Don't turn your back on the kids

Don't turn your back on the kids

I would like to add my two pence worth to the whole teachers who break contracts debate. A lot of schools I agree treat foreign teachers with contempt and as most people say we are there to make money for the school. Not necessarily the case for all government schools. Who are we there for? The school? Maybe, but I would hope that most teachers would say that they are there for the children, to offer the kids a chance to improve their English, which has to be said is like herding sheep sometimes.

Contracts are pretty much worthless, so rely on the Labor Act 1988 - look it up and that's your contract. A lot of schools offer just the term time 8 1/2 months - so less than two thirds. If you're at a school on 10-month contract, remember that's 83% of the year salaried plus whatever bonus you get for completion or resigning. I have seen an error where someone stated it was less than 70%. So a 10-month contract is not that bad.

Salaries are low compared to everywhere else but I suspect there are not many qualified teachers - as in teacher-trained for four years at university - that are working here in a school for a salary for only 8.5 months of the year. Those teachers will be in the International schools earning a proper wage and for the whole 12 months plus benefits.

I am currently in the 8.5 bracket however only due to the fact that my Thai employer said that they would pay 9 1/2 months but I was told recently they will not pay the October break. Having said that I have over 720 students and whilst I am annoyed, I feel a sense of responsibility to see Pratom 6 off to Mattayom and to help as much as I can with my other students before moving on. I have had unsolicited phone calls offering work which I have declined. I have my poker in several fires and will make a move when I think it is appropriate and that is once the school year is over.

It is very much a two-way street, I believe we as foreigners do not feel obligated to stay anywhere as we feel undervalued and that is probably a result of the many years where Thailand schools were staffed at the ESL level with perverts, drunks, and the general travelling riff raff. The result is we have been somewhat tarred with the same brush.

I can say I have been involved with very nice schools and whilst this school has only been let down by the slight dishonesty of the teachers employer, I will explore the possibility of staying with the school if a contract can be agreed with them. So I think everyone should think of the children first, at the end of the day if you move school mid-term, you only do it for a few thousand baht more. so if that to you is a good enough reason to turn your back on the kids that you agreed to teach for a year, maybe you should move on altogether.

If you want to move, wait until the new school year - then if you're a good "teacher" you will get the pick of the crop.


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