Article – Contract Breaking Survey Results2018-04-12T07:21:09+00:00
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Survey Question

Under what circumstances do you feel it would be appropriate to break an international teaching contract?

Results

When the school misrepresents itself to teachers to get them to come to the school


Abuse toward teachers from or sanctioned by administrators or owners. Significant health/mental health considerations


I don’t like to break contracts. I figure if I signed up for it I will do my best to stick it out for the year. That being said, I could understand breaking a contract for personal moral issues. For example: abusive, unprofessional, and unwarranted conduct directed to me by administration. I believe that if I am ethically right and am being asked to participate in unethical professional behavior (changing student marks, ignoring best interests of child) then I can feel justified in walking away. Personal/familial reasons – death in the family, discovery of a terminal illness in self/family member – would also warrant breaking a contract.


If the school did not offer the support required in the position, despite acknowledging that there were problems beyond the teacher’s control


Breaking contract is ok if you have been blatantly lied to, are completely miserable or in danger. Of course, I would give reasonable notice.


If you have been grossly mislead before your arrival and your situation is quite different from what you had been told during the recruiting process. Being lied to I think is a valid reason to renege on a contract.


Country is unsafe (riots, war). Housing is sub-par. Personal reasons such as marital break-up, death of spouse, child.


If you are not happy, whatever the circumstances, you should go. I also tell people to do a runner, as being honest is more trouble than it is worth. Employers create this situation by backing employees into a corner. Teachers usually go to a brand new place in good faith.


If your director is not honoring the contract you signed (Ask to read the faculty handbook before signing!) If your director threatens you! Family Emergency, safety issues in the country that the director was not honest about, contract not being honored, not being paid for job.


If the employer fails to honor the contract to the letter or changes it upon arrival, or breaches it during your employment and refuses to honour the original contract, or commits a criminal or morally reprehensible act or asks you to do so…they have legally broken the agreement and/or the law and you no longer have a legal or moral obligation to work there.If you are the victim of sexual or psychological harassment, have reported it to the proper authorities but nothing has been done to mitigate it, or if your life or health and well-being are in imminent danger.


1. Clear and immediate danger to you and/or family. 2. Serial victimization of students and staff in a way you cannot accept and that severely depresses you and other staff members making your workplace a living hell. 3. Non payment of salary for more than 2 months or other clear indication that you may not be paid because the school is bankrupt. 4. Being ground down to nothing by totally incompetent management that is clearly stealing money from you and parents and don’t care about the students and teachers and are out to get you because you dare to protest.


Not paying salary. Danger – school should evacuate and is waiting for Force Majeur but should close ahead of it.


I feel it is okay to break your contract if someone has a life threatening illness, if marriage totally breaks down, if your life is in imminent danger (e.g. terrorism-However, we actually stayed through that when we were in that situation), if the contract signed and agreed upon is not honored upon arrival, if salary is not paid by the school.


When the promises are broken by the employer (it should be specified in the contract – job description), in emergency (family situation, etc.)


If the school changes the terms of the contract I feel I can withdraw my services; i.e. they fail to pay me in a reasonable amount of time – If they do not honor the contract, it is not for me. Show me a signed contract that does not say you have a right to be paid on time and I will read the name of a fool for signing it.


Docked pay for unrealistic reasons. If the school is not honoring a contract, health, extreme hating of your boss based on action that is present to many, being taken advantage of or harassed, family death, not being paid.


*If conditions were untenable, e.g. housing or safety issues
*If the promises made when you were recruited are not kept
*If it is impossible to teach because of lack of educational materials, lack of support, etc.


Where there is a medical emergency or a family emergency back in the home country.


If a recruiter lies to a candidate, then that individual has the right to break contract, as he/she has been misled.


Not being paid, country at war, severe illness not treatable in country.


Family emergency, School not honoring its contract or misrepresenting the school/job/country situation.


Change of personal circumstances …marriage, children. Change of family needs…health. School not meeting their end of the contract, i.e., hrs. worked, salary paid, expectations, change in what has been signed.


I don’t think it is acceptable, I understand people may have certain individual circumstances. However if you leave the school, you are not only hurting the administration but your colleagues and in most cases, your friends, are left to pick up the pieces, whilst you run awol!! Not really very fair is it?


If the school is a bad fit for a teacher in such a way that the teacher is not capable of making a positive contribution to the school, then the teacher should be allowed to break contract with appropriate penalties. Also, in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as family emergencies, child custody issues etc., a teacher should be allowed to break contract with appropriate penalties.


I couldn’t say, it would really depend on the situation and I imagine a number of factors would be involved.


When the school does not honor the contract! Why have contracts if the school will not follow them?


When you are aggressed, accused, attacked with no basis, particularly if you have never been observed! When the school administration is not doing their job. 


If you were being harassed, taken advantage of, if the school misrepresented the salary, benefits, cost of living, if you get there and they tell you you will be teaching a different subject, if you are personally threatened, if you have a personal emergency or health issue.


My school is difficult to work in because of incompetent management. I almost left within the first 3 months because I didn’t like the way I was being treated.


I have heard some horror stories about some schools. I think it is appropriate to break a contract if the school is housing teachers inappropriately, staff are not being paid, no support, etc. In other words, if the school does not have my best interests at heart, effectively, I am being abused.


When it is dangerous for the teacher to remain. When the school has knowingly misled the teacher to get a contract signed, knowingly misrepresented the teaching assignment, or when there is physical or extreme verbal abuse or harassment.


Family emergencies that require one to return home, change of contract, lower pay, change in benefits, safety concerns


Where your mental and emotional health, due to the actions of the employer, are in jeopardy. Ultimately we must protect ourselves, as they will not.


1. Emotional or physical health was seriously at stake, as was the case with many to most at our school in the last two years. 2. Regular verbal abuse by a superior. 3. School not keeping its terms of the contract to a significant degree. 4. The school dictating a change in job assignment after arrival at the school.


If the school did not honour any part of a contract, I would feel entitled to break a contract, though in practice it would have to be something pretty serious to make me consider leaving the students in the middle of a year – maybe sexual assault, or blatant criminal activity of the school?


Only under extreme personal circumstances, such as a major family emergency in the U.S. or a major incident regarding personal safety during the contract.


When the school does not meet their contractual obligations. Other than that, there are no real reasons that merit breaking a contract that you agreed to sign after you knew the details of that contract.


Health reasons of any immediate family member, even those back home. Serious safety/security issues in the foreign country. Unfair practices in the school, including treatment or pay, or new and unfair expectations (e.g. teaching load increase or class-size increase beyond the school’s limit).


If the working conditions are unbearable, lack of adequate support from superiors


When the school is actively sabotaging you or you feel you are in danger


If it’s not working out, it’s not working out. Move on.


It is always appropriate if a member of staff wants to leave. If a teacher is not happy the school should be glad to see the back of them and open up the position to someone who is right for the school. In my experience, schools are quick to cut loose people if their face does not fit and teachers should feel no qualms about doing the same.


A staff member here broke his when he and his wife felt unable to tolerate their living situation. Fortunately he was not in a classroom. I think it would have to be pretty dire personal circumstances.


I don’t believe in breaking contracts.


When poor administration and student behavior make conditions intolerable. When conditions start affecting your health.


If the position became so intolerable that even holidays can’t make up for the stress. Health issues that can’t be taken care of in the country. Non-payment of salary. Abuse of teachers by director/owner of school.


I think your conditions have to be very bad before you break a contract, but if the school did not honor most of its contract then why should teachers?


It would be acceptable if a competent and qualified teacher was being unfairly persecuted by the administration or parents (without administrative support of the teacher).


Horrible boss/inattentive or incompetent administration; current work different to what was offered in interview; poor working conditions; change in family circumstances


Contracts are made to be broken; business men do it all the time.


If the work conditions are not what was promised, if the school does not help the new teacher to get acclimatized, if the school board breaks its own policies, if there is no administrative support for teachers in conflict situations.


Verbal abuse from administration, medical problems/inadequate medical facilities in country, illness in family, relocating b/c of engagement/marriage, not paid on time, unreasonable pay deductions, health/safety risks, significantly inadequate resources to do job effectively.


If I were physically threatened for any reason in the country


Safety or extreme abuse


Personal danger; breaking of contract by school; lack of reimbursement; not getting the appropriate visa/residency help; business office that lies about what it has done and not done. Director and business office that is absolutely vindictive and arbitrary.


I feel you have a means to break a contract if…..you’re asked to do something you believe is morally and professionally inappropriate. A family situation arises where you have to choose between honoring a contract or family…..it should always be family first!


Short of sexual harassment or physical abuse, none.


When the person hiring you has lied repeatedly regarding the package, work conditions, etc.


If either the school has lied about the items in the contract or if the teacher can document harassment by an administrator. There should be an international group that investigates disputes between teachers and schools and makes non-binding findings.


When school manipulates wording of contract


When contract items are not provided, honored, or changed during the contract period-deplorable teaching and living conditions beyond the subjective, i.e. I was told that the accommodations were ‘shabby’ when they in fact were filthy, in a dangerous part of town, did not have hot water or reliable heating, etc. and were generally much less than the average local resident standard, in the event of family emergency back home, but with penalties.


Extreme culture shock or if the teachers’ children do not adjust well to the school


If you are not regularly paid in a timely manner


When you are expected to be in any way dishonest or do anything that lacks professional academic integrity

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