Letter of Intent

 

Is a letter of intent a contract? Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevensnodgrass/5480863464/in/photolist-9mjRKW-5tKJXX-7i9rhC-iQok7n-o14txa-7JqBYQ-82E2fL-2HscCJ-piXCKr-6gPPjx-5tKKdg-f5j58F-5tQ7Q7-agB7qL-cPch51-nqTqPn-jPajf6-jP9ynP-jPaifv-jPbWjj-jP9z7K-jP9pVi-6fJP6e-jPaGHx-jPbX3U-jParZ4-jPbCZj-jP9M1V-jP9nyz-jP9Nqt-jP9PVc-jP9Pci-jPaF8Z-jP9xHT-jPaEw8-jPaysK-jP9JZa-jPbXKW-jPamjB-jPaA5T-jPbQVo-jPbLM3-jP9QHz-jPbDNJ-jPbYAo-jPa9bi-jParbR-jPaaPZ-jP9gEv-jPan6B

Is a letter of intent a contract? Photo credit 

At my last school, they gave us until after Christmas break to return our letter of intent…I think. I had already informed my last school of my plan to move on early in the school year. Some people I knew felt undecided until the last minute, and even after they turned it in they thought about changing their minds.

At my new school, we need to return our letter of intent to return to the school by October 31st. They gave us the letter on October 1st so people have the full month to make up their minds.  I understand the reasons for this early date since the recruiting fair for AASSA is the 4th of December (according to the letter given to me today).

For me, signing the letter of intent was an easy decision to make because I love Venezuela and I think my current school is a wonderful fit for me. When I first got the paper I, not so secretly, planned on staying here for about five years, but then I got held up at gunpoint… and I began to doubt myself. I signed my letter of intent the day before getting held up.  I’ve thought about it every day since then, and I will stick with my original choice to stay because I’m resilient.  I don’t know if I will be able to convince myself and my family that I should stay here for five years as originally planned, but I still love my school enough to stay for two years for sure!

I just worry about the other people who have just moved to Venezuela for the first time. This is not an easy location. A lot of people might have a tough time here- especially if you are coming from the US where you have easy access to just about everything.

While most schools have a two-year contract, many schools in Venezuela only have a one year contract with the “intention of staying for two years”, because of the uncertain environment. Without that two-year contract, it is harder to make the choice. To have to decide where you will spend your next year teaching after only three months being in a location like this is pretty tough!

The letter I got was a little paragraph from the director with a spot to check that you “confirm your return” for the next school year and another if you will not return for the next year. Then you sign your name. Pretty straight forward.

I didn’t get an actual contract for next year yet (and I didn’t get one at this point at my last school either). This makes me wonder how binding people think this form is. I have heard of a few people signing a form like this and then changing their minds later because their circumstances change. I think many administrators are understanding of these changes, but it puts them in a tight spot.

I like how my current school makes a point of noting that if you think you won’t return let them know, and then later on if you change your mind to come back the next year they will discuss it with you. I think it is best to stick with whatever you say in response to this letter because it could create bad feelings otherwise, but I would like to hear what other people think about this letter of intent business!

Please comment! I would love to hear from other international teachers: how soon do you need to give your letter of intent to stay at your school? What happens if you change your mind later?

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5 responses to “Letter of Intent

  1. I’ve only ever worked in schools that ask at Christmas. But then, I’ve never worked anywhere as challenging as Venezuela! It’s always a scary moment saying yes or no. Either because you’re not sure if you want to be at the place for another contract (ours are two years) or because you have no job to go to. Unsettling (but quite exciting) times.

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    • Even when you renew, it is another two years? I like the idea of signing a two year contract (if it were a place less dangerous than Venezuela), and then renewing every year after that.

      It is hard being an international teacher and signing contracts so far in advance. In Oregon, public school teachers get job offers May-September. On average as an international teacher I have signed a new contract around January or February. On the other hand, as someone who likes to plan, I love knowing where I will be as early as possible!

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  2. Yep – two year cycle. Back home we only have to give half a term’s notice.

    I’ve re-signed every January as well for every international post. Normally as soon as I get back from the Christmas hols.

    Cheer 🙂

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