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2 year renewable contract!

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by cupasoup28, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. cupasoup28

    cupasoup28 New commenter

    Hi,
    I was looking at working in Hong Kong but was wondering what they mean when they say 2 year renewable contract? Does that mean the school can get rid of you after 2 years if they don't need you anymore? I would hate to think that I would be giving up a permanent job here in the UK and potentially be unemployed in 2 years time.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. cupasoup28

    cupasoup28 New commenter

    Hi,
    I was looking at working in Hong Kong but was wondering what they mean when they say 2 year renewable contract? Does that mean the school can get rid of you after 2 years if they don't need you anymore? I would hate to think that I would be giving up a permanent job here in the UK and potentially be unemployed in 2 years time.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  3. The two years renewable contract is the most common standard in all international schools. It does mean that in theory, the school can choose not to renew your contract after those two years. But if you work well (and some schools don't even care that much if you don't), your contract will always be renewed.
    I work in a school where after two years you can have a long term contract, but it's very much the exception to the rule. Don't fret about it. If your school is a good one, they'll renew your contract. If it's not... then you'll probably be relieved that they don't.
     
  4. I have a 12 month contract here, which is a bit of a nightmare. You have to let them know by November if you want to stay but you don't find out until early April if your contract will be renewed....! Also, if you choose to leave after 12 months rumour has it that the Hed won't give you a reference. Gives the school all the control, which I think like the 2 year contracts is pretty standard. Works both ways though- you can leave after 2 years if its not your cup a chai.
     
  5. hockeysticks

    hockeysticks New commenter

    But if the head then doesn't give you a reference that would scupper your chances of getting another job - what do people do then?
     
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Very standard contract. International Teaching is more akin to football in the UK, than state school teaching. I came across one statistic, which I think came from CIS, that suggested heads average stay is one year at international schools, but more than twice that length in the UK & US. The average teacher stays less than two years. These statistics will not come as any surprise to those who have been around a bit. On the otherhand, we all know teachers who seem to be at the same school for an eternity.
    Contracts have a beginning and an end. It is supposed to give teachers a certain amount of protection, two years is a long time and most schools will honour those two years. Especially useful when things turn sour in the country. I've twice had a big pay off when working for good schools and things have to end prematurely due to events beyond the school's control. In both cases I was back to work in a reasonable length of time. I've heard of many teachers in a similar boat from hotspots around the world.
    A two year contract gives a certain amount of security to the school. Recruitment is an expensive business, averaging £ one to two thousand per teacher. They will try to keep these costs to a minimum and will always prefer to renew contracts of decent teachers than seek new teachers.
    In most cases, where the work is in a stable country, a good teacher will expect the contract to be renewed. If you are not confident about your own ability, perhaps stay in the (reasonable) security of the UK. Likewise, there are many teacher who only expect to serve two years before moving. They will have their own motive but often they take international teaching as an oportunity to see & experience the world whilst getting paid.
    I would avoid schools asking for three or more years in a contract; they tend to be the dubious ones, although I'm willing to hear different view points on that from anyone who has enjoyed a three year inital contract.
     
  7. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    You'll struggle if you want to return to the UK, but there are plenty of Heads internationally who know the score and will be more accepting of this situation, especially if the school you were in is known for its negative tendancies; just don't let it happen too often.
     
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I don't know how common this is elsewhere, but in Germany you can have a contract that's meant to be for a few years, but there will be a clause specifying a probationary period of 6 months. And this happens in industry as well as in schools. For the first 6 months your employer can get rid of you without giving any reason whatsoever.
     
  9. pixel

    pixel New commenter

    2 years is typical and if you do a good job will be renewed. In my school in HK there are many teachers who have served for over 20 yrs.
     
  10. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Seems unlikely. Schools 'on average' replacing their heads every September?
    The figure quoted in Mary Hayden's 'Introduction to International Education' (2006) is 2.8 years, still alarmingly low.
    This was one of the reasons for CIS trying to 'educate' boards of governors, in the belief that, yes, like football boards, they were far too trigger-happy.
    But the other side of the picture is that there are some selfish and venial characters on the heads' circuit who think nothing of breaking commitments and contracts, who resign in a pet on the most insignificant 'matter of principle' (especially if there's a better-paid job in the offing) and who bounce insouciantly from one job to another, leaving cynical teachers in their wake.
    Just to blow my own trumpet in the most uncharacteristic manner: I managed 8 years in one headship and am cruising through year 11 of this one.
    Way above average, but not exactly the Sir A*** F******* of the International Schools' world. Perish the thought.
    No, I'll be content to be called the MisterMaker of Ruritania...
     
  11. Which brings to mind the chilling phrase
    "Owner and Headteacher"
    *shudders*
     
  12. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Chilling indeed. But how many of these are left?
    Most modern owners have got the message that being HT as well looks bad.
    Better by far to exercise control through the services of a plausible lackey with a sheaf of qualifications including the latest UK courses on safeguarding-the-life-out-of-kids and 100% foolproof Paranoid Recruting Policy.
    If these individuals get above themselves, they can be dismissed after 2.8 years or less.
    They'll get another job readily enough, claiming for the rest of their lives that your school was 'third tier' - and you can shrug that off as you line up your next victim.
     
  13. A few years ago, I worked in such a school. Oh boy. Oh boy. Never again. There should be a law against it.
     
  14. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Heaven forbode that I may offend for disagreeing, but I know a very good school where the owner is also the headteacher. The owner / head is a very sensible lady and the school has a well deserved reputation as as excellent school. My own children may well be attending in the future.
    On another matter, advice to Governors sent by the Department for ??whatever it was at the time?? said that ideal headships lasts between 5 to 7 years. I think I may have mentioned this in a previous thread. Thus, I'm afraid SMT-dude, you have failed to move on in an adequate timescale and are perhaps guilty of damaging your schools from being too stale - not by words, but those of the DfE/DfEE/DFES/DfESS/DfSESESEESSSSEE..[​IMG]
     
  15. Well I'd love to know of this wonderful school with the sensible lady at the helm. At the women owners of international schools I have come across are either are barking, greedy, grasping, bullying, or all of those things rolled into one.
    If the Dude is stale after his tenure, then what of the owner/headteacher who is around until she shuffles off this mortal coil.
    You really do spout twaddle, MM.
     
  16. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    I tend (like you, I suspect, MM) to take the advice of the tedious timeservers, bombastic mandarins, complacently pensioned ex-'educators', idiot ideologues, feeble-minded 'researchers', dickbrained quango cowboys, political pussycats and neophiliac numbskulls at the
    DfE/DfEE/DFES/DfESS/DfSESESEESSSSEE
    with a pinch of horse manure.
    Nonetheless the issue you raise is one I am taking very seriously right now.
    One thing is to be proud of offering unusual continuity to two good schools, leaving them better than they were - quite another to outstay the welcome and have to be dynamited out of the office by a community desperate for a new face, becoming not the Sir A*** F******* but the Hosni Mubarak of international education. And you can cross this line in the twinkling of an eye.
    So I will be looking seriously at jobs for 2012 as they come up, but will only leave this excellent establishment and lovely country if a truly life-enhancing opportunity and meaningful challenge were to arise for my last years as a Servant of Global Capitalism.
    For example, if I were lucky enough, there would be a suitable vacant headship in Nigeria...[​IMG]
     
  17. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I would have thought that if the head was the owner that might give him some incentive to recruit wisely and treat his staff well. Not doing so would have an effect on his bottom line.

    If this is not the case then he (or she) must have more money than sense, or be a consummate conman who is able to lure new teachers and students to his school. Mind you, I recently came across one owner-head who expressed the view that IB maths was a joke, so the more money than sense certainly happens.
     
  18. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    'or' ??
    and.
    Certainly in the case of the only owner I ever worked for.
    There were other useful qualities too, like an unflagging zeal for manipulative micro-management, but that of course is not exclusive to owners, being a pre requisite for anyone with SMT ambitions.
    the whole maths thing in schools is a scandal, not a joke, but that is one of the things I try to keep quiet about, even here.
     

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