breaking a contract

Discussion in 'General Education' started by twosteppinfun, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. twosteppinfun

    twosteppinfun New Member

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    Aug 24, 2007

    I recently started a part-time job at a Catholic school. My problem is that I have since been offered a full-time position at another school. My contract doesn't say what will happen if I break the contract. Is there any way of me getting out of my current contract? Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Private, Catholic school contracts are usually easy to break. They seem to understand when a teacher leaves for a better opportunity, more pay...You obviously can't use them as a reference though...Did you let the new school know that you were breaking a contract? When does school start in the Catholic School? Hopefully they will be able to scoop up one of the great teachers who haven't lined up something permanent yet...
     
  4. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    If your word is not worth anything, I don't think you will have a problem. OTOH, in the future, think carefully about doing this in a public school. In California, breaking a contract is grounds for action against your credential.
     
  5. Bitsy Griffin

    Bitsy Griffin Companion

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    I've worked for private schools where this would be a huge deal. Please talk with them and lay your cards on the table. They may be very understanding.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I work at a charter school. From what I've heard when a teacher breaks a contract he gives him/her a very hard time. You can't use him for a reference. He talks about how important your word is.

    Having said that I would talk to your school & see what they say. You never know.
     
  7. dreaming_luke

    dreaming_luke Rookie

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    IMHO this type of situation happens to everyone. I can't count the times I've taken a position, and then another one that I would have wanted more comes out. But I never did or would ever break a contract. You take what you've been offered and accepted, and do it. Eventually you will get what you truely desire, and with your morals, ethics and respect in tact. I know that when someone here has done this, EVERYONE knows in about a day or so, all teachers, all school board staff, all principals. That's a lot of negative attention. I guess you just have to ask yourself is the job you've accepted OK for you, I'm guessing it was as you initially accepted it, and whether you are willing to have this decision follow you to other positions. Just do the right thing.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I wholeheartedly disagree with the advice given thus far. The fact that your current position is part-time and your new job offer is full-time makes all the difference in the world.

    Any school that employs a teacher part-time should do so with the understanding that the teacher may leave them if offered a full-time position someplace else.

    In my opinion, there are absolutely no ethical issues breaking a part-time contract when offered full-time employment.

    The Catholic school should know this. If you ever choose to use them as a reference, it's very easy to explain that they could only employ you part time and you needed a full time job.

    My very first hired teaching job was for summer school. I worked there five days. During those five days, I was offered a full-time job at a year-round school that started ASAP. I gave two days notice.

    The summer-school principal totally understood. He said there was a chance he'd have a position for me in the fall, but couldn't promise anything and that he didn't blame me for leaving a temporary position to take a job that was permanent.

    If the Catholic school has a problem with you leaving, then they should figure out a way to employ you full-time.

    One of the most basic human rights is to work in one's chosen profession. For the Catholic school to even attempt to hold you to a part-time job when you have been offered full time employment is to deny you that basic right. In that case, the moral and ethical problems are with them, not you, if you leave.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry, I've got to stop you there. No one has a RIGHT to a particular job. The "pursuit of happiness" in the Consitition wasn't meant as a free pass to the job of your choice. We all have the right to be considered for any job for which we're qualified. That's not carte blanche to break a contract though.

    On a very basic level, we teach young kids about promises. How, when they make a promise, they should try to keep it. We teach them about the value of their word.

    That's what this boils down to.
     
  10. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Normally I would agree with you, but Sarge has a point when thinking about the difference between a part-time position and a full-time one. I'm thinking, too, about the instructional aides we've had in my district. They are all certified teachers, and some of them have found full-time teaching positions after the school year started. They gave notice and then went on their way with our good wishes. The problem of finding another aide was on our administrators, who understood completely.
    If I had to decide between a part time job in a school v. a full time job with benefits, I'd give my notice at the part time and accept the full time job.
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I showed this thread to my wife, who works as a part-time college professor. She said that any employer, education or otherwise, takes a risk when they employ a person part-time or on a temporary basis. She also said that he head of her department basically told her that if she needed to leave mid-semester because her full-time situation changed, that they would understand.

    I find Aliceaac's comment about keeping promises rather ironic, considering that many districts have policies that bascially allow teachers to transfer to different sites or positions within that district mid-year without any repercussions. Moreover, most, if not all, districts reserve the right to involuntarily transfer teachers mid-year to suit the needs of the district. And we all know that districts can and do exercise that right for reasons that are often far removed from educating students.
     
  12. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    At my school board, it is assumed that if you find a job that gives you a higher percentage, you take that job. But that is within the board - I don't know how it would go over between boards.

    There is a huge difference between part-time and full-time, especially if you have bills to pay!! Perhaps you could have a frank conversation with the principal that offered you the part-time. If could be that he/she knows of another job coming up that would up your percentage. Personally, I would understand if someone left a job for those reasons, but I'm not a principal!!!

    I agree with the posts mentioning that your word is so very important . . . the teaching profession is small and there are long memories. I do believe that there must be room for bettering yourself though. It sounds like there are different norms for this situation around the country. It is probably best to ask for advice from people working in your area . . .
     
  13. dreaming_luke

    dreaming_luke Rookie

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    I have 4 words on this.... "Are you kidding me?" This is a joke right?? I have two ways of looking at this issue, one of a legal nature as I have worked for law enforcement, and the other from a teacher who can say that my word means something and I regard myself as a professional who has integrity. From the legal perspective a contract is binding. Yes they may let you leave from the position with appropriate notice or want you to stay until they find a replacement, but they don't have to, and there can be consequences of a legal nature. Whether they exercise that right is up to the SD. However, whether they do or not, that's there decision and right to do so.

    Any school that employs a teacher part-time should do so with the understanding that the teacher may leave them if offered a full-time position someplace else.

    I don't know where you teach but I do know for a fact that my school district hires teachers they can rely on. Hiring someone thinking they might leave doesn't make any sense at all.

    In my opinion, there are absolutely no ethical issues breaking a part-time contract when offered full-time employment.

    The two words in this statement "Breaking.... contract" That says it all to me. What would happen if you broke a contractual lease for a house/apartment/car/bank loan? All of these would be dealt with through paying out the contract in full, or court. Why the heck would the school districts take the time to make these LEGAL CONTRACTS if they expected teachers to break them. Why bother with paperwork at all?


    The Catholic school should know this. If you ever choose to use them as a reference, it's very easy to explain that they could only employ you part time and you needed a full time job.


    THEN WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU TAKE A PART-TIME JOB IF YOU NEEDED A FULL TIME JOB?????

    My very first hired teaching job was for summer school. I worked there five days. During those five days, I was offered a full-time job at a year-round school that started ASAP. I gave two days notice.

    For a first job, this isn't a very good first impression on integrity and reliability. Coupled with the fact of a two day notice??? Are you kidding me?????? I bet that looks good on a resume.


    One of the most basic human rights is to work in one's chosen profession. For the Catholic school to even attempt to hold you to a part-time job when you have been offered full time employment is to deny you that basic right. In that case, the moral and ethical problems are with them, not you, if you leave.[/QUOTE]

    What you are not getting here is the fact that she signed a contract which in turn means that she has chosen to work not only in her profession, but in the position that she was offered. The part that you say the school is "attempting to hold her to the part-time job" is part of the contract THAT SHE SIGNED KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT THE POSITION ENTAILED TO BEGIN WITH. SHE AGREED TO THE TERMS! Immoral and unethical that a school would want integrity, reliability and people who follow through on their word and are trustworthy??? Shame on them.... what these schools do to force us to take these part-time positions! What you are not understanding is that SHE HAD A RIGHT TO SAY NO AND DID NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT. I am truely amazed that we are even having this conversation as we are supposed to be teaching good character in our classrooms... are we????

    The comments above are my opinion, may not be yours but that doesn't make them wrong.
    ;)
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    A personal story--
    When I first returned to teaching after 10 years at home with my kids, I did day-to-day supply teaching at their school and was then offered a long-term sub position at another school which I took. For the following year, I was offered another long-term position (9 months mat leave starting at the beginning of October) at the same school, which I accepted. The classroom teacher and I worked closely together to plan out the year and I was invited to be there the first day of school so that the students knew from Day 1 who I was. My name was included on all correspondance, etc. It was decided that I would be the only supply teacher in that room for the first 5 weeks of school so that the students and I would all get to know each other and establish a relationship. Two weeks into the school year, I was offered a part-time position at my children's school. It would be a 65% position for the first year, sharing a classroom, working with 2 amazing teachers, and I would be able to make up the additional time by supplying in the school. It would almost certainly turn into a full-time position the following year and would mean a permanent contract with the board. I turned it down. I had made a commitment to another school, to students and parents and didn't feel I could back out on that. Although nothing had been signed at that point, my word and reputation were very important to me. I ended up getting my permanent contract the next year, and don't feel I missed out on anything (in fact, the class that I covered for the mat leave was a very special group of kids!)
     
  15. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I totally agree with you, dreaming Luke. Your word should be it. They are counting on you to take that job because you are a responsible professional and you gave them your word. If you didn't want the part time position, then you should not have taken it, in my opinion. At the end of the year, when you sign contracts again, then decide to change positions, not when you have told someone you would do it and the school year is about to start. Think about the person who would have to take your place...not a lot of time to prepare. It wouldn't be fair to all invovled. Just my thoughts.
     
  16. Miss_snugs

    Miss_snugs Rookie

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    What you are not getting here is the fact that she signed a contract which in turn means that she has chosen to work not only in her profession, but in the position that she was offered. The part that you say the school is "attempting to hold her to the part-time job" is part of the contract THAT SHE SIGNED KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT THE POSITION ENTAILED TO BEGIN WITH. SHE AGREED TO THE TERMS! Immoral and unethical that a school would want integrity, reliability and people who follow through on their word and are trustworthy??? Shame on them.... what these schools do to force us to take these part-time positions! What you are not understanding is that SHE HAD A RIGHT TO SAY NO AND DID NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT. I am truely amazed that we are even having this conversation as we are supposed to be teaching good character in our classrooms... are we????

    The comments above are my opinion, may not be yours but that doesn't make them wrong.
    ;)[/QUOTE]


    :clap: :clap: :clap:

    I couldn't have said any of this better myself. Why would you take a part time job if you couldn't afford it and if you can afford to have a part time job then you should stick to your original contract.
     
  17. Bitsy Griffin

    Bitsy Griffin Companion

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    I'm a bit surprised this thread took the path it did midway. There is a reason that a contract was issued. It is because the school expected it to be binding for the period spelled out in the contract -- hence a contract.
     
  18. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Speaking from personal experience - you take a part-time job that you can't afford in order to get your foot in the door. In my area, it is very difficult to get a teaching job - the norm here is to take a part-time percentage, and then work your way up. There are people working as teachers that are balancing 2 or 3 jobs in order to make ends meet!!

    Like I mentioned before, in my board it is OK to switch schools for a higher percentage - but everyone does know that going into the interview.

    I think that maybe it might be different in your area? The thought is crossing my mind . . . if you don't know or are unsure what to do, then stick with the safe choice and keep the full time job. There is no way that you'll ever loose any professionalism or trust that way - both principals will understand that position (though it may be hard for you re:money . . .). I wouldn't take the chance of loosing a reputation that takes a long time to build up.

    If, however, you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that there will be no negative consquences, then go for the full time position.

    You do need to think of your reputation first :). Good luck.
     
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I think the key idea is to be honest with the administration. I was offered a job last year in early July. My superintendent did not want to release me from my contract--even though school would not start until the 2nd week of August. But I had been a loyal employee and the move was best for my family, so my principal went to bat for me and had the contract dropped. I was honest and open with my principal. That worked in my favor. Instead of debating this here, TALK TO THE PRINCIPAL!!! See what they think.
     
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    You take a part-time position, in many cases, until you can find a full time position. In many subject areas where the job market is tight - art, music, social studies - this is the norm.

    As a social studies teacher, I took the summer school job because, having just finished my credential, I needed the experience, I needed the money, and I wanted some actual paid teaching on my resume. I also was hoping that it might turn into a permanent position once the school year started.

    Then, the day after it started, I was offered a full time, tenure track job teaching middle school English and history. For a social studies teacher with a supplementary authorization in English, a job like this only comes by once in a very long while. Had I not taken it, I probably would have been unemployed for a very long time.

    Asking a person to gamble with their career is completely unreasonable, contract or no contract.
     
  21. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I agree with DreamingLuke.

    Were you using this job as a stepping stone to a public school? How sad.
    They DO have the "right" to hold you to your contract. You don't have the "right" to break it. It is absolutely an ethical issue. Did you sign your contract with the provision that if you get a better job you would leave them? Did they offer you the position with the understanding that if they got a more experienced teacher they would dump you? Same thing. Would YOU be understanding about them breaking your contract?

    However, I would talk with the principal. He/she may be very understanding, especially if they had other applications and know they can fill it.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    As others have said, talk to your administration; breaking a contract could be gambing with your career.
     
  23. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    The fact that full time is more enticing than part time (for some employees) does not take away from the fact that it is breaking a contract! Quite simply, they are terms that you agreed to and were completely aware of when you decided to sign the contract. Maybe you wre hoping for full time, but couldn't hold out for another job. You presumably weighed the pros and cons of these terms and decided that even though it is part time employement, that it is worth it to sign this contract for the full year. Correct? That is the risk you take when you sign the contract!
    True, it might not have been the ideal situation for you, but your boss is trusting that you weighed that decision before you signed his contract and commited to the year. If you have intentions to take something else that might come along (and this is not uncommon to take a less than ideal job until things start looking up for you), then it should be in your contract, as part of you terms.

    Long Term Subs do this all the time. And principals are understanding - but it should be discussed as terms in your contract.
     
  24. storyh

    storyh Companion

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    All I am going to say is you have to pray about it (if you are a praying person) and you have to do what's best for your personal situation, especially if you have a family. I have a job at a charter school. While the faculty, parents, and kids are great, it is not working out like I thought it would. I have an hour commute. Leave at 6:30 & get to the daycare to pick up one child between 5 and 6. I pick up my other child after that. This change has taken a toll on my famly. I will stick it out this year, but I struggled with the decision all summer and even went on an interview the third day of school. That school knew my situation, and would have hired be if I could have been available on Monday. Would it be a bad professional decision? Maybe, Maybe not. I do know that when my contract is up on June 5, 2008, I don't plan to return. Hopefully, I will secure a job closer to home. If not I will have to sub, because family comes first. So after all that, I say to you.. It has to be a personal decision and you should do whatever you feel is best. Good luck to you! Keep us posted!
     
  25. Miss_snugs

    Miss_snugs Rookie

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  26. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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  27. dreaming_luke

    dreaming_luke Rookie

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  28. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Greater opportunity/more pay breaks are fairly simple. Unless they are willing to match the salary, typically the let you out. Make sure you get everything regarding the release in writing.


     
  29. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    I'm going to quickly reiterate the main point of what I was trying to say (and then I'm going to bow out of the conversation . . . I hope that twosteppin has lots of thoughts to consider for her decision)

    I'm coming to the conclusion that it really does depend on what the norm is in your part of the country. Here, everyone knows that it is OK to move up to a full time position if you were at part time. It is also said to potential job candidates.

    I think that in other places this is not the norm, and you need to be more careful. It is all about knowing the environment that you are working in.

    So, in the case of your norm (Miss_Snugs and Teaching Mom, and I believe lots of others in this thread . . . ), I would never dream of breaking a contract. The consequences are too severe!!! But in my school district, it is different :) :) :)
     
  30. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I cannot say that the consequences are severe in our area. Christian schools are easily "walked on" because they try to be evangelical about such situations. However the school is being left without a teacher.

    Is this fair to the staff who will have to take up the slack? Fair to the children who will be in larger classes? Fair that perhaps they will not have the vacated class? The answer is no to all of them, yet some seem to feel that it is only fair to the teacher who picks up and leaves?

    It is a moral and ethical decision. And those are often the hardest ones to make.
     
  31. Miss_snugs

    Miss_snugs Rookie

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    Gotcha:D I guess it does depend. In my area teaching jobs are very hard to come by so often people take something just to get experience but breaking a contract in my area (even a part time one)......well you better be prepared for a not so good reputation because word travels fast.
     
  32. twosteppinfun

    twosteppinfun New Member

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    I will have all of you know that I appreciate all of the comments made. I have decided to stay at my part-time job. A pay check that will only pay part of my bills is better than no pay check at all. A full time position will be found next year, I am sure of that.
     
  33. Shontasue1

    Shontasue1 Rookie

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    Need some advice

    This is not a break a contract question, but I am currently teaching an elective that I love in a Highschool, but I also have that spot in my heart that wants to make sure that those little ones who cannot read and do math have one more of those dedicated teachers that make sure they are on the right path for life? Would you change from the highschool to elementary at the end of the year or does it look as if I ment to take this job as just a temp assignment? Any advice would be great.
     

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