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Istek School in Istanbul

 
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Baklava666



Joined: 31 Mar 2016
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: Istek School in Istanbul Reply with quote

Hi all,

I am posting my experiences as a teacher at Istek school in Istanbul.

Working at this school was the WORST experience of my life. The students are also extremely disrespectful towards foreign staff and highly disruptive. The school doesn't “believe in discipline” and will blame the foreign teachers for students’ unacceptable behavior. The fact is, they allow the students to do whatever they want so that students will re-enroll and they will make more money next year. Expect to develop health problems due to stress, like I did.

I was told that I would be teaching drama to the children. However, the school does not have costumes, props, or a drama room. A coordinator told me I must bring in my personal clothes for the children to wear. I was told that I would be provided with a Turkish teacher with me in class. Those co-teachers would show up sporadically, if at all.

I was told the school would provide me with transportation to and from my home. They picked me up and dropped me off at a Metrobus station. And, no, they do not reimburse for transportation costs. I was told the school does not tolerate gossiping. All of the teachers, administrators, principals, and even the school director engage in damaging gossip and spread rumors.

If you want to photocopy an activity or homework (black and white only), you must fill out a form that is signed by a department head three days in advance. What’s more is that you must justify your reason each time. They often “forget” or “misplace” your request. If they are “out of paper” you are out of luck for days.

The bathrooms are dirty and smell awful. The school does not have hot water. During the icy winter, they barely turn on heating, and promptly turned it off at 3 PM although classes were until 4 PM. The school has forbidden any electric water heaters for tea or coffeemakers. Teachers are forced to stand in line with students during lunch and eat in the same cafeteria. The food is also disgusting with bugs found in the salad on more than one occasion. Also, if you have “duty”, like hallway or schoolyard monitoring, you will be expected to wolf down your lunch down in five minutes.

They are always looking to cut costs at the expense of teachers. Don’t be surprised if they start accusing you of things that aren’t true in order to terminate your contract. Classes end at 3:20 PM on Mondays and Fridays. But, if you clock out before 5 PM, they can accuse you of leaving work without permission. If you are ill for one day, they tell you they don’t need to see your doctor’s note but will accuse you of unexcused absences (side note: the doctors here will not give you a doctor’s note for non-life threatening sicknesses). Unless you are lecturing the class from start to finish, they will accuse you of not “actively” teaching. All of which, they use as grounds for termination. If you are being observed in class, make your own rubric and have the observer fill it out and sign it. Otherwise, you will have no record. Of course, these rules only apply to foreign teachers.

Almost everyone I came across here were extremely unhappy. The stressful class environments coupled with incompetent school leaders is not worth the small amount of money they pay. If the only thing you care about is getting a paycheck on time, then this school is for you. If you’re a real teacher who cares about students and your personal happiness, STAY AWAY from this school.
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Ericjohns



Joined: 26 Feb 2016
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like most of the gigs in K12 schools in Turkey - I did 3 years in 3 diff schools and sadly they are all the same. Also - what you say about doctor's note is not true. You go to the doctor and ask for a note and they give you one - ıt's very easy to obtaın.
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JohnRambo



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Istek School in Istanbul Reply with quote

Baklava666 wrote:
Hi all,

I am posting my experiences as a teacher at Istek school in Istanbul.

Working at this school was the WORST experience of my life. The students are also extremely disrespectful towards foreign staff and highly disruptive. The school doesn't “believe in discipline” and will blame the foreign teachers for students’ unacceptable behavior. The fact is, they allow the students to do whatever they want so that students will re-enroll and they will make more money next year. Expect to develop health problems due to stress, like I did.

I was told that I would be teaching drama to the children. However, the school does not have costumes, props, or a drama room. A coordinator told me I must bring in my personal clothes for the children to wear. I was told that I would be provided with a Turkish teacher with me in class. Those co-teachers would show up sporadically, if at all.

I was told the school would provide me with transportation to and from my home. They picked me up and dropped me off at a Metrobus station. And, no, they do not reimburse for transportation costs. I was told the school does not tolerate gossiping. All of the teachers, administrators, principals, and even the school director engage in damaging gossip and spread rumors.

If you want to photocopy an activity or homework (black and white only), you must fill out a form that is signed by a department head three days in advance. What’s more is that you must justify your reason each time. They often “forget” or “misplace” your request. If they are “out of paper” you are out of luck for days.

The bathrooms are dirty and smell awful. The school does not have hot water. During the icy winter, they barely turn on heating, and promptly turned it off at 3 PM although classes were until 4 PM. The school has forbidden any electric water heaters for tea or coffeemakers. Teachers are forced to stand in line with students during lunch and eat in the same cafeteria. The food is also disgusting with bugs found in the salad on more than one occasion. Also, if you have “duty”, like hallway or schoolyard monitoring, you will be expected to wolf down your lunch down in five minutes.

They are always looking to cut costs at the expense of teachers. Don’t be surprised if they start accusing you of things that aren’t true in order to terminate your contract. Classes end at 3:20 PM on Mondays and Fridays. But, if you clock out before 5 PM, they can accuse you of leaving work without permission. If you are ill for one day, they tell you they don’t need to see your doctor’s note but will accuse you of unexcused absences (side note: the doctors here will not give you a doctor’s note for non-life threatening sicknesses). Unless you are lecturing the class from start to finish, they will accuse you of not “actively” teaching. All of which, they use as grounds for termination. If you are being observed in class, make your own rubric and have the observer fill it out and sign it. Otherwise, you will have no record. Of course, these rules only apply to foreign teachers.

Almost everyone I came across here were extremely unhappy. The stressful class environments coupled with incompetent school leaders is not worth the small amount of money they pay. If the only thing you care about is getting a paycheck on time, then this school is for you. If you’re a real teacher who cares about students and your personal happiness, STAY AWAY from this school.


What is your teaching background, and where are you from? It sounds like you got one of those jobs from hell.

It sounds like they're doing their utmost to exploit you, because they know you're a foreigner, and your visa's tied to them. These places are just money making machines with little concern for quality and the teachers.
That's a major problem for ESL/EFL instructors.

You're right. Turkish ESL jobs generally don't pay well when you factor in the exchange rate, and if you have to deal with exploitation, incompetence, mismanagement, students that couldn't care less, it takes its toll on you.
Your sanity's more important than that job.

I have complained about my job, and there are things to complain about, but it sounds like heaven compared to your gig. I hope you find something better.
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BrotherJimma



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:54 pm    Post subject: spot on Reply with quote

I also worked at ISTEK two years ago, and I can verify that there are abysmal working conditions. It appears that the foundation is coming apart at the seams...approximately 30 teachers either resigned or were not asked back-roughly half of the entire faculty at our school. I don't know how they maintain a reputation for quality private education-ISTEK does not even belong in the second tier of these schools.
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