Dr. Spilchuk – Breaking Up Overseas…2017-06-02T14:25:39+00:00
Dear Dr. Spilchuk…

February, 2009

Breaking Up Overseas

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

Even though I would have preferred to do otherwise, I felt that I needed to break my contract with a school after I found my partner cheating on me with someone I worked with, only a few months into this contract. As we were all new, all lived in the same building, all hung out on the same expat block, and all worked in the same small school together, I was devastated at the thought of staying, no matter the cost.

The school asked me to stay until the end of the semester (and agreed to have my contract end at that time), but the anxiety and depression kept me from being able to do so. So they charged me two months salary. (Although this is in my contract, is this actually legal?)

What I am more concerned about is ISS and Search. Even though they didn’t place me (my partner and I interviewed and accepted our jobs before the fairs), since both agencies knew that I took that job, I am afraid that they will blackball me from further fairs and from finding work through them. Will they do this? How can I avoid this?

What can I ask my former employers to do to help make sure that I am still a viable candidate overseas? (My employers are sympathetic).

Upset…but dealing with the situation

Hello Upset…but dealing with the situation,

I am so very sorry for you. What a terrible experience to go through. My responses to your questions are noted below:

1. First, even though some schools write the two-months salary penalty clause into teacher contracts, one would think that the situation you faced was severe enough for the school to have permitted some leniency. Have you paid the money or did they withhold funds?

2. Second, since you were not a SEARCH or ISS hire for this school, there should be no reason for either organization to blackball you. Since you are, however, a SEARCH and an ISS candidate (albeit not for this school), you can simply check to see the status of your file by accessing new job postings on line. I suspect that if either organization has decided to blackball you, your access number will have been frozen. In the event that this has occurred, do let me know.

3. Third, ask your former employers for a letter stating that they would have liked to retain you but that they understood the reason why you requested contract termination, and that they supported giving it to you for compassionate reasons.

Have you decided what you will do next? Are you preparing to go international again? Perhaps a short break, staying close to family and friends would be a good idea. I would imagine this must have been very painful. You certainly need the people who love you most around you right now.

Best,
Barbara

Responses to This Column

Whilst the teacher is in an absolutely terrible situation, I feel that they have been somewhat unprofessional if they feel that they cannot stay until the end of the term and then question why the school are looking to get their costs back or the legality of their contract which after all they have signed.

After all it is not the school’s fault that their relationship has broken down, nor is it the children’s fault. And it seems that the school have tried to come up with a reasonable compromise.

I have total sympathy for the teacher in finding out that their partner is an absolute rogue… maybe they should be asking them for the money to go back home rather than their school?


Not to sound insensitive, but this sort of stuff happens (unfortunately) everyday, regardless of where you live…it is a risk of living our lives and trusting those around us. The reality is, the school has nothing to do with your poor choice of “mate” and his/her unscrupulous actions and nor should they be held responsible in the event of a teacher wanting to break their contract. In addition, if the contract states that there is a penalty of sorts for breaking contract, then you must abide by that contract. Wouldn’t you want the same protection if you signed a contract and you were “laid-off” and wanted the provisions in your contract honored.

I have read many criticisms in the ISR web site against Schools and Administrators for this very same thing, they are demonized for not following the provisions of their mutually agreed-upon contracts. Regardless of how horrible the situation is, the teacher should honor the contract as much as the school to expect otherwise !would be a double standard. It appears in this case, the school offered a reasonable alternative, yet it still was not “good enough”, I believe that the school and its administration acted in good faith with that offer. Taking the school up on this offer would prevent any ill-will and likely eliminate any likelihood that the school or its Director will blacklist or speak disparagingly about this teacher as the reasons for leaving appear somewhat reasonable, its not that the teacher is leaving it is “how they are leaving” which is often most relevant.

I would recommend that the individual teacher should request a temporary residence and leave at the end of the semester to save their professional reputation and move on with their life. Besides a “cheating” scum bag should not be cried over anyhow. Sounds like the other person with whom your “ex” cheated with did you a favor, you should go out a buy a gift for them . Sorry but “tough-love” is what you need to get over this and move on.

Good luck and be more selective, with partners and schools.


Dear Upset, but dealing with the situation….

How unfortunate and demoralizing that this situation has unfolded at such an inconvenient time and location. There is nothing worse than being trapped in such a scenario overseas where you are far away from friends and family.

Although I have not experienced what you are going through, please be assured that you have my empathy regarding this situation.

I am sorry, but it does not help to tell you to be “more selective with partners and schools”. I am sure that you have done your research before signing a contract with a school and as for being selective with a partner, I am sure most of us understand that there are more @ssholes out there than there are genuine people. Both male and females tend to show their true colours in stressful and tempting situations.

Stay true to yourself and continue to be strong. Leave the school with your dignity and look forward to a much brighter and adventurous life in the upcoming years.

Much love,

Clara.


Dear Upset,

How are you doing?

First of all, I’d like to say that I understand what you are going through. I went through a similar situation awhile back and, like you, I had to leave and return home, too.

Since I didn’t obtain the job through a recruitment agency, I didn’t have to deal with that predicament. However, I had just quit a job, obtained a new one and then had to leave after the breakup. Upon returning to the U.S. during the economic crisis, there were no jobs. Suffice to say I’ve had several temporary jobs in the past two years and all the moving around reflects poorly on my resume. But similar to your circumstances, I feel I had no other choice. When I went to a job fair this past year, some prospective employers brought this up, but in the end, I found a great school that was willing to take a chance on me.

I wish you lots of luck moving forward. Know that it will be challenging but you will definitely learn something out of this experience and a bit of patience and hard work will eventually get you to a better place….

Comments Closed

Back to Dr. Spilchuk Main Page