Dean penalizes teachers for not reacting to her messages with “hearts” 


When it comes to replying to emails or texts, many make a point of responding as fast as we can to let the sender know that they’ve received their messages. In more casual group chats, we can simply send emojis to acknowledge messages – after all, a lack of responsiveness from the receivers can make a sender feel disrespected. 

That’s what happened to a dean at a high school in Ho Chi Minh City, who was infuriated when her teachers didn’t respond to her group chat messages in the way that she wanted. 

Instead of simply reproaching them, she penalized them by giving them demerit points.


Dean gets offended because teachers didn’t respond with “heart” icons



Image credit: Giáo Dục

Recently, a group of teachers at Vĩnh Lộc High School in Bình Tân, Ho Chi Minh City filed a complaint against their dean.

According to them, their dean had a habit of penalizing teachers who wouldn’t react to her messages in a Zalo group chat with “heart” icons. Teachers who didn’t send acknowledgements via such icons would receive demerit points in their performance measurement, VTC reports. 

Imagine carrying out your work duties faithfully but still getting demerit points because you don’t engage with your dean promptly with “heart” icons.

Teachers who disapproved of this engagement-boosting method spoke up against it, but the dean reportedly just ignored them all.


For illustration purposes only

A while ago, a teacher tested positive for Covid-19 and family members had also been infected. Therefore, she had to concentrate on her medical treatment and couldn’t proactively participate in the school’s chat group to keep herself posted on what had been going on. 

As a result, she failed to send 25 “heart” icons to 25 messages from the dean, and therefore received 25 demerit points for her work performance.

This reaction-driven KPI framework was seen as unprecedented and absurd in the eyes of the teachers, who felt pressured and harassed by their management. 


They filed a complaint against the dean



For illustration purposes only
Image credit:
Lao Động

Angered by the toxic work culture created by their dean, a group of teachers filed a complaint against her earlier this year.

In response to their allegations, the Ho Chi Minh City Agency of Education asked the dean to reset the school’s current KPI framework to evaluate employees’ performances in line with the city’s regulations.

Five months have passed since this requirement came out, but the dean has yet to comply with it, according to VTC.

Meanwhile, local education authorities have received more complaints from teachers at Vĩnh Lộc High School regarding the conduct of their dean.

We have checked the website of Vĩnh Lộc High School for further details on this story, but it was not accessible at the time of writing. 


Don’t be afraid to speak up against unfair treatment in workplace


While it’s important to ensure a professional workplace by enforcing proper etiquette, the dean in this story went over the top with her management method. By imposing requirements that had nothing to do with improving education quality but instead stressing her employees out, she turned her school into a hostile work environment.

This story also reminds us of the importance of unity in a professional environment. By speaking up collectively against what is not right, the teachers at Vĩnh Lộc High School helped bring the issue to light and now have a better chance of effecting positive changes at their workplace.

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Cover image adapted from: The Smart Local Vietnam and Lao Động

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