Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Flight of the Conchords

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thought For The Day

First they came for the Communists,
but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Serious Teachers

The following request was posted on the Berlitz, Istanbul thread concerning Serious Teachers. The Inspector feels that the criticism is justified. The Serious Teachers' site looks amateur and tacky and a number of the schools are decidedly dodgy. If you really are a serious teacher then do yourself a big favour and get a seriously long bargepole out or you could be in for a very serious shock.


"I noticed that a lot of these scam jobs start at SeriousTeachers.com As a language school human resources director, I have to give my 2 cents about SeriousTeachers.com scam. Beware of SeriousTeachers.com.
In my experience, I have posted 1 job ad on their site for the "free trial". Within 2 days, I received over 60 "form emails" about "interested teachers" though nowhere in the email was the teacher speaking directly to us about our ad. That being said, EVERY link in the email redirected me to a "pay" page to contact any teacher on the list. Funny enough, when we actually did contact some of the teachers, they had no idea who we were and after being directed to our ad, they stated they were not interested.

To me, this is a scam...they bait schools with 'interested' applicants and then ask for money to contact them. In addition, they allow absolutely NO information whatsoever to be communicated...with or without contact information.
October 14, 2008 8:51 AM
Anonymous said...

Dear Inspector:

Could you start a new thread with the last comment here about seriousteachers.com? I would like to add my 2 cents without burying the Berlitz Istanbul info in unrelated info.

Thanks!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ukhelp4U, Swindon England

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting" section. Be warned.

"SLIPPERY SCHOOL IN SWINDON, UK.

UKhelp4U Ltd is now trading as Ukhelp4U Academy of English Language.

It owes several teachers a lot of money and changed its name in order to benefit from a loophole in the Insolvency Act.

Ukhelp4U Ltd is in the hands of the official receiver and it is less than clear what any of the creditors may be able to recover. Ukhelp4U has four County Court Judgements against it and there is other legal action that has successfully been taken against it.

If you are thinking of taking a job with this company, don't. The likelihood of your getting any pay at all is extremely unlikely.

The British Council have so far failed to remove the school's accreditation, though it is hoped that they will do this in due course."

This is how they describe themselves:

UKhelp4u Academy of English Language Ltd
UKhelp4 is a small, friendly and modern language school situated in the centre of Swindon, an hour west of London by train. We offer flexible, General English courses incorporating exam preparation. We also offer ESOL courses, and one-to-one tutorials and are looking to introduce IELTS preparation courses in the coming 4 months. We have learners from a variety of countries including from the EU, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Turkey, and many more. We look forward to helping you to improve your English soon.
Contact: Monika Bystrzycka
Cheltenham House
1st Floor
45 Regent Street
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN1 2NG
Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 610180

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Monday, November 17, 2008

EE BOO YOUNG Talking Kids Club, Korea

Surely this can't be true? Someone must be trying to wind The Inspector up. Left on the "Asta Kids Club in Incheon Korea section. The person names an EE Boo Young Club. Your noble sleuth feels it is probably E Boo Young. Any comments oh and if it's a joke own up. If it isn't then bargepoles out pronto troops.

E BOO YOUNG Talking Kids Club

Hi You are naive to assume that a bad situation in Korea is easily rectified or mediated. This is a story I heard, I will quote: " I worked at a Talking Kids Club. The day I arrived the Director met me with an anti American diatribe and went into a rage which I found very unnerving. I was dropped off in the middle of a southern city from a bus. She took me to an apartment and said we would renegotiate my contract or I could earn money on my bed. The apartment had windows facing an alley where tires were burned in trash cans regularly this ultimately made me sick. My employer's English, the employer was a woman was what I would have expected from a prostitute. Every aspect of my contract was violated, no overtime, no matress on bed, pay was late and short of overtime, I did not receive an alien registration card, without which I could not open a bank account or apply for a drivers license, I had not medical insurance (the burning tires really made me sick, I am still sick) I went to a Korean doctor who gave me a prescription which I thought was for lung and sinus infection, I looked it up on the net and it was for a tranquilizer, my boss made continued references to selling my body. She brought a man to the school and told me he would take me to his house every weekend and return me to the school for adult English classes. I had an adult class at the school. This was an illegal request, the man was weird and spoke obscene English. When I refused she threatened to take away my company paid apartment. Previously she had entered my apartment on many ocassions and remarked on my wardrobe at school.Some of my clothing vanished. I received money from home via Western Union then traveled to Seoul where I went to my recruiter who said I needed an attorney (Without a paycheck and bills back home and an infection which made me feel very ill?) When I missed a Monday I called her she told me to "eat vomit" On Tuesday she called and was very nice. I turned in a resignation to comply with the letter of the law and my boss hit me. I went to the police and she followed me there and hit me in front of the police. They said I could leave Korea. I could not prove the things she said she did not say these things in front of other people and she denied them to the police but it was obvious she broke the contract. She had a bipolar personality, was probably on alcohol, and was the most artful of liars. The woman was a maniac. No one who worked for her liked her but the depend entirely on their job. The economy in Korea is such that jobs are hard to find. When I first read these postings before going to Korea I thought just malcontents and disgruntled unhappy people were writing. IT IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND YOU ARE CRAZY TO THINK THEY REALLY LIKE AMERICANS WE ARE A NECESSARY EVIL. They do not have the same labor standards and employment customs we do, think Industrial Revolution conditions but apply this to the academic world. Let me also add that children are beaten at school, I don't beat children. Once after the boss argued with her husband in the office she stormed into my phonics class and hit the children with a sharp stick, tiny children. They had done nothing wrong. And let me explain something else. These students go to a public school until the afternoon. At 2 or 3 or 4 they are sent to the private school where they remain until 7 or 8 or 9 p.m. They are only 7-14 years old. Many are both tired and hungry. the parents are often working class mothers work in a store until 10:30 fathers are truck drivers or mechanics and the children are sent to a school where they parents hope to improve their futures at the worst they just want the children to have a babysitter. The children realize either they cope or they go to someplace worse than the school.
My second day I was driven to the school that night students walked me home. The next day I started out very early to find the school that night I was lost for hours with no phone trying to find my apartment which I eventually located. The people I wrote to urged me to leave but I was threatened that if I left I would be placed in jail and charges could have been trumped up. Some of the people on my incoming flight to Korea had good experiences, mine was bad and I have taught overseas before.

I never had books to take home to prepare classes. She constantly threatened me stating "If you take these books to use for private classes I will have you raped." This employer was purely evil.

I feared for my life because she was
demented and evidently very paranoid.

Also leaving was not easy, she told me she had friends at the railroad ticket office and bus station.She had threatened to invent charges. I had huge suitcases. I left without many personal things I took with me to lighten my load. And guess what, if you are in a small town and you do make it to Seoul the subway doesn't have escalators or porters.
I found a ride with a man who by the grace of God knew about this woman from a previous employee who was also in a situation similar to me. He was a man and received a text message in English from the school threatening to set him up.
I prayed I could get home. I prayed and prayed. I pray more naive people do not go to Korea.

Remember this, if you complain what are you going to do between the time the complaint is made and a court date is scheduled. My boss might have been involved in something illegal. I don't know. But this woman was not a nice person.

I left Korea in the middle of the night because I was told the woman I worked for wanted me dead rather than loose face in the community. She was sinister. The Embassy will receive your remarks and provide you with a list of attorneys, you have to remember whatever is said to you in English or at the school can be denied by your employer unless you make a tape recording.
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Leeds Language College


The following comment has been left on the 2008 Oscar Results section by the founder of this blog Mr. Sandy McManus esq.

Your noble sleuth can hardly believe it's true.

Please email Adam Priestley of LeedsLanguageCollege@yahoo.co.uk and enlighten him as to where he can stick his "job", preferably accompanied by a prize-winning cucumber.


"Shocking!! Could you accept this dear Inspector, as a late claimant for the title of "Crappiest EFL Job in the UK"? It's enough to move me to start up me old blogging business again!

It's the Leeds Language College, offering no less than 250 quid a week for 30 hours of teaching!! That makes about 8 quid an hour, according to my mental Maths..."

*******

Qualified CELTA teacher required to teach English to foreign students (age18+) of all levels in a lively college in the centre of Leeds. Must be a native English speaker with degree level education. Average six hours daily. Three to nine hours subject to requirements (it is expected that this will give an average six hours daily over the year). Please send CV'S for the attention of Adam Priestley to LeedsLanguageCollege@yahoo.co.uk.


Qualifications
Must have CELTA qualifications or equivalent. Degree level educated. Native English speaker.

Compensation
Guaranteed hours Monday-Friday all year round. Starting salary £12k+ per annum (30 hours per week). Initial contract will be extended to a permanent contract after 6-12 months. Stakeholder pension scheme. Personal training (e.g Delta, PGCE, ESOL) encouraged. 4.8 weeks paid holiday per annum.



Company/Organisation
Leeds Language College Ltd
Address Provident House
Vicar Lane
Leeds, ls2 7nl - United Kingdom
Telephone 0113 242 7534
Fax 0113 242 7534
Contact person Mr. Adam Priestley, Manager

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School

Rudeness, arrogance and swearing are not good methods to employ if you wish to to get your school removed from the TEFL Blacklist but in the spirit of democracy your noble sleuth has decided to publish this comment from "Andy" which was today posted on the Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School blacklisting which was created in 2006 although this particularly stupid comment from "Andy"was only added today. 
In this particular case the Inspector would appreciate any feedback whatsoever.
Incidentally I didn't write the original post. If you take the time to read through the blog you'll see that the infamous old rogue Sandy McManus (The TEFL Tradesman) published it, even though the default signature might indicate differently. 
The Inspector took over the maintenance of the Blacklist in 2007 which is why your comment has not only been published but given its own posting.
Sandy would have just told you where to stick your comment and he may well be right. I'm probably simply in a good mood because today we've seen the back of Dubwa.

"Yes, in image-crazy China, Beijing New Oriental does employ some gimmicks and marketing strategies but I work at New Oriental Yangzhou and get treated like a king. Its nothing like any job/employer I've ever had in the U.S. Curfews? Pay deductions? Many extracurricular activities? Either things were very different when this blacklist was compiled or the author is just a liar. He must have been walking to downtown if it took over 30 minutes. Why do you feel so powerless to leave the campus? What a pathetic person the author of this site must be. I understand disagreements with the philosophy of this school/business but this website is victimhood on steroids.
Anyways, the retention rate is quite substantial (some teachers have been here 4 years so they MUST know the author) and when I ask the returnees why, they say they had been fucked-over at other schools in China and they are comfortable here. Feel free to discuss things further with me. I doubt this will be approved and published by the author.

Michel Raux Inlingua Belfort France

Michel Raux has been mentioned on this blog before. He clearly operates some of Inlingua's worst franchises in the East of France. Bargepoles out troops and avoid this guy like the plague. This was originally posted on the Inlingua Paris section.

"I worked for Inlingua MBR in Belfort, for almost 3 years. (It's part of the MBR Services franchise owned by Michel Raux and operating out of Strasbourg.)

Everything that the previous commentors said about MBR is 100% true - and more.

I left, on medical advice, after becoming really ill and severely depressed from the stress of working for them.

Let's see - there were the mad hours I had to work, the long distances I had to drive to see clients, the amount of paperwork that they forced us to do that was unrelated to actual teaching (because they got rid of office staff to save costs and made the trainers pick up the slack), the psychological bullying and threats. Many phonecalls to my home after hours. A total invasion of privacy. Awful, awful company.

They blatantly lied to me about the hours I'd be working when I was offered the job, and then gradually forced me to work more hours than I wanted to, often until 8pm (after starting at 8am - never mind I was a single parent and had children to get to and from school and childminders) threatening to reduce my classes to nothing if I refused, (so that I'd be forced to resign and save them from the hassle of firing me.)

I received only 4 hours of 'training' and was then thrown into the deep end and left to swim. A client then complained that I didn't seem to know what I was doing (well of course I didn't) and I received a written warning from Michel Raux. How crazy is that?

I have since thrown away my Certificate of Training - it is worthless.

Even in treachorous winter weather (and I mean heavily snowed under roads and even in snow storms), I had to drive through dangerous mountainous regions to get to clients - no excuses were tolerated. I cannot tell you how close I came to having horrible crashes - on more than one occasion.

Their attitude to clients was equally as bad - arrogance such as I have never seen in any company before. My clients complained bitterly about being charged for last minute cancellations - which were usually due to factory lines breaking down and needing urgent attention. (Since when is an English class more important than getting a production line up and running again?) Inlingua refused to budge on that.

Having said that, most of my immediate colleagues/trainers were brilliant. It was just management that truly sucked.

My advice? Steer clear of Inlingua MBR."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

God Save The Queen (and the USA)

Well it's election time tomorrow in the USA and The Inspector would like to contribute the following solution for the Queen to consider proposing to our former colony.

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
  1. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Los Angeles , which she does not fancy).
  2. Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
  3. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
  4. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
  5. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.) Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
  6. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let M*crosoft know on your behalf. The M*crosoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
  7. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  8. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
  9. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  10. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
  11. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  12. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
  13. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  14. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them.
  15. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
  16. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Dick Van Dyke attempt English dialogue in Mary Poppins was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
  17. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body Armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
  18. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  19. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
  20. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
  21. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
  22. God Save the Queen

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Speakers' Corner (TEFL section)


And why not stand on your virtual soapbox and let rip? This speech was posted on the Oscar Results 2008 section just below and worthy of a posting in its own right. As always, all comments are welcome.

"FOR OWNERS OF THESE SCHOOLS

Human dignity refers to a state of righteousness, integrity, or virtue in human beings. The term dignity is defined as "the state of being worthy of honour or respect." When this concept is associated with the adjective "human", it is used to signify that all human beings possess intrinsic worthiness and deserve unconditional respect, regardless of age, sex, health status, social or ethnic origin, political ideas, religion, or criminal history. If violated, this can be considered discrimination. In other words, this respect is owed to every individual by the mere fact that he or she is a "member of the human family" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Preamble). This intrinsic worthiness is widely recognized by international law as the source of all human rights. In this respect, both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) of 1966 affirm that human rights “derive from the inherent dignity of the human being”. At the philosophical level, following Kant, the expression human dignity is used to indicate that persons should always be treated as ends in themselves and NEVER MERELY AS A MEANS. Kant presents “dignity” as exactly the opposite of “price”: while “price” is the kind of value for which there can be an equivalent (roughly economic value), “dignity” makes a person irreplaceable. Therefore, dignity can be explained as a requirement of non-instrumentalization of persons.



ITS TIME TO STOP THIS ESL/TEFL EXPLOITATION ONCE AND FOR ALL. THE JOB OF ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR DOESNT EQUATE TO SLAVE LABOR, NOR DOES IT GIVE YOU AS OWNER THE RIGHT TO TREAT INSTRUCTORS AS YOUR PROPERTY! "

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harrow House International Colleges

Yet another totally plausible tale of woe . Posted on the "Mr Andrew Kirby, formerly of Harrow House" section. They don't seem to have improved over the years. This "school" appears one to avoid. Bargepoles out troops. Any comments, especially from Harrow House would be welcome.

"I am a TEFL teacher and I have recently sponsored a student on a Harrow House sandwich course. I have been appalled at the college's lack of duty of care for the student over the whole placement period. They cut short his initial time at the college on the basis of having an early prime placement for him. It eventually transpired that HH just wanted to get him placed "somewhere" and placed him at Alton Towers. here, he received no college initiated contact or follow-up and Alton Towers just used him as a "labourer" with absolutely no interest in his personal development. The management and supervisory staff (who were of dubious management calibre) were only interested in getting tables cleared and re-set for the large number of guest covers. He was placed by a local estate agent in "homestay" accommodation - supposedly to help with his use of spoken English. HH took no interest or part in this, leaving it to Alton Towers who didn't care where he lived so long as he got to work on time. (.....and incidentally made him pay his fare every day - out of taxed income - for the staff bus!)The "homestay" was with a single man of 67 years of age who spent little time in the house and when he did, he heavily smoked cigarettes. (The student is a non-smoker). Representations by me to the college were met with a "mind your own business" attitude. The student of course, being a foreign national preferred to tolerate the situation rather than raise any issues. He is now nearing the end of his placement at Alton Towers and has hated what should have been an enhancing life experience in a foreign country. His English has hardly improved at all and his Hospitality Industry experience has been limited to subservient restaurant activities in a low class high-volume restaurant. Eight days from the end of his placement, he has had absolutely no contact from the college about where he will be staying for the final 2 weeks of his course in Swanage. I would urge any foreign student considering HH to think again and find another college providing a hospitality course in the UK. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (Excellent) I rate this college and its hospitality sandwich course as minus 10!"

?Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Oscar Results 2008

The annual TEFL Blacklist Oscars were delayed owing to a late flurry of worthy (or should it be worthless) candidates. In truth your noble sleuth has been spoilt for choice this year. The TEFL Blacklist has attracted tales of woe galore.
The TEFL business is riddled with sharks. Be very careful when accepting a job and remember to read the contract carefully.

THE WINNERS

1. WORST JOB BOARD. The winner by a mile is TEFL.com. They are worse than Dave's ESL Cafe in that at least Dave Sperling does provide a forum and allow some debate. TEFL.com allow none. The list of crap jobs they  advertise is endless and they accept adverts from anyone.

2. WORST FRANCHISE. International House. Call it an affiliate if you will, it all amounts to the same thing - money. The Covent Garden flagship centre is good but after that who knows as standards differ so widely. As long as anyone can pay the affiliate fee then they are allowed to use the name with lip service being paid to quality. Abuse of what, used to be, a hallmark of quality.

3. WORST SCHOOL. A really tough one this. There were so many candidates. The winner is New Zealand Centre for Culture and Education in Gangnam, South Korea. This outfit should be avoided at all cost.

4. WORST TEFL COURSE PROVIDER. i to i. Rip off merchants making megabucks through selling worthless TEFL certificates. A disgraceful outfit whose "certificates" are total crap. If you want a decent TEFL certificate, make sure that it is at least Cambridge or Trinity certified. Avoid all online courses, correspondence courses, weekend courses etc. unless you only want to go to some rubbish school in the middle of nowhere.

5. SPECIAL MENTIONS. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Depravity in Education

Mass suspension of 'wild' pupils

A screen grab of Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia
The school charges A$16,000 a year in fees for final-year students

"The entire graduating class at an exclusive Australian boys school has been suspended over "unacceptable" end-of-term antics.

Up to 100 of 250 Year 12 students at Xavier College, Melbourne, allegedly took part in the "muck-up day" trouble.

They ran through the school wearing only their school ties as G-strings, and set off fireworks at a nearby railway station, media reports say.

Classes have been cancelled until Wednesday, the scheduled final day.

Vehicles 'damaged'

The trouble began at lunchtime on Monday - "muck-up day", an unofficial tradition of graduating students taking part in end-of-term pranks and other activities.

They were blind drunk and some of them could barely stand. My kids have been through muck-up day, but I've never seen anything like that
Local resident

Police said they received numerous complaints relating to up to 100 students running rampage in the neighbourhood.

They were said to have harassed drivers and disrupted traffic, and there are also allegations that vehicles were damaged.

The students - aged 17 and 18 - are also accused of running semi-naked through the school grounds and setting off fireworks at the nearby Balaclava railway station.

One student was admitted to hospital with multiple fractures in his leg after a playground game reportedly got out of hand.

One neighbourhood resident wrote to The Age newspaper alleging the students were drunk and badly behaved.

"Their behaviour was disgraceful," the man said.

"They were blind drunk and some of them could barely stand. My kids have been through muck-up day, but I've never seen anything like that."

'Contravened boundaries'

In response the school has cancelled all classes until Wednesday, which would have been the final day of teaching.

Exams are due to begin at the end of the month for the Year 12 students, said to pay A$16,000 (US$11,000; £6,500) a year in fees to attend the Roman Catholic school.

In a statement, the school said the boys had "contravened the boundaries of sensible behaviour" while playing a game, and that the "unacceptable" conduct had forced it to cancel remaining classes.

It did not refer to the trouble off-campus, but police have threatened criminal charges against the pupils involved.


BBC website readers have been sending in their comments:

What ever happened to a good wallop across the head! That's what these boys are lacking! When I went to Catholic School (graduate of 1995) we were taught respect, and were disciplined accordingly if having stepped out of line. The problem is these little rich kids have never learnt respect for others, never learnt how to take responsibility for their actions and certainly have no idea on social etiquette. Bring back the cane! :-)
Cleve Rynehart, Melbourne, Australia

I attended and enjoyed what seems to be a similar academic boys school in Canada. We also had an unofficial "muck-up day" called "grub day" and the tradition ended in much the same way: behaviour and stunts taken too far so it was cancelled.

The consensus at the time was that an unsustainable, escalating pattern of one-upmanship, whereby each graduating class felt a need to make things more extreme and wilder than the previous year, was the problem. Clever became vulgar, and fun became outrageous.
Jim Fuite, Edmonton, Canada

Glad to see not much has changed since my departure from Xavier in 1968. Now, if only the Jesuits would bring back the 15-inch strap (with the two inlaid Aussie pennies at one end), all would be right with life. Well done boys . . . you've made some of us old timers proud.
Timothy Lynch, Los Angeles, CA USA

As a Xavier alumni, it is disappointing to hear that the actions of a minority of students taking things too far have tarnished the reputation of a great educational institution. If indeed these allegations are true then they should be disciplined. However, how did the residents know they were all Xavier students? At my muck-up day, everyone (including students from other private schools in Kew, of which there are many) took off their ties and blazers, so it would have been very difficult for onlookers to distinguish which school the students belonged to. I think it might be another case of the media reporting everything it hears without actually checking the facts.
Peter C, London

It's almost like a tradition in all boarding school facilities for final year and graduating students to do something really wild and crazy before leaving school. We did it during my time by boycotting almost all regular school activities and had to sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour in the process. It's part of growing up...
Israel Ambe Ayongwa, Jonkoping, Sweden

It was disgusting, these young lads were urinating in my fish pond,and kicking over my gnomes. I have never seen anything like it, I have lived here for 28 years, and my gnomes have never been attacked like this before.
Sheila Outrigger, Melbourne

They beheaded five of my gnomes and knocked over my brand-new bird bath. It's a disgrace, they have no respect for others and I blame, as always, the parents.
Lucinda R, Melbourne"

Courtesy of the BBC.......

Help The Aged

Retired teachers have problems you haven't even considered yet.

An 85-year-old retired EFL teacher was requested by his doctor for a sperm count 
as part of his physical examination. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 
'Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.'

The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and 
gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. 

The doctor asked what happened and the man replied, 'Well, doctor, let me explain.......

  • First I tried with my right hand, but nothing.
  • Then I had another go 
with my left hand, but still nothing. 


  • Then I begged my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with 
her left...... still nothing.
  • She then went for it with her mouth, first with the teeth in, 
then with her teeth out......still nothing.
  • 

We even asked Kirsty, our next door neighbour and she joined in too, first 
with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezing it 
between her knees, but still nothing.



The doctor was shocked! '

You asked your neighbour?

The old man sighed.......


Yes, none of us could get the jar open.

Friday, October 17, 2008

RFT Turkey

All this is to be found on the Turkey section but they deserve a special page of their own. Bargepoles at the ready as this outfit sound awful:

I worked for a recruitment company RFT. The job was ın Turkey and ıt sounded wonderful but the students were horrıble! I was told by RFT that I should resign and they would fınd me another job! The job they offered me I could not afford to take. The salary was much to low to survıve ın Turkey. I later resıgned and my contract states they must provıde a plane tıcket to your home country. When ıt came to purchase the tıcket they just avoıded my calls and threaten to deport me. They brought me to Turkey !

____________________________________________________________

This outfit is still advertising for TEFL teachers through 'Serious Teachers' website.

____________________________________________________________

I also worked for RFT in Turkey and had a terrible time.

The company is run by Koray and Zanore.

My girlfriend and I were told we would have four camps each. But when we arrived after spending 300 Euros each on transport we were told there was only one for my girlfriend and two for me.

My girlfriend's camp was only part-time, so she made only US$750 in two months - not even enough to live on.

Koray agreed to pay my girlfriend a per diem of US $400 to help her survive.

The worst thing was that when it was time to leave, Koray refused to pay our flight money (which our contract said we were entitled to).

Koray said he wouldn't pay the flight money because he'd given my girlfriend the per diem!

There were many, many other problems with these guys. AVOID!

____________________________________________________________

I have been corresponding with Zanore from RFT, and have been thinking about taking a job with them. This makes me nervous, can anyone say more about them?

____________________________________________________________

Hi I'm currently also looking at working in Turkey and have been contacted by RFT. I get so sick of schools taking advantage of the teachers. Anyone know of a good school in Turkey?
Thanks
C

____________________________________________________________

RFT Turkey has cheated me out of money. They simply refused to pay me for working a summer camp. They are deceitful and unprofessional. Be wary of them. Try to find a job elsewhere. They are also doing other weird things there.

____________________________________________________________

Wow! I am so sorry to hear that others have gone through the same trials and tribulations with RFT.

They brought us here promising us many things. Not riches and fame mind you, but just your basic necessities.

We were lied to in every way you can imagine.

I stress that this is not a bitter rant. We did all that they asked, and remained incredibly patient and loyal to RFT.

They lied about where we would live, where we would teach, what we would teach, how often we would teach, what they would furnish the house with (NOTHING), permits, time-off if we needed it, and sooo many other things.

In a nutshell, they are without a doubt the worst people to ever run a business. This sentiment is echoed by everyone we met who was here with RFT at the time. They cannot be trusted. If you do complain about things you will be threatened with deportation, police, etc.

Zanore and Koray actually dated too. This made matters worse. They screamed and yelled in front of employees. They forced some newcomers to live with them at their office/residence because they had nowhere to put them.

They fired people on a regular basis for absolutely no valid reason. They even fired their one and only office worker/recruiter because she stood up to them and defended the teachers' rights. She too was threatened with the police.

We have left Turkey since, but we did meet many good people here in Istanbul. There are lots of good schools around. It is ABSOLUTELY worth coming over here, just heed our words....STAY AWAY FROM RFT!!!

____________________________________________________________

Yeah dıtto to the last post. Zanore and Koray lie and fight in front of people. They at tımes can be nice but only to serve their purposes. This isnt a bitter rant either, only a warning. They can find you a school to work for but they offer little support. They seem to take their commissions and run. Dont ever put yourself in a position where they owe you money.

RFT's website is one of the finest exercises in fiction I have ever read. It says teachers are given psychometric tests and have all their qualifications checked out.

When I worked for them, they were literally grabbing backpackers off the street and giving them fake degrees so they could teach.

I should add that they simply refused to give me all the pay they owed me. Koray said I had been "expensive" because he had to pay our English recruiter Paul Rogers 400 pounds for my CV. Therefore, he refused to pay my flight money.

I was incredulous and very loudly gave him a piece of my mind. Didn't get my money though!

Avoid these charlatans at all costs.

Key words: "Paul Rogers" Koray Zanore RFT Turkey

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

LCI Academy LCI Kids Club in Yeonsu-Gu, Incheon, South Korea

Left on the EFL/ESL Jobs in Korea section. Why are there so many of these stories coming from Korea?
Any Comments?
"Thought this would be of interest. This was sent to the National Pension Office, Ministry of Labour as well as recruiters of esl teachers.To Whom This May Concern:The only reason I am writing this letter is so what is right and fair can be done. Hopefully with the awareness of the following conditions The Ministry of Labour will take notice as well as other prospective teachers. I had worked at LCI Academy/LCI Kids Club in Yeonsu-Gu, Incheon, South Korea for the past year 2007-2008. As a Manager I had seen many things happen that were not fair, but until now, the scademy had not crossed the legal lines so I thought the issues of concern were nothing more than “cultural differences”. Two big reasons for concern are the embezzlement of teacher’s pension funds and misappropriation of severance pay. It has been noticed that the school has failed to report the teachers’ correct salaries to the Pension Office. Due to this, when teachers have gone to leave Korea and collect their pension they are showed an incorrect salary on the paperwork from the Pension Office. What the school is doing is taking 4.5% of the current salary and only giving the Pension Office 4.5% of the salary that was reported to them. The school is keeping the difference. When this was brought to the attention of the school they said they would pay the teacher the difference – the money that the school had been putting into their own funds. This school needs to be educated on the process of reporting and allocating pension funds. If they are given an opportunity, I think they should be viewed as ignorant businessmen and be shown the correct way to work with pension.In addition to the Pension scheme, the Directors at LCI Academy had failed to pay the teachers the correct severance until it was brought to their attention. Legally, they are obligated to pay the correct amount of severance. “Severance is calculated on the average salary of the previous 3 months.”I think this process needs to be regulated by the Ministry of Labor due to the negligence of the part of the school’s oversight. I feel in the future they may fall back into this negligence if they are not monitored. It has been my insight that these directors are not very honest men and will take advantage of foreigners when they think they will get away with it. At the very minimal I am asking the Ministry to give a courtesy call to the school and educate these directors on the processes. I as well as other teachers from this school appreciate your attention to this matter. Kindest regards."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Monday, October 06, 2008

The End?

Your noble sleuth has been a bit off colour of late. A tad bilious shall we say. Bad news I am sorry to report. The Inspector is giving serious consideration to closing the TEFL Blacklist down. Security is everything at Scotland Lard and mine has been compromised.
Sandy seems to have been outed and I'm next in line.
If The TEFL Blacklist does disappear suddenly, at least you'll know why. Hopefully someone will see the bugger (probably PL) off but if he gets any closer then I'll just pull the plug in the ineterests of self preservation.
If that happens I would like to thank everyone who has offered their support and has been spared nasty experiences in rotten schools as a result of The TEL Blacklist.
It may not happen but I'm prepared for the worst.
It will be a great shame if it happens.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Haba Playschool Seocho in Seoul, Korea

Totally plausible and often heard complaint about schools in Korea. This one appears one to avoid. Bargepoles out troops. Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting" section. Any comments?

Haba Playschool Seocho in Seoul
habaseocho1@korea.com
www.ihps.co.kr
2F Donga Villart, 1678-1 seocho dong, seocho gu, Seoul

"I finished working 2 weeks before the end of my contract as my brother was getting married back in the UK. Before I decided this I sat down with the Principal, Director and Supervisor to discuss it. This was about 2 months before I was leaving. I didn’t want to lose out on my severance pay so I wasn’t going to leave early unless I would still get it. They agreed they would pro-rate my severance and I would get 11 months worth. Before I changed my flight I asked about 5 times, just to be sure we all understood each other.

Two weeks before I leave I start asking when I’m going to get all my money. I was leaving Korea and moving to China so I needed it all sorted before I left. I was put off and put off with “yes he (Mr Jung) is thinking about how to do it.”

As I’m about to leave on the afternoon before my last day I’m called in for a meeting and knew what was coming when I saw my contract out on the table covered in yellow highlighter.

I wasn’t finishing my contract so they refused to give me a penny of severance pay and they weren’t obligated to pay for my flight home so they were going to take the money out of my final paycheck.

He also said that I had never paid my 300,000won housing deposit and refused to give me that money back. I showed him my bank book proving I had but he wasn’t having any of it.

Conveniently they had no recollection of any of our previous conversations concerning these matters and denied ever having told me it was okay. They were well aware that I had a new job in China and had to go back to the Uk to sort the visa and didnt have the extra month to fight them for the money.
The Labour board also said there was nothing they could do as it was only a verbal contract and technically I broke my contract.

Looking back I should have gotten it in writing but had no previous reason to think they would screw me over like that. They had been trying to get me to re-sign so maybe it was payback for not doing so. Or just a quick way to save some money.

Dont trust them!"
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Friday, September 26, 2008

United English in Queretaro - A Reply!

The Inspector has never ever been to Mexico and after watching the film "Man on Fire" has no intention of ever crossing the Atlantic. This response to the blacklisting of United English in Queretaro, Mexico is well written and your beloved sleuth feels it deserves a wider audience .All comments are welcome:
Blogger bluspagetti said...

Inspector McHammered: "United English in Queretaro, Mexico is the epitome of education for profit. The school’s Swiss owner, Mr. K, is truly a leader in unethical business practices in Mexico’s growing TEFL industry. Mr. K takes a predatory approach to hiring teachers with no certification and no experience. The school’s website uses fake testimonials, non-existent schools, and falsified certifications. Teacher contracts are more devious. Work Visa applications are carefully orchestrated and paid for my Mr. K himself who has cleverly found a loophole within the local immigration office. Teachers are usually issued Student visas, participating in the UE teacher training program. Teachers receive no training. Moreover, the school’s “European System” curriculum closely resembles an educational Ponzi scheme. TOEIC exams scores are manipulated to show incremental increases and give the appearance that students are learning English"

Bluspagetti: I saw this post and I just had to reply, as I’ve been working for United English for almost nine years now (March of 2000 start date). I usually don’t subscribe to posts of this nature but this one is particularly well written and it would be a shame if someone were to actually believe it.

Before I start with any rebuttal, let me first explain the basic business model of any private educational institution and, for those of you new to business in Mexico, what you can expect when you come to this generally pleasant country.

In any private academic model, we have two interdependent, yet polar opposite aspects: academia and business. Neither can survive without the other, but – like supply and demand –each pushes on the other until equilibrium is reached. Which does a manager concentrate on? Which gets more attention? Both answers are subjective and based on numerous other factors like season, market and economic conditions. It is the successful school manager that understands the constant fluctuations of these factors and responds to them quickly. Sometimes, the manager has to make decisions that, to the layperson, fly in the face of what seems to be good for the students. Mr. K. knows this and much more.

Now, I think the most efficient way of dealing with Inspector McHammered’s post is to take the arguments one by one. His remarks will be labeled with an “IM” and mine with “BS” (no pun intended).

IM - United English in Queretaro, Mexico is the epitome of education for profit.

BS – You could not be more right about that. God bless capitalism. Profit is what gives a school existence. Like I said, it is a business and without profit, none of us would have a job.

IM - The school’s Swiss owner, Mr. K, is truly a leader in unethical business practices in Mexico’s growing TEFL industry.

BS – Giving no specifics on what IM considers “unethical”, I can’t comment. In my time at the school I’ve never seen anything that I would consider unethical. I might do some things differently, and they might even be better. But the boss is always the boss, albeit not always right.

IM - Mr. K takes a predatory approach to hiring teachers with no certification and no experience.

BS – I don’t even understand what IM means here. What is a “predatory” approach to recruitment? But for those of you who think you might not be qualified to teach, by all means apply at United English. I’ve seen teachers who didn’t have much experience do very well because they respond to the students well and the students respond to the teacher. Basically, anyone is given a chance to do well. Some do, some don’t.

IM - The school’s website uses fake testimonials, non-existent schools, and falsified certifications. Teacher contracts are more devious.

BS – I’ve never seen that. In fact, teacher contracts usually slant in favor of the teacher rather than the school. As far as the non-existent schools, the company is actually a franchise and some fold, just like any other franchise. But testimonials are still used from schools that no longer exist.

IM - Work Visa applications are carefully orchestrated and paid for my Mr. K himself who has cleverly found a loophole within the local immigration office. Teachers are usually issued Student visas, participating in the UE teacher training program.

BS – What’s wrong with that? Yes, the visas are under a student category but this is due to the fact that Mexico has a law that says that only 10% of the staff of any company can be foreign. This is impossible for a school that boasts that all of the teachers are native speakers. True, Mr. K is clever. I don’t know how he figured it out, but he did. True as well, Mr. K pays for these visas. Most other schools don’t. Kudos for Mr. K.

IM - Teachers receive no training.

BS - Not following the visa specifications. But teachers do receive training for their jobs.

IM - Moreover, the school’s “European System” curriculum closely resembles an educational Ponzi scheme.

BS – Not only is this false, but it’s impossible. A Ponzi scheme usually offers abnormally high short-term returns in order to entice new investors. The high returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises (and pays) require an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going (Wikipedia, 2008).

United English is a sole-proprietorship. There are no investors.

IM - TOEIC exams scores are manipulated to show incremental increases and give the appearance that students are learning English.

BS – I’ve never seen that, either. UE gives the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) three times a year to give the students and idea of how they’ve progressed. Some students score lower the second time they take the test for whatever reason and that is communicated to the student. I’ve communicated it.

Let me iterate that this post will do absolutely nothing for me personally. I will not benefit from spending the 30 minutes doing it. I just have a problem with these quasi-transparent blogs where someone who was actually fired from a school (oh, he didn’t mention that, did he?) can say anything he wants with total impunity.

Reference

Ponzi Scheme (2008). Wikepedia. Retrieved September 24, 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

September 26, 2008 2:59 AM

The Windsor Swindler

Worth a look and remember to ask questions and get everything in writing BEFORE you sign up to anything with any language school or TEFL course, as you will often find yourself in shark infested waters. This is the chap that was selling TEFL courses as Trinity certified when Trinity had booted him out. Some poor souls were awarded Mickey Mouse certificates!

http://windsorswindler.blogspot.com/

He is featured on the TEFL blacklist at:

http://teflblacklist.blogspot.com/2007/02/windsor-tefl-courses.html
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

ABC Foreign Language Training School

Posted on the "Nominate a School for Blacklisting" section. This is how they describe themselves:

"ABC Foreign Language Training School is a national chain school.
It has accumulated plentiful teaching experience for more than ten years, fostering almost ten thousand excellent students. ABC School has branches in three cities: Shanghai, Beijing and Harbin."

Another tale of woe follows. Any comments good or bad? .........................

Where to begin? Awful organization: the Chinese staff and foreign staff essentially work in different worlds with little or no communication, scheduling is completely random, they ask you to cover shifts at the last second all the time, and mandatory meetings on your off-days, OFF THE CLOCK.

The text books are so Chinglish it is painful. They are so ridiculous and boring that the students dread just the sight of you picking up. The school managers encourage teachers to bring a lot of cultural activites and games into the classroom, but provide absolutely NO suggestions or materials at all. This is a company that will basically hire a warm body. The foreigners and Chinese staff are essentially that.

You will be given no supplies such as paper, markers, erasers, and the printers/copiers never work. Most of the teachers would buy their own paper, print their own material, and bring their own markers (this gets very very expensive).

This school will also promise you a "clean Western" apartment, but will try to get you the cheapest and dirtiest apartment possible. They also try to throw other random teachers in your house, even temporarily to sleep on your couch!

The school will not pay for any of the administrative legal costs of working in China. Visas, health exams, etc., all at your own expense, endless hidden fees are always the burden of the teacher.

They claim that they give paid vacations, but this is rarely the case. Many times we had to come in and have "office hours" on national holidays.

When I quit they threw a fit and tried to have me kicked out of China. I'm now suing them for the money they owe me, and at our first court date at the arbitration department, ABC sent a representative that said that I "never worked for them, nor did I sign a contract with them." They basically denied my ever working there. Unbelievable.

All the teachers were miserable there. Don't do it!
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saekyung College Yeongwol, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Posted on the "Nominate a School for Blacklisting" section. Any comments?

"I am posting information about this college on the internet so as to warn any and all individuals interested in obtaining employment in Korea about Saekyung College and its corrupt business tactics.

The management system in place at this private college is manipulative and deceitful in regards to its day-to-day dealings with foreign English instructors.

Saekyung College is privately owned; however, it receives government backed grants from the people of Gangwon-do to stay afloat. Unfortunately, the college has misused its newly acquired grant money to actually refurbish its dilapidated facility without actually meeting the requirements and mandates set forth in the agreement made between Saekyung and the government of Gangwon-do.

In regards to foreign English instructors, Saekyung College has already hired and illegally dismissed two foreign instructors out of three employed during its first year of operation.

Contracts are not honored or respected, and working conditions change daily. The current management system in place has existed since July; and during its first year of operation, there was literally no management system in place for nine out of ten months.

Communication does not exist, as English is not spoken at the college...even in the Foreign Language Village and/or by Korean professors supposedly holding PhD's obtained outside of Korea. In other words, Saekyung College's Foreign Language Village is currently managed by a Director who cannot speak English. He claims that he was a professor of Economics in the United States; however, his spoken English is equivalent to that of a five-year old child's. Therefore, how could he have been a professor at prestigious universities in the United States of America? He couldn't have been, and he wasn't.

If you are interested in obtaining employment with this independent college, understand that you will be deceived into thinking that your employment status will be that of a college professor. However, you will be issued a work visa with the status of English instructor. You will not be regarded or treated as a professor at the college. You will simply be a native English-speaking conversation teacher.

In addition, the college will endeavor to make you create and design curriculum and reading material, despite the fact that a budget is in place for the acquisition of such material. If you visit the facility, you will instantly notice a large amount of reading materials and English-based learning products. However, none of the material is actually applicable to the learning environment with its intended goals (Business and Tourism English). Someone at the college simply purchased a packaged set of English products without actually analyzing the overall content of those materials.

When it comes to the payment of salaries and overtime worked, Saekyung College often pays late if not at all. Salaries are supposed to be paid via the budget allocated in a grant provided by the government, with contracted stipulations in mind. However, expect to not be paid for overtime worked. The college does not like to spend money, and expect to see a college in complete demise if you intend to visit the facility for further review.

My advice: avoid the corruption and deceit. Yeongwol is not hospitable towards foreigners, and Saekyung College simply lies to get what it needs...warm, white bodies in place to serve as maniquines on display for the government of Gangwon-do.

Finally, I worked there for almost one year and was unjustly dismissed in my tenth month of employment. This was done so as not to pay severance at the completion of my contract. In addition, I have had other potential applicants contact me in regards to a lack of information about this college on the internet. They have been lied to during the interview process, as Saekyung has claimed that no other foreigners have been employed at that location before. Visit the college's website. You will find white, western faces.

Distorted communication, lies, deceit, manipulated pay, non-payment for services rendered, and blackmail are all standard business tactics currently used by those in management at Saekyung College."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Berlitz Moscow, Russia

Posted on the "Nominate a School for Blacklisting" section. Any comments?


"I nominate Berlitz Moscow for blacklisting since the company has advertised a teaching job in Perm, Russia for the past 2 years when no such job actually exists. This recruiting effort is a classic bait (Moscow and Perm) and switch (Berezniki) tactic, i.e. http://www.berlitz-russia.com/en/about_berlitz/jobs_careers/

Q. Where is Berezniki?
--------------------------------
A. Berezniki is a small Communist mining town which is North of Perm. All teachers are recruited for Moscow or Perm and then are informed they will be going to Berezniki immediately once they arrive in Moscow. They are flown on a 1950s Aeroflot aircraft from Moscow to Perm where they are then driven 3 hours by car to Berezniki. Berezniki suffers from extreme isolation and poverty. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berezniki

Q. Why should Berlitz Moscow be blacklisted?
-----------------------------------
A1. An instructor is expected to fulfill a rotation in the city of Berezniki for 26 weeks out of the 52-week year without prior notification (not in contract) before arriving in Moscow.

A2. An instructor is expected to fly back and forth on 1950s Aeroflot aircraft between Moscow and Perm every three weeks.

A3. Berezniki is dangerous to go out at night, as it has three local prison populations that release prisoners regularly into Berezniki. Also, Berlitz tells the instructor not to go out of the hotel.

A4. There are no laundry facilities in Perm, instructors are expected to wash all of their clothes in a bathtub and are allowed only one suitcase on the aircraft due to weight restrictions.

A5. Instructors are placed in a hotel for 3 weeks and expected to be on-call for the company across the street from the hotel from 6AM to 10PM. Most scheduled courses result in cancellations.

Q. Why am I telling us this?
----------------------------------------

A1. I witnessed at least two instructors going through severe isolation sickness; one actually was close to a nervous breakdown while I was there due to constant schedule changes and the isolation.

A2. I spent 3 weeks in Berezniki, when I returned to Moscow I confronted Berlitz Moscow management with the breach of contract and notified the consulate much to the chagrin of the company.

A3 When I quit for breach of contract, I was given my last month's pay, was driven to my apartment and told to pack immediately and I was driven to the Moscow rail station.

A3. When I informed Berlitz Moscow of the contract breach I also mentioned that I was terrified of flying 7-10 times a year on an Aeroflot 1950s aircraft; I was told to see a psychiatrist by the manager.

Unfortunately, September 14, 2008 confirmed my worst fears and made me grateful that I quit when I did otherwise I might not be here today to tell you this: i.e. Aeroflot-Nord Boeing 737-500 for Aeroflot, flight SU821 from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Perm (Russia) crashed into a railway line southwest of Perm about 3:10 AM MSK (5:10 AM local time, or 13 September 2008, 23:10 PM UTC). Perm's police said the crew attempted an emergency landing due to an engine failure. AFP reported 88 including 21 foreigners killed at 5:15 AM Perm time. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroflot_Flight_821

This is the same route that a Berlitz Instructor is expected to fly 7-10 times a year. Please stay away from this company, I personally witnessed that the center manager has no conscience and sees all instructors as her chattel. No one at Berlitz International ever answered my emails despite this horrible situation and repeated requests for assistance.

I do my research before speaking and this is what the research says about Aeroflot:
http://www.planecrashinfo.com/Airline/AL%20Aeroflot.htm

Shame on Berlitz Moscow for not honoring its contractual terms and endangering the lives of its foreign instructors with this shabby behavior and continuing to post a job in Perm that does not actually exist."

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Flying Teachers, Zurich Switzerland


Posted in defence of another school of Zurich. The poster can't resist taking a pot at another school though. Why? Defend your own school but not by attacking another saying it's worse.

"If you want to Blacklist a Zurich school try Flying Teachers - with a huge staff turnover and a massive interest only in making money, not in their teachers".

Any comments about Flying Teachers, Zurich - good or bad?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wall Street Institute Istanbul, Turkey

Posted on the Wall Street Institute, France section, but I've it placed under "Turkey". Any comments? It's very well written and totally credible.

"I just finished a year in WSI in Istanbul in Turkey. You know, I have mixed feelings about it all. I must say in terms of what they said would happen, did happen - pay was always always on time, and if the 1st was on the weekend when the office would be closed, then we would always get paid on the Friday before. I really don't think that any other school in Istanbul ever was so punctual.My biggest gripe personally was the pay - it was a starting rate of 1500 YTL a month which is about 1200 USD a month, which was okay, but it was very difficult to save anything especially at the start of the year, but towards the end of the year it got a little tight because of inflation; and also it seemed a little miserly because of what some of the other schools - just this month it has been put up to 1850 YTL as a starting rate, and it goes up again if you have experience / qualifications. There was none of the rubbish about if you get a no-show you don't get paid - I mean, there are international franchise rules about that and they should stick to them.I mean, the contract stipulated that we weren't supposed to have private students, but I was actively encouraged by my manager to get some - we were being employed illegally by the company because nobody except one or two people had work permits because they took such a long time to come through and nobody from the government came and checked either.What was annoying was the way the course was sold by the salesmen, one of the guys was a complete dick but he got paid the most, because he lied the most.We didn't get too much mouth from the students as teachers, because in Turkish culture, it's like Chinese culture - the teacher is revered, but some people who were really paying a lot of money to be there, would complain to us, and I knew exactly who to send them to!They would sell to people who could only come every two or three months, so would study English about six hours a month. One time I had someone come who hadn't been for six months, and had been studying like this on and off for two years thinking that this was perfectly ok for her English (because she had been reassured by the sales staff that it would be - that the system would allow for it) and she was really awful - I did a level check with her and she needed to be dropped down almost back to where she started two years ago; she was understandably annoyed and well, I didn't have to deal with it, because she was spewing off in Turkish, but the Turkish staff had to because of a really badly sold contract. The pay they gave the Turkish staff at reception and the tutors in the lab was really crap - we had such a high turnover, and they got some really bad shit from students who were complaining to them about things not living up to their expectations - I remember one women go absolutely ape-shit (does that have a hyphen? anyone?) at reception because the salesman had told her she could get a lesson, anytime, with as little notice as she wanted; I mean she was crazy, and I think her English got worse with us but she was just a product of the course being badly sold because of the commisions they get.Another incident that soured me with the Turkish management was one student was very late for the lesson, and I refused to do it with him, and directed him to reception to book another encounter. I mean he wasn't best pleased about it So far, so good.Once he leaves, the centre director speaks to me and has a huge argument with me about not taking him in - he's the manager of a big company, he could get us lots of sales, he's my friend (five minutes of the lateness was because of having a cigarette with the Director, followed by a promise that he could do the lesson even though he was late), thus, you made me look a fool, he can only come every six weeks because he lives in another city (actually closer to four other centres than this one) blah blah blah. I was so annoyed at him, because I used to have some respect for him - I thought he would put the educational achievement of the students above money - but that event just made me really dislike him - because it was all about money, money, money for him.And you know the student, came, two weeks later (miraculously bucking the six week problem), and he said that I was right, that it was pointless doing the lesson in thirty minutes because we needed the time to do it properly! In our centre, I was really lucky that I had a sympathetic native centre manager who actually cared about teaching English, vociferously complained about the pay to the upper management. It was generally a really pleasant atmosphere to work in. At the end of 12 months there, I was absolutely sick of the same lessons again and again and again, and that's why I didn't stick around for another contract. It is the McDonalds of English Language teaching; but you know, I saw some real progress there by some of the students, it was quick, but it was solid - it wasn't just going to fall away because they really worked hard; and I guess that made it worth it.Every country is different- I can't really talk about France - I would recommed WSI in Turkey to a new young ESL teacher, to get some good experience, but it's not hard, and after about seven months, I was really getting bored in classes, and I used to dread certain units. It's certainly not mentally taxing. And the pay reflects that - but they pay on time. And sometimes that's more important."
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sandy McManus - Speak Out Now!

I would like all EFL teachers to voice their support for Sandy McManus (founder of The TEFL Blacklist) by sending messages to the blogger who is responsible for attempting to silence him. Sandy has done more than anyone to expose the charlatans at work in EFL
Tell the swine to back off. He is at:

http://sandymcmanus.blogspot.com

You need to speak out and NOW.............. otherwise (muttering incoherently) I'm next in line.

BTW. Anyone spotted Paul Lowe?

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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English Grammar

Your intrepid sleuth read this on the BBC website and thought you might find it of interest and a change from the usual stuff. Comment away as much as you want - after all you are THE experts, aren't you?
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Grammar just ain't what it used to be, it seems. When we explained the difference between "fewer" and "less, following Tesco's policy shift on this matter, readers told us what grammar rules they see being flouted or find confusing. The list was a long one. Here are the best.

1. The one that really annoys me is how people suddenly seem to confuse "have" and "of", as in: "I could of learnt how to write properly." There's no excuse for it!
Pete, Sheffield

2. The phrase "for free" is becoming commonplace and is used often on television and it's wrong. It should be "for nothing".
Mary, Basingstoke

3. That guardian of our language, the BBC, is full of solecisms these days; just one example: 12 pm. There is no such time; "meridiem" as in am ("ante meridiem" means "before noon") and pm ("post meridiem" means "after noon") means midday. The 12th hour is neither before nor after midday. So please, BBC use either midday or noon with midnight the correct term for the other end of the day. This is not being pedantic; in these days of 24-hour days, it is often not readily apparent what time 12 pm might be.
Mervyn, Usk, Monmouthshire

4. If you do something to change a situation, then you "effect" a change. If your circumstances are changed by an action, then the change has caused an "effect". You cannot "affect" a change in something, nor can you be "effected" by one.
Rob, Lyme Regis

5. I get annoyed at the reckless use of apostrophes, for example, the plural of CD can't be CD's.
Shahed Alam, London

6. Many people, including public speakers, incorrectly use "I" instead of "me". For instance, they would say "She said some very kind things about George and I", thinking that they are being polite or grammatically correct. An easy way to remember which to use is: if you would say him or her on its own, use me; if you would say he or she on its own, use I. For example, "She said some very kind things about him".
Lorraine, Aylesbury

7. Incorrect use of reflexives make my blood boil. I think that for someone to say "yourself" and "myself" when they just mean "you" or "me" is possibly out of a false sense of politeness, or maybe the insidious effect of TV soaps, or both. Those who use it correctly can give "themselves" a pat on the back.
John Self, Wisset, Suffolk

8. How about "none of them is" and "none of them are"? Most people would use the latter whereas the former is correct. "None" is short for "not one" therefore "not one (none) of them is" would be used. Most newsreaders still get it right though - on the BBC anyway!
Emily, Bristol

NOTE: Fowler's Modern English Usage says that "none" is not short for "not one" and although using a singular verb is more common, using a plural verb has also been an acceptable option since the reign of King Alfred.

9. Similar TO, different FROM, compared WITH. Not "to" used for all of them!
Susan, Brisbane, Australia

NOTE: Fowler's Modern English Usage says: "The commonly expressed view that 'different' should only be followed by 'from' and never by 'to' or 'than' is not supportable in the face of past and present evidence or of logic." It adds that "compare to" is to liken and "compare with" or "compare to" is used to point out similarities and differences. The BBC News website style guide differs with Fowler's on this last point. It says that when pointing out differences, "compare with" should always be used.

10. Here's one they often get wrong on BBC news! BBC reporter: "Then they opened fire on us". This is incorrect. In military terms there are two methods of shooting at an enemy, controlled-fire and open-fire. I.E. you are not opening anything so using the past tense of open is incorrect. The correct expression should be "Then they open-fired on us"
JWTH, Belfast

11. I find the increasing, incorrect use of "literally" annoying.... "I literally went blue with anger!!" "Really?" I ask.
Ned, Wallingford

12. The proper use of "its" and "it's" seems to confound many people, with "its" being a possessive and "it's" being a contraction of "it is". I've seen this mistake made even in some rather lofty publications...
Eric, Berlin

13. It annoys me when people use "due to" when they mean "owing to". But then I'm a pedant.
Guy, London

NOTE: The BBC News website style guide says "due to" means "caused by" and needs a noun, but "owing to" means "because of" and relates to a verb. Hence, "the visit was cancelled [cancelled is the verb] owing to flooding" is correct. So too is "the flooding [flooding is the noun] was due to weeks of heavy rain".

14. As a secondary teacher, I'm beginning to despair when it comes to "they're", "there" and "their"; not to mention "to", "two" and "too". Why are we so afraid to correct these simple mistakes which make all the difference at a later stage?
Alexandra, London

15. There is also confusion over lend and borrow. I keep hearing school children asking "to lend your pencil" when what they actually mean is to "borrow" the pencil.
Ian Walton, Bedford

16. I cringe when I hear BBC reporters say "amount of people" when it should be "number of people"!
Jill Thistlethwaite, Leyburn, UK

NOTE: Fowler's says "amount" is used with nouns that are not countable, such as "amount of forgiveness" and "amount of glue" - but "number" is used with countable nouns, such as "number of boys" and "number of houses".

17. I don't like it when people say: I can go there "by foot" instead of "on foot"....the right preposition to use is ON.
Daniela, Urbana, IL

18. The usage that I find particularly irritating is that of a single noun with a plural verb, for example: "the team are happy with their victory", or "management have congratulated the workforce on the recent increase in productivity". Team is a singular noun so it should read "the team IS happy..." or "the team members ARE happy", the same applies "management HAS congratulated..." Also, what has happened to the word "versus", abbreviated "vs"? Now all we see is "v"; it is even read like that in sports announcements.
Lucia, Horndean, UK

NOTE: The BBC News website's style is that sports teams and pop/rock bands are always plural.

19. A classic confusing rule is the one that states that one is supposed never to end a sentence with a preposition. While this is easy and appropriate to follow in most cases, for example by saying "Yesterday I visited the town to which she has just moved" instead of "...the town she has just moved to", it becomes troublesome when the verb structure includes a preposition that cannot be removed from it, as in "At work I am using a new computer with which my manager recently set me up", which cannot correctly be changed to "...I am using a new computer up with which my manager recently set me".
Philip Graves, Stockholm, Sweden

20. Stadiums, as a plural of stadium, rather than stadia.
C. Matthews, Birmingham, UK

NOTE: Fowler's says that when dealing with modern sports grounds, rather than ones from the classical world, the plural is "stadiums".

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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JUNG JIN KUG (JJK) ACADEMY, Korea

Posted on the "Korea section". Any comments?

"I'm not sure where to put a post about an academy not yet mentioned, but I'd appreciate if you put it under a separate heading "JUNG JIN KUG (JJK) ACADEMY BLACKLIST" . Terrible place to work. It's tiny and filthy (nothing gets cleaned ever; they mop ONLY with water) the staff are surly and the boss is abusive. For example: No pension given, although it's South Korean labor policy. No medical insurance given, although its South Korean labor policy. Steers you (uninsured) toward incompetent doctors. I've gotten only 1/2 sick day the whole year; the contract promises me 3 (I asked to take one, when I had tonsilitis/laringytis and was denied, and yelled at for asking.) Fourteen vacation days were promised, and ten given (all chopped into small holidays mandated by the director.) These are all ILLEGAL practices. Practices by JJK Academy that are LEGAL but insufferable are: you get a tiny, uninsulated apartment. The director is nosy and abusive, I have been yelled at multiple times by the director and his wife both. The school is a mess, schedule-wise, and I've never been told what I'm supposed to be teaching. NO training given. They're doing poorly, so there is NO discipline in order to keep the students. STAY AWAY!!!"
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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