Dodgy contract questions


I’m working for a company that has a contract seemingly to screw the teachers. I signed it, as I wanted the job, and now they’re sending little “updates” and “notices.” I presume the latest overrules the prior ones? Each notice comes with a mini contract which we have to resign.

The contract says “The teacher is required to follow all RoC laws, company rules and teaching policies. If the teacher is lacking in effort and fails to achieve the standard teaching requirements, the company reserves the right to terminate the teacher’s appointed hours.”

Sounds fair enough.

The company rules and policies are where it gets disturbing however.

  1. The teacher must use the company value and only the company material.
  • the company material has very little educational material. It has no syllabus, no coherency, and not even any obvious indication of exactly what the students are supposed to learn. There are no sentence patterns or practice sheets or workbooks.
  • Many of the students are unhappy with the material, and complain about it.
  1. Be passionate and welcoming to the students. The company reserves the right to terminate the class if complaints are received from students, which are alarming or a cause for concern.
  • note the complaints aren’t required to be put into context or even verified
  • nor would the teacher be told who was complaining and permitted to discuss the issue with the student
  • nor is there any indication of what might be “alarming” or “cause for concern”. Is it cause for concern if I am not passionate enough to the students, or too passionate? :howyoudoin:
  1. If the teacher’s methods are lacking in effort the company reserves the right to terminate the class.
  • Who judges this? Well, students complain to the secretaries and they make the call. There are never any peer reviews, or observations by qualified teachers.
  1. The teacher has to arrive early for “class preparation” and to begin on time.
  • The company lacks printers and is loathe to waste precious NT on photocopying and thus makes it difficult to produce worksheets or crossword puzzles or, heck, anything to make the class more interesting. This wastes my free time and will cause less class prep as I would then have less time to access printer shops where I can prepare material.

So, what would happen if my classes got terminated because I was using the company material and students complained that the class was boring and they weren’t learning anything? We have an impossible job - take terrible material and “make it interesting” and “teach them something” with no resources. How would the CLA view this? All I can see in the Labor Standards Act is the employee must obey the company rules and regulations. But what if the rules and regulations make it impossible to do the job?

Should I make little notations in the notice, pointing out the concerns in case this ever saw the light of day in court? Or should I just shut up, keep my head down, and not make waves?

Just do your best with the crappy material you’re given and WITHOUT wasting too much of your unpaid time trying to make it better, because the bosses don’t care and won’t be grateful. If they like you, they’ll keep you, if they don’t, they won’t, and it will have very little to do with your teaching ability.

Aside from amending the contract after it’s been signed, the rest sounds like business as usual.

Remember, at the end of the day it’s a business, not a school. It is a money making, customer service operation.

It isn’t all that uncommon for a business to fire an employee if they receive customer complaints about him/her. I’ve heard of many schools who fine the teacher, and the director, for each complaint. The law says they aren’t supposed to withhold any money from the salary, so they’re supposed to get the employee to pay it, but I don’t think there is any law against the fine per se.

If the company wants the teacher to use only their material, even if it’s crap, then so be it. It’s their business. As for poor performance (methods lacking), who else would be the judge if not the employer?

As for following the laws of ROC being in the contract, the ROC even has a standard contract companies can use with this stipulation.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked at places with similar issues and didn’t like it, so moved on when I completed my obligation. But I aside from amending a contract after it’s been signed, it doesn’t sound like any laws are being broken.

Yes but nobody can be forced to sign an amended contract. Both parties have to agree to that.

Yes, but they’re not actually changing the contract as per say. They’re changing the company rules, and the contract states that teachers have to follow the rules. So they get around that.

Thanks for your help guys. I think it’s a true catch 22 situation so it looks like I should sign, not make waves, and work towards doing something else.

This is business as usual and it’s sad. A lot of schools in Taiwan could be better, but don’t try and as Craig said it’s a business much more than a school. It sounds like they are not breaking laws, but don’t really care about the quality of the classes, and just hope students will stay. Especially if the material is crap.

1 thing that is important is that students in Taiwan need to get off their butts and tell the right people they would prefer better material. Instead of go Boo Hoo when teachers they like leave. I have run across this too. They pay the fees to keep any school going so they have power. And if someone did not like you they could complain and get you axed!!! Weird… no STUPID.

I’d work towards something else after my time is done. This is how a lot of good teachers leave schools. Management there sounds in the DARK.