Monday, September 11, 2006

Workplace Issues

Lately, the foreign teachers, including myself, have been mumbling and grumbling a lot. Seems like we have been getting the short end of the stick recently. For the past few months we have been negotiating our office hours with the boss. It can be frustrating at times because we are required to "work" 34 hours a week, while only teaching about 15-20. This leaves us with an awful lot of time at our desks. We are all competent teachers and don't that mush time to prepare for our classes. Therefore, we spend a lot of our "office hours" doing something close to nothing. It has always been this way and I am alright with it, for the most part...easy money. Carrie & John on the other hand, are much more type A, and don't dig the down time. I can understand where they're coming from, it can be mind-numbing. They have managed to convince Carol (the boss) to cut down our Saturday and Wednesday hours and we all are liking the changes. Perhaps some more changes are coming in the near future?

On a related note, corporate HQ recently decided they were going to start docking us pay if we came in late, even one minute. We arrive at work each day at three o'clock, but don't start teaching until five. The train I had been taking for the past 6 months arrives at about three minutes until 3:00...sometimes it's a minute or two late. As a result, I am late by a few minutes a lot. I didn't think this was a big deal because we often stay well past 9:00, when we are scheduled to go home. Apparently, HQ didn't like this and recently started a policy of docking us pay after the third episode of tardiness in any given month. As a result of the punitive, child-like move, I am now taking an earlier train. I arrive at work about 30 minutes early every day and am not gonna be paid for it...the price you pay for being on a salary. As crappy as this is, I am not about to rock the boat. I am still very well paid for what I do and I love my job.

The latest frustration happened today. We are supposed to be paid on the 10th of every month. The 10th was yesterday, Sunday. We all showed up for work today expecting our pay to be in the bank. Much to our dismay, none of us our pay directly deposited as it should be. I'm sure it'll be there tonight or tomorrow. The beef here is if we are expected to march to their drum beat and follow some of these petty new rules, then the least they could do is be sure we are paid on time! A valid argument that will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.

Scott spoke with Brent over the weekend. Brent is the guy who taught at the school for 8 years and now is living back in Canada. Scott brought up the subject of the contract completion bonus and Brent said it has been a problem for years. The school has a long history of attempting to keep their teachers from collecting. They purposely set your hours every month so that at the end of the year you come up just a hair short of 900, the total needed to get the bonus. As I said before, I haven't got up enough nerve to address the subject at work because I am afraid the evil side of me will prevail and I'll say some things I'll regret. I am somewhat optimistic that I will get the bonus...

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