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HELP NET CONDITIONS ADVICE URGENT

 
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combchick



Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 1:56 am    Post subject: HELP NET CONDITIONS ADVICE URGENT Reply with quote

Is there anyone out there can give me some advice. I applied for NET job and now a secondary school has contacted me. I get the feeling they are being pretty vague about the conditions. They said that the 90 days listed are only for students and I would be expected to work through many of the holidays. They said it would be ok to have 4 weeks in the summer to go home to Oz, but that I would need to get approval of principal to leave HK at other times. This all seems unreasonable. I get the feeling they want me to work most of the holidays.
Also they said that I would have to work "some" Saturdays - probably one or two a month. I thought only primary teachers had to work Saturdays. They are not being totally specific at the moment.
I haven't agreed to anything nor signed anything.
I'm also wondering how much haggling can I do? I believe there is a queue for people getting into secondary schools. If this school thinks I'm being difficult then maybe they'll just get someone else. Also, do I have any guarantee that another school will contact me if this offer falls through?
Help - can anyone out there please give me some advice. What do most secondary NETS get in the way of holidays? Also what do most secondary NETS do in the way of face to face teaching hours? This is URGENT. They are waiting for me to reply and I've got nothing to gauge the conditions with.
combchick - oz.
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Scott in HK



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are three other holiday periods during the year...each about 12 days or so...christmas, lunar new year, and easter. Before you sign anything get assurance that you won't be working every break. It is both unreasonable and will lead to early burnout...but you can be nice...the lunar new year comes quickly after christmas so this is the one that i would offer up to do extra work. Make sure they know if you don't get christmas and easter..then you will not sign now...and if they change their minds during the year...you will just leave. Better to be firm now then to face a problem come holiday time.

In the second year of your contract you get the full summer holiday, so getting only four weeks during the first year, although annoying, isn't the worst thing in the world.

Beware of this 'some sats" thing...the NETs I know have mostly agreed that some turns into many...again...just be firm...tell them that you will work so many sats....be prepared to not sign if they don't comply...and again stress how you expect them to live up to the deal...

I am not sure if you can change the NET contract to put these things in...probably not...the principals rule the schools in HK and once you are in that school...their word is pretty much law.

In the long run..you are better off turning down the offer if you feel they are being unreasonable...now...as they won't get any more reasonable as the year progresses...

Make it clear to them that if you are turning down their offer because of the holidays...and most potential NETs will also turn down their offer because of the holidays...
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combchick



Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Scott for your words of wisdom.
Is it normal to get only 4 weeks holiday for summer in the first year? What's the "normal" summer holiday?
So do you think I should ask them to nominate a specific number of Saturdays?
Are most NETS having the same problems with the conditions? Is it because the schools are trying to get more out of the NETS? Do local teachers have to work under the same conditions?
I was wondering how long you've been a NET. You've obviously got a lot of experience.

Re the ongoing haggling. Do you think if I try to be "nice" but "firm" they may just try to opt for someone else? What's the procedure? Do these schools have a list of "possible" NETS and just pick and choose and try to wrangle as much out of each one? Is this how they eventually "pick" their NET?
If I don't like the conditions, will other schools contact me? I've only been contacted by this one school. Does that mean that my details have only been passed onto this one school?

If there's anyone else out there with any further advice or insight to give me, it would be appreciated.
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Scott in HK



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There really is no normal for NETs...each school is a little different....i know of NETs who get their whole summer holiday...7 weeks...and others that get less than three....it is not that they work the entire other four weeks but they may have some duties then a week off and some more duties...

when NETs do have problems holidays is usually one of their problems...but again each net is different...i have never worked any of the minor holidays and only give up 10 days or so at summer....most of the NETs i know are the same...but we are all out in the new territories...maybe that makes a difference and we work for lower banded schools...which also makes a difference...

I can't speak for most NETs, I have been here five years and have never attended a NESTA meeting. I only know about the situations of the NETs I know.

Local teachers do work under the same conditions. All HK teachers are expected to be available during holidays for extra work. It is part of their job description as it is part of ours. But at my school...everyone gets some holidays. It is the ambitious ones that seem to have more work during holidays....

Yes...they may opt for someone else. I have heard of schools passing up a number of NETs before deciding on which one they want...and equally teachers pass on schools...if you do...your name goes back into the hat as it were and you have to wait for the next school to call...you have no guarantee that anothe school will call you...

But don't expect anything to get better once you sign...you have to comfortable with what the school expects of you...a friend did all this...haggled..was firm...and still every holiday she has to argue all over again...
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combchick



Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Scott. It seems crazy that there is a total lack of uniformity. You'd think that the Ed Dept would want to ensure that all NETS were employed under the same conditions.

I've taken on board what you say.
What do you class as "minor" holidays? Do you give up days on the other holidays, besides the 10 days you mentioned in summer?

the school I'm talking with is in Sha Tin - that's the New Territories right? I'm not worried about being in the boondocks - I'm passed the clubbing kind of thing. My grown kids are clubbing age.

I did ask them about the band - but again they were vague. The said it was "mixed" but that it was a fairly new school - 3 years old.

I don't know why they're being so vague. Maybe this is a normal tactic. What do you think?
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Scott in HK



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sha tin is in the New Territories but close enough to Kowloon not to really be considered the boonies...I live quite close to the chinese border....

Sorry minor holidays would be...christmas, lunar, easter...I have never in five years been asked to work any of these holidays...i have although volunteered as i run the drama program and had to rehearse through christmas and the lunar new year...this was for only 2 out of five years as the actors those years weren't quite up to snuff....

Schools are always vague about the banding...

If the school is new then, I think, you will probably only be teaching the lower forms...i think schools start with the lower forms first and begin to add classes each year....a school normally houses students from form 1-form seven...my friends in new schools oftern just have form 1-4 in their schools....
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combchick



Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ava
Many thanks for your comments. Between yourself and Scott I can see that it's a matter of individual negotiation. I guess this is so alien to what we're used to in the west.
It's ironic that the basic principles of marxism is that individual workers have got to "organize" - form unions - in order to avoid being exploited by bosses. We've adopted this very much in the west but not so here in China.
Shall attempt to be tactful and diplomatic in my dealings without fully kow towing to all demands. Don't you old hand NETS complain to EMB that there should at least be some level of consistency?
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arju



Joined: 18 Feb 2003
Posts: 58
Location: h.k

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 2:55 pm    Post subject: working conditions Reply with quote

Hi re working conditions both ava and scot are correct about the principal having the power. the emb like to pass the buck even though in fact they are paying for the scheme in the first case however its easier for the emb to pass the buck and say to the nets you have to negotiate with your principal knowing full well that if the scheme fails the principals will wear it and not the emb. Each principal is differnet in how they run their school and interpret the net scheme and how to deploy them in the schools.
A good bargaining phrase is "I'm not comfortable" this seems to work with the principals more so than other words the most important point is to always save the principals face so only question them in private where they cant be seen.
Currently we nets are attempting to get our summer holidays in light of the sars closing the schools , principals are playing the game of wait and see what the emb suggests knowing full well that the emb will only suggest rather than direct the schools to follow one consistent line of policy. Nets are being told they may have 3 weeks some 2 weeks and some 5 weeks so there is a range of working conditions.
food for thought post script my 2 schools generally are reasonabel and my conditions fair in light of other nets.
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combchick



Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 3:47 am    Post subject: working conditions Reply with quote

hi arju
thanks for your comments. You would think that the EMB would want the scheme to be a success and therefore you'd think that they'd try to get some level of consistency throughout the schools so that the NETS would be happy.
I'll take on board the "I'm not comfortable" phrase, but it seems at the moment I'm dealing with the head of the english department rather than the principal, although this person seems to be the mouthpiece for the principal.
It seems unreasonable that the current NETS are still waiting to find out about their summer holidays. Is this because they want to extend the current term to make up for lost time due to SARS? I mean, you would all need to think about booking flights and making arrangements. It all seems pretty ad hoc, but from what you and others say, this seems to be the M.O.
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