I would say that sharing your own first-hand experiences, good or bad, is fine.
But if someone told me that they knew someone who had a brother that had once met a teacher that had heard bad things about a particular school then it has no business on these boards.
“This woman is insane, she did XYZ to me” is acceptable if you’re prepared to defend what you say. Bear in mind that there are two sides to ever story and ‘discussions’ of this nature can turn into nasty little flame wars. All the same, in the interests of fairness, anyone posting this sort of stuff should inform the school so that they can exercise the right of reply.
“I heard that this woman is insane, and someone told me that she might have…” is pointless. Teachers airing sour grapes in the pub, someone believing them and repeating one-sided arguments here, does not enhance our reputation or the service we provide. I would say leave it out. How can a school defend against vague insinuations with no detail?
Also, there is a natural tendency to bitch rather than be constructive. Newbies in particular seem to only see the story from their own limited perspective, without ever considering the possibilty that they may share part of the blame if things have turned out badly. This is a foreign culture, different from what most of us grew up with, and also we’re dealing with commercial enterprises bound by constraints that many teachers never consider.
Having said that, there are a lot of crap schools and shady characters out there. Listing the worst, and detailing why, is a good thing to do. Bear in mind though, that what is good for one person may be bad for another. ‘No training’ for one means ‘no interference’ to another. ‘Provides accomodation’ for one means ‘control freak’ to another. It’s going to be hard to keep it balanced.
Is it worth developing a list of points to consider, and discussing the pros and cons of each? I drew up a list, maybe 18 months ago, of points to clarify before going to work anywhere. Maybe this should be dusted off and updated as part of the same thread?
Would this growing list be better in a different sub-forum? Or our new wiki?