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Contract dilemma - Advice required (quickly please).

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Peako, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Good morning to you all.
    Ok, this is my situation: I'm currently in a school that wants me to decide on signing their contract (this week). Now, I don't want to be derogatory on here but lets just say that the contract is pretty appalling (essentially 10 mths contract IF you don't work summer school, low salary, no flights, poor medical, holidays etc.). Oh, and once you do leave you are not allowed to work summer school and automatically lose 2 months pay!

    Ultimately, I am actively looking to leave but without success as yet. Therefore, I have the choice of 'suffering' this for another year, at least secure in the knowledge that I do have a job, or, I take a gamble and tell them to politely stick it ^_^ which could ultimately leave me jobless and overseas!

    Another little 'sweetener' they have inserted into this years contract is, if you sign now and then decide to take up another better offer (regardless of giving them notice) then you have to repay 1 month's salary ( that shouldn't hurt too much !).

    I understand the moral obligations of contracts but where does one stand regarding signing (reluctantly) and later being offered a 'real' contract at a better school. Is this acceptable if you give them prior notice, or, is it simply a case of putting up and shutting up once signed?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    Though my current situation is not the same I have actually handed in my notice without a job to go to! My reasons - basically professional suicide and I'm not prepared to risk my career!
    My worry with your situation is that if you do sign the contract then apply they might refuse or delay a reference especially given the facts you have provided. If you are well qualified and experienced take a leap of faith! I have and I feel much better plus I have a family!
  3. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Hi LL,
    Reference is not a concern as my Coordinator (also leaving for same reasons) I can trust on that.
    My main worry, obviously, is that I cut my losses and then don't find something else that is better.

    Good luck to you, hope it works out.
  4. From what you are saying, it looks like you won't find anything worse either. I know that some international school out there are pretty bad but this is simply appalling. My advice is sign the piece of paper and keep looking for a job. If you don't get anything, you'll keep your current job and if you do get another job, you'll lose a month salary, but at least you'll be out of there. May I ask what country this is in?
  5. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Sounds like Spain.
  6. Yes, it does, indeed. There are unions in Spain. If it is Spain, I suggest you speak to someone at CSIF, USO or ANPE. Although they represent teachers working in 'el sector público' they will be able to give you some advice on the legalities of such a contract. [​IMG]
    PM me if you like.
  7. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Thanks for your input everybody. It's not Spain BTW .
    I'm tempted to do what some have suggested but do worry that if I do sign with the intention of moving anyway, then potential employers will not be happy if/when they found out.
  8. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Spot on to worry about that. If you sign the contract be prepared to stay or expect only the desperate schools to be interested. Most decent schools will expect to hear from your head; a corrdinator should be the second or third reference; not including heads as a referee sounds alarm bells. Also, there's nothing to stop a prospective school asking you current head about you.
    My advice. Don't sign unless you intend to stay.
  9. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Well that's complicated things further. I frankly don't trust the Head enough as a reference, particularly if i intend to leave. The whole Admin are questionable at best of times. I DID have him as a ref. then recently withdrew him after he lied about the contents/responses to a previous ref request!

    I thought your current Line Manager was fine?!
  10. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    In addition to the head.
    Any reference must include the head.
  11. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Mmmmmm, so where does that leave those of us around the world in iffy schools, with disingenuous bosses, who obviously want out but need their help/reference to do so? Catch 22?!

    I feel like a helpless caged bird all of a sudden!
  12. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    If you are genuinely a good teacher, there will be other schools if you do the hard work applying for them. Be realistic and expect a middle type school only to be interested; perhaps be honest in the letter of application about your position.
    If you're not a decent teacher, stay where you are. [​IMG]
  13. Classic problem and one not easily solved.
    There are plenty of Heads who look for the ability to swallow ordure by the bucketload as the single most desirable quality in a teacher and will thus say, "don't leave."
    There are, however, those who would look sympathetically on the case if they knew what the school you are at was like - please name (gizza clue at least) and shame. You might be suprised at how well known these schools are.
    Some Heads - those rare breeds, the honest ones - would actually look at someone who has completed multiple contracts at such a school as evidence of a corrupt disposition or worse. It has to be said, however, that these people are rare and the group think that ending a contract at St Mafia of Nigeria's Academy for Cheats prematurely is the worst crime a teacher could possibly commit is widespread. There are those who would say that completing the said contract was evidence of great resilience and moral fibre.
    It is a tough job market at the moment so any income would probably be better than none, but the people you are working for are shafting you so...sign the contract, take the money, find some alternative references, make contacts and make getting another job your full time job on the company time.
  14. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Just to clarify, i'm not talking of breaking contract, but whether I should decline or accept for next year whilst having no alternatives yet.

    Anymore opinions on previous statements that I HAVE to use my current Head as a reference? I honestly assumed Primary Head would be just fine.

    MM, I'm not going to boast of being the best teacher in the world, but i'm certainly professional, conscientious and reliable, which is why this dubious lot want to keep hold of me .

    Oldgit, I like the cut of your jib ^_^
  15. Peako,
    I think your current Head reference is a necessity for getting into a BETTER school. If you don't include him, you may end up in the same situation at your next place. As for not breaking contract, if you sign saying that you're staying, then you would be breaking contract (if you sign one) if you then took another post between now and September (IMO).
    I had a similar issue in that I believed my Head would possibly blindside me, but I felt the need to put him on my reference list outweighed anything he could say. I think SOME Heads out there would question a bad reference if they felt the CV was stellar. And, as far as I can tell, Heads don't contact references until they have offered interviews in many cases. I know that I have been told by my references when they have been contacted and it has usually been after I'd been offered an interview.
    But what do I know? I still don't have a job for September...
    Good luck!
  16. arewethereyet

    arewethereyet New commenter

    Really, you're the only one that can decide what to do. It's particularly annoying in the international world that we often have to hand in our notice before having a job lined up for the following year. It's always a a risk, but if you're school is that bad I'd get out. There are still some good jobs going as long as you're suitable qualified and experienced, but it is very competitive.

    Have you been applying for jobs since December? Have you had any feedback on your cv/letter of application? I'm just wondering, because if you are going to get a job you need to have everything organised and up to scratch by now. Jobs will continue to come up until summer (there are always late posts advertised) so you could get something, but it depends on how picky you are.

    Basically, if I was you, if I was really hating it, I'd get out now. If I could stick another year I would do it, but I'd be getting my CV and letter ready now so that I was ready to apply from September when jobs start coming up for the following year. You could consider signing and breaking contract, but think carefully about it, how likely are you to come across your head again?

    As for the reference, I would have thought Head of Primary would be fine. I had a lousy principle before, a real nasty piece of work, I used my Head of Primary for a reference and had no problems moving on.
  17. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I had the same problem in the past, but things are fine nowadays as some folk say I have non at all.
  18. arewethereyet

    arewethereyet New commenter

    Really should preview my messages. Why can't we edit them on here?
  19. arewethereyet

    arewethereyet New commenter

    hehe, was waiting for that. Give us an edit function TES.
  20. For my current job I gave my HOD as a reference not the Head of School, as I knew that would be a better, and more realistic, reference.
    I had stayed in all other jobs for three or more years and will always view the one year at my last school as a blip. I also because of time constraints had had the interview before they asked for references and so knew why I had given the HOD.

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