Home TEFL forum Teaching in Africa & the Middle East Breaking a contract before I start working

Breaking a contract before I start working

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  • wannaksa
    Participant
    13 March, 2016 at 15:43
    • Total posts: 4

    So I just got a couple of offers to work in the Mid East, which would be my first real contract job. (In my first 2 years of ESL experience, I taught in businesses and private classes – no contract.) So now the pressure is on to accept one, or not.

    Neither job is 100% ideal for me, but I am nervous about not getting other offers if I turn these down now. Since the jobs don’t start for several months, what’s to stop me from flaking out if a better opportunity comes along?

    dan
    Moderator
    14 March, 2016 at 11:19
    • Total posts: 768

    What’s to stop me from flaking out if a better opportunity comes along?

    Nothing at all, except your conscience…

    It happens all the time, and has happened to me a number of times when I’ve recruited teachers in the past. As a recruiter, it ranges from mildly annoying to a real pain, depending on how much time and resources have been invested in recruiting that candidate, how close it is to the date when he/she was due to start, and the availability of other suitable candidates.

    So the only risk really is making some people either mildly annoyed or very angry! As I say, it’s up to your conscience, but you wouldn’t be the first to do this and you won’t be the last…!!

    The only other slight risk is if you’re applying for other jobs in the same area and the schools network with each other – they may maintain some kind of teacher blacklist between themselves.

    dan
    Moderator
    14 March, 2016 at 12:36
    • Total posts: 768

    One other very important thing I forgot to mention – if you actually sign the contract when you accept the job (some employers have you do this, others wait until you’ve arrived to start the job), then read it very carefully a) before you sign it and b) before you consider breaking it. A contract is a legal document and may include some kind of penalty clause for breaking it. If you’re not prepared to accept the consequences of any penalty clause, don’t sign it!

    Hope that helps.

    Dan

    wannaksa
    Participant
    15 March, 2016 at 16:51
    • Total posts: 4

    Thanks for the advice. I’m not one who likes to break promises, so the idea makes me a uncomfortable, but I have to look out for myself at the same time. I guess I wondered if there was somehow these schools in the Mid East protect themselves from last minute flake-outs, since they’re paying for flights upfront.

    dan
    Moderator
    15 March, 2016 at 18:41
    • Total posts: 768

    It’s quite possible they have something in place to protect themselves from last minute flake-outs – that’s why I advise reading the contract very carefully. But yes, when it comes down to it, you have to look out for yourself – I would say this takes precedence over annoying a recruiter!

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Dan

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