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Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2011, 12:21:48 pm »
I would DEFINITELY say (a very polite) NO to the phone calling.   

OP, are you sure you haven't gotten on the bad side of the principal/vp or your coteachers? 

My school pulled a couple of fast ones on me last year the end they could tell (without me saying anything, just by the look on my face or my questioning) that they had overstepped the limits with the foreigner.  Since then they have backed off. 

I would stand at the gate in the morning though.  If for no other reason than to show my fellow teachers that I'm one of them and to smile and greet them in the morning.  This could go a long way in coworker relations....especi ally if you aren't going on the field trip. 

Good luck with whatever you decide!

  • kp
  • Veteran

    • 77

    • December 06, 2010, 07:28:29 am
    • gyeonggi-do, south korea
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2011, 12:38:10 pm »
I wouldn't go calling various offices unless things get serious.  There are few things that will damage your relationship with your school as much as bringing an outside source in to deal with internal problems, but if you feel like you need to do that, do.  Just try other things first.

I think you've been a little too willing already, and maybe that's why your principal doesn't have a problem making ridiculous requests of you now.  Sure, your earlier agreements might earn you brownie points, but they also kind of set you up to give more, ha.

Definitely, definitely don't do the phone call thing, or feel like you have to visit houses.  Why not?  You're busy.  Just say that you have other commitments.  Could be lesson planning, could be your own things.  Just make it clear that you don't have time, and don't budge on the issue.  It doesn't have to be a harsh no, just "I'm so busy, I can't" ad nauseum, ha.

Lunch.  Hmm.  I do believe that it's generally in the contract to count lunchtime as "working hours," but I always supposed that was to keep teachers from vanishing from school grounds every time the lunch hour rolled around.  I think you should stress that you need to be available to wrap up your other classes and prepare for the next during lunch -- and that your students shouldn't be encouraged to eat quickly simply to meet with you.  That, and that it's important for you to be able to be with other teachers since you're all co-workers.  Those are all "acceptable" reasons to prevent someone from making a class out of your lunch hours, if you should need to explain why you don't want to do it.

You can always stop things you are already doing, you know.  Again, the "I'm so busy" excuse will be your best bet.

As for field trips -- yeah.  If your school wants you to go and is paying the cost of your attendance, I would go if I were you.  It might be tough (or surprisingly great) spending that time away with students and teachers.  Pitching in for special events tends to be noticed and appreciated.

From what you've said, I wouldn't think your principal is trying to make life hard for you, particularly.  He just sounds like the type of person who gets what he wants by pressuring people continuously -- this is a common method of operation around here.  Def. make your side clear in a polite way, otherwise he'll never back off.  (You don't have to say no to him, ha, just his subordinates.  ie, your co-teachers.  They may not like being placed in the hard spot, but it's their job, and it's really not that big of a deal for them to simply convey your stance.)

  • oskinny1
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • November 01, 2010, 10:31:37 am
    • Busan
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2011, 01:21:46 pm »
I remember reading that it is against the law to make you teach during lunch. It is YOUR time. I was even able to show a link to my co-teacher who tried to have me at the English cafe everyday. Sorry I don't have the link now though.

Check out Article 53
  (1)An employer shall allow a recess period of more than 30 minutes for every 4 working hours and more than 1 hour for every 8 working hours during the working hours.
    (2)A recess period may be freely used by workers.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 01:24:21 pm by oskinny1 »

Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2011, 02:20:52 pm »
Just say no. The more you take that the more they will give you. They have already decided to be unreasonable so you have stand up and say no to everything until they decide to start to at least try to compromise. They don't seem to have even acknowledged how flexible you are trying to be, you deserve a medal for being over tolerant to the masochistic. 
 Email your coordinator, explain they are trying to take advantage of you.
 You are not dumb, you are not a piece of dirt and you are not so desperate to don't let them treat you like it. If you don't stand up to them you probably deserve everything that comes your way. As Bob Marley say's 'stand up, stand up for your rights'.

  • senel
  • Adventurer

    • 28

    • April 11, 2011, 09:21:32 am
    • Seoul
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2011, 07:28:30 pm »
Thank you to everyone who replied! I appreciate it :) As a result of some of the replies and insightful remarks, I asked my CT some questions and here are the results:
1) According to my co-teacher the principal likes me very much. She says he thinks I'm "pretty and cute" and she also told me that the students and other teachers like me, so I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything to make anyone want to get back at me. I have lunch with the other teachers in a room in the basement (every day), so they know what's going on and the principal does to them what he does to me and they resent him for it too (especially younger teachers).
2) My CT (handler) has only been at my school for 3 months (1 month longer than me). She's young and everything that no-one else has time for becomes her responsibility. (She has to sit in on all the extra things I have to do. She literally just sits there so whenever I get extra work, she gets extra work so yes, she has my back. If she can get me out of anything, she will.)
3) A male teacher told my CT that the principal usually chooses the youngest female teachers (I'm 25) and just adds to their plates until he can't think of any more chores or the supervisor (English head of subject) intervenes. He thinks the principal is crazy too.
4) The principal has a daughter who works for less money than the teachers at his school and she works until midnight (not sure what her job is, but she's definitely not a teacher), so he thinks that everyone who doesn't work killer hours are just being lazy (my CT says that's what he always tells them).
5) The principal has very little actual teaching experience. He used to be a principal in China where everyone obeyed and nobody ever questioned him and he still hasn't made the mind shift that he's not in China anymore and that people here have families and lives outside of work. Oh and in China the NETS at his school (all men, as far as I could gather) played soccer with students during break times. I'm a very girly, 155cm female (most of the grade 3 boys are taller than me) and he wants me to play soccer with them in the dust outside! I laughed when he suggested it and told him "I will think about it". I'm so happy that I can say that I've thought about it and although I'm very sad to say this, I can't play soccer with the boys, because I won't have time  :D
6) The "supervisor", hasn't been at school for almost a week now because her mother died. I don't know when she'll be back and she's usually the one who reasons with him which is why I was desperate for advice. He wants an answer right away, but I'm pretending to forget and avoiding him until she comes back.
7) My CT says that the principal wants to be "legendary principal", he wants people to remember how wonderful he was and "he uses other people to make it happen". She also said: "I don't understand this. He must be crazy. I guess he is a very ambitious man." And yes, he meant that I should call 900 students and parents at home. I checked and rechecked. And if they don't answer I should call again. His argument is that this will make them feel special. Thanks to you folks I now have the courage to say:

"I'm very, very sorry, but I'm afraid I don't have time to make private phone calls as I am already doing extra things that are not in my contract and those things take up all my time. I am truly sorry, but this won't be possible." This will be my response to all future demands/requests from the principal's office.

It's not like he can fire me or hold the phone to my mouth and make me speak. I will put off calling higher up until I have no other choice and he threatens me with dismissal or whatever he thinks I'm afraid of. Letting this go offically out of the school gates seems like an aggresive move and I'm not there yet but I'm literally praying for my supervisor to come back. If all else fails I'll resort to the next level of authority but that's a last resort. I hope he backs off before it comes to that.

Also, I'm definitely going on the school trip (and a teacher's trip on the last school day of the semester). My CT confirmed that I will get paid extra and perhaps the principal won't hate me if he sees I'm trying to create opportunities for the students to speak English outside of the classroom.  Most of you seem to think that this is a nice gesture and it might be fun so I agree, I should do it. I won't quit the things I'm already doing, I'll just refuse to do anything extra. My reason will always be that "I don't have time" and I will always be very sorry about it  ;).

I did the math again: 19 official classes (45 min each), 2 last period conversation classes (supposed to be 40 min each, I'm counting this as two classes because I always stay at least 45 min Monday and Tuesday for 4 girls who come every time and I prepare for every class), 2 lunch conversation classes (25 min each, which means 50min) and 20min Thursday greetings. If I take every 45 min class as an hour then I'm actually working 30 min overtime every week: 19 + 2 + 1 (50min) + 1 (20min) = 22 1/2. I didn't consider that 45min classes counts as an hour. Perhaps my supervisor told me to work only 40 minutes for the last period conversation classes because she knows that it's going over my 22 hours. And yes, I work in the "conversation classes" because students who forget to speech in class have to come after school and do it then (2 students have to make a short speech in all my classes every week)  and I play games with new vocabulary so they actually learn something and I do a short review every week to make sure they still remember things from previous classes so it's not like we're watching youtube videos for 45 minutes.

In conclusion, I won't make anything of the 30 min because I actually like the students who come to my conversation classes, I'll go on the field trip and do the things I've agreed to do but I won't say yes to anything else unless I actually want to do it or it's a reasonable request that is clearly part of my job description. Thank you for all your support!

  • Misojner
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • September 09, 2010, 07:10:02 pm
    • South Korea
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2011, 09:48:39 pm »
A wise response.  Good luck in working this matter out!

  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2011, 10:38:51 am »
"A Legendary Principal"  :laugh:

Seriously, sounds like you are handling it well all things considered, and your response to the phone calls sounds smart to me.  I don't know if I'd have the patience to deal with someone so ridiculous.  Hope your supervisor gets back soon too, and enjoy your trip! 

  • kp
  • Veteran

    • 77

    • December 06, 2010, 07:28:29 am
    • gyeonggi-do, south korea
Re: When can I say no to my principal?
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2011, 10:59:46 am »
It's good to hear your plan of action ~!  Hope it all goes well. ^^