Page 1 of 1

Not finishing the year

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:17 am
by chiliverde
Hoping for some advice on a nuanced situation - I am finishing a 2 year contract with a school in a major urban center in Southeast Asia. I discussed signing on for an additional year with the director, but no contract has been sent and nothing signed. I have been on maternity leave for the last 4 months, but the plan was for me to return and complete the year with my class. I traveled to the States several weeks ago with my husband and two small children for a family event. Since then, world events have kicked off as they have and I feel my family is much more secure here in the semi-countryside than risking traveling back (if that's even possible at this point) and suffering through social distancing and lockdown in a small apartment in a major urban center. Classes at my school have moved online and I suspect will be as such until the end of the year. We have pretty much already decided that we are staying put here at least for the next few months, come whatever negative consequences may. The one (not insignificant) wrinkle is that my husband is not a US citizen (he's from the EU) so we are looking into how to extend his stay here. Then hope, when this all blows over, to pick up a new position someplace else.

I'd welcome any advice on how to word the email to my school explaining our decision. It is really primarily about the well-being of our children, who are currently benefiting from their grandparents and lots of space and time outdoors during this undetermined period of chaos and closure. I'm hoping the school won't view me as too unprofessional due to these extraordinary circumstances, and that this wouldn't be considered a typical "breaking contract," but I do accept that as a possibility. I am happy to explore teaching remotely to finish out the year. I am not so happy at my current school that it would be any great heartbreak to leave it, and I'm guessing with the chaos that if we wanted to go back out and find something new in the fall, there would be a lot of opportunities available.

Welcome any advice.

Re: Not finishing the year

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:51 pm
by cms989
If anything qualifies as a force majeure, this is it, and therefore doesn't count as "breaking contract." I don't think any reasonable person will hold it against you (now or if you need to reference it in future applications).

Life is not easy abroad at the moment. Border closures are unpredictable and flights are becoming scarcer. With classes moving online indefinitely, admin are starting to wonder how they can justify paying salaries (often denominated in an ever-strengthening dollar). This is not an environment anyone should be expected to bring a family into. Many EU embassies are flat out telling citizens to leave, and the U.S. is doing so as well in so many words.

In terms of the email I think you can explain it much like you did here. Offer to help however you can with the transition. They might even be relieved to not have to pay you through the year.

Re: Not finishing the year

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:33 am
by s0830887
Hi, this is unrelated to your actual question, but I am from the US and my husband is from the UK, and while we were in the US several years ago, we also had an extraordinary situation and had to look into options for how to extend his stay. There IS an option for the regional director of a USCIS office to sign off on an extension to the 90-day visa waiver program (even though technically it's not extendable ever...which is why a regional director has to sign off on it) for emergency circumstances. We made an appointment at immigration in San Antonio, printed off the documentation about the extension, and the people at immigration had no idea what we were talking about, walked it upstairs to the director who said he'd never heard of it (despite being shown the print out from the USCIS website!!!!), and they told us to drive down the road to the airport and ask Homeland Security. So we did, the Homeland Security guy rolls his eyes, confirms that USCIS DOES have the power to extend the visa, and they are the ones who SHOULD be doing it, but I guess he felt sorry for us so he disappeared with my husband's passport and came back 15 minutes later having written a note in red pen extending his stay for 30 more days. Told us it was all taken care of in the computer. This is a long rambly story, but I just wanted to share as the worst case scenario is sending your husband on an expensive trip to a noncontiguous country for I don't remember how long just so he can re-enter the U.S.; Both USCIS and DHS can extend, try those routes first! Good luck!


Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:58 pm
by PsyGuy
If you could clarify:
1) Do you want to renew your contract with your current IS?
2) Do you want to continue with the current contract but only if you can telecommute and teach online from your US location?
3) Do you just want to cease working for the IS?
4) If you just want to cease working for the IS, what do you want from them?

Re: Not finishing the year

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:34 am
by chiliverde
Thanks everyone, for weighing in. In the meantime I've heard back from the school. Head was friendly and brief, but the contract seems effectively closed. Telecommuting was not possible with the time difference. I suppose there's a possibility of going back if they end up having a last minute opening for next year, but we are are on the job hunt. Hopefully I got out of this with my professionalism somewhat intact... we'll see. I will get in touch later to see if there is the possibility of getting any contractual flight assistance or shipping, but I'm not optimistic.

Thanks also for the advice on staying in the US until the fall - will look into it!


Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:34 pm
by PsyGuy

Are they going to give you a positive reference?

Re: Not finishing the year

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:34 am
by chiliverde
I don't know. I will broach it later with them when things have calmed down a little. In any case, it's a risk I was willing to take. I already had my references up on Search, and have alerted my associate to what happened. I'll definitely have to figure out how to tackle this in an interview if it comes up. "These were exceptional circumstances and I did it for the basic well-being of my kids" is the truth, and I'll have to hope a school will understand. First time I've "broken contract" in 15 years of IS teaching, although it seems more like a mutual decision not to try to bring me back.

Re: Not finishing the year

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:17 am
by MartElla
Not sure how you've "broken contract" when one was never placed before you or signed. People change their minds all the time before signing, after all. As you already have the references needed and are good to go, I'm not sure why this could possibly count against you. Sounds like both parties are happy with the way this has turned out.


Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:58 am
by PsyGuy

You didnt break contract, you reached a mutual dissolution of the agreement under extraordinary circumstances. Whether the reference says as such is another issue.


The LW was referring to the remainder of this AY, covered by the current contract.