Teachers’ Dilemma: Cases and Costs of Private-to-Public-School Transfer

Teachers' Dilemma: Cases and Costs of Private-to-Public-School Transfer

It’s hard to get unemployed while on a transition from one job to another, much more for many of our private school teachers who just look for greener pastures on the other side of the fence — job stability and more decent salary in the public schools.

Apart from the months of delayed income, or no income at all, many teachers also face breaches of contract due to irreconcilable hiring seasons between private and public schools. With the latter has more tedious hiring process that takes, not just weeks, but usually months or even almost year. More disappointing, there is no assurance of getting the slot, even if you’re on top of the ranking. This results in teachers being deprived of continuous livelihood and better career opportunities outside private schools.

Case A: Waiting for Nothing

When I left my first job as a college instructor in my Alma Mater, I had a pending application with a public school in the district. Actually, I had it processed long before my resignation. I had it also as a personal reason to exit the school and look for better career opportunities since I already passed the licensure exam. I ranked second in the subject specialization (local district) upon my application. However, after two or three follow-ups, even at the Division Office, I was hopeless as I was informed that there was no teaching slot yet, and clueless about the availability.

So I applied in another private school while waiting for the call. I was unemployed for at least a month until I got hired in a matter of two weeks. In June before the opening of a new school year, I already had a new job, in another private school. On the other hand, my public school application still had zero progress. I ended giving up as I never received any updates months after.

Case B: Demanded Payment for Breach of Contract

In summer, my coworker started working on his papers for teacher ranking in public schools. He had his English proficiency exam, online demo, and interview. It took months before the results were released that his two-year probationary period ended in June, and he was regularized while still on the wait.

Soon he learned about the ranking where his name was on the list, he had already signed a contract for the next six-month semester. Of course, he still had it out of fear of getting unemployed or of uncertainty of getting a public school teaching slot within the next months. When he finally received a call in the middle of the sem, he filed for resignation right away and was advised to render a 30-day service for the supposed transition and hiring of a replacement.

His excitement though was short-lived when it was confirmed that he would pay the penalty for his breach of the contract, something vaguely stipulated in what he had signed then.

The semester will end by January, and he still has three months of service in the private school. As per their recent closed-door discussion, he was demanded to pay a penalty equivalent to that three months of his salary. And that’s around PHP60,000!

Case C. Exodus Without Hassles

Before this recent case however, many teachers in our school had their exits already. Others just had their absence without official leave (AWOL), hence no employment certificate claimed, while many had the graceful exits like the sibling of the then school principal and the other faculty who was just given the ‘go’ signal by the head while still on a teacher training in one summer. So, the school policy on this doesn’t make sense at all!


While other private schools may be supportive of their teachers’ transfer to public schools due to the so called ‘greener pastures,’ particularly when it comes to job stability and hefty monetary benefits, there are really schools that impose strict policies and legal measures, including demand for penalties after breachers of contract, while protecting the interest.

In the end, private school teachers have to face the dilemma and consider the pros and cons of making such an important decision amidst the risks of not claiming the employment certificates, getting temporarily unemployed, and paying penalties for contract breaches.

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