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The Escape Committee

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by the hippo, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Just before Christmas a drove a lady colleague to the airport. She did not come back. Recently I took some neighbours to the airport and then they did not return. The topic of "doing a runner" is not one that is often mentioned on this forum. Are there circumstances when this is justified? Or should we always stick to our contracts, finish our two-year stint and then move on?
  2. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    In an ideal world we should always finish our two year contract but sometimes this is very difficult. I'm in a situation at the moment where the school are making it very difficult for me to finish my 2 year contract. Equally they are 'blocking' my move as well - out of spite and vengefulness. They have not criticised my teaching or any part of my professional practice - they have made it personal which in my view is much worse and simply not called for!
    I'm in the mind now not to return but know that it will have a serious detrimental effect on my future career plans!
    I would never end a contract early because of simply not been able to settle in the country - I would always talk to the leadership and form a solution - either support or other!
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    What if the school hasn't fulfilled its side of the contract. I'm not a lawyer, but I would imagine that this would invalidate the contract. So in such a situation one wouldn't, in fact, be breaking a contract.
  4. kate harvey

    kate harvey New commenter

    I agree, David. I would have no qualms about "doing a runner" if I felt that the school had not agreed to any part of it's contract. There is a certain school nearby that provides return flights to the UK as part of their staff's contracts. This year they declared that they would not provide flights but give cash instead. This would have been fine but the cash amount offered did not cover the cost of a return flight to the UK. Staff are unhappy and quite rightly so. In a circumstance like this, I think it justifiable.

  5. What if you didn't have a contract? Is
    it possible to break a contract when no such legal document was ever
    established during your professional stay at the school? Yes, I am
    talking from past experience.
    But at the end of the day, I don't
    think schools, especially good ones with tons of qualified applicants,
    will really care that your previous school didn't fulfil their part of
    the bargain or never gave you a contract in the first place. They will
    just see: 'guy/girl who didn't go the distance'. Hence the importance of making sure you go to the right school.
    I don't. And I say this as someone who did do a runner many moons ago and who stands proudly by his decision. In the situation you have described I would be ****** but I would suck it up. Most schools nowadays don't even bother with plane tickets, even good ones like mine.
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Some folk really do complain about the tiniest thing, and then exagerate the case. I imagine dear Kate is a regular moaner in the school staff room if she would do a runner over this.
    After talking to various heads in recent months I'm coming to the conclusion that today's expats don't have the staying power of those in bygone years (admittedly, no-one in my school has done a runner, but I'm aware of others that have in the region.) Some poor souls are under the delusion they can wash / dry-clean their CV through omitting periods at a school (I was on a hiking holiday through the himalayas or on a three month holiday on a beach in Borneo!) but they are of course doing so illegally (falsifying an application or CV by ommission is illegal and a sure fire way of getting sacked almost anywhere in the world if found out)
    If you approach your head with a request to terminate your contract and leave on ammical terms, all well and good if you don't make it a habit, but if you do a midnight run you'll find few reasonable folk will sympathise.
  7. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Totally agree with you MM
    I've seen staff do runners because they only went abroad after a boyfriend refused to propose and then the poor sap caved in during the Christmas holidays. Meanwhile 30 kids and colleagues are left to pick up the pieces
    I also agree about the falsifying of CVs. It's always interesting to see several missing time slots on a CV. I now tend to think the worst and assume that they have been resorting to kiddie fiddling in Vietnam / Cambodia etc. In a couple of cases, I actually suspect that I've been correct in thinking this!
  8. I've seen them do it because:
    1. They were lied to at interview.
    2. They were treated like sh&t.
    3. They saw what happened to staff to whom 1&2 applied and attempted to play a straight bat with the management.
    Those recruiters who see gaps on CVs might want to try applying their critical faculties rather than assume applicants to be kiddy fiddlers or unreliable types. I find it hard to believe that international SMT have got to where they are without experience of the dodgy practices of plenty of outfits....
  9. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    So put that on your CV. There are plenty of ways of putting it there whilst still remaining professional!
    I could have put a gap in my CV but chose to keep the details in there and I never had a problem (I suppose been stabbed by a nutter isn't too difficult to explain - not in a school, by the way).
    One, two gaps might be unlucky / unfortunate but several would tend to say more about the individual than the school.
    Some of us have got the experience to know who these dodgy outfits are and would be more than sympathetic to staff leaving them. Certainly more sympathetic to someone putting them on their CV than those who lie!!

  10. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I have seen them do it because they came to the country and found the weather too hot, got themselves into debt and rather than pay it off, decided it was easier to leave in the middle of the night.
    I have seen them do it because they thought they were coming out for a jolly and realised fairly quickly that they actually had to work to earn their pay, so decided to leave in the middle of the night.
    I have seen them do it because, despite the institution informing them up front before the contract was signed that they will not have family accommodation for a period of time, they insisted on bringing their family out with them and then went off in a huff when the accommodation was not suitable. They also decided to leave in the middle of the night.
    I have seen them do it because the qualifications that they presented to the school did not pass muster when they had to go through equivalence, so they thought it easier to leave in the middle of the night.
    Applicants who apply for jobs with gaps in their CVs might want to think about what that represents.

  11. All the other cases - fair cop. Seen that too meself[​IMG]
    Unfortunately, the case quoted has been used quite often, in my experience, to excuse outrageous workloads/class size/demand to teach out of subjects and year groups/tacking on weekend duties and insisting on summer school attendance.
  12. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I am not denying that but where I was working in the Middle East, 3 bedroom accommodation was provided for in the middle of Abu Dhabi with all utilities paid, along with a very good salary ( much better than being offered nowadays ) all for teaching between 16 to 24 periods a week, with each period being 45 minutes.
    In addition to this the staff were very strongly supported when it came to behaviour management. Yet some staff still felt it was "very hard work in all this heat". The whole building was air conditioned.
    One chap left in the middle of the night. When his computer was switched on a few days after he left, it was noticed that all the insides had been stolen.
    One chap felt that, as he was a HoD, it was not his duty to cover for absent colleagues. He was throughly outraged when informed that the people in charge felt otherwise.
    One chap felt it was asking too much of him to come into work at 6.00 am. It wa a military base. What time does he think the military start working? One would presume that he had read the literature that was sent out to him informing him of the working hours.
    The list goes on and on and on...
  13. 576

    576 Established commenter

    It doesn't have to be 2 year stint or midnight flit. - there is a middle ground.
    I have a 2 year contract - but in the terms of that contract either party can give a months notice and terminate.
    I experienced a paycut shortly after taking up my post.
    I was denied my end of contract flight as part of a cost-cutting exercise, so although I made the mistake of renewing I have given more than a term's notice and I am leave mid-contract - though not in the middle of the night!
    I assume the hippo is available to drive me to the airport. [​IMG]
  14. There are of course feckless individuals who run away, leaving extra work and general unpleasantness for colleagues and pupils. However, I have been experienced, (or have friends who have experienced,) the following: visas and paperwork not completed by the employer; pay cuts; late (or no) salary payments; dreadful housing conditions; non-existent medical cover; bullying; lies about conditions; cheating in external exams and coursework; threats and intimidation. Sometimes, walking away is a sensible thing to do.
  15. What!? I think this is a fairly presumptuous, ludicrous and disgusting suggestion!
  16. qualiteacher

    qualiteacher New commenter

    I once seriously considered doing a runner at Christmas in a school I had been in for one term. I had not been provided with medical cover or leave that had been agreed before taking up the post. I was also being paid less than some of the people who I was in charge of because the head decided he liked them better. I didn't though, as when it came down to it I couldn't let my colleagues or the children down. It wasn't easy finishing the year but I'm glad I did.
  17. Diddysan

    Diddysan New commenter

    This topic highlights the importance of being well informed before accepting a contract. If the school has been guilty of some dodgy practices, then doing a runner might be justified. However it is the teacher who is taking a big professional risk. Finding out a schools reputation beforehand would be a better option.
    So in that vein, if anyone has anything they would like to tell me about schools in Shanghai, send me a pm.
  18. Really? So not bothering to include the two months I spent teaching ESL (part time) in a language institute in Mexico on my CV is illegal? Wow. I just thought it extraneous and that it cluttered up my CV. (Along with stints travelling etc.)
    But I'm a little confused. Nowhere on my CV does it say that it is a full work history. It just has a section entitled 'work experience' and a run-down on most of the teaching positions I've had. So just how/where am I claiming that it is 'the whole truth'? Should I also include every other job (part time or temporary) that I've had, outside teaching, in order to not be illegal by omission?
  19. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Goodness, the argument goes on forever. And how many times have we had it?
    Everyone's right.
    There are cases (in my view, the monority) when it is acceptable to leave at midnight. This can be justified if (and only if) there are serious cases of malpractice by the school, coupled with a reasonable expectation of mistreatment if the teacher attempts to leave in a more above board manner. In my view, again, both criteria need to be met.
    There are cases (the majority, in my view) when the teacher is unrealistic about either the school's behavior/expectations, or the liklihood of a poor reaction to a request to resign.
    I remember well the teacher who left at midnight two weeks into a contract, furious with the school's treatment of him. The complaint? The tropical country to which he'd moved had far too many insects.
    I remember the teacher who left Bangkok overnight, because she had finally figured out it wasn't on the beach. What a naughty, naughty school.
    The teacher who left at Christmas, unannounced, blaming the school because the students weren't like the ones he'd taught back home in pastoral Minnesota. No, they were a different culture, different religion, different native language, and they didn't connect to his references to the American system of government. Clearly the school's fault for non-disclosure, despite the make-up of the student body being a major part of the interview process and induction mentoring.
    I remember so many others. Except some of them I actually remember, and some I remember hearing. I wasn't actually there for all of the ones above, but I enjoy pretending, and they are all true stories.
    So let's try to be realistic, and not look for a simple answer to a complex question. Sometimes runners are ok, perhaps even the only sane option. Often they're an overreaction and completely unfair to students and colleagues left behind. Sometimes the school and students are far better off without the offending runner - having picked up several classes after teachers ran, and seen the state of their education, I am quite sure of that.
  20. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    While was being somewhat facetious, I did manage to stop our school employing one "teacher" who is now in jail in India for kiddie fiddling (and is wanted by the police in the UK, Thailand and Interpol), another who has a criminal record for statutory rape and a third that was linked to a paedophile ring in a school in Germany
    Guess how many of them had gaps in their CV where they had been "travelling" etc?
    I also spoke to a very well respected school inspector and recruiter who refuses to employ people who have gaps for the very same reason

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