Thursday, 22 April 2010

GEOS goes bust - it's personal

Schoolboy receiving bare bottom birching, from...
Thirty-six hours after being told on the phone not to go to work by GEOS corporate division, I still have not heard a word. I am not surprised. Emails have been unanswered, answer machine picks up the phone. Mobile numbers of staff are 'dead'.

The company I teach at has sensibly decided for themselves that all bets are off until they get some information too. I think GEOS is more likely to respond to them than little old me. After all,they have paid for classes which are not now being taught. They can afford a lawyer or twelve. Teachers like me are unlikely to ever be paid for work done in April. Silly Jimmy!

From what I have pieced together from the chatter online, teachers will be expected to sign new contracts tomorrow (Friday 23rd) with the self-same people who have lied repeatedly about the health of GEOS & their ability to honour wage payments.That sounds like an enticing prospect, doesn't it? What would you do?

What about my students? I have invested five years of my life into teaching some of them; suddenly not being there really angers me. Yes, it is a job & I used to get paid for it, but there is a mutual commitment, connection, collaboration with time & trust that is sacrosanct. We have just mapped out the next six months of study, set deadlines for assignments & agreed a code of behaviour (not being there unannounced is one of the bigger no-nos...I think in five years I have failed to make three classes unreasonably late. Today I missed four.)

My problem with GEOS going out of business (apart from significant monies owed) is that I am personally going to be tarnished by association. On a larger scale, my school is going to be tarnished, again, by Eikaiwa-bashing such as we saw in the fall out from NOVA's demise. This is utterly unfair (but inevitable) as Luna International  is an entirely professional outfit. If GEOS & NOVA were the MacDonald's of the EFL industry, we are the great little local restaurant people keep coming back to. Outbreak of E-Coli scares everyone away. On an industry scale, very good people running very good schools up & down the country are going to be similarly looking at a blizzard of abuse in the media feeding frenzy coming. This is like blaming Iceland for having a septic volcano.
Arrow for Go space on Monopoly (game) board
I am no expert in the legalities of bankruptcy, companies merely being 'in administration' etc. If a company resurrects itself tomorrow in all but name, minus the obligations to pay debts etc, then that company & its officers are morally bankrupt. In Monopoly terms, "Go back to go"?  No: "Go to jail - do not go past Go & do not collect £200".

And miss three turns - no "Get out of Jail Free" cards please.


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