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I work as a teacher in South East Asia. Over a month back, I accepted a new teaching position at very reputed school. The pay was much lesser than I expected, after already negotiating, but I liked the school so I accepted. Even though the job title did not exactly limit my position to elementary school, throughout the interview process, I was told I was to work with elementary kids. All the work descriptions they explained pertained to that.

But now, a week before my joining date, they told me I had been moved to middle school. The school hours are the same, but the HR person who talked to me didnt give any details about actual teaching hours. With higher grades, the preparation time, corrections and other work outside of school hours will increase. But the HR guy refused to revaluate my pay.

I really want to do this job. And I wouldn't actually decline joining, but I feel this is very unfair and I would always feel like I am being underpaid. Should I ask to talk with the HR head/ Principal about it? Or should I just let it be in case they decide they don't want me anymore because I am asking for a higher compensation?

Thank you.

  • So you accepted a job offer before actually seeing the written contract? – Stephan Branczyk Jul 16 at 21:37
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In the end, it is a personal choice. if you are happy to accept the conditions they offer you should accept. You say it is a reputed school so it does have its plus points. You can stay for a year. And then use the experience to look for another better-paid position.

You know what you are signing up for, harder work for less pay. Are you happy with it?

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  • I am not exactly happy per se, but i would be unhappier if I didnt have the job at all. I feel like I owe it to myself to try and get an answer about the maximum number of classes I would be getting within the work hours), which they haven't revealed yet (they just said verbally and vaguely that it would be the same as earlier) , and to try and get a raise if it is more classes. But not if asking that will push them to drop me. – Apoe Tickill Jul 18 at 12:39
  • @ApoeTickill if they've already dropped one hammer on you and they're still being vague, you should expect that they'll continue to make things worse. – Ben Barden Jul 31 at 15:36
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It sounds like these people are exploiting you. They offer you very low pay, they strongly present a job that sounds like a certain amount of work, and then at the past minute switch it up for a role that involves significantly more work, and refuse to adjust pay? Someone (or more than one someone) are looking to squeeze as much out of you as they can get. You feel this is unfair because it is unfair. They are treating you poorly because they think they can get away with it... and, based on what your'e saying about how much you want this position even with the low pay and the increased workload, it sounds like they can.

So the first question is to re-evaluate. Are you sure you want this position? Why do you want this position? Do you really want to work for people who will treat you like that? If they are treating you like this now, when you have not yet started and it is easiest to leave, they are unlikely to treat you better once you're more locked in. If you do truly want this position, even so, then you should perhaps consider how long you expect or intend to keep this position.

That having been said... talking to the head of HR isn't likely to do anything one way or the other. If they really wanted you personally, they wouldn't be treating you like this. As such, he has very little reason to help you. If he signs off on your salary increasing, that's something he's going to have to answer for and explain. If he doesn't, then you either leave or stay, and it doesn't reflect on him personally regardless. On the flip side, if they've got you hooked, then the fact that you're complaining to HR might annoy HR a bit, but it's not like they're going to ditch you after they've caught you. Might as well try? Talking with the Principal isn't all that likely to help either, as he's not terribly likely to have control of such things.

Before you do any of this, though, you need to find out a bit more about how much teachers are actually getting paid. Are these people seriously lowballing you (most likely, based on what you've said) or is it that your idea of what teachers get paid is out of whack? If it's the former, it might work (though it's still quite unlikely). If it's the latter, you're going to get a lot less traction, and possibly a lot more annoyance out of trying anything.

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I'd think that working with older students would be a more desirable job than working with very young students. As a brand new employee, I wouldn't negotiate salary. If push comes to shove they will simply replace you with someone else. Do the best you can, and if 6 months from now you showed you can handle the job, you will be in a much stronger position to get more money.

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  • A very basic salary search indicates that in general pay goes up with grade level in teacher salaries. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jul 18 at 18:17

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