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The sudden runner.... why??

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by SineField, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. SineField

    SineField New commenter

    Pardon my newb ways, but the thing I don't get about when people do this, is that there doesn't appear to be any upside to it?

    The only reason I can see why you wouldn't at the bare minimum give your school half a terms notice, is that in some countries there might be a way of barring you from leaving the country as you are in breach of a contract? Or would a school try and sue you maybe to recoup recruitment costs?

    If you are miserable then saying to your school..... "Look this just isn't working out for 'reason x', I know this isn't ideal for you but I'm prepared to give you 6 weeks notice."...... Now you at least stand a chance of getting some kind of reference out of them?

    So why is this a relatively common thing?
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I suggest you try going to your school principal or owner and telling them you are leaving at Christmas and see their reaction. I do know schools that have had staff arrested by police and told they can not leave the country and even threatened with immigration detention.

    I should imagine that half the schools never ask for a reference in the first place or it has been written by a friend of the applicant. Some schools out their can not be that fussy when it comes to finding staff.

    If a school can not mentor new staff in such a way that it is not possible to make someone feel welcome and happy and not see someone is unhappy and wants to leave, then you get runner's.
  3. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Feb31 is right in the reason why there are runners. It could be for a variety of reasons - you don't like the city / country / school, something has happened at home, anything along those lines. The most bizarre one I saw was a member of staff who had seemed very settled, everything fine, then just disappeared completely - school was able to find out he'd left the country, but he'd shut down everything, Facebook, email, the lot! This wasn't an early runner, by the way - this was about half way through the second year of a 2 year contract.
  4. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    Some schools - either genuinely or otherwise - do not see ANY wrong with the mountain of failures on their part to honor what's written in their contracts. If things get so bad, then the only way out is to do a runner as the teacher feels they will be penalized, including having to pay back airfares, visa costs, relocation allowances etc etc. if they DO give notice. Often they arrive at a school only to find things not being as they were told. Once notice is given, then the school can begin to put preparations into place for taking all this out the final month's salary. Why is that fair if the school have lied, lied, lied...? That's why teachers run.

    A generalization I know, but I think there are probably more schools screwing teachers than there are teachers screwing schools.
    Mermaid7, sazad99 and blueskydreaming like this.
  5. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    I’ll be the alternate viewpoint.
    Running is actually pretty rare and most schools are pretty understanding (not happy, just willing to work with you) about people who express extreme unhappiness or emerging situations requiring you to return home. It doesn’t do anyone any good for a school to make your hard situation more difficult.
  6. towncryer

    towncryer Established commenter

    If runners have been around long enough to have credit cards and loans,this could be another reason why they disappear without trace.
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    There was a thread a few weeks back discussing the same thing, more or less. I listed there some of the runners I've known.
    Unlike some of the posters here, I've had predominantly good experiences working overseas, and perhaps our personal histories color our perspectives. I've been doing this overseas thing since the early '90s, in better schools and worse ones, with good bosses and not so good ones, with packages from and to truly dire. Overall though, it's been a good ride, and I've not yet seen a runner in any of my schools that I really felt they had made the best decision, or even a decent one. On the other side, though, clearly they each felt the need to flee.
  8. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Sometimes runners are just because that's who they are. Quite often, you seem to find or hear stories about teachers who are teaching overseas because they were getting away from something at home, rather than for a positive reason - most often a failed relationship, but sometimes an addiction. I wonder if, having run away from a problem before, these people are most likely to run away from a problem again?

    I have seen a couple of teachers who made the decision for the right reasons for themselves - and I respect that, because sometimes you have to.
    towncryer likes this.
  9. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Like other posters, I have seen both sides, runners who have disappeared for, what I would consider, no good reason and staff who have stayed on through a school closing because the owner was a crook! It just depends on the person and their own perspective on a particular situation.
  10. Mickyd197se

    Mickyd197se Occasional commenter

    Perhaps, perhaps not. In a way we are all either running away from something or running in searching of something by leaving all our friends, family, home country and so on. Is it normal to do so? Certainly it was considered unusual when I left my home city 15 years ago. Ideas about working abroad seem to have changed since, but back then a few made quips such as me running away from something, or going in search of El Dorado. They weren't wrong. I was running away from what I felt was dull routine and a teaching job in the UK that wasn't bad, but had become stale. I wanted to explore the world and I wanted to live in a different culture. I realised quite soon that I wouldn't ever go back to the UK. Not to work. Perhaps to retire, perhaps not.

    As for runners; well, you very, very rarely get them at good schools. They tend to take place at crappy schools where the school will make them pay if they leave their contract early. I've seen teachers stay to the end of the year but then they were not given summer pay nor any contribution to the flight home. They were treated like what they were doing was shameful. So why stay in such a place for another six months or so if you are miserable? Only if you want to get a reference and stay on in the international school circuit. Then it's best to reduce the costs of not fulfilling the contract. Those that did runners that I knew of all went home so they had nothing to gain from staying. They'd get a job back home and who cared if Search/ISS blacklist them?

    People make mistakes. If schools aren't going to be understanding and are instead going to use their giving notice as a chance to extract money from them, then why be a mug? I find that reasonable schools work things out for the best in such situations. **** schools get runners. They get what they deserve.
  11. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    Runners are not rare. In saying that, with the internet and the different forums available to research about schools and cities; I really can't justify professionals doing a runner. BUT, flipping the other side of the coin... Let's be honest. There are a lot of mickey-mouse-onlyfor $€£¥ international schools. Counties who do not set a standard (facilities, class sizes, qualifications etc) for such businesses are the ones who experience the blessings of 100m runners OR those who say after sticking it out for 1 year; thanks but no thanks! Why? Because you said your school was a luxurious Lexus...But really, despite the enormous expense, under the hood... It's all the same toyota engine. Why not work with that engine where it offers nicely behaved kids, better outdoor living, better conditions and working with staff who are actually qualified and experienced?! No wonder Singapore is very much sought after.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  12. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    It does depend so much on the school. In every place I have worked in, there have been people who have broken contract, some for good reason, others simply because they were miserable. All of them worked with the school to come to a fair agreement about how to end the contract. Were the schools happy about this? Of course not, but neither did they want a teacher who was unhappy, nor were they going to wreck someone’s life by not allowing them to leave when a family/life crisis was going on at home.

    I can fully understand, if you suspect the school won’t work with you to depart amicably or if you have been lied to regarding terms and conditions, simply disappearing and ensuring you get paid for the work you have done. Also sometimes life stuff gets in the way of your other commitments. I hope I will never be at a place or in a situation where I would start to even have to consider doing that.
  13. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    I've known people I liked and respected 'do a runner', and the opposite. Either way, I guess they just felt they couldn't go on as they were, where they were.

    To a certain extent, we all put on our 'game face' at work, particularly as teachers. Who here hasn't tried to energise a somnolent class, hidden what we might really feel about an individual or even class? Therefore we perhaps never really know what others are going through. We might never know someone's emotional starting block, where they were on arrival and hence how they processed what, to others, might have seemed fairly trivial challenges.

    I have met some enormously talented people on my turn around the globe who'd had to deal with far more than any fairly allocated portion of ****. Possibly best to just accept that we may never understand some things.

    There but for...etc.
  14. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    In my first year at an ‘international’ English school in Kuwait, about 1 in 10 new teachers did a runner. The reasons were varied. No amount of interview discussion or research can prepare you fo just how bad teaching Arabs anything is, and dealing with their parents and money motivated management. For some, the endemic culture of cheating, bribery in international exams and lying is not something they can cope with. Others find that what they were promised isn’t what was given, like having to share a flat, poor quality accommodation miles from anywhere or in a poor area, not being paid for months. A few got ground down by the sheer boredom in Kuwait, with little to do except eat and eat more, no bars, little in the way of clubs or theatre or live music. Dealing with the way Kuwaitis abuse with impunity their slaves and Indian workers is hard to stomach when you actually see it in front of you. Dealing with disgusting spoilt arrogant excuses for humans daily is also difficult for many.
  15. Mickyd197se

    Mickyd197se Occasional commenter

    They're rare in good schools. Good schools deal with the situation when presented and have a protocol in place. They realise it's part of the business.

    Not so good schools will use it as an excuse to nickle and dime you. Hence, many times, the runner.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  16. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    A lot of truth there. Rare in good schools.
  17. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    True.. Rare in genuinely good schools. BUT globally... Not so good schools far outweigh good schools. Just look at ISR.
  18. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    In some of the supposedly top schools the number of runners can be surprisingly high.

    Some rent-a-name schools pile a heavy workload, unreasonable high expectations, oppressive micromanagement, demanding lesson observations, some teachers express the feeling you have a better environment working in the UK.

    Runners in international education are a standard occurrence and be factored into a running of a school.

    When working in Q8 the school I was in had a sweepstakes on what school would have the most runners during the winter break better know as Christmas! I was at one of the handful of good schools but it still had 1 runner every year for various reasons.
  19. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i dont know of one "rent-a-name school" that i would consider a top school.

    in all my years abroad i have known of a handful of runners, from my experience its very rare
    gulfgolf likes this.
  20. Mermaid7

    Mermaid7 Occasional commenter

    Possible reasons:
    “Medical insurance” that turns out not to exist.
    Unable to get salary out of the country.
    Accommodation unsafe and/or unpleasant.

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