business-like system. However I have worked for other international schools in China and can attest that this school is by far the worst thing I have ever encountered! It proves all those poor reviews right and then some. I am not usually one to bad mouth or go on a rampage but I would never wish, upon anyone, the stress and frustration that I have encountered while working for country garden school.I will also not be returning after the Chinese New Year. Shame on this crap place.
The school leadership is a joke. Most are clueless authoritarians scrambling to maintain the illusion that this is a school. The practices at early childhood and primary levels are shocking. Teachers are drowned in “busy work” over very long hours that are ridiculously spread out throughout the day. The concept of shifts seems beyond their comprehension. Teachers are unhappy, dissatisfied and only do what they need to do to survive. This includes neglecting basic student needs to provide admin and parents with a fake representation of what really happens in the classroom, in the form of fake grades, fake reports, and constant photos and videos posted on parent chat groups.
There is no real discipline, students are taught to respond to anger and fear, rather than developing a culture of respect. As with everything at this school, they want quick results without the diligence required to achieve it. They create a seemingly competent representation only long enough to appease visitors and IB inspections. Any teacher that tries to implement recognized behavior management strategies is quickly shut down and undermined by the local teachers and then accused of being a "bad" teacher who "doesn't know how to manage "our" kids." Students quickly pick up on the clear message that foreign teachers are not to be taken seriously.
The school principal was heard saying, "What does behaviour have to do with education?" This was in reference to some teachers advising the school that they need a clear behaviour policy.
Principals have no contact with teachers. Any communication with them has to go through several levels of lower admin, ensuring zero constructive dialogue, and distorted messages.
Enthusiastic teachers who want to contribute positively are shut down and even threatened. A simple initiative to create a handbook for new incoming teachers to help with the VERY challenging transition, because of language and location, was shut down repeatedly over the years. The foreign affairs liaison, an overall nice guy, is only there as a figurehead and he will not help with anything.
School principals and leaders are constantly sent on trips to other schools around the world, which then sends the school into a frenzy as soon as they get back, as they try to recreate what they saw without understanding the concepts behind them. They don't seem to be willing to do what is needed to provide the structure and support to make core changes. It is actually comical to see them return from trips and then send the entire school into a frenzy of "change" until the next trip comes along. They have hired many experienced, dedicated educators, but as soon as they become employees they disregard them and refuse their input and advice. You will never find a comfortable routine or flow to your teaching, because every few months there is one of those ridiculous frenzies.
Assessments are a farce. Grades are manipulated to please parents and to protect local teachers from pay deductions/loss of bonuses. The entire system is conducive to unethical practices because pay deductions and public shaming loom over teachers' heads (especially the local teachers). This place is a perfect case study of the effects of terrible management, disorganization and corruption.
Teaching couples with children were promised that their kids would receive an education when they arrived. Instead they were neglected and isolated. The school principal's reply to their concerns was, "Your kids are a minority. I can't help you." Even more ridiculous is that they were charged tuition for roaming the halls all day.
It is shocking that they have been able to fool the IBO for this long.
Late pay and pay deductions on a monthly basis are a company policy.