Could somebody please tell me what happens to foreign teacher contracts now that the Thai school year will run from July 1st through to the middle of April 2021?
For example, my own particular contract will start on 22nd June, as that is the day I've been informed that I'm to return to the school where I teach. We have a week or so to prepare as always before the students return.
I'm still in the dark as to when the final day of the contract will be, as we have always had a week to either finish off or prepare lessons, before the main summer break or the school's summer course.
Why am I too blind to see? Well, because my usual contract is a 10-month contract plus a one month summer course, which only equates to 11 months. And as this coming year is an unprecedented one to say the least, I'm still at the negotiation stage.
At this time the agent who I work for directly and the school who I work for indirectly are trying to work out something agreeable for all parties involved.
Returning to my school's summer course, it usually runs from mid-March to the Songkran holiday, and that didn't happen this year, and it won't be happening next year either as we will still be in the second semester until the Songkran holiday (mid-April) 2021.
Bafflingly, the 2021-2022 school year will start around a fortnight later, about three weeks earlier than any other previously known Thai school year.
The majority of foreign teachers in Thailand are on 9.5 month contracts. Their contracts traditionally begin roughly in the middle of May and terminate just around the end of February, whilst incurring a mid-semester break of approximately three weeks in October that they never ever get paid for.
Yes, that's right! Whether you like it or not, the average person teaching in Thailand only receives about 8 months and 3 weeks pay per year, from working in his or her government or private school. Now that the October mid-term holiday isn't going to happen, doesn't it open up a huge can of worms? Won't most foreign teachers in Thailand have to be upped to a 9 months and 3 weeks contract, as in one that begins around about 22nd June and ends when the water festival holiday begins in 2021?
As a result, instead of working about 8 months and 3 weeks as before, they'll be working for 9 months and 3 weeks, so shouldn't that mean that they should get paid another month's salary?
Back to myself and others with our 10-month contracts that will presumably end on 22nd April next year. That is having lost our three-week break on full pay in October, are we just expected to work an additional three weeks for free while incurring extra travel expenses?
What about the cream cheeses? Well, I guess Christmas is coming early for the big boys and girls on the full 12-month contracts. If you are going to be paid for this May and June, then in my estimations you should have few qualms.
Going back to my contract, thus far I've been offered no more than I was formally expecting (1,000 baht monthly pay increase) and I am still not open to working an extra three weeks for free, nor are the school filled with glee at my proposal that each 10-month contracted foreign teacher be paid an extra month's salary in compensation.
And I doubt whether the "government's think tank' will have even considered this as a problem. Let alone the parents, as in they might be asked to pay more in their children's school fees.
Not all foreign teachers are prepared to work a few extra weeks for free, alongside already earning a relatively low professional salary without as much as a pension pending.
In fact, there are a good few more developing, and for that matter developed countries that also offer little in the way of benefits to foreign teachers but pay you for the work you do.