This happens ever year. Things are going great, the students and teachers are all settled, parents are happy, mid-term tests out of the way and then out of nowhere a local international school swoops in and poaches one of our ESL teachers. So annoying!
This has just happened at the school where I work and it got me thinking about a wide range of things; money, ethics, contracts, students, colleagues and international schools.
So here's my two pence worth on the topic of 'poaching'
I get it, everyone wants to earn more money, but none of us got into teaching to become millionaires, right? So is it okay to just up and leave for the chance to earn an extra 5 grand a month?
Jumping ship for a couple of grand a month may not show great ethics but perhaps the moral quandary sits heavier with the actual school poaching the teacher.
A local international school are a teacher down at the beginning of school year for whatever reason, but is it okay for them to buy their way out of this situation? Did they think about advertising the position nationwide? Wouldn't that be the better way to find a qualified international teacher? And another problem with poaching is that it can easily have a domino effect, or doesn't that matter, perhaps it's just a case of - 'well it's your problem now'
Unfortunately, most teachers would agree that Thai contracts are worth little more than the cost of the paper they're printed on. Having said that, I was encouraged to read about a teacher who had been unfairly dismissed being able to seek compensation ... but the situation for employers left in the lurch is different - there is very little point in taking a teacher to court. I mean how much would it cost? How much compensation would the school get if they won?
and what is to stop the foreign teacher just disappearing?
You've gotta feel sorry for the students..... they're the ones that really lose out.
So when a teacher leaves it takes time to get a replacement. It's important to get the right person and that can sometimes take over a month, but what happens in the meantime? Well those extra 20 hours usually fall to the departing teacher's colleagues, pushing their already busy schedules to overload. Thanks..
You always read about international schools building their success on a strong team of fully qualified teachers with previous experience teaching in the UK/US and at good quality international schools I know this to be true. But what does it say about local international schools that poach ESL teachers from Thai schools? I mean international school fees are 4 or 5 times higher than good quality Thai schools, I would have thought the parents were expecting teachers with full QTS.
A Possible Solution - ESL Transfer Window
Perhaps what we need is an ESL Transfer Window like the one they have in football... That way everyone is fair game during the school holidays but as soon as term starts teachers are tied in until the end of term and if you want to move school before your contract expires your future employer better get their cheque book out.
I like the sound of that and perhaps then the front page of ajarn.com will be filled with the endless speculation usually reserved for the likes of Rooney and Suarez...
Well that's my rant over, and here is a quick plug before I go - If you enjoy teaching teenagers and are currently looking for a full time position, kindly get in touch...BUT if you are currently under contract, please don't apply... wouldn't want to be a hypocrite.