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Sympathy for this runner or not?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by MisterMaker, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    A short tale:
    About a year ago a teacher did a runner from the school I was head of at the time; the school he went to was one he was expecting to move to the following September, but they asked him to come early because they had a sudden vacancy. So rather than give the required notice (6 months) he disappeared during the Christmas holiday.
    I was not entirely surprised for a number of reasons:
    <ol>[*]He did a runner from his previous school in Qatar to move to my school, so he had form.[*]My school at the time was in Nigeria and I accept it&rsquo;s an awful place to work; I had already informed the owners I wasn't extending my contract. Nigeria is one place I have known lots of people to do runners from and I don&rsquo;t blame any of them. [*]I knew he had applied to move to the other school as they asked me for a reference; I knew the school and had met the head previously, I also knew it wasn't a great school (nothing wrong with the head, nice guy). </ol>I advised this teacher, when I first heard he was thinking about this particular school, to think carefully before going there. One of the reasons I knew the school was 2nd / 3rd rate was they hired two teachers from a previous school I was head at, who were bottom of the barrel material. The school had (has?) an incredibly high staff turnover (sometimes referred to as the clinic on this forum, so those who read on may realise which school); hence the need to scrape the barrel with the two slackers I knew.
    Anyhow, now to the interesting bit...the school he ran to is in Egypt!
    I wouldn't be surprised if the Foreign Office eventually advises Brits without formal links in Egypt to consider leaving. Even if they don't, knowing this guy&rsquo;s mentality I'm sure he's keen to get out with the current situation. So this poor guy (and his family) may be on the lookout for his fourth school in the space of 26 months (fifth within three years!).
    The more interesting bit: I'm continuing to recruit for September at my current school and need a teacher with his subject. I have no animosity towards this guy; he's actually a half-decent teacher, even if he does have a few bad habits. I haven't been in touch with him since he did a runner, but have his email.
    Should I have sympathy for him in his current predicament and get in touch when they get their internet working in Egypt? Or should I give a new science teacher without baggage the chance of working for a decent salary in a decent country?
    Just thought I'd throw this one out there. It's Saturday evening and I'm sat on my own (my family aren't with me at the moment) watching the news.
  2. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Interesting that. Did you know it at the time?
    Of course not, it must be something else then.
    Could you warn us so the unwary don't inadvertently put themselves at your mercy?
  3. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Take him back so you can sack him? Sounds like a plan. Have another sip from the barrel and get some sleep!
  4. stopwatch

    stopwatch Established commenter

    So you
    a) Employed him when he did a runner ( I am presuming you took him on knowing he was doing a runner)
    b) Are OK with him doing a runner from your school because it was in Nigeria and 'lots do runners there'
    c) You are actually considering not only having him back, but contacting him to see if he iis interested.
    In addition you say he would have moved 4 times in 20 odd months.
    I am guessing that you are no longer in Nigeria.
    Unless I am missing something, I don't think I would like to work for you.
    Obviously I am basing this on what you have written. You might be a good head to work for, for other reasons.
  5. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Well at least you won't have to do any of your legendary psychological profiling, as you already know the fella.
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    If he applied for the vacancy a week ago I wouldn't have given it the slightest thought before declining. I only thought about him watching the news in Egypt - I know lots of folk there and I was feeling sorry for them.
    We all make mistakes; yes he had form and has run from two schools; but two schools that he landed in naively. I'm sure he would be happily seeing out his contract in Egypt if it wasn't for the current situation; and may even decide to stay put. I was simply feeling a little charitable: not sure that makes me a bad Head, but you're welcome to your opinion.
    No, Kemevez, the plan isn't to sack him once here.
  7. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Ah, so that's it.
    It's not the being charitable that might create such opinions....
    ...more the apparent glee at someone else's misfortune.

    Anyone who didn't know you might think you had a real problem with "runners". Which might lead them to think that you'd had a lot of problems with "runners". Which might lead them to ask why, exactly.

  8. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Hmm. You are not very professional are you?
    I have no idea how you operate, or how things work in your world and the schools you inhabit. What you are considering is extremely unprofessional for a headmaster to consider.
    You have done it before, you will do it again, and the person will probably leave you in the lurch once a better offer turns up.
    Go for it. You obviously learned a lot about teaching in Nigeria.
    Just one other thing... Isn't it a tad hypocritical criticising others for doing runners from their schools and condoning it when they come to yours?
  9. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    So that's it! MM has a case of the runs.
  10. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Only one runner, the guy in this story.
    You're quick to try and trash someone who's a Head with little evidence or justification; perhaps you've had lots of problems with Heads and hold some grievance. You tendancy to jump to conclusions -
    - suggests someone with limited reasoning skills.
    [​IMG] Poor you.

  11. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Blimey. That psychological profiling of yours is really something, isn't it?
  12. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    Wow, maybe I'm incredibly naive but I thought you seemed very charitable and generous towards this ex-employee MisterMaker! Not sure he deserves it though...
  13. cityfree

    cityfree New commenter

    I agree with rosieeo. I have to say though, think about the other school. It would leave them in the lurch and this is what I have the issue with. If he had to leave the school due to high danger/school closing etc, then it would be charitable to offer him a job. I would, however, note that as he has done a runner a few times that he doesn't deserve it and you would be kicking yourself if he did it to you again. You could be charitable to someone else in that situation...
  14. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    MM. You raise the larger issue of giving a second chance to former faculty. We have all made mistakes and sometimes, we even learn from them. People grow and change as well. Callow youths somehow metamorphize into suave, sophisticated women/men of the world (quite unlike myself). In my opinion, the question revolves around the reason for doing a runner. Some are quite justifiable: a dreadful school in Nigeria, or escaping from a furious husband after being caught in flagrante delicto in a country where crime passionel is not uncommon. Other justifications are not acceptable and would not deserve a second chance. I had one teacher leave after informing me that he was shocked, shocked, to discover that he was working at a fee paying school and that his moral sensibilities were so offended that he had no choice other than to depart in November. Another left over a weekend, leaving a note that his apartment was too high, being on the 5th floor (there was an elevator and he had never previously mentioned that this was a issue).
    Whenever, I have given former faculty a second chance, they have not given me any cause to regret it. Mind you, they were all good teachers prior to making their mistakes or doing a runner and they were usually quite grateful about being given a second opportunity. Moreover, I knew the reason they left. Indeed, I usually hire faculty that I have either previously come across on the international circuit or those who have worked for colleagues/friends of mine. Their strengths and weaknesses are proven and they have demonstrated that they have the flexibility and cultural sensitivity to adjust to life in a non-European nation.
    Thus, I do think you would not be amiss to contact your former teacher as circumstances certainly justify it. A general message of concern would, probably, be well received and then you could leave the rest to him. He might just see your message as an opportunity to explore the possibility of a departure or he just might decide to stay and tough it out.

  15. Dr CO Jones

    Dr CO Jones New commenter

    So Mrs Maker got custody?
    Understandable. Have you tried Dial-a-Mate?

    SUPER.SUPPLY New commenter

    May i say thanks to all of you for keeping me amused with this thread. May I ask the headteachers on here how they can employ a teacher knowing that they've a history of doing a runner from somewhere? Is is desperation to fill a vacancy?
    I'm under the impression that people who are, may i say sub standard teachers and are not up to scratch here in the uk easily getting a job abroad. If this is true then i've got no hope of getting a job abroad either. hehe
  17. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Your logic seems to be dodgy here. You seem to be implying that you are below sub standard.
    You are also rather patronising towards the entire international teacher community, suggesting people work abroad because they cannot find a job in the UK.
    I'm glad this set of threads has kept you amused, but as your intelligence seems to be below moronic you're clearly easily amused.

  18. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my post. Amazing how some folk get their knickers in a twist over a post aimed at stimulating a discussion; at least there's someone out there in teaching land who is capable of not misreading basic information.
    I may send the poor chap an email, just to ask how he is; he may not be in need a charity and could already have made arrangements.
    One of the points I probably didn't make clear in the original post was how a few mistakes, especially in choice of school, can quickly drag a decent career down. I don't criticise runners just for running, and it doesn't make a teacher substandard just because they have done so. One has to look at the reason behind it. I have recently been critical of a contributer who did a runner and blamed the school, when clearly the school had nothing to do with it. To be clear, I've never done a runner myself; I tend to stick things out which has led me to be evacuated from one country after foreign office intervention (the school was mainly for Embassy staff); some of the other teachers had left long before the enforced closure.
    The chap in this case didn't need to do a runner from Nigeria, but the situation was understandable (I don't feel the need to elucidate further in this individual case). Nobody can truly understand the insanity of Nigerian owners until you have been there yourself.
    The odd response that suggested someone doing a runner from my school because of faults with my leadership are rather childish; I've already made clear that this is the one and only case of someone doing so and it had nothing to do with my headship; one runner out of over a hundred teachers isn't a bad record either. I get the feeling there's a few standard scale teachers with a bad experience or two from international heads who squeal with delight when they sense an opportunity to make moronic statements. The likes of SW, who was so quick suggest they would not want to work for me beacuse I was suggesting I might give a teacher a second chance, is quite incredible. Clearly his skills as a teacher are so great that he can pick and choose with ease; I'd advise any teacher not to burn bridges with folk you don't know.
    A good point, although I have only ever hired one teacher on this basis previously. The problem with this approach is that you do get too close to becoming incestuous and may not get the best person from the available pool. A recent interviewee wanted to work in my school because his wife had just been given a job through a friend of a friend in one of the better known schools in the area, aparently purely on word of mouth and no interview. If she was anything like the husband I interviewed it is unlikely I would have hired her; he had lost touch with recent developments and had no CPD for many years.

  19. I'd love to do a runner from my school. Will you hire me?
  20. I'd love to do a runner from my school. Will you hire me?

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