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Leaving during 6 month probation period.

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by MyLastDuchess, Jul 29, 2020 at 8:55 AM.

  1. MyLastDuchess

    MyLastDuchess New commenter

    I have only been at my new post a few weeks, but I can see that this is a bad situation.

    My contract indicates a 6 month probation period. Either party can choose to end the contract within this time, without penalty, according to the wording in the contract.

    If I left during this time, what would the consequences be? Would this be considered doing a runner?

    I have a feeling that the wisest thing is to stick out the terrible situation. But I'm hoping someone has advice.
  2. libbyg

    libbyg New commenter

    Ah. I’m sorry to hear this. Is it your first overseas post?
  3. MyLastDuchess

    MyLastDuchess New commenter

    No, it's my 3rd. So I think I'm in a good place to assess the situation by comparing it to my previous posts.
    libbyg likes this.
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If its written in your contract then it you are perfectly within your rights to leave. The school I imagine would quite happily use the probation period to terminate your contract. I think a 6 month probation period is excessive in my experience its usually no more than 3 months.

    I would get some local legal advice to ensure you are not liable for expenses like recruitment costs and Visa processing. I know some schools that would give you a bill our several thousand USD even if they have no legal right to do so.

    Get on the internet and find yourself a local lawyer who deals in employment disputes. Anything posted on here is pure hearsay. Get a letter from the lawyer stating what you are doing is within the employment contract and within the countries employment law and include a copy with your written resignation letter.
  5. frodo_magic

    frodo_magic New commenter

    What's it say in your contract? Have you had a discussion with your line manager about concerns?
  6. MyLastDuchess

    MyLastDuchess New commenter

    I haven't even met my line manager.

    There were no recruitment costs.

    I guess I'm mostly worried about how this would be regarded by future employees.
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    How it's seen is going to depend on how you present it. If you didn't go through an agency, there's no external record to be concerned about. Presumably you'll be on the market in the near future though, and you'll need a plausible explanation for why.
    One potential concern, often underestimated imo, is the likelihood that your current school will end up being connected to your potential new employer in ways you can't predict. Like your current HOD moans to their former colleague from a previous country about a teacher just up and leaving, and that former colleague turns out to be the Principal at the school you're applying to. It's the kind of thing you can't control or predict.
  8. MyLastDuchess

    MyLastDuchess New commenter

    Yes, Gulf, that's a concern.

    So I suppose I'll just gather up my resolve to stay. I think I might be moving into one of those experiences described on that review site we aren't allowed to name here.
  9. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    At the current time I would make sure I had a good plan before leaving a job, particularly if as a consequence I may have to leave the country as well. Moving around the world is not easy and with quarantines can be expensive and time consuming.
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I would still consult a lawyer just for your own information and incase the situation gets worse and you feel you have no opinion but to leave.

    But with the New World Order in place this is not the best time to find employment else where in the world.

    I always think the school year is over by Christmas and its downhill to the summer holidays from then on.

    Judt bite your tongue, pocket the money and update your CV.
  11. MyLastDuchess

    MyLastDuchess New commenter

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I suppose I know I should just grit my teeth and keep on.
  12. markedout

    markedout Occasional commenter

    There's a big difference between 'doing a runner' and leaving a post by mutual agreement. if you want to leave, have a conversation with the dept head/principal or HR. My school operates on the principle that if you are truly unhappy, the best thing for you and the pupils is for you to leave. There is no need to disappear in the dead of night and leave everyone in the lurch - that really does reflect on you and your future prospects.
  13. sid1913

    sid1913 New commenter

    I broke contract after never thinking I would. I was worried how this would look but for the three schools I applied for, I was offered interviews and we talked in length after I finished my application off with a sentence explaining my contract breaking. They were really understandable
  14. 4019775

    4019775 New commenter

    I would not do a runner. I would tell them you were leaving and slowly walk out the front door and not return. Remember, the vast majority of circuit schools are in the gutter and they would not hesitate to sack you without a moments notice. There are an infinite list of reasons why you may have a break of a few months on a CV.

    Absolutely no need to consult a local lawyer. If you want legal advice arrange a 30 minute telephone call with a lawyer in your home country. They will tell you it is almost impossible to enforce any compensation/debts/civil court actions across international borders. Not even large companies such as banks attempt to enforce significant debts across international borders.

    Life is too short to put up with a nonsense circuit school.
    briancant and frodo_magic like this.
  15. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    An important point, I'd say. There's a difference to how not completing a contract in a school held in high standing (however warranted that may be) or a location considered desirable and the opposite. Certain schools are notorious on the circuit and any non-completion of contract would be considered by most fair-minded people down the school not you.

    Another point is where you then apply to. Basically, I don't think there's a hard and fast rule and you need to consider your particular situation based on likely perception of the quality of your current school and the financial cost of leaving compared with the emotional cost of staying.

    Not a good position to be in and one we all risk finding ourselves in whenever we change jobs. Good luck.
  16. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    [QUOTE=MyLastDuchess, My contract indicates a 6 month probation period. Either party can choose to end the contract within this time, without penalty, according to the wording in the contract...If I left during this time would this be considered doing a runner?

    Doing a runner means leaving clandestinely without warning. Invoking the probation clause in your contract is a totally different thing. If no financial penalty is stipulated you cannot be legally liable for one. BUT bear in mind that if the school decides, for instance, to withhold your final salary there may be nothing you can do about it.

    I can't see why you would need the services of a lawyer. Depending on the geographical situation I would be wary of consulting a local firm. I have lived in places where that conversation might easily get back to your school. I see no point in consulting a UK lawyer who would charge you big money for generalities you might easily be able to research for yourself on the net.

    My opinions, like all others, should be treated with caution but I tend to think the idea that the odd glitch will blight your career is overrated.
  17. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Occasional commenter

    Isn't that the whole point of a probation period? Why don't you just start looking for another job, and leave when you find one? Or give your school two weeks notice, or 4 weeks, or whatever you can?

    I'm in the UK. Two members of staff in my school were sacked without notice during their probation period last year.They were simply told to leave, and escorted of the premises there and then. You have not committed yourself to anything, and no one has committed to you
    frodo_magic likes this.
  18. desertphantom

    desertphantom New commenter

    The whole point of a probation period is that you or the school can end a contract with little notice to prevent you being stuck somewhere you don't want to work and to prevent the school being stuck with a teacher they don't want working there.

    In the event that you do choose to leave, whether you have to repay flights, recruitment costs etc depends on what's written in your contract, of course this may be left deliberately vague or your employer may choose to invent costs anyway in which case just point at the contract and stand your ground and educate yourself about the local labour laws so they can't try to push you about as a naive foreigner.

    One of my previous schools tried to get out of paying me a lot of money that I was due, I found the local labour laws online and called the British embassy and their lawyer to clarify the terms and then sent the school a scheduled email every hour quoting the local laws and what what should happen to the school and its reputation should I choose to sue them and go public in the process. I didn't pay any legal fees, just knew my rights and who to talk to - they soon paid up.

    The reality is that no matter what happens, once you're out of the country there is really nothing the school can do about it, you may not be able to go back to the country and that's not ideal but you may not want to! I wouldn't stick around in a place I couldn't stand if I had the flexibility to leave, especially if like you I had a proven track record previously, it looks worse on the school than on you in my opinion, life is too short.

    Good luck
    mermy likes this.
  19. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I would say leave asap. A few weeks can be lost on a CV if you stay for 6 months you will have to explain. I was in a similar position in a school in Spain a few years ago. I should have left in the first week but stayed for nearly 6 months. I was really unhappy and left after a load of real unpleasantness. The exception to this may be the middle east where you may need an exit visa?
  20. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    If you've got a probation period and a relatively sensible senior management - talk to them. Most people are smart enough to realise that if someone is truly unhappy and not just having a bad day or week, there's no point trying to keep them. But equally, get your bag packed and be prepared to leave quickly if they start to play up.

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