There is a new ISR review for ASK.
We have read the review once and have a small amount of commentary. The review states that they worked at ASK between 2014 and 2015, and that Michael Murphy was their principal. Michael Murphy did not become principal until March of 2016, when Tim Bikowski just decided not to return from his trip to Vietnam. The reviewer also states they worked at six other international schools. Discussions among many former teachers at ASK have so far failed to produce any memory of a teacher that had worked at that many schools (especially since most teachers come to ASK as their first or second job, so the pool of people this may be is quite low.)
There are some other parts of the review that lead us to think that this was submitted by an administrator, but obviously because the review is anonymous it is hard to tell.
Because we are often critical of the school, however, we will publish the review in full. We would like to hear your comments below.
I have worked at six international schools. The American School of Kuwait was by far the best international school I worked at. It is rarely the case you have the chance to work with a community of hard-working, dynamic and positive colleagues. While also being supported by an excellent HR staff who takes care of everything, and having the support of school leadership. Considering how many teachers there are, and that we all lived together, I never noticed any conflicts or toxic behavior.
I feel Ms. Ness is a truly incredible woman who cares for her school, her teachers, and the students. I always felt supported. At the time I taught at ASK, Mr. Murphy was the principal. He is one of the most understanding principals I have worked for in over 16 years of teaching.
Housing is excellent (with views of the Gulf) and the campus is tranquil. There is a nice gym at the teacher’s apartment complex and the gym at school is great. There is also an indoor 25-meter pool if you can handle waking early and getting some laps in before class. There are early buses which will take you to campus at 5:15.
(ASKR Note: This view of the gulf is featured in the photograph above.)
It is a demanding place to work. You will have a common teaching partner to plan out UBDs. However, I truly grew as an educator. It is an excellent place to start your international teaching career due to its reputation. I have had several principals from other schools offer me a position almost solely based on the fact I worked at ASK. I asked why, they stated, “ASK turns out hard-working teachers.” I also loved my students. I was lucky to have had the chance to work with a junior class that was respected by all of the high school staff. The second semester of seniors caught a bit of senioritis near the end; however, that happens at every school I have ever worked for.
I decided to leave for the same reason almost all teachers who decide to move on from ASK after their contract ends, purely due to some of the challenges of living in Kuwait. It is not the most exciting country to live in. I think for a teaching couple, especially with kids, it is ideal. You will be able to save, and your children will be able to attend a school with great teachers and a very diverse student body. If you take advantage of long weekends, and breaks, you can see visit a lot of countries. In one year, I traveled to Bahrain, Oman twice, Qatar, Jordan, Dubai and others managed to do likewise while also fitting in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Beirut, Cyprus, Europe, etc. One group flew to Iran and had a great time.
As for salary, there are schools that pay more than the American School of Kuwait in the country. There is a reason. Student behavior and poor admin support. There were teachers who transferred to ASK and took a pay cut just to work with better students and for the reputation; they repeatedly mentioned it was well worth it. It is very easy to tutor on the side to make excellent money anyhow. If I was married with kids I was go back in a second.
On a final note, some teachers make the wise decision to pay for a membership to the Hilton which is close. It is pricey; however, they have a nice beach, swimming pools, great gym, sauna, enormous Turkish bath, etc. Some incorporated it into their weekly routine and it would have made my weekends more enjoyable.