Dear Dr. Spilchuk, I’ve had to resign my contract at an international school due to an emergency situation at home. I was only able to give them very short notice, which upsets me, too, as I’m always so responsible. I will also try to help with the transition to another teacher by providing lesson plans for 1-2 weeks after I’m gone.
The admin at my school have been threatening me with blacklisting at Search Associates. I understand that I might need to pay a Search Associates penalty fee, and I can live with that. I can also live with being blacklisted by Search Associates. However, another person in admin has been saying things like I’ll be blacklisted from ALL organizations, ALL recruiters for international schools.
I won’t be looking for another job for a while as I have to help a family member at home anyways, but I don’t want to try to find something in a year and be blacklisted everywhere. Is this a real possibility? Is my worry justified?
Dear Worried Teacher,
You are correct. You may very well find yourself blackballed at Search and other agencies, depending on how your school responds.
Best of luck to you.
ISR Asks: Under what circumstances, if any, do you personally feel it’s acceptable for an International Teacher to break contract?
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you just can’t stand your school or location, you know it can be a depressing time in your life. But is this grounds to jump ship? It has been said, “life is what happens to us while we’re busy making plans.” In this vein, the best intended and most dedicated teacher may suddenly find themselves having to decide between family and career, as in the letter to Dr. Spilchuk — A real “catch 22” situation.
Certainly the majority of us would choose to return home for a family emergency; no matter what the professional consequences of our decision. Do you feel schools are justified in severely penalizing a teacher that chooses family over contractual responsibilities? If schools are truly in the business of “nurturing,” shouldn’t they extend equal support to those individuals doing the nurturing, in this case the teaching staff. Is there a double standard?
Asking for repayment of recruiting fees and other expenses associated with an international school bringing a teacher into a country seems well within reason. But when a contract is broken under extenuating circumstance, is this reason to put a teacher out of the running for the remainder of their teaching career?
The overriding question is…..under what, if any, circumstances do you feel a teacher should be able to beak contract without sever consequences to their overseas career. And, if consequences are levied, what should those consequences be?
Where do you stand on this issue?