Money Makes The School Go Down

, , , , , | Learning | January 21, 2019

(I work in a language school teaching English and Chinese. The principal and owner of the school is an overall nice person; however, he is too indulgent with students, not punishing anyone who is late to pay, and terrible at managing his money. As a result, payments are almost always late by a day or two. Since most of the teachers are students working for some extra cash, we don’t mind. One day, in the middle of my class, he calls all teachers to his office.)

Principal: “Good morning. I called you all here to discuss an important issue. As you know, my daughter is getting married…” *his eyes begin to glow in happiness* “…but she’s run out of money for her wedding, and I decided to pay for the rest as a wedding gift. Unfortunately, that means you will not be paid for the next two months.”

(We all think this is a joke, and wait for the punchline. After a few seconds, we realise he’s serious.)

Principal: “That was all… you can continue with your activities.”

Teacher #1: “Are you out of your mind? Do you actually expect us to work for free for two months?”

Principal: “What does it matter? None of you have any bills to pay! You don’t need the money, but my daughter does!”

Teacher #2: “Okay… Let’s say we don’t get paid these two months. At least in the third month, you should pay us those two months, plus an extra, for the troubles.”

Principal: “Nope, I’ve already run some numbers. I can’t afford the wedding, my daughter’s honeymoon, and your wages. You’ll have to do without money for two months.”

(We are all furious. But the most frustrating thing is that the principal can’t understand why we are all angry, and he begins to get angry, too. We just don’t understand how important this is to him, and we’re all just jealous and too greedy, he says.)

Principal: “I own this place and do as I please. I’m paying for her wedding and her honeymoon. If you don’t like it, the doors are open.”

Me: “You own the place, but not my time. You want me to work? You pay. You don’t want to pay? I don’t work. Simple as that.”

Principal: “Are you threatening me?”

Me: “No, I’m quitting.”

(Literally all the teachers quit at that exact moment and walked out his office. I went to my classroom and explained the situation to my students. All of them sympathised with the teachers and most offered to pay for private lessons. All of us, students and teachers, walked out of the school. Without teachers and without students, the school had to close. A year later, I ran into the principal’s secretary, who filled me in. Apparently, he had promised his daughter a fantastic wedding and a month-long honeymoon in Europe, but without the school’s money, he was unable to pay for them. His daughter was devastated and now doesn’t talk to him, while his wife divorced him, since she ruined the daughter’s wedding AND their only steady source of income.)

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