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Bad fit

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Rchimpson, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Rchimpson

    Rchimpson New commenter

    Just started my new overseas job, and my school and I are a really terrible fit. I keep trying, but things don't seem to be getting better. If anything, worse.

    Any advice? Stick out the two years (if I can), cut and run after one, or leave at Christmas? I'm not new to this and have always done 3 to 6 years in my previous.
  2. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    I would say that:
    • leaving at Christmas is the worst option
    • negotiating leaving after one year would be worth exploring - but be aware you may lose shipping money etc., depending on the school and on circumstance
    I would suggest seeing how things feel after Christmas and then you'll have an idea if you can stick the full contract, or if you need to negotiate a deal to leave.

    Good luck.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. A difficult one. Perhaps it would be wise to find someone at the school who has been there for a few years, someone you feel that you can trust, and have a private chat with them. How do they cope / thrive in this school? Without realizing it, you might be doing that was absolutely fine and acceptable at your last school, but is a no-no at your new school. Schools are rather idiosyncratic and individual places. Another possibility is that you think that everything is going wrong, but actually it is not as bad as you think.

    Where, precisely, is the problem, Rchimpson? A totally useless SLT? Non-existent teaching resources? Unruly behaviour from the students? Ghastly parents? Nasty colleagues? Endless meetings and pointless paperwork? Did the head make all sorts of vague promises at the interview and now you are confronted by the horrible reality? Or maybe your apartment is right next to a mosque and so you keep getting woken up by the very LOUD loudspeakers? Or the school's finance department have made a mess of things and you have not been paid for months? Or all of the above?
    stopwatch likes this.
  4. Jason_Bourne_

    Jason_Bourne_ Established commenter

    Just out of curiosity, which country are you working in?
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    'Perhaps it would be wise to find someone at the school who has been there for a few years, someone you feel that you can trust.'

    Put not your trust in princes nor in any child of Man. (Psalm 146). Or as a notice in a pub in my home town put it: In God we trust. Everybody else: Cash.The OP is new to the school. How can s/he know whom to trust? The people outside my immediate family whom I implicitly trust may be counted on one hand with fingers to spare. If this sounds like cynicism bear in mind that I have to deal with the clergy on a regular basis
    Rchimpson, Mr_Frosty and Karvol like this.
  6. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    I think you can sound someone out without worrying too much (or if you really can't maybe that tells you everything you need to know!) Is not day I was thinking of doing a runner, but if explain what I was unhappy about and what I would prefer to be the situation. You might be able to gauge if it may get better or if the problems are insurmountable.

    Fwi I was very unhappy in my first term in my job, I spoke to my line manager about it (who I'd already felt was a fairly sound person) and got both emotional support and a listening ear as well as some practical ideas
  7. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    I'm still in the school for years later btw. I realised some of the things I didn't like we're just quirks of being somewhere new, some were downsides of the school and others were actually better than I'd thought.
  8. gremlin86

    gremlin86 New commenter

    Hi, I think it takes time to gel in some places... Smile even when you don't feel like it - this helps. Good luck :)
    576 and Rchimpson like this.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Perhaps the Sage is right, as usual. But maybe some of the OP's colleagues could be more trustworthy than others.
  10. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I would stick it out to the end of the year if you can. Have a look at your contract - if it's any good, it should have some sort of resignation clause in it, even if it's simply that you tell the headteacher around now that you're not coming back. From your own personal perspective, you could run at Christmas and "ghost" the school on your CV (i.e. say you were travelling for a year) but that's far from ideal and a negotiated settlement would probably be the best answer.

    It would probably be worth talking to someone if you can - if not another teacher, does the school have a counsellor who you could speak to? Also, have the school raised any concerns with you too? Is it the country rather than the school?
  11. Rchimpson

    Rchimpson New commenter

    Thanks for your advice. I think that either moving on at the end of this year or even doing the two years is best.
    There's nothing wrong with the school as such, and most teachers love it there. It's just not the best fit for me. It's come as quite a shock - I've never not renewed a contract before.
  12. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    What is it about the school that makes it 'just not the best fit for me'?
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Rchimpson, don't beat yourself up too much. We have all done it, at some time or other.

    Sometimes a school, like Marmite, is an acquired taste. After a while, you may find that you can arrange things the way you want them and you will actually start to enjoy it. You may also find that the school changes you and your priorities as a teacher.
    gulfgolf likes this.
  14. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Very true. It’s happened to me even. A very meh start turned into a long term stay.
  15. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    Get out ASP if you know in your heart it isn't right for you. Contracts normally have a two way probationary period of several months with no notice required. I would use that. I say this because I found myself in a horrible position at my last school. I was part time and had a years contract. As soon as I walked into the school I knew it wouldn't work out! I should have left there and then but I decided to try and see out the year. Big mistake! I ended up leaving in February without notice after some real unpleasantness. If you leave in the first term I don't think it counts against you applying for your next job. You can use your previous school for a reference and just write off the short time at the wrong school.
  16. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Hang in there till Christmas as after your return the school year is basically over. Its all down hill to the summer holidays.

    I would start to plan the trip of a lifetime during your summer break, give you something to keep you sane and look forward too.
    576 likes this.
  17. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    In my experience/knowledge this is not all that common. Schools invest a lot of time, energy and resources into recruitment/retainment and generally will not routinely write in an automatic get of jail free clause into their contracts.

    Even if there is such a clause, to exercise it could still not sit well with future potential employers (not doing a runner, not a deal breaker but not great compared to candidates who have NOT left a post without completing their contract).
  18. walkingfred

    walkingfred Occasional commenter

    We have had two people break contract in my time in my most recent school. One was due to illness and one due to vociferously hating the place. Both people sat and had meetings with SLT, and while SLT tried to convince them to stay, they let them eventually break contract because it was going to better for them and for the school- no one wants a negative Nellie sitting in the staffroom constantly whining about how much they hate the place and dragging everyone else down, and I think most good schools take their duty of care to staff seriously. Both parties lost shipping and return flights back, but were not made to pay back any investment in them, and got decent references. Both left at Christmas and were in other, happier, jobs by Easter.
  19. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Check what the legal situation is in the country you are working, the contracts given out in China by schools are only a gentleman's agreement between two consenting adults. Chinese labour law is the prominent legal position on workers rights.

    Is there under the law a 3 month/90day probation period when any party can pull out of the employment contract. I know some schools who use this trick, but aren't happy when a teacher make use of this legal escape clause.

    What is the legal number of days you have to give in a resignation, here in China under the labour law its 20 working days.

    Most schools do not want to hold a disgruntled member of staff but they would understandably want you to stay till the end of the year.

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