Kaohsiung Dominican School (高雄道明外僑學校) Evil Across The Street

So, I’ve been working at a private international school and I happen to live right across the street in a lovely apartment. But I’ve been off work for a week and a half because I couldn’t walk because of the gout in my foot. For the entire time I was off work, they knew where I was, they had dr.’s releases, and they knew what the problem was. Friday, they sent my son home with a rather passive-aggressive letter informing me that I have a duty to my students to be at school and they would begin deducting days missed from my salary.

Well, I had two different dr. appointments yesterday, so I thought that if they were going to deduct, I’d let them deduct and just take the day. I used the time between appointments to speak with the labor board about what I could expect if I decided to end my employment there. The entire time I was out, no one offered any assistance, called to see how I was doing, or said boo, just sent that letter with my son that basically accused me of just not doing my job. That didn’t sit very well, so I wanted to find out what legal terms I might be dealing with.

Well, the person I spoke to at the labor board excused himself and called the school. When he came back and told me he had called the school I was a bit shocked, as I hadn’t spoken to the school about any of this yet. He told me, “You better go talk to your school.”

So, I went to work this morning and was fired. I was told I have to pay for my son’s December tuition, where or not I send him to school there in December, and that they weren’t paying any my sick days, so there’s no pay for November. Out of their kindness, they aren’t going to charge me three months salary for quitting!

They said the labor guy was rude, asked them to hold my working permit until December, asked them to let me work until December, and spoke harshly to them. I don’t know, because I wasn’t in the room for any of that.

The school told me today that my taking my sick leave and resigning early was an “abuse of my contract.”

On top of all this, they had gathered all my son’s belongs and had them ready to go—as if throwing him out of school as well—and then had the audacity to question me about my plans for his education!

There have been a lot of communication kind of issues with this school, but it hasn’t been with only me, so I’ve been trying to stick with it—just go to work and go home and do the time, you know. I don’t even know what to think right now.

But they did say that they will cancel my work permit and health insurance for both me and my son today.

Anyone need a teacher?


Well, bright side, here’s your chance to get some distance between yourself and the crazy relatives.

Jesus Fucking Christ. That’s fucked up. You didn’t quit. They fired you. That’s going to make all the difference.

I think you need to sort out what exactly the guy at the Labor Board said, if that’s even possible. Still, it seems like the school went a bit over the top. I’m not sure how you could really get to the bottom of it all or prove much of it though.

Go to the CLA immediately (or is that what you meant by the Labor Board?). Get whatever you don’t have (from the school) in writing, i.e. a written statement of why you have been fired, and also a statement from the person at the Labor Board (the person who royally fucked you with his complete incompetence). If necessary, threaten to take the school to court. Threaten to talk to the media about the school. That’s a big one and will really fuck with them. Also, are they an accredited international school? If so, I’m sure that organisation and/or their home country’s government (whomever they fall under the umbrella of, if anyone) wouldn’t take too kindly to what they’ve done if you can back it up with documents. Threaten to report the school to the accreditation board. Better yet, just do it. Likewise, spread their bad name all over every message board you can. Make them realise that there will be repercussions for what they’ve done. Hell, stand outside the school every day handing out flyers describing the situation to parents or contact the parents directly. Basically, fuck with the school as much as you can. At this point, it seems like you couldn’t go back to work there (or it would be a pretty hostile environment even if you could), and you probably wouldn’t get a good reference. You have nothing to lose, I think. Make them lose a lot.

Its the labour board you need to go to, not the CLA. From what you’ve said, you have what sounds like a good case.

I’m really very sorry to hear this, housecat.

You absolutely should fight this tooth and nail. Contact the labor board again and insist they take action on this. Obviously you can’t go back and work at this school now (and why would you want to anyway), but they should be able to sort you out with a decent severance, and hopefully some help on a visa extension (although I’m not quite sure how that works). How long had you been working there anyway?

Judging by your return call from labor board, the school lied to them about why you were leaving, by the way. Make sure they are aware of the truth.

I’m really sorry housekitten had to get caught up in this.

Oh and contact the labor board RIGHT NOW, not in a few hours/tomorrow/in a few days.

Yeah, that made me really upset. I sad good-bye to my son and he looked sad and upset, but wouldn’t tell me why. I think it was that they had cleared his stuff out and didn’t know he was comming to school. I didn’t find out that they had done that until right before I spoke with him and it was just mentioned as a kind of by-the-way comment. Then, when I stated that if I leave my son in the school for the rest of the semester, I expect that he will be treated fairly and that any hard feelings about me will not be passed along to him, I was told that my comment, and my concerns, were disrespectful.

Oh, and I did call back right away, but they asked me to call back after 2.

Nothing really to add other than my sympathies. I hope you can move on quickly from this.

Very sorry to hear this, housecat! :frowning: It sounds like a good case to fight – best of luck.

So, I called back to the labor board and talked with the same guy. I asked him if they told him they were going to fire me this morning. He said yes. I said, “But you didn’t tell me?” He asked me what they said. I told him and he said. “Okay, let me call them back right now.” I told him that they had told me that they were going to call his boss and report him for his rude and illegal phone call to them (true), and he just laughed! He said, “Okay, let me call them.”


Wow. This guy is . . . interesting. He asked the school to make a list of what I owe them and my salary and their deductions. I said, “but they told me today that they had planned for me to continue working with them until he called them yesterday. They fired me because you called them. How can they do that?” He said, “You can come back here tomorrow and make a complaint and we will make a time to talk with them in a meeting.”


First, let me say that the school is definitely in the wrong. That being said, I think you were cavalier in not responding to Friday’s note immediately and in a conciliatory manner. It was an obvious warning shot across the bow, and you were naive to not have read the threat between the lines. Assuming that the people in charge are Taiwanese, the best you can hope for is compensation of some sort. If they’re western, I’d go in and try to make amends. You’re new in that position, and you’ve left them hanging for a week and half. They needed to be reassured that you were a good investment despite your medical problems, and at some point they lost confidence in you. The job market right now is as bad as it’s ever been, and you need them far more than they need you. With everything that’s at stake here, fighting for your job should be your top concern.

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I don’t know all the details of this story. Certainly haven’t spoken with all three parties. But with what little I have to go on, I have to disagree with MM.

The school burned the OP. And I didn’t see anything about a “shot across the bow” but maybe I’m being dense. The end result, warning shot or no, is the school was not only unprofessional but IMHO unethical and quite possibly illegal here in TW. A child is also involved in this dispute which HC did NOT involve but the school.

Let me put it another way. Believing that all three parties are different measures of “in the wrong”, I still wouldn’t want to send my child to this school after learning about the OP’s conflict. And I don’t even work there! I’m not invested in anyway and after hearing this I don’t want to be.

I did read between the lines, that’s why I went to the labor board to ask my quetions. I told them Monday morning that I had two appointments that morning and would be in to work today. I wasn’t cavalier at all–I would have been out more than half the day anyway, even if I’d tried being at school between appointments.

One of the last things said to me before I was out sick was the parents were complaining about my second grade phonics class because I wasn’t teaching for the entire class. Of course I was teaching for the entire class, I was just doing fewer pages in the phonics workbook than the previous teacher had done. She’d do three pages in the workbook, then play games on the chalkboard and hand out chocolates. (I know that because she told me, and because that’s what the students expected.)

I did a page or two and then had an extention activity, using what we studied that class, or building on what we’d already learned. All the parent did was count workbook pages. In fact, when the called me in to talk to me about this, they didn’t even know what the complaint was, just that it was about me. I insisted on being told what it was and they had to go and ask the secretary. But they were simply livid that there had been a complaint. That was it. And that was the way it usually was, not only with me, but with many others as well.

You are correct about the job market. It’s not going to be easy to replace a steady paycheck.


One of the last things said to me before I was out sick was the parents were complaining about my second grade phonics class because I wasn’t teaching for the entire class. Of course I was teaching for the entire class, I was just doing fewer pages in the phonics workbook than the previous teacher had done. She’d do three pages in the workbook, then play games on the chalkboard and hand out chocolates. (I know that because she told me, and because that’s what the students expected.)[/quote]

What is it with Taiwanese and Phonics workbooks anyway? I had a similar discussion recently. My students were reading and spelling already. “But they haven’t gotten through the phonics book yet.” (I thought that was a compliment).

“I know.”
“Then they can’t read and spell yet.”
“They can.”
“It’s too early.”
“Not really. They can do it, so how can it be too early?”
“Don’t let them do that any more. It’s not time.”

So now I just push through 8 pages or so in an hour and a half time period. Makes my life easier…

housecat: This is really an international school? Wow. This really surprises me because it sounds like it’s an incredibly unprofessional outfit all round and that you were really more than a cut above. Way more than a cut above. It does surprise me because I can’t imagine the kinds of parents who would send their kids to international schools (based upon those I know who have sent their kids to such schools) being willing to tolerate such a school.

This doesn’t really sound like much more than SOP for a buxiban or kindergarten here in Taiwan. Teacher mauled by a tiger and bleeding to death? Obviously not committed to the school/students/parents. Teacher trying to actually teach instead of quickly flicking through the book and giving everyone 100% so the more important and serious matters regarding candy and/or squeeky hammers can be addressed? Haul the teacher in and give him/her a whipping.

It sounds like they were just on a crusade and that the writing was probably on the wall anyway. That they treated your child the way they did, and that they responded to you the way that they did when you brought it up speaks volumes. What a horrible, shitty situation you’re in. Burn the fuckers. Burn them big time.

Yes, it sucks that you’re going to be out of a job (win, lose or draw), but fuck this, you shouldn’t have to act like you’re grateful for the opportunity of being treated like a piece of shit by them.

That arse clown at the Labor Board, where do we even start on him? Can we say the words client confidence? (Or lack thereof.)

Housecat, what a shite situation. It’s a heavy load to bear on top of your health problems of the last few weeks. I hope there is some legal remedy with which to alleviate some of the financial burden. Have you re-read your initial contract to see if there is anything in writing about such a heinous circumstance they have put you in?
The school’s actions seem to be indicative of the type of gross mismanagement which seems to be so prevalent within the English teaching environment in Taiwan. It sounds like they had other issues besides the phonics class, and did not inform you at the time, bringing these issues to bear on another, entirely new one. Perhaps some students or parents. or even other teachers had complained (no matter on how trivial a matter) about the new teacher, which often happen in any such period of adjustment, and the school is only now bringing these issues out of the murky depths to weigh in one what they consider to be the scorecard of your performance. It’s a sad state of affairs when schools are overwhelmingly concerned with making any sources of schism or conflict, whether real, potential, or imaginary rather than the actual instruction of the students.

It’s also a shame that your son got caught up in this. If they had any decency at all, the school administrators would have allowed your son to stay at the school, and certainly would not have sent him home with a note about a matter that has nothing to do with him. The latter incident shows exceedingly poor management on their part. Alas, I have seen before examples of a child whose parent is a teacher at a school they attend becoming drawn into a fray such as this. All too often the school ends up treating the child in such a poor manner so as to somehow punish by extension the child’s teaching parent.

I hope you get some redress of this issue. Best of luck with a crappy set of circumstances.

Everyone else has given you good ideas about how to fuck with the school people. Can you go to a different labor board? Go to the asshole’s boss? Because he’s out of line too! Is he connected to/related to someone at the school?

Now I will ask the obvious question: What is the name of this school, and where is it located?

Now I will ask the obvious question: What is the name of this school, and where is it located?[/quote]

I can’t answer that publicly. At least not at this time.


I am in Kaohsiung. Let’s go have a little chat with the guy at the labor office, and HIS boss, and HIS boss, and so on. I have nothing I need to do until Monday morning, and they have now pissed me off.

We can also talk sense to the school if you like.

Holy crap Housecat! You got screwed. You have a right to be angry :grrr: , and if I were you, I would exercise that right. Is this a real international school? One where you have to be a licensed teacher in your home country to work there? If that is the case, you may be able to handle the problem within the school as they would have a protocol they have to follow before just letting you go like that. If they knew of your condition when they took you on, they do not have a case against you. You can go to the board of directors.
Or is this one of those schools that is ‘international’ in name only and they use the term just to sound prestigeous. In that case I would go to the CLA with Ironlady and all the proof you can come up with that you have been receiving treatment from a doctor. Bring in your contract. Bring in everything. Bring in your son to tell his side of the story, if that is neccessary. It is just plain wrong that they say they are going to charge you money for your son’s tuition when he won’t even be there in December.
Taiwanese employers need to realize that employees getting sick is a fact of life and they need to learn to deal with it. If they had thought things through, they would realize there are ways to work around your problem so everybody wins.

This may be :offtopic: but after reading this story and seeing how the job market is right now, is professionalism by Taiwanese managers just dead?