Problems with my bosses

Original Title: Need Advice on this matter

Hello everyone - First time poster. Long time reader.

So, I started a new job recently. Settled bushiban. Husband and wife team, foreign male, local female. They expect you to be there an hour ahead of time for prep which is perfectly understandable. They have homework and tests to mark which is again perfectly understandable.

The thing is this. The classes are huge. There are no less than twenty kids in every class and in some classes up to thirty. That is a lot of homework to mark. The homework isn’t easy to mark for the higher level classes. It takes time. So in order to get that done as well as my prep I have to come in earlier. This is unpaid of course. If you happen to have test day then multiply your work. And don’t make a mistake of you will get shouted at and get the speech about being a good teacher.

All of this is understandable. My problem is the husband. He doesn’t have foreign friends and he’s been here for I think fifteen years or so. He has no one to talk to so he talks to me, the only other foreigner there. The thing is it isn’t just a hello, how are you, did you watch the game last night. It is a lot of conversation and I’m at a loss. I would be sitting at my desk with the piles of books open on my desk and he would simply nudge them out of the way so he can sit down and chat…for most of the hours that I came in early to work. I’m falling behind and I just can’t keep up. Taking the work home with me doesn’t sit well with the female of the pair as a previous teacher evidently lost some books once and they feel that I can just come in and do it there.

What should I do? I’m studying Chinese at the moment and I need my time to study too. That is what my mornings are used for. I go to class and then barely have time for lunch before I have to get to work before they do so I can get work done. The Chinese teachers there always ask me for help with their English, which is understandable too, but I need time to get my work done. I don’t have time to plan their lessons for them . I don’t have time to listen to him drone on and on about the quality of foreigners in Taiwan.

I’m out of options. I can’t take the work home with me. I can’t take it out of school grounds. If I go to an empty classroom they come and ask why I’m not in the teachers’ area. It is any open plan school so the desks are viewable by the public and the kids. You have no privacy and it gets really noisy with the kids so I have to be able to concentrate or else I would make mistakes. I misgraded a test the other day and was raked over the coals for missing an S. One point and she took ten minutes to berate me for it. Twenty seven perfectly graded tests and one mistake. If I tell him that I want to do the work in peace and quiet he will get snippy.

The previous teacher who left was there for a day when I first started. She told me all about the boss’ temper and their expectations. Everybody is really scared of her and she can be really mean and nasty. He is a chatterbox who will use anything you say against you. There was a situation where a previous teacher remarked that she was on Prozac and the next day the female boss called her in to say that she should please stop taking drugs. I thought I would be able to handle it but really I can’t. I’m running out of time to do my work and need to know how to tell this guy to please let me do the work since I am tired of being there two or sometimes three hours ahead of time because of homework and tests to mark. On Wednesdays there are three classes back to back so three classes of thirty plus books to mark.

This may sound as if I am whining but I’m just asking for advice. I don’t want to step on toes of course. I like my kids even though there are too many in a class to properly manage. I don’t have a Chinese teacher in class with me. As things are now I am at school from three to nine every night though I only get paid for three of those hours. I work Monday to Saturday and I get 520NT an hour. I have been here for awhile so I have my own place but they are suggesting every day twice or three times a day that I can live closer to school if I move into an apartment they have.

What should I do?


Just tell him, “I’m sorry but I’m very busy making sure your expectations are met. I have a lot of prep to do and homework to grade. Thanks for your understanding”.

Hopes he gets the message.

Welcome aboard. Sorry to hear about your work problems.
What low pay!! NT$520 an hour for such large classes is pretty bad.

You really should start looking for a new job, but take your time and find something decent.

Regarding the talkative husband, just carry on with your corrections/preparation and tune him out as much as possible. Just treat his droning rants as background noise, a polite “talk to the hand” as it were.

As things are now I am at school from three to nine every night though I only get paid for three of those hours. I work Monday to Saturday and I get 520NT an hour.

I just re-read your post. This job sucks. Just leave it.

I can see where they want you to prep and grade HW before class, but being there for six hours and getting paid for three is asking way too much.

Is this school out in the country by any chance?

[quote=“Durins Bane”]

Is this school out in the country by any chance?[/quote]

I am going to take a wild guess and say it’s in Mucha. Does this ever sound like that White Horse guy. I met him a few years ago and was immediately turned off.

Durin’s Bane’s advice is good. Just leave. $520 is really low.

But, if you do decide to stay, maybe you can borrow a page from my book. I would give the students an in-class assignment and then do my “office work” in the class. That way I was getting paid to do it.

[quote=“Durins Bane”][quote=“silencepleasei’mworking”]
As things are now I am at school from three to nine every night though I only get paid for three of those hours. I work Monday to Saturday and I get 520NT an hour.

I just re-read your post. This job sucks. Just leave it.

I can see where they want you to prep and grade HW before class, but being there for six hours and getting paid for three is asking way too much.

Is this school out in the country by any chance?[/quote]

Oh dear, and one of the owners is a ‘big nose’ - oh man.

This is a clear warning to me personally to be careful just how much you become like a local boss, or should I say the typical concept of a local boss.

I am in the middle of a western concept - eastern concept crisis at the moment, and it’s getting a little messy.

Sorry, but your really are getting a raw deal. You have every right to whine. Start looking for a new job. For a lot of the schools, buxibans, a new semester starts with the new year. By CNY there will be a few jobs opening up.

Stop giving tests and homework until you have caught up a little bit. Have students trade books and grade each others. Then you take them, finish the grading, and make the final corrects.

Good luck.

Get the hell out of there–life in a NIC (newly industrialized country) should be exciting.

Try this. When you get to work each day, pick up the stack of work and take it to a nearby coffee shop. Tell the owners you’re hungry and you want to eat something while you work (or something like that). The owners shouldn’t have a reasonable objection, since there’s no reason you need to physically be at the school while getting your work done.

You’ve got an appalling deal. As others have said, leave as soon as you can get something else lined up. If you’re out in the stix, take some mornings looking for jobs at the nearest big city. You should be able to get more than what you’re earning now for a job that needs 0hrs prep and 0hrs grading. Shit, just try HESS and you’ll probably get a better deal.

In the meantime, Gubo’s advice sounds good.


Nothing to add but to join in the resounding chorus:


Hello again

Just got home. First off, thank you for all your replies.

Secondly. Yes, the school is in the country but it is about half an hour’s drive from the city where I live. So if you factor in travel time then that is already an extra hour there. The reason I took it is because the city where I am seems to be a little saturated at the moment.

The problem with the tests and homework is that they are part of the curriculum that I have to teach. Everything is set out so you just basically parrot it if you understand my meaning. There is nothing new that I can or am allowed to add. Teachers don’t even have a table in class to put your things on. They frown on the teacher even grading sentences in the workbook in class as you are not teaching then.

As for leaving the school grounds with the books, they simply won’t allow it.

When the previous teachers tried to leave amicably life was made very hard for them as per the word of the previous teacher that I am replacing. so I don’t know what the best way would be to leave then. If I give notice which is the decent thing to do then they will probably not pay me as they did the other teachers who left the school.

Why don’t we ever listen to the teachers we are replacing?

Run, run, run away…

this job absolutely sucks, and if you factor in the travel time and grief, and add the pay on top, how in the world can this be a tolerable situation??

the worst part of this tale is the behavior of the owners…shockingly bad…firstly screwing the kids out of any real chance to learn by having huge classes…paying you 520$ and taking in 30 x 250nt/class which is not unreasonable for 7500nt…and then bitching you out for missing an “s”

the question is…why are you still there?

move to a new city…hell, come work for me, i teach 27 hrs a week…not much time to chat, ill play grateful dead music in the teachers office, but you can turn it off anytime, no hard feelings…geez

how about this…just dont show up. leave a note with this thread on it for them to peruse at their leisure…what tools

as for the missing pay…so what…get a better job and forget about it…just money

Hello again

Wei? Thanks for the kind offer. Whereabouts are you?

Yeah, I feel sorry for the kids too as there are some kids with ADD in class and on your own it is hard to handle so many of them.

Glad I wasn’t being paranoid about it.

Thanks for all the support and replies.

Get another job.

Next time the husband sits down for a chat, point to your pile of making and ask him to give you a hand.

With 2 of you doing it, you should be able to finish the job, and have a talk at the same time.

If he refuses to help, then refuse to allow him to distract you.

P.S. leave

Oh god. 520 per hour. I wouldn’t take it if were an easy job. It’s not easy; it sucks. And you’ve got a lonely foreigner boss who wants to chat as well. What everyone else is telling you is right. Time to leave. Wait until you have a little money in the bank and write off any penalty they try to give you when you leave. In future, let 600 per hour serve as a starting point for salary negotiations. Don’t work for much below this.

When I started work at my school, there was a teacher there who demanded he be paid for grading. He wouldn’t even let the Chinese teacher do it because he said she did such a lousy job of it.

Of course he was let go, but before that he was being paid for grading. If you’re doing work and not being paid, start making demands. You have rights, too.

How many months do you have to do at a better salary to recoup the loss of whatever he keeps? Is it worth losing a few tens of thousands to regain a ton of free time?

Working time is paid time, and 520/hr is ridiculous. While you’re doing this rubbish you’re not making the money that you could be making elsewhere. It is costing you money to keep this job.

If you like the work ask for 700/hr - big classes, he can afford it - and no more than 30mins of unpaid extras per hour in the classroom. Anything else is unreasonable extra work, because you’re not a fucking volunteer. This is a business transaction whereby you expect to trade your hours for your handful of dimes.

If you don’t like the work then there are two questions: does he provide your ARC, which gives him a certain leverage, and are you going to find another job before you quit?

I would suggest writing a formal letter, asking a friend to read it over, but not sending it until you’ve had a good night’s sleep and reread it to make sure the tone is right. Make sure they receive it a couple of days before your next payday.

Explain that the demands of the job are too great, the travel interferes with your study needs, and blah blah blah. Apologise, and give them a month’s notice - you’ll quit at CNY, which gives them time to find a replacement.

If they’re understanding and try to work things out then you’ve got a month to try and improve the situation and renegotiate your contract. If they react badly then just walk away as soon as you get your next pay, and fuck 'em.

Write off whatever you lose, accept that you may have to take a trip, and don’t worry about any threat they may make. Many of us here have been through all this shit, and we’ve all survived and prospered. Advice and help is just a DSL connection away.

And if you think you could teach junior high in Taipei - up to 20 kids in a class, and a supportive environment - then PM me. The job won’t start 'til mid-Feb.

Life’s too short for this sort of shit. Find a better life.