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What To Look For In Teaching Job Contract Before Signing In 2024

Teachers work under a diverse range of employment contracts. Numerous teacher contracts are available. While some enjoy the security of permanent arrangements, many others work temporarily or casually. There are important differences between the different contract types, and it’s crucial that teachers can distinguish between them. Outline the skills you require to succeed in the role and explain how you can enter the teaching profession.

The Most Common Contracts that Teachers are Likely to Hold during Their Careers:

1. Fixed-term contract

This is one of the most widespread contracts among teachers. This type of temporary contract offers a teacher a role for a specified period. The contract usually runs for a full school year, from the start of September until the end of August. During this time, the teacher gets paid for the entire period, including school holidays. A fixed-term contract is unlikely to exceed the school year. Teachers might get a fixed-term contract to cover a permanent teacher on a career break.

2. Specified-purpose contract

With this contract, the end date is uncertain, and the contract ends when a specific task is complete. For example, a teacher may get a specified-purpose contract to cover a permanent teacher on sick leave if it’s impossible to predict the exact date that person can return to work. In such cases, the specified-purpose contract ends when the permanent teacher returns to their duties.

job contract of a teacher

3. Pro-rata part-time contract

This type of contract, also known as a regular part-time (RPT) contract, typically runs for an entire school year. If you’re a part-time teacher and work for a specific number of hours each week over the full year, you might be eligible for this contract. Under its terms, you get paid pro rata to a permanent full-time teacher. Part-time teachers usually work less than 22 hours per week.

4. Non-casual part-time contract

Another type of temporary teaching contract is the non-casual part-time contract. This contract is for part-time teachers who work over 150 hours or 22 consecutive weeks during the school year but less than a full school year. A teacher on this kind of contract might replace a teacher on maternity leave for several months.

5. Casual part-time contract

Part-time teachers operate casually when they work less than 150 hours or fewer than 22 weeks during a school year. Under a casual part-time contract, teachers receive payment at a fixed hourly rate. The work is sporadic, and the school authorities usually don’t expect the number of teaching hours to exceed 150 over the year.

6. Contract of probationary employment

School managers may offer a probationary employment contract to a teacher who enters service for the first time or comes from service in another school to assess their suitability for the position. This is often a one-year contract. The teacher can expect to receive a permanent contract when this time expires.

7. Contract of continuous employment

A contract of continuous employment is a permanent contract. It provides long-term career and financial stability to qualified teachers and is much sought-after among teaching professionals. To terminate a permanent contract, it’s usually necessary for teachers to give three months’ notice in writing to the relevant school authorities.

8. Contract of indefinite duration

A contract of indefinite duration (CID) is a permanent contract. It gives the holder the same rights and entitlements as a permanent teacher but bases their salary on the number of hours they teach each week. If you’re on a CID contract and teach for 18 hours or more each week, you can request to teach for 22 hours and receive a full-time salary. You can qualify for a CID contract by working continuously for two years.

What are The Different Contract forms?

There are three primary forms of contracts, each with advantages and disadvantages. Their appropriateness for employment contracts can vary.

Implied contract

These contracts aren’t explicitly stated but inferred from the actions, behavior, or circumstances of the parties involved. In employment, an implied contract may arise from an employee’s continued service and an employer’s ongoing payment for that service. While these contracts can be legally binding, proving their existence and terms can be difficult due to the lack of a written statement or clear documentation.

Written agreement

A written employment contract is a formal, signed document outlining the terms and conditions of the working relationship between an employer and an employee. Written contracts provide both parties clarity and legal protection, so everyone knows their rights and responsibilities. These agreements are often considered the most appropriate form of employment contract, as they provide a solid legal foundation and minimize the risk of misunderstandings or disputes.

Oral contract

Oral contracts are agreements made verbally between parties. While they can be legally binding, as with implied contracts, they can be challenging to enforce. In an employment context, oral contracts may not provide sufficient protection for either party and proving the existence and terms of the agreement can be problematic. As a result, oral contracts are generally less appropriate for employment relationships and may not be considered valid in certain jurisdictions or for specific employment terms.

Getting Legal Help With Teacher Contracts

If a teacher believes their contract has been violated, seeking legal advice is crucial. Lawyers concentrating on education laws can guide teachers through potential legal issues. They can help them understand their legal rights and their possible courses of action. Professional teacher organizations can also be a valuable resource for legal support.

Speak to an experienced education law attorney today.

Important Information in a Teacher Contract

  • Employment type, such as whether it’s permanent, temporary or casual
  • Education, such as whether it’s continuous, of indefinite duration, or fixed-term
  • Number of teaching hours per week
  • Why does the position exist? For example, a particular teacher is on a career break, or the Department of Education is allocating an extra teacher to the school.
  • Salary details, including the paying organization and payment schedule
  • Details of any other benefits or entitlements that apply to the role

Ensure that you and your employer both sign the contract. It’s also important to record all the hours you work during the school year.

A teaching contract serves as a cornerstone for understanding teachers’ rights, duties, and terms of employment.

The law of contracts applies to contracts between teachers and school districts.

Contracts consist of Four different Components to be Considered Legally valid:

  • Offer: A proposal or statement made by one party (the offeror) to the other party (the offeree) expressing a willingness to enter into a contract
  • Acceptance: The agreement by the offeree to the terms of the offer
  • Mutual Assent: When all parties involved agree upon the terms of the contract
  • Consideration: Something of value that each party agrees to give or do for the other (can be a service, money, or a promise)

You should consult a legal professional to determine whether your agreement is legally binding.

Ratification of Contracts by School Districts

Even when a school official hires a teacher, and the teacher agrees, state laws usually require the school board to approve the job contract before it’s official. After the contract is made, the school district usually approves it.

This is often part of a deal made with teachers’ unions or a collective bargaining agreement. This step ensures the contract is fair and follows local education rules, laws, and the school district’s needs for students and staff.

So, even if a school principal tells a teacher they’ve got the job, the contract isn’t final until the school district says yes to the contract. This is also true if a school district doesn’t do things right when deciding whether to approve a contract.

Teacher’s Handbook as a Contract

Besides the official employment contract, a teacher’s handbook can sometimes act like an implied contract. There have been cases where teachers have successfully claimed that the rules in the handbook gave them certain rights as if it were a contract. But this is rare because most teachers’ handbooks clearly say they aren’t contracts.

Most Teacher’s manuals Include these Points.

  • The rules and expectations for the teacher’s employment
  • The education policy for the school district
  • What happens when someone breaks the rules (disciplinary action)
  • How teacher evaluation will work
  • What is expected from full-time teachers
  • Other important school procedures

School districts need to follow the rules in these handbooks because they can be as important as legal contracts. To prove that a rule in a handbook is legally important, the teacher must show that both the teacher’s and the school district’s actions meet the requirements for making a contract.

Breach of Teacher Contract

This can occur because of either party’s fault. School administrators, the board, or the teacher may breach the contract. For example, a school district might fire a teacher without a good cause, which goes against the teacher’s rights. Teachers are entitled to due process rights regarding tenure and dismissal.

Another example is if a teacher is fired after taking a leave of absence. Or, a teacher might quit their job without giving the notice they promised to give in their contract. Without such notice, the teacher is in breach of the written contract.

Remedies for Breach of Contract

The usual remedy for a breach of contract between a school district and a teacher is monetary damages. If a school district has breached, the teacher will usually receive the amount the teacher would have received under the contract. Other factors may reduce this amount. Other damages may also be available. This might include the cost of finding other employment.

If a teacher breaches a contract, damages may be the cost to the school district for finding a replacement. Many contracts contain provisions prescribing the amount of damages a teacher must pay if they terminate employment before the end of the contract.

Ultimately, whether a school decides to go the contract or no-contract route, effective communication with faculty is critical to avoid feelings of mistrust and skepticism. And like any legal document, school counsel should review teacher contracts regularly to ensure that they are up-to-date and comply with state laws.

bill wallace author teacher retirement plans

About Author

Bill Wallace blends his academic background in Literature with his ventures in International Business and finance. His professional journey took him across Europe, especially in Spain, where his passion for writing evolved. Since then, armed with his literary finesse and investment acumen, he has been crafting financial content for teachers worldwide. More about me.

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