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Fired from Open English Academy for asking a question!
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Smige



Joined: 02 Jul 2015
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Fired from Open English Academy for asking a question! Reply with quote

Hello,

First post here. I am a UK resident and was planning on entering the world of TEFL this year. I received an offer for a job at Open English Academy, Sant Feliu de Guixols. I'd read some negative comments about it on this forum, but it seemed like a great job, and in a lovely location, so I accepted. I signed the contract, booked my flights and started taking Spanish classes so I could mix with the locals.

I was due to fly to Spain on 21st September. It occurred to me that I may need totake out travel insurance - whilst medical insurance was offered with the job, it did not seem to offer repatriation in the event of emergency. Encouraged by my parents, I set about getting insurance and emailed my employer, Kim Antiss, with some basic questions about it.

She took offence to this, assuming I was somehow insulting the Spanish health service.

Incredibly, this cost me my job:MOD EDIT

I am posting about this for two reasons: firstly to warn all other TEFL teachers not to apply for work here, and secondly to ask for advice as to what to do in this situation. I am in a complete state of shock.
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bdbarnett1



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 178
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her answer should have been short and sweet - "Get some if that makes you feel better."

Why would she need to inform the "Spanish partners" of your question, much less consult them?

Something else is going on here - I think you're lucky to have found out now.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that they didn't need you any longer and this was just an easier way to do it. Of course, you don't actually need travel insurance if you're on the Spanish social security system.

I'd look upon this a a bullet having been dodged.
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Smige



Joined: 02 Jul 2015
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this typical if the TEFL industry, or of TEFL schools in Spain? This is my second bad experience: earlier this year I was offered a job at another Spanish school, given a deadline of Saturday that week, then tolf on the Friday I had taken too long so they had given the position to another candidate. There seems to be no regard for professionalism at all.

Any legal advice? I'd like to get my plane fare back.

Edit: I'm not sure why the link to my tweet has been removed. My Twitter handle is @Smige if you'd like to read the emails.


Last edited by Smige on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11525
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a lot of competition on the job market in Spain and other desirable European destinations. Chances of being hired are greater if you are there on the ground, interviewing in person. This is very possibly what happened in this case - a good candidate walked in the door, so why take a chance on someone sight-unseen?
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smige wrote:
Is this typical if the TEFL industry, or of TEFL schools in Spain? This is my second bad experience: earlier this year I was offered a job at another Spanish school, given a deadline of Saturday that week, then tolf on the Friday I had taken too long so they had given the position to another candidate. There seems to be no regard for professionalism at all.

Any legal advice? I'd like to get my plane fare back.

Edit: I'm not sure why the link to my tweet has been removed. My Twitter handle is @Smige, please do retweet my tweet.


Hi again. Unfortunately, this kind of thing can occur in some of the less reputable schools. Regarding the airfare, you'd need to speak to a Spanish employment lawyer to see exactly what is written in the contract
but my gut feeling is it's not worth the hassle of pursuing.

If you really want to go to Spain, I'd suggest just going anyway and looking for a job while you're there. That way, you can use your flights, too. Work is plentiful in the right areas (I know there's still a lot of work in Madrid, for example).

By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11525
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.


I agree, and in fact it's against forum rules for some good reasons.
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Smige



Joined: 02 Jul 2015
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicky_McG wrote:
By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.


I'm not forcing anyone to do it - I've just given you the facts (and indeed, email screenshots on Twitter) and suggested retweeting if that's what you'd like to do. Personally I see it as a moral duty to inform people of corrupt institutions so others don't fall prey to them - but each to their own.

Regarding another candidate turning up - yes, it's possible, but I had signed a contract. I find it inconceivable that this is not considered legally, or at least morally binding, but maybe I'm naïve.
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bdbarnett1



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 178
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smige wrote:
Nicky_McG wrote:
By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.


I find it inconceivable that this is not considered legally, or at least morally binding, but maybe I'm naïve.


Maybe you aren't ready to teach abroad. But the best cure for naïveté is a mix of experience and frustration, so go for it.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smige wrote:
Nicky_McG wrote:
By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.


I'm not forcing anyone to do it - I've just given you the facts (and indeed, email screenshots on Twitter) and suggested retweeting if that's what you'd like to do. Personally I see it as a moral duty to inform people of corrupt institutions so others don't fall prey to them - but each to their own.

Regarding another candidate turning up - yes, it's possible, but I had signed a contract. I find it inconceivable that this is not considered legally, or at least morally binding, but maybe I'm naïve.



The polite thing to do would be to thank everybody for their input/advice rather than jumping on what was a pretty valid point (a point that Spiral and I agreed on which is rare Very Happy ) and claiming we're breaching our 'moral duty' by not re-tweeting. Who are you to tell us what a moral duty is? I disagree with a lot of regulars on this forum, but at least they've built up some goodwill by offering advice to newbies. You're a new poster and have no such goodwill. If you think people on here are going to get involved in some kind of social media witch-hunt because you've posted a few screenshots then you don't really understand how the forum works.
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Smige



Joined: 02 Jul 2015
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given what I'm going through right now, it would be nice to have been cut a bit of slack. Criticising me for apparently breaking some unclear forum rule seemed rather petulant in the circumstances. I feel utterly helpless and alone and could really do with some support.

Thank you all for your advice, I do appreciate it.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smige wrote:
Given what I'm going through right now, it would be nice to have been cut a bit of slack. Criticising me for apparently breaking some unclear forum rule seemed rather petulant in the circumstances. I feel utterly helpless and alone and could really do with some support.

Thank you all for your advice, I do appreciate it.

By the way, I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask people on this forum to retweet for you. With the greatest of respect, we don't know you or the school and I, for one, don't like to use social media like that.


The above is hardly petulant and I put it in the nicest possible way ( a lot nicer and less bluntly than a lot of the regulars would have put it by the way!). A few posters have offered you their input and advice and the re-tweeting was just a side issue that didn't prevent us from giving you our opinion. We all felt bad for your situation but your replies, intentionally or not, made you come across as someone with a sense of entitlement. I don't think there is anything else posters on here can do for you other than advising you to contact a lawyer.
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Ruaridh321



Joined: 11 Aug 2015
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smige wrote:
Given what I'm going through right now, it would be nice to have been cut a bit of slack. Criticising me for apparently breaking some unclear forum rule seemed rather petulant in the circumstances. I feel utterly helpless and alone and could really do with some support.

Thank you all for your advice, I do appreciate it.


I'm new as well so my advice might not really be as 'valid' as the others.

I do think maybe you should have been cut a bit of slack as I am sure you were excited for this job and were prepared to go.

However, from what I have read online in my many weeks/months of planning to teach English abroad, TEFL'ers are more often than not treated like crap. I know you have been advised to contact a lawyer, but I would just forget that idea. Your ex-employer is in another country which complicates things, and it seems a waste of time when you consider that getting a lawyer and trying to get compensation/justice for this will be time consuming - time that could be spent trying to find another job.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruaridh321 wrote:
Smige wrote:
Given what I'm going through right now, it would be nice to have been cut a bit of slack. Criticising me for apparently breaking some unclear forum rule seemed rather petulant in the circumstances. I feel utterly helpless and alone and could really do with some support.

Thank you all for your advice, I do appreciate it.


I'm new as well so my advice might not really be as 'valid' as the others.

I do think maybe you should have been cut a bit of slack as I am sure you were excited for this job and were prepared to go.



I wasn't planning on coming back to this but I'm baffled as to what the OP means by being cut a bit of slack. For what it's worth, I didn't even know that what he did was against the rules but I found it a bit inappropriate that a new poster (oe probably even a regular poster) would be asking for a re-tweet against a school people haven't heard of.. That's all and Spiral just confirmed this. The OP made this into a much bigger deal and I, for one, didn't appreciate the sanctimonious 'moral duty' comments. I think it's important to remember that most people offer advice because they've already been through things like this and are doing so merely to help newbies. There's literally nothing in it for me or anyone else. People helped me when I was just starting out and, now, I'l just passing it on.

If I were to say one final thing, it'd be that Spain is full of cowboys who do things exactly like this. There are some good (or decent let's say) employers but it takes time to find them. This is an extreme case and the OP has just been unlucky.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11525
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my long-term experience, it's very often the dodgier European employers who will hire someone from abroad sight-unseen anyway.

Barring those who need teachers with specialist qualifications or schools located in very rural regions, that is.

There are often very good reasons the local teachers aren't filling these positions.

OP, forget legal recourse (you don't really have any) - what would you get, anyway? Your job with the dodgy school back?

Just use your flight tickets to go to Spain and apply in person to other schools. You could be sending out your CV in advance, and possibly you'd even get lucky enough to line up an interview or two in advance. Don't be discouraged if schools don't reply to your CV/covering letter - just go there in person when you arrive anyway. You're likely to find something.

Are you TEFL certified, by the way?
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