Breaking a contract...from the other side

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by GoldenPoppy, Aug 11, 2012.

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  1. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    We needed to hire a new math teacher for this year and after six weeks of screening, interviews, demo lessons, and content evaluations, I made my decision. Mr. A came in, signed his contract, and was happy as a clam to be teaching at our school.

    On Monday afternoon, Mr. A quit. He had told me earlier that his wife had some health concerns and apparently they got some bad news about her condition. I understand his reasons; I wasn't happy, but I understand.

    On Tuesday morning, we hired Mr. B, who was my second choice. He came in, signed his contract, and picked up the books to start planning. On Wednesday morning I get a phone call from our Head of School. Mr. B had called and quit. He got an offer of a full time job at another school, so he took that. Never mind that he had committed to us. There is no honor in what he did and I know he would be screaming bloody murder if we had called him on Wednesday morning and said that we had changed our mind.

    I am beyond livid with the lack of honor and character that I'm seeing. There isn't time to go through the resumes and screening that we did earlier in the summer. School starts less than two weeks. We're going to have to go through the educational headhunters, which is going to cost $$$$$. I am seriously considering filing a small claims suit against Mr. B to recover those costs.

    My word is my bond. It is extremely disheartening that others don't feel the same way. I wish I knew the name of his new employer so I could let them know what kind of person they are getting, but of course I won't. That wouldn't be professional.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree with you 100%.

    I can understand Mr. A. (though with a sick wife, I've got to wonder who will be earning a salary-- how will they pay their rent or mortgage if neither is working??? To be honest, it sounds kind of sketchy to me.)

    But Mr. B??? He gave his word then broke it. I hate it every time I read someone breaking their word for something better. When I give my word, I do my level best to keep it. Once I signed a contract, I stopped taking interviews.

    I say you file the suit to recoup the money the district will lose.
     
  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I hear you. Hopefully you find the right person for the job.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It's not honorable, and good character traits and values are lacking in so many. Sorry you are going through this frustration. That's the last thing any school needs, especially right before the beginning of a new school year.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Golden, I thought you were my P! Same thing has happened to us, but we have kids on Tuesday.
     
  7. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I do agree for the most part, but as I understand it, didn't Mr. B only cost you one day? I understand it's a matter of principle, but wouldn't you still have had to pay those costs had he told you no on Tuesday morning instead of saying yes Tuesday and backing out Wednesday?
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We have kids Monday and had a teacher resign Thursday, which was the first day for teachers.
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Is there something in the contract regarding resignations? We have a grace period a certain number of days before school starts. He definitely wouldn't be in compliance with that!
     
  10. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    How very sad they chose to not take the position; my heart goes out candidate A. They are obviously not a best fit for your school.

    We sign our contracts and return them by the end of July, but they are not officially signed bythe district until we return to work on the first day of meetings and sign in. That's when we are contractually required to fullfill the obligations.

    I agree with this post because I'm confused with the candidate interviews. If you found candidate A & B, then I'm assuming you had more than two candidates for the job; and I'm assuming because as many teachers that are out of work right now, I can't see a district with only two applicants. Wouldn't you call them insteading of using the service?
     
  11. Croissant

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    Is your math position not a full time position? I understand that it's uncool and perhaps unethical to back out when you've given your word, but in today's economy and job market, when given the choice between part time and full time, you have to take full time. You don't know when you'll get the opportunity again. At least he told you right away instead of "thinking about it" and dragging it on for days. He gave you as much time to do damage control as he could. I understand it puts you in a tough postion, but the only thing I would be really upset about it that he went over your head to quit and didn't bother telling you directly. That seems a bit cowardly. :2cents:
     
  12. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Out of about 35 applications that we received, there were 12 that I interviewed, 5 that spoke with me and a CAL professor about content knowledge, and 2 that did a demo lesson. I was really surprised that we had so few qualified applicants. I thought that with so many teachers looking for positions, we would have more choice.

    We are a private school; things may be different with districts, I don't know.

    My objection is not really with having to pay the $$ to use the headhunters. My objection is making a commitment and then not following through; I find that very sad and anyone who would do that lacking in character.
     
  13. MissJill

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    Was your position half time though?
    Can you really blame the guy if he gets called to teach full time? In this job market and time where people are in desperate need of money, I can't. I know that it's a burden on your school district, but you were talking within a 24 hour period. I could understand your frustration more on Mr. B if this had been 2-3 days later.
     
  14. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I think I would call choice # 3.
     
  15. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    I'm finding it amazing that we're having a conversation about not keeping your word and that people can't be expected to do what they say they will.

    That's all I have to say.
     
  16. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    People look out for themselves. That's really all there is to it. In this day and age, I don't blame them. There is no "real" job security, so people figure they should just do what is going to make them happy or make them more money. I do understand the dilemma you are faced with, and I sympathize.
     
  17. MissJill

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    Listen it definitely sucks that you're in this situation, but I don't think it's fair to want to go after this candidate financially because 24 hours after he accept your position he was offered another full time position. Maybe the answer is tweaking your current position to make it more appealing to the right candidates.
     
  18. tootgravytrain

    tootgravytrain Comrade

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    How much would dude have been making? Don't ever expect anything out of anyone, and you'll never be disappointed.
     
  19. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    I agree with you that is probably not the most morally right thing and it's unfortunate for your school but I also see the other side of it. In this day and age all bets are off and you have to watch out for yourself. I can't blame him for taking a better position. If you spoke to 5 people why not call 2 of them in for demo lessons and choose from there. Around here you have 10 days to back out of your contract so there would be no legal standing. But I don't know how it works in your school.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think the man is a horrible, evil man.
     
  21. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Perhaps you need to have it stipulated in the contract that the person needs to give so many days advanced notice before quitting. I don't really blame him if it was a part-time vs. a full-time job. However, he could've gone about it in a better way. If he knew that he might get the other full-time position, he should've told you that he needed some time to think about it before making a decision instead of accepting right away.
     
  22. JustMe

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    Remember, you had already let this man know he was not your first choice. I assume this, as it would only be decent to let the one of two who did a demo know he wasn't chosen. So he may have had some concerns about that. It doesn't seem as though he likely interviewed after accepting you offer since he left the position so fast. Another offer simply came through. Poor timing, but a man cannot be asked to work part time and possible allow his family to auffer when full time work is available. I think that's an extreme length to go to for the sake of "your word" and "honor".
     
  23. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    This. And to be honest, you sound a little scary to work for. :sorry:
     
  24. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    "Sorry AEP, I can't pay my electric bill this month, but I have word and honor...will you take that?"

    :whistle:
     
  25. tootgravytrain

    tootgravytrain Comrade

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    We don't make a lot to begin with and after all, we're educators, not missionaries who can afford to work for little or nothing (I wish I could!).
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think if you are offering a part-time position you should expect people to take a full-time offer elsewhere when it is presented.
     
  27. KinderCowgirl

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    I definitely know your frustration Poppy. After being on interview committees, coming in on summer vacation to do it. Spending a lot of time making a decision--and every year in the past 4 years we have had someone quit either days before or the 1st week into the school year. Then you have to pay a sub to cover that class while you go back and see who out of your top applicants doesn't already have another position and start the process all over again.

    I do think someone's word should count for something. If you know you are still looking for greener grass then don't accept the position.
     
  28. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    My word is good and I honor my commitments. However, if I had accepted a part-time job and was then offered a full-time position 24 hours later, I'd have to go with the full time because my financial security, mental health, and future have to trump the part-time commitment.

    Would you seriously not do the same? Would you live with the stress of being unable to financially care for yourself, possibly having multiple jobs instead of taking a full-time career position?

    Again, I agree with honoring one's commitments, but this isn't someone who strung you along and then flaked out. You called him in as backup, and then he got the job he needed a day later.

    Besides, he would have been gone next year anyway. Now you can find someone who is happier with a part-time position and will be more likely to stay at your school.

    It is an unfortunate situation, but perhaps you can look past your justifiable annoyance and find a bit more compassion for that kind of circumstance. It doesn't seem as if he did this to screw you over.
     
  29. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I have been in this situation too. But full time vs. part time... Well, you can understand why the guy went with the other position. Hopefully, he won't need you later on in his teaching career because I think that he just burned a bridge. However, I think that persons that commit to a full time job and leave for a better perceived school, give me real reason to just get downright angry.
     
  30. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    When committing to a job, part time vs. full time means all bets are off. Period.

    If I hire an employee part time, and they find another job that is full time, I cannot complain when they leave. Heck, even if they leave on little or no notice, they cannot be blamed.

    The reason is simple. If I wanted them to stay, I would have offered them a full time job. You can't expect someone to be "loyal" if you are only employing them part time.

    The same for temporary vs. permanent. My first paid, non-substitute job was teaching summer school. Five days after I started, I was offered a full time, tenure track job with my current district. It was a year-round school and the first day of the regular school year was in less than a week.

    I went straight to the principal of the summer school and told him what happened. He congratulated me and asked how much longer I could stay. I said maybe a day or two, max. The next day I met my replacement (a sub) and stayed long enough to show her where everything was and packed up what stuff I had, and left.

    That is how it should be. If the summer school principal had wanted me to stay, he could have offered me a contract for the following year. But he didn't. I have a right to work in my profession. To require me to give up a full time, permanent job in order to work at a part time or temporary job is to deny me that right.

    It is my firm belief that any teacher who is part time, temporary, or not having their contract renewed, has a right to leave at any time if they have been offered full time employment elsewhere.
     
  31. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I've been on both sides of the table. I don't judge anyone for doing what's right for them, whether or not they gave their word or signed a contract. Just this year, I broke a legal contract. For a $32,000 pay raise. Really, anyone want to say they would refuse that because they gave " their word?" I understand that's probably not the same situation in the OP, but I don't hate on people doing what's best for them.....which is wy I also have a problem with teacher contracts.
     
  32. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I think this is the key. If you wanted him bad enough, I bet you could have worked some magic to make the position full time. If it's a part time position, I wonder if you could just distribute those courses to other teachers. I know my district has done that a few time instead of finding a LTS...a number of teachers each happily picked up an extra section (with extra pay of course).
     
  33. GTB4GT

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    I'll give my $.02 as most of my experience comes from outside of education. My first reaction to this thread is: is the position you have full time or not? The question has been asked but I don't believe it has been answered.

    When I hired people, I always wanted the 'best and brightest". These people do not take part-time jobs when full-time jobs are available or offered to them. I would never hold it against anybody who leaves for a better opportunity, even if they left within 24 - 48 hours.

    The other thought I have is: why is your position so hard to recruit for? If the job/opportunity/environment is good enough you will always have pools of applicants - especially in today's environment. Instead of blaming this guy, speak to your employees. if you have created the right environment as a leader, they can tell you what you need to do differently to attract and retain better employees. Best wishes.
     
  34. KinderCowgirl

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    Wow-so now it's her fault people are breaking contracts because she's not a good leader?!

    We got 100's of resumes from teachers-all applicants don't look good on paper. Some have had several jobs in the last few years, some don't have good references, some have typos. You don't just interview everyone-you weed out the ones you think will be a good fit and schedule those.
     
  35. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    you appear to be reading more into my post than what I stated. It's pretty simple - is the job full time or not? If it's not then I wouldn't blane him/her for accepting another position.

    I do believe that if any organization has difficulties finding qualified people in today's economy they should look in the mirror first.
     
  36. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    Maybe the OP should go with a candidate with less experience, or take a chance on someone she ruled out before. It is a possibility that she simply didn't choose the candidate(s) who would best fit the school/position.
     
  37. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would be really curious to find out more information about the job: full-time/part-time, salary, benefits, additional responsibilities, etc.
     
  38. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I have to agree with this! :2cents:
     
  39. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Yeah, me too! :agreed:

    There has to be more to the story. In my district, we posted a position for a middle school math teacher to outside applicants and got sooooo many qualified people! People were really fighting for that position!
     
  40. Croissant

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    Very well put! :thumb:
     
  41. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    This was advertised as a part time position, 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. The teacher would teach one class each of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math. There was one planning period a day. There would be a before school math club one day a week starting in the second semester. There are less than 12 students in each class.

    The salary was $35,000 with 80% paid medical benefits, 100% vision and dental.

    All of the candidates knew this from the very first contact.

    None of this is what really matters. What matters is if you know it is a part time job and you can't afford to work less than full time, do not make a commitment to a part time job.
     
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