Breaking a contract

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Nab, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 26, 2016

    I want to break my contract, and I think I can. All my contract says is my appointment date is until May 25th. It also says the school board can fire me at anytime and that they can switch my school or job location at anytime.It's one page, Six paragraphs. From what I am getting, I could walk away tomorrowith and they couldn't do anything. For health reasons, and because of the toxic environment- I feel like I need to walk away.
     
  2.  
  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Likes Received:
    1,578

    Sep 26, 2016

    It sounds like, despite having a contract, you are an at-will employee. That means that you can terminate your own employment at any time for any reason. I would double check that before making that move, but it sounds like you are teaching in Downtown Hades.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,587
    Likes Received:
    2,692

    Sep 26, 2016

    Does your district have a larger negotiated agreement that might provide more detailed terms?
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,061
    Likes Received:
    538

    Sep 26, 2016

    Do you have a union rep you can check with?
     
  6. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 26, 2016

    I have a union rep, and I will be checking with them later this week. My BIL, who deals with contracts, is looking at it first. As far as I know, my district does not have a larger negotiated agreement. I checked the handbook, and there is nothing about contracts. And, the only thing I signed was the small one-page contract. If, I am an at-will employee and can leave at any time, it would explain why - at every new teacher meeting - the HR guy jokes about us calling him for a conference, before we call to say we quit.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,710
    Likes Received:
    1,673

    Sep 26, 2016

    Not only are you teaching in downtown Hades...you are teaching in Hades suburbs!
     
  8. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 26, 2016

    I am.
     
  9. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    143

    Sep 26, 2016

    I can't imagine what they would could possibly do to you for leaving. Say the contract really is airtight...no employer who wants to recruit or retain employees in the future has ever sued for breach of contract. Leave and be thankful that you had the courage to do so. Expect some verbal pushback...you will never get hired again, etc..but it is lip service. best wishes.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,611
    Likes Received:
    1,913

    Sep 26, 2016

    I live in an at-will state. Most contracts are very easy to break. My principal flat-out told me it all meany they could fire me at any time but I could also walk away at anytime.

    From what I saw of your story, do it.
     
  11. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 28, 2016

    I spoke to a lawyer with my union. She knew the school well. She told me that I can quit at any time, for any reason. Well, today I had a "crying" seizure at school, that turned into a melt down.I printed up my letter of resignation and well be bringing it to HR tomorrow morning. The lawyer said they may ask me to stay two weeks, but I'm going to ask - because of the seizures - if I can just pick up my things on Saturday and leave the keys in the classroom. I think that might be okay - another new teacher, 7th grade ELA, broke down sobbing on Tuesday afternoon, told the principal she was leaving, and quit that day. As far as I know, she isn't coming back.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  12. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    143

    Sep 28, 2016

    congratulations on your decision. I would not go in asking for anything. instead, tell them when you will be picking your things up. they no longer have any leverage. I might have my things packed up before turning in your letter but that wouldn't take longer than 30 minutes in my case.good luck and best wishes to you in whatever you decide to do next.
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Likes Received:
    1,578

    Sep 29, 2016

    I'm so sorry it's come to this, but your health is too precarious to stay there. Keep us in the loop.
     
  14. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    139

    Sep 29, 2016

    I just want to put this out there, even if it doesn't apply to Nab's situation. Many states, even at-will states, can take action against your teaching license if you leave. That's not a lawsuit, but it would have disastrous consequences if you ever wanted to teach again. I know this, because I am considering leaving as well, and in my state, it's essentially up to the school district whether or not they take action against your license.

    As an example, here is the language from Georgia's Professional Standards Commission, which grants teaching licenses. Again, this is a totally at-will state:

    (h) Standard 8: Abandonment of Contract - An educator shall fulfill all of the terms and
    obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:
    1. abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer, and
    2. willfully refusing to perform the services required by a contract. ​
     
  15. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    139

    Sep 29, 2016

    What makes you think that a vindictive principal or superintendent would care about the state's overall teacher shortage?

    I'm glad it worked out for you when you broke your contract, but please don't pretend that license-granting agencies can't pull teaching licenses. They absolutely can, and they have even more power in at-will states, which is why I said it's essentially up to your school district.
     
  16. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    139

    Sep 29, 2016

    I'm sorry, but you can't possibly know that. Let me also add that I said previously that my caution seems like it doesn't apply to OP, since he seems to be in the clear.

    We are not talking about a court case here. We are talking about, in many cases, an unelected board in a state capital. In an at-will state, there is no case. There is no thousands of dollars for a lawyer--the school board simply lodges a complaint against a teacher's license. I have no idea why you're so passionately denying the possibility that school districts can go after a teacher's license, when it is plainly true. I am not saying it always happens, or even that it happens the majority of the time, but it can happen.
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Likes Received:
    1,578

    Sep 29, 2016

    How did it go today, Nab?
     
  18. JXG

    JXG Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 29, 2016

    I'm sort of in the same situation. I work at a charter school in NJ that I'm desperately trying to break my contract with. I have such high anxiety working there with the kids and it's a crazy environment. According to my contract, I have to give 30 days notice. But, I feel like I don't think I can survive 30 days. What's also crazy is that I'm teaching "STEM" but it's really computer education (which I'm not even certified in). WHAT DO I DO???
     
  19. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    143

    Sep 29, 2016

    One tip: quit. see Pallas athena's excellent post above. A little secret: most employers do not have the capital, will or desire to take punitive action against an ex-employee for breach of contract. There is nothing of significance to be gained by it and a lot to lose. sure, they will take action for fraud, theft,violation of non-compete clauses, patent infringement, etc. Even if the admin is vindictive, i am sure your school's legal counsel would override any attempts at further action. Expect to be confronted with hostile and threatening language. But is mostly bluff and posturing.

    FWIW, I have a background in business and have experience with labor law (although I am not a lawyer). I have never seen an employer follow up in a "breach of contract" case.

    Leave and go find a job that you enjoy. life is short.
     
    JXG and PallasAthena like this.
  20. JXG

    JXG Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 29, 2016

    Thank you so much for that! I've been researching back and forth about this because I don't want anything to happen to my certification. I expect for admin to be pretty hostile with me. But, I got to think about what you just said...life is short!
     
  21. JXG

    JXG Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 29, 2016


    Thanks for replying back. I'm going to send them my 30 days notice tomorrow morning. Do I just send it to HR or do I have to talk to the principal?[/QUOTE]
     
  22. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 29, 2016

    Thank you for asking. I went to the school board office and asked to speak to someone in human resources. The receptionist directed me to the head receptionist of human resources. We went into a private room and I told her where I taught, that I had had been having issues since day two, that there was no help (or at least not as much as there should be) from the office, and that it just was not what I was told it would be. She listened, nodded, asked if it was okay if she called the principal to let her know I wasn't coming back, and than gave me an exit packet. After I filled out the packet - which was a short survey, I attached my letter and asked what happened next. The head receptionist told me I could go get my stuff this weekend, and leave the keys and anything belonging to the school in the room. That was it.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Likes Received:
    1,578

    Sep 29, 2016

    Holy heck, that was a LOT easier than expected. Sounds like they've heard it several times before.
     
  24. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 29, 2016

    It was VERY easy. I was actually surprised. But, there was the 7th grade ELA teacher, who quit on Monday. So, I'm the second person to leave that school in a week. And, I know of at least four other teachers who want to leave. If nothing else, I hope this opens the school board's eyes - there are major issues at the school.
     
  25. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,960
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    Sep 29, 2016

    well, at least you're out of there :)
     
  26. Nab

    Nab Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    25

    Sep 29, 2016

    Yes, I'm out. I'm happy about that. I just have to figure out what is next.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MissCeliaB,
  2. Camel13
Total: 331 (members: 4, guests: 305, robots: 22)
test