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Worried about a mid-year start

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Angelil, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    I've been working in the international sector for 7 years but am looking to change school (within the same area) as I need a fresh start.

    By chance, a school I've wanted to work in for a very long time has a post available. I have every confidence in the school as a former colleague (who's very experienced) now works there (if it's good enough for her then I definitely trust it!), and I was also very impressed by the school when I was previously interviewed there a few years ago (didn't have enough experience or a teaching qualification then though!). So I'm not in any way worried about the school itself and would be very happy to work there. I've therefore sent off my application and have fingers crossed.

    This is despite guilt hitting me like a truck at about 2.00 this morning when I thought about ditching my final-year IB students (clearly midway through all their assessments and exam prep). The job has a January start and I am not convinced that my current school would be able to find someone experienced enough in the IB to replace me in time (they also have a history of just hiring anyone, regardless of experience, no matter how much time they have to recruit, and this is always a risky strategy).

    What would you do? I know I've applied anyway (I love my students but the management situation in my current school is desperate), and I know that application is a multi-stage process (first you have to get an interview...then you have to get offered the job...and even if you get offered the job you can of course say no...), but I would really like some opinions. Would you ditch your current school mid-year for what are basically your own selfish reasons? How do you decide who is 'number one' when deciding when to look out for (yourself or your students)? Any other thoughts? Thanks.
     
  2. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    Well, this depends. My first question would be why does the 'dream school' have a vacancy in January (unless it is Southern Hemisphere), then do you have the option of resigning mid-year from your current position? If the new school is as good as it sounds - would they not prefer you after you've completed your year at your current position?
     
  3. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    I'm wondering this as well. It simply says "full-time contract" on the description, which makes me wonder if it could be a temporary/maternity post (in which case, I'd be more reluctant to take it up, as it's clearly less secure than the permanent position I currently hold).

    I also accept that 'last-minute'/mid-year vacancies can arise for quite legitimate reasons that are outside of staff control (e.g. some teachers are married to people who have to move mid-academic year for their jobs, and they have no choice but to follow).

    I technically have a 3-month notice period according to my contract, which clearly doesn't fit well with a January start (assuming that a decision is only made in November). It would certainly be better for me to start after the February half-term (as at least my final-year students would have completed all of their assessments by then, so purely selfishly and practically speaking I would feel better about it :p ), so if I were offered the post I would try to negotiate this.
     
  4. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    In my career both in the UK and overseas, I've had owners, parents and HOC's all act without grace and dignity. Ironically, the one constant in all of that time are the kids who always 'love' their teacher and why we always look to repay that faith, trust and loyalty. But through time we learn that the next teacher in their lives will take our place and we were not quite as essential as they thought we were. Things are done differently and the kids adjust to the personality and strengths of that new mentor.

    I have no qualms whatsoever in choosing to move to a different school if it suits my personal or professional circumstances. You aren't acting out of spite but have an opportunity at a school you believe suits you at a stage of your career that needs change. You could argue that is both a personal and professional decision and no one benefits from a stagnating circumstance. The onus falls on the school to make good choice to maintain their standards.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    Thank you for this. Don't get me wrong - I in no way believe myself to be indispensable. I am just worried in the light of my current school's pattern of hiring practice that the kids would be left in the lurch.

    As it is, I have a first stage interview tomorrow, so I suppose we'll see where it goes.
     
  6. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    But on that train of thought, you shouldn't leave at the end of the academic year, either, because then you'll be leaving next year's students in the lurch. Just because you don't know them that well doesn't mean you shouldn't feel guilty... ;)

    Good luck for your interview.
     
  7. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    It's true that I probably would feel guilty about the current batch of first-year students (and the problem would be compounded by the fact that we've just implemented IGCSEs over two years - rather than one - and that I would therefore be ditching another batch of first-years as well!). But at least leaving in the summer is cleaner than leaving in January :p and thanks :)
     
  8. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    There's never a perfect time to leave, but I understand why you'd be concerned about leaving half way through your IB students' final year. That pre-exam term is incredibly valuable, and anyone coming in who didn't know the students or what/how you had taught would struggle to do it as well as you could.

    If you get the offer, consider asking whether they would be happy with an August/September start, explaining the reasons why just as you did above. If you're the right fit for the school they may well be willing to wait for you. I've known heads who appoint their second (or third, or fourth!) choice for a term or two in order to get the right person in that job in the next academic year.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    They asked during the interview how I would feel (hypothetically!) about the January start and I told them honestly that I would feel awful about leaving my IB2s, and that a February half term start would be better. I couldn't lie about that.

    Based on my phone interview today they want me to come in and teach (two lessons) in 2 weeks' time. As we are on holiday now I have had to email my headteacher (who is probably going to go ape5hit when she sees my message) to request a leave of absence on that day. If I don't hear from her in a few days I will ring her as obviously the new school needs to know if I can come in on that day or not.

    If I get offered it I will definitely be trying to negotiate the start date.
     
  10. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Flip this around for a moment: your school suddenly has the chance to replace you with their dream candidate, and presumably they know the notice period etc. required in order to do it.

    What should they do? What would you advise them to do?
     
  11. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    The greener grass scenario. You don't mention how long you've been in your current school and why the other school is better. Location? Money?
    You'll know by now if you're through to the next round, so it is critical you inform your current school of your intentions: presuming they don't already know due to references.
    If the new school has asked for references from your current school alarm bells would be ringing...
     
  12. Memphismojo

    Memphismojo Established commenter

    I agree with the comments of happygreenfrog. You should take the opportunity as it might not come again.
     
  13. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I don't understand this......
     
  14. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    I didn't fully understand SecondPlace's questions either and thought I must have been stupid, SabrinaKat! Glad I'm not the only one!

    Context: I'm 29. I've been in my current school 7 years (so basically from day dot of my career). Other school is slightly closer to home, but not much (brings the commute down to just under an hour as opposed to an hour and a quarter). Without saying too much about the place, they are more regulated than my current school and I believe standards are higher. I also went for an interview there in 2010 or 2011 and was impressed by the staff and students then in terms of attitude to learning and the atmosphere created. As mentioned, a very experienced former colleague now also works there and is happy there, so if she thinks it's a good school, then to my mind, it probably is.
    I don't know about the money, but imagine salary will be equal to my current post as a minimum.

    I asked my interviewer (on the phone this week) if they would be contacting my referees just yet and they said no, not until after the second stage (beginning of November). I am through to said second stage and will require a day off school for this. So I emailed my headteacher on the day I knew of this, in order to request the day off (we will not be back in school until 2 days before the interview, so did not want to leave it until then as it is a bit short notice to arrange cover). That was 4 days ago, and no acknowledgement yet.

    I have spoken to two very experienced teachers in person (NB not colleagues) and both have said to go for it and not worry about the guilt if I am offered it. I wouldn't feel so bad if I thought my school would replace me mid-year, but based on past experiences when teachers have left, people have just been expected to teach classes simultaneously with other completely different courses and I therefore fear that by leaving mid-year I would be doing my IB2s a genuine disservice and that there would therefore be a very real danger of half their assessments being incomplete (we would normally finish these February/March).
     
  15. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    Had the interview and would say it was a good experience to see the school in reality. This enabled me to see that my teaching style would not be a very good fit with the new school's pedagogy; equally, the cultural demographic of the school is very different to my current school, and perhaps added new perspective to what I'm looking for. In the end, I was not even offered the role, possibly for these reasons (not to mention my reticence regarding the January start and my current contractual obligations) - but going for interview was definitely a valuable comparative experience.
     
    sabrinakat likes this.
  16. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    Thank you for updating us and good luck for future moves!
     
  17. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I'd be interested is what the pedagogical and cultural issues were. Could you elucidate?
     
  18. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    Without giving too much away....

    I felt that the teaching style accepted in the new school was very rigid, as opposed to the variety of teaching styles cultivated/accepted where I currently am. I'd also say that my current school is VERY international, whereas the new school, despite advertising itself as such, is in my view definitely not, and I prefer to keep that diversity of environment.
     
  19. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Now you have the wait until your next contract renewal to see if your present school are petty enough to hold that 'day off' against you. I'm presuming of course you told them it was for an interview elsewhere.

    Annoying when an employee has to be open about their future when an employer can do their 'dirty' business in the shadows.
     
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As usual, I agree with the Cheerful and Verdant Amphibian. Some schools can be amazingly small-minded and petty when it comes to interviews. To their credit, a certain school in Bucharest let me go and even paid my airfare, as I had not requested airfares at the beginning of the school year.

    Yes, quite a few schools in Africa seem to be in a sort of educational timewarp. Mr. Squeers and Mr. Gradgrind would feel at home.
     

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