Friday 2 August 2013

Signing a Confidentiality Agreement With Your School

I had never heard of confidentiality agreements for schools until I was talking to a friend about salaries at her school. TEFL teachers are usually very open about things. Living in a foreign country where you might not speak the language makes you that way. You need to know about prices and salaries to make sure you don't get screwed over or get the special foreign price.

Imagine my surprise when she told me she couldn't tell me. Usually people will give you a range of salaries, but she said her school had made her sign a confidentiality agreement and she wasn't supposed to say anything about the school.

That's a bit hard. Talking about your work is a way to make small talk. Now I'm not sure if she couldn't say anything at all or she just couldn't talk about certain issues, such as students, other teachers, or salaries.

Fast forward a few years and I was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as well. It was about half a page and not in English and I was only given a brief oral summary of what it was in English. I didn't really have a choice; I had to sign. When I asked the head teacher what exactly I had signed he told me that it basically said you weren't supposed to talk about the school. I'm pretty sure when they say that they mean you shouldn't reveal company secrets or talk badly about the school. I can't imagine they wouldn't want you to brag about what a great job you have.

Another friend of mine said it was common to sign documents in a foreign language when she lived in Europe. Like me she was only give a brief oral summary and sometimes the documents were pages long. What she did, and still does, is write the name of the person who gave her the translation, what they said the document contained, and the date. Only then will she sign. I think it's a good idea since you never know exactly what you could be signing.


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