August 14, 2008

SABIS Threats and Intimidation (and Lies) Round 3

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , at 5:21 am by stephshimkooo

Refer to Round Two for Background Info:

C and I went into the office and sat across the table from two members of the SABIS executive staff, “E1” and “E2.” We knew what the subject matter of this conversation was going to be, so we were less than receptive, especially after the threats of unemployment and deportation the last time around. Read the rest of this entry »

August 13, 2008

SABIS Threats and Intimidation (and Lies), Round 2

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , , at 6:13 am by stephshimkooo

Please refer to Round One for background info:

After our encounter with the SABIS executive staff, we contacted a number of people within ADEC to ask them about what was going on. Based on the information SABIS had given us, there were a lot of things that made no sense, and we had many unanswered questions: Read the rest of this entry »

August 9, 2008

SABIS Threats and Intimidation, Round One

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:01 am by stephshimkooo

*please refer to the previous entry for background information.

Sunday came and went, and none of us had gotten on the bus to Al Khazna. Nothing was said, and everything went on normally. Business as usual until the following week. The SABIS executive team, comprised of the AQC, the RAQC, the woman who had been helping from Choueifat Ruwais, the Project Manager, and one of the Heads of SABIS (regular SABIS and PPP), came around to the schools to discuss the possibility of re-signing for the next year.

M was spoken to individually. They were speaking in voices loud enough for us to hear from out in the hallway, although we could not understand what they were saying. They spoke for what seemed like a long time, and in tones too aggressive to be taken as positive. After M came out, they spoke to another teacher in the hallway, and then told C and I to come in together. Read the rest of this entry »

SABIS Threats and Intimidation, the Prelude

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , , at 4:25 am by stephshimkooo

I was working at a Girls’ Middle School in Al Ain. There were three other native English speaking SABIS teachers working at the school, two Lebanese math teachers, and no science teacher because the one we had left over the winter holiday. We had no AQC or head supervisor for two months, and no member of the SABIS executive team or higher up came to speak to us, let us know they were there to support us, or even offered any help. They sent a woman from the Choueifat Ruwais school to come help us from time to time, and she was lovely. However, what she could do was limited by her interim status.

In February, we finally got a new, full-time AQC, and on one of her first days, she was given a very ugly job. Read the rest of this entry »

June 13, 2008

Reflections on a year with SABIS

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , , at 11:12 pm by stephshimkooo

My New Passport Picture

So it’s over. It’s finally over. This past year with SABIS has been one of the most horrible personal and professional experiences of my life. What this company has done to myself and others is completely, in the politest possible terms, unacceptable.

I don’t know how to describe it without seeming overly dramatic, but unfortunately, emotion generally is not accurately portrayed in text. I can’t believe how… damaged… I am by the experience. I am a healthy, professional, hard-working individual, and I care so much about the job that I do. There have been times in the past where I felt unappreciated at work, but I’ve never really felt threatened by an employer before, and before this past year, I never would have fathomed working for an employer that was at least, negligent, and at worst, deliberately intending to do me harm.

Who I really feel sorry for are the people who don’t have any choice about staying with SABIS PPP or not. Most of these people can be classified as economic refugees because they did not necessarily want to leave their country, but the job markets at home were too abysmal to allow them to make a living. Most of these people are from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, as well as other places in Asia. They don’t have a choice. There are no jobs at home for them to take, despite their considerable skills, and they are tied to SABIS because of Emirati Labor law. If someone breaks with an employer, no matter how amicably, there is a 6 month work ban placed on them. They can stay with SABIS PPP (or any company they would work for, really), or they can take at least 6 months without any job or income. It’s a terrible situation.

On top of the occasional shaking and crying, I have found myself unable to write or to use my brain properly. Back in Korea, I churned out about a column a week for Socius, and I can’t even find the words to keep a personal blog going. Like I said, damaged.

So here I am in London trying to make it all fade away before I head back to the states this summer. I wish Ziad was here with me, but that’s a story for another time. I’ll get to see Johnathon and Pete this weekend, and hopefully Cat will get back to me soon. I’ve only been here a day, and already the creative juices are starting to flow, despite my excessive drowsiness from the flight.

I will document my experiences here under the tag “SABIS” for anyone reading this blog with research in mind. Apparently, some other people have been busy writing, too. Happy reading, and if you have a job offer with SABIS, Intered, or the International School of Choueifat, DON’T TAKE IT.