International School Reviews, or ISR (www.internationalschoolreviews.com), is a website where teachers post feedback about schools in which they have previously worked.*
* Note: As with many reviews, people who leave in an unhappy manner tend to be more likely to leave a review. Also, school leaders can leave posts pretending to be happy teachers that left, so every review should be read with awareness for possible contexts and motivations.
Many schools have only 5 reviews or fewer, making the reviews more difficult to parse for authentic information. The American School of Kuwait has 53 reviews (as of this posting) dating back to 2006. Obviously, more recent reviews are more valuable and informative, so that will be our focus.
Because ISR is a paid site, only excerpts will be posted here. Please consider purchasing an account. Remember that if you are a former teacher, you can post anonymously on ISR without needing to create or pay for an account.
Review #50 was left by a teacher who claims to have worked at the school between 2015 and 2017. Below is their score of the school:
“The American School smacks of lack: in leadership, in innovation, in renovation, in technology, and in ownership. Systemic academic, administrative, student, and turnover issues prevent teachers from reaching their full potential. While most faculty and administrators have students at heart, everyone cycles through an unfocused juggling of workload, high maintenance students, and depleted enthusiasm. In a nugget: teaching at ASK is stultifying and sapping-tiresome. “
Review 49 was left by a teacher who claimed to work at the school from 2013 until 2016.
“Overall, the school is an OK place to work if you’re a new teacher looking for experience. However, it’s a draining place to work and it gets harder and harder to thrive after each passing year. This is not a place to invest in in the long term.
Owner: The owner is nonexistent in the culture of the school. It’s a for-profit establishment, and it shows by the dilapidated infrastructure of the campus. The buildings are riddled with electrical and plumbing problems, and stray cats roam the campus. Little has been done to update the school in both aesthetics and technology. There are rumors of where the tuition money goes, but it’s definitely not going into the salary of teachers or development of the school as a whole.
Director: Becky is a sweet person. She has an open door policy and will lend an ear to anyone with questions or complaints. That’s about as far as she goes. Do not count on anything actually getting accomplished.”
Review 52 was left by a teacher who claimed to work at the school from 2013 until 2017.
“Before accepting a position at the American School of Kuwait, I urge you to carefully think about your decision. After being very satisfied at the beginning of my time with ASK, a series of changes within the school over the past 2-3 years have caused the school to become a poor choice, in terms of both a place to work and, especially, as a place in which to send your children to learn. In brief, this institution is a for-profit business. Administration lacks integrity and competency. Even first year teachers with a thin (or non-existent) CV can certainly find a school that provides more compensation, a better learning environment, and a better professional environment.
Approximately 43% of teachers left last year. There are an extremely small number of teachers that have worked at the school more than four years. This information should be considered by candidates very carefully – I think it says all you really need to know. Unless you are a first year teacher that cannot find gainful employment elsewhere and desperately needs experience, I cannot recommend teaching at ASK. This school fails all of its stakeholders: faculty, students, and parents. It lacks in safety, quality of education, and in general quality of life for its employees.”
Review 53 was left by a teacher who claimed to work at the school from 2016 until 2018. It should be noted that this post was left before the end of the school year in 2018, which is quite unusual – teachers tend to make their posts after they have departed for a variety of reasons.
“Kuwait itself is a curious place of contrasts. I stayed in two different buildings during my time here. First, in the annex, and later in Dina Dana towers. The latter is definitely superior accommodation compared to the former, but both were adequate for my needs. Families are placed in even larger three bedroom flats. As these are a free benefit of teaching at ASK, it is hard to find fault with the flats themselves. It is easy, though, to find fault with the neighborhood outside the walls of Dina Dana. Mahboula, while safe, is neither pretty nor clean nor interesting. It is about a 30-minute bus ride from the school, and has become congested with so-called “camps” for immigrant workers–blocks of simple, crowded flats. There are open dumpsters on the street that fill the air with foul odors. I have lived with this by rarely going outside for extended periods, but after a few years it has become the worst of only a few unpleasant aspects of living and working here. Another is the strict ban on alcohol that Kuwait employs–it is utterly illegal for everyone across the country. I find this makes people less merry. While drinks are a no-go, food is excellent in Kuwait, and there is a service called Talabat that will deliver meals to your home. Grocery stores such as Sultan Center perform the same service. Internet is by sim card, and while LTE speeds are promised, 1 megabyte/second is a better indication of the average speed in Mahboula. On the positive side, health care in Kuwait is excellent, and there is a modern international hospital about 5 minutes walk from the housing in Mahboula. I have used it frequently and it has never cost me a penny. You will be covered for emergencies in the USA during the summer, but not for routine medical visits, so keep that in mind. You will need to undergo various blood tests in your home country in preparation for your work visa, and I had to pay for those (costly!) out of pocket. “