Although most of my TEFL experience has not been in Thailand, there is still a long list of things I won't accept in a teaching job. Talk numbers and cross my palm with silver because these are the things I simply won't do for work.
1) Long Commutes. Commuting is a biggie for me. I simply refuse to sit on the emphysema express for over an hour stuck in traffic, or the subway, or anything else if it takes forever to get to the destination.
2) Resources. If I make my own resources I intend to keep 'em. Sure the place pays my salary and the resources you generate technically belong to the school, but no way under gawd's black sun am I going to give up the time and effort I spent making things for class.
3) Photocopying. I won't spend my own money photocopying stuff and I expect to be reimbursed if I do. I don't care if the whiz bang new Canon has broken down and everyone has to wait. If I have to photocopy outside, then I want my money back.
4) Eating. There's a clause in my contract that says 'teachers are not permitted to consume the students' food at snack/lunchtime' as the school provides gourmet snacks and lunches from places like Deli France. Like hey, what about students eating my food? I have been known to sneak off food now and then, so arrest me or cut my hand off. And the little demons waste so much food. What's a piece of turkey on rye going astray?
5) Accept a probation period at a lower pay. I understand that a new job is conditional and may be terminated if the employer isn't happy. If you don't like me, FIRE me...but don't steal from me for three months in the process.
6) Change grades/marks. Unless clear evidence of error or very special circumstance can be shown. I calls 'em the way I sees 'em. If the school wants to change my grades, I probably can't stop them. However, I will not legitimize this process by doing it for them.
7) Knuckle under when presented with an attempt to force a contract change, or blatant failure to perform the contract by the employer. I'm a reasonable girl. I'll work with you. I understand that things are a little late sometimes. I at least try to not sweat the small stuff too much. I won't punt a job just because I never get the free Chinese lessons in my contract but I will not allow anyone to outright give me the ol' switcheroo on any significant part of our agreement and that includes pay, allowances, and major benefits. I'm no one's bitch, and I'm not going to let myself get slapped like one. If I'm still working there, I will quit. There are a zillion other jobs out there. If the contract is ending, I will raise all kinds of hell. I will always do everything in my reach to make it easier to abide by our agreement, than to break it.
8) Allow my home, telephone number, or free time to be unreasonably opened up to students and parents or school activities without my consent. Some schools simply assume that you'll be delighted to be on 24/7 duty answering calls from parents or kids, field all manner of calls to your home or mobile phones....you name it. When it happens, this nonsense needs to be brought to an immediate screeching halt. My space and my phone money and my free time are MINE, dammit. I am intensely jealous of them. I understand that some presence at school events, with proper notice, just comes with the territory. I don't mind, if it's reasonable. Some allowance for making yourself available to students and parents is DEFINITELY reasonable. Sometimes I genuinely enjoy socializing ....but this will be MY choice, not the choice of the school. However, when presented with a surprise I find intrusive, I'm as blunt as I have to be about saying 'No'.
The Chinese inability to understand the concepts of "privacy" and "personal space" is simply not my responsibility.
9) Dress appropriately. I understand why one can't flash mammary glands or legs or 'I love Mom and Dad' tats, but having to cover up head to toe in a bajou kurong thing is too much to bear in the stinking heat. It leaves me gasping and reaching for the deodorant. And how do the locals stay so fresh? Why do Asians never seem to sweat? What about people tripping over your skirt tail? Excruciatingly painful.
10) Bonuses. I've got to have the perks including the flights. And if I don't want to fly back to my homegrown cave then give me the cash thanks. I am not flying Ethiopian Airlines either.
11) Meetings. If they are not in English, I won't attend some three hour time waster when the key points can be e-mailed to me. No, I won't ask my friend to translate for me either. Hire me a translator and forget scheduling long pointless meetings on the last day of term because I'm flying back to my batcave. Same goes for any public holiday.
12) Morning Exercise. This one's another bone for contention and a Chinese obsession. Bell dings and everyone shuffles out in class groups, lines up and awaits the music to begin. Now I don't have anything against exercise - horizontal or otherwise - if its in a gym or jogging, but I refuse to do knee to elbows wearing a skirt to Lady Gaga or jumping up and down to Michael Jackson. That's just losing face unless you're the PE teacher. Besides, that's what the TA's are for. They don't need the foreign teacher to be doing this and sometimes filming it. Worked with a girl years ago who was the size of a battle-ship. She was close to fainting every morning. Ended up getting a note from the doc.
13) Pictures and publicity. I won't ever allow my image to be pimped out without my permission. My old school had a picture of me on some promo stuff and I went completely ape shit. I told them they would have to pay me cold hard cash for the right to use my image on any material as I had NEVER given them permission to use my image in any way.
14) Dressing Up. I will NEVER agree to dress up like Mrs Santa, an elf or anything else! fuck that! I already hate that I'm expected to be happy about dressing up in a cheap, ill-fitting crappy costume that cost 20rmb and smile and dance and various other BS. I'll do it as long as I can selectively head-butt any child of my choice if they piss me off.
15) Summer / Winter holidays. As a teacher, I won't let a school guilt me into working over my winter and summer break unless I am 100% happy to give up my holiday time and I'm not flying back to my batcave.
"Oh but the students really love you and want to see you"
Awwwww............ that's sweet but unless I need some extra money I'm getting drunk and sleeping in till 2 in the arvo every day.
Article by Sentrix