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

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

i-to-i TEFL


Live Travel Earn?

Just a suspicion and the Inspector may be wrong but a recent scouring of the Internet led your intrepid sleuth to believe that many sites critical of i-to-i TEFL have been taken over by i-to-i TEFL themselves. As the saying goes, if you can't beat them buy them (or something like that).

Is this invasion of the body snatchers in TEFL?

Check it out for yourself. Do a google on "The TEFL-blacklist" and see how many sites default to the i-to-i TEFL website.

If your noble sleuth is wrong and has over indulged on fermented yaks milk please do let him know.

You can find the entry on i-to-i TEFL by clicking here.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Korean Foreign Teacher Recruiting Association


The Inspector, as his readers know, has never ever heard of a good Korean school. Any job offers from Korea should all be treated with extreme caution.

What a cheek then for "Korean Foreign Teacher Recruiting Association" to set up a teacher blacklist. So now any teacher daring to complain about shoddy treatment in the land of the hot dog "literally -it's a national dish with real woof woofs" now gets blacklisted!

Barge poles out and at the ready troops. If ever you hear of the "Korean Foreign Teacher Recruiting Association" head for the hills. They are well and truly blacklisted.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Saturday, November 24, 2007

The British Council, Cairo

kgec
The Inspector's hat goes off to Sandy McManus for having unearthed this awful job offer. Advertised on Tefl.com, here it is - including spelling mistakes:

The British Council, Cairo is recruiting a Training co-ordinator to begin at the start of January. You will be responsible for developing the British Council’s in-house and external teacher training capacity, as well as for the training and development of newly qualified members of the teaching staff. Duties may include working on in-service distance DELTA and locally-run CELTA training courses. Applicants will need teacher training skills and should be an approved Local Tutor for DELTA.
This post offers the opportunity to work in a thriving teaching centre delivering a range of course types. Teachers are encouraged to develop their professional skills through the PMPD cycle, and the opportunities that Cairo as a regional training centre offers (including DELTA and Teacher Training). Cairo is a safe 24-hour city with restaurants, shopping and leisure facilities to suit all tastes.
The closing date for applications is 11 November. Further information online at http://trs.britishcouncil.org or write to steve.oxley@britishcouncil.org.eg for an application form.

Egyptian authorities will only award a visa to British Council teachers who possess a UK passport. Egyptians do not need a visa in order to work in Cairo.
Preferred nationalities: Egypt, United Kingdom
Preferred qualifications: CELTA, Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, Trinity Cert. TESOL, Trinity certificate or equivalent TEFL qualification
Native English speaker/s only
Teaching experience: 4 years minimum
Qualifications
UK or Egyptian passport essential. English native speaker or equivalent ability.
TEFL certificate (CELTA or equivalent) plus a minimum of 4 years post-certificate teaching experience.
Experience of training teachers involved in a wide range of classes, levels and age groups is also essential. Local DELTA tutor status is desirable, as is a British educational background.

Compensation
Salary is paid in two elements: £3600 per annum paid in Sterling, to a UK bank account. Plus a local salary paid in Egyptian Pounds on a variable scale according to qualifications and experience. The scale ranges from LE 69180 to 89352 per annum.
Additional allowance of LE 350 per month for extra responsibilities.
Air fares to and from the UK / Egypt are paid for you and accomapanying dependents. Generous baggage allowance, plus medical insurance for you and accompanying dependents.
35 days annual, plus another 5 days until further notice. Settling-in allowance plus time off for finding accommodation.
32 hours of Arabic language training is also provided free of charge.


As Sandy points out the local salary only actually amounts to a few hundred pounds a month, accommodation isn't included and more to the point the job description is less inviting than a couple of years in a Siberian salt mine. Now what was that expression.......... something like if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Well if anyone accepts this "job?" they need their head examined.

Methinks this job will probably win next years TEFL Oscars for the worst TEFL job in 2007.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Windsor TEFL and Paul Lowe - Truth will Out


It seems that young whippersnapper Sandy McManus has got himself into a spot of bother again. It would appear that Windsor Tefl and Mr Paul Lowe are in need of a another good cucumbering. The Inspector has received this request for help and as always your beloved sleuth will go where angels fear to tread.


Read part one of the Windsor-Tefl saga here....
And after a good slug of fermeted yaks milk (on the rocks) read part two

Oh dear! Please do your best to publicise this ... or something!!

"Sandy"

Blog-City Ltd wrote:
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 12:38:21 +0100
From: Blog-City Ltd
To: teflsandy@yahoo.ie
Subject: [blog-city] Legal Requirement

Hi Sandy,

We've had correspondence from Edwin Coe LLP on behalf of a Mr. Paul Lowe. As you can well imagine from the first sentence of this email, he's not writing to wish us well :)

Could you please, as per our terms and conditions in this matter, remove ALL references to Mr Lowe and his "Windsor TEFL" company.

All references need to be removed within 24 hours or we have to do it
for you. We are not obliged (even though asked) to give any information
about you whatsoever, we can only hand over such information to a law
enforcement agent. We need only take down the defamation until a court order says we have permission to put it back up.

If you would like the name and address of the solicitor to press for a
court process, I can oblige. Bear in mind however at this moment they do not know who you are or where you live and if you contact them, this information will be used to press charges against you I suspect.

If you can let me know when all references are removed, I will confirm
via email I concur you have complied willingly.

-Mayoress,
Blog-City Ltd.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

TEFL International



Complete ignorance is no excuse. A rap over the knuckles for Inspector McHammered of the Lard. Many thanks to Lozza for alerting the Inspector. Both ELT World and TEFL Watch cover this story in greater depth. The postings are preserved for posterity here just in case they get pulled or are bullied off the web. They are edited in parts as some of the allegations are a bit close to the bone. This story clearly needs a transparent and full response from Bruce at Tefl International as the allegations are very serious.
...............
Courtesy of Tefl Watch..........
Firstly, I believe TEFL International markets their teaching English as a second / foreign language courses in a dishonest way. For example, in their advertisements, the Oregon Institute of Overseas Education is shown to have made what appears to me to be a special agreement with TEFL International. That sounds very interesting indeed. A quick visit to the OIEE website shows that they have an impressive array of international experiences and internships available, that is until one digs a bit deeper. I discovered that many of the experiences centered around TEFL International TEFL courses.

At this page http://www.teflintl.com/internships.htm , I discovered that it is claimed that the OIEE is a US non-profit organization. I decided that I would check out the online search facilities and see if it was registered in Oregon. I didn’t find a listing for it at the Secrettary of State’s website. I discovered this tidbit “TEFL International teacher training is validated by Oregon Institute of International Education” at http://www.teflintlindia.com/language_06.htm .

So just who owns the Oregon Institute of International Education? A whois shows a company in India (not Oregon??) and it’s hosted on the same server that hosts TEFL International. A little more searching and we get this address, 38/53-55 Moo 1, Klaeng, Muang, Rayong 21160, THAILAND from http://www.oiie.org/Coutactus.htm . Now, how many of you think that TEFL International owns the Oregon Institute of International Education?

This begs the question, why would TEFL International need to invent an institute that they own and then say that the organization that they own is connected to themselves and has endorsed them? Is self validation a good thing? Is this very transparent?

Honesty isn’t about one issue in my book. To think that a course provider is dishonest, I think one needs a bit more proof. I didn’t have to look far to see more issues. One example is TEFL International’s implied(at least as I think when I read it) claim of connection to the University of Washington. Ok, maybe they don’t come out and claim it, but I can’t help but think they are claiming it when I take a look at a website of TEFL International’s and see the University of Washington name. I can in fact remember back when I heard that TEFL International students could apply for credit at the U of W. Not so, at least according to reports I have seen from people claiming to work at the University of Washington. If TEFL International was not connected with the University of Washington and they made claim to the contrary, would that be dishonest? I can’t tell you, but I’m sure you can answer it in your own mind.

TEFL International is an Oregon Non-Profit Corporation. They are organized as a Public Benefit non-profit company. Some doubt the claim, but I have verified it. TEFL International is required to file Charity Reports with the Oregon government as well. I checked out the website and the last time one was filed was back in 2005. I think they are a bit late in their filings, but I am not sure. One thing that has struck me though is the number of complaints I have heard that the owner and CEO of TEFL International is misappropriating funds. As a non-profit public benefit corporation, it’s my understanding that they need to look out for the public benefit and shouldn’t benefit their directors. I am curious what kind of oversight the Oregon government is giving to a company that is registered in their state.

I saw their 2005 report and it was interesting, revenue of less than $800,000. That means about 500 students at $1500 a pop. I find that hard to believe. They give courses in so many locations, I feel very sure the number is higher than that. What about the people who go for the 6 month internships? It seems like the number they are quoting is on the low side. But maybe I am wrong. I wonder what it would take to audit the books of TEFL International? Since it is a public benefit corporation, are the books open for the public to look at? If they are submitting false reports to the state of Oregon, is that honest?

In the next part, we will look more at the business practices of TEFL International, including the treatment of teachers and trainees. We will investigate more the ramifications of taking a course at TEFL International. We will attempt to answer the big what if question, what happens if a course provider goes out of business. The only disclaimer I give you is that all of the above is opinion and you are encouraged to check out the opinion I gave for yourself and see what you come up with.

Most of the comments in support of TEFL International seem to be focused on the quality of the course in Ban Phe and its trainer. Nothing in its induction should be construed as a statement on the quality of their TEFL course, instead its a focus on their business practices as we see it. The business practices seem to me to be downright dirty at best.

“Nemesis” and “Andy”, the two administrators of TEFLWatch, have been involved in a merry go round of emails with Bruce V, the head of TEFL International. At issue is the part I of this series, it was an opinion piece and well labeled as such. From what I understand in the emails he has been sending, it seems that he doesn’t want people to state their opinions. This begs the question, why does the owner and CEO of TEFL International not want people state their opinion?

Bruce V also admitted in email to contacting the boss of our admin Nemesis. Nemesis feels as though the contact occurred before he was asked to leave from the school, Bruce claims it was after Nemesis was asked to leave from the school. Either way, how did Bruce know what school Nemesis worked at? How did Bruce V know Nemesis’ full name? Very few people knew Nemesis’ personal information, just the admin of Ajarn.com and the admin of Ajarnforum.net. In fact, Nemesis received a personal message from LDMA, the admin of Ajarn.com saying that Bruce V knew the personal information of Nemesis and was looking for him. Either way, they claim not to have divulged the information, but it all just sounds creepy to me. I have a creepy feeling about Bruce V.

Edit: More truth has come to light and this needs to be corrected slightly. Bruce did not contact Nemesis’ current school at the time, he contacted a previous school and Bruce claims it was AFTER Nemesis had left Thailand. Bruce did not have some personal information that he was thought to have had. LDMA, for his own reasons, relayed to Nemesis that Bruce had information, including Nemesis’ real name, Ajarn Forum nick, and current school. There are still some questions left, but not for Bruce, rather for the owner of Ajarn Forum.

This is not a witch hunt against TEFL International, it is a genuine warning against what we feel to be creepy business practices by the supposed largest provider of TEFL Courses in the world.

TEFL International not only trains teachers, but has work programs. One project currently being run is their Thai Special Project. They train teachers for a month and then farm them out to schools. After a few months they give them a TEFL certificate. It sounds like a good deal, but the devil is in the details.

I talked to one member of the project in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. He recounted how he was picked up in the airport with a group of other trainees. The van brought to pick them up was woefully too small, as if no one even knew how many trainees were expected. Trainees didn’t receive a month of intense training, instead they received a few days of training and were sent to work at schools. Trainees felt disappointed at the management of the program that they paid good money for. Bruce V promised to make it right, but some trainees felt he was holding the TEFL certificates hostage. Teachers put in a woefully inadequate program would be out their money and time..and have no TEFL certificate if they quit or get fired because they tell the truth.

There are also allegations that TEFL International and Bruce V has outstanding salary obligations that they have failed to meet. One teacher claims to have been waiting since February for his salary when it is alleged that Bruce V bought out an agency and then abruptly ended the contracts early so he could avoid paying summer salary.

Now, granted Bruce V has claimed that TEFL International is not related to TIEC, the agency bought out. They just happen to be owned by the same man, Bruce V. According to what I was able to see, it looks like Special Program Trainees are being placed at schools that TIEC has contracts with. If TIEC is totally unrelated to TEFL International, then is TEFL International, a US non-profit, getting paid properly by supplying workers to TIEC? Is Bruce V getting personal benefit from TEFL International? Is there a conflict of interest?

My father always told me that when a company is failing to pay wages due, is delivering a sub-standard product, and skirting the law, you had better stand clear of that company. I’ll let you be the judge whether or not this applies to TEFL International.

So what does this all mean to current and former trainees? Well, if TEFL International folded, there is no external accreditation of the TI TEFL course and therefore the value of the certificate would be unknown, unlike Trinity and CELTA TEFL courses that still maintain their value even after a course provider closes down. I guess only time will tell.


And finally courtesy of ELT World....

TEFLWatch has been reporting on this story for awhile, but it needs to get out to a larger audience. I'll just give the facts.

1) TEFL International bought out an agency that supplies teachers in Thailand. He took over them in January. He had teachers on contract through the end of March and the end of April. At the end of January, all teachers were paid. At the end of February, Bruce ordered his right hand man in Songkhla Thailand, to cancel the work permit and visas for ALL of the teachers. He paid most, but not all of the teachers their salaries for February. Sine March and April are vacations(but covered as paid in the contract), he told the teachers that they were laid off and he wouldn't pay them for March and April.

2) One teacher, who was the only foreigner teacher at his school, didn't get his salary for February. He was paid for January, but not February. They gave him a run around and then he came to TEFLWatch. Bruce has said that he won't pay this teacher until this teacher removes all of his postings about TEFL International.

3) During the firing of teachers in February. Bruce's right hand man, under direction from Bruce, tried to get one particular teacher arrested on trumped up charges of XXXXXXXXXXXXX (censored until some solid proof arrives by your noble sleuth).

4) In May, after the vacation, he had replaced the teachers with trainees who were paying to take his course. He also had the teachers open account where he was a signatory on the accounts so that he would have access to their bank accounts at all times.

5) Bruce's right hand man realized that he was duped by Bruce into doing some very evil things and he has repented and is trying to help teachers affected by TEFL International.

Bruce of TEFL International has written off both #1 and #2 cash flow problems that weren't his fault. I'm sorry, I don't accept that. If you don't wages to your teachers, I don't care if you have cash flow problems or not, you are a bad employer.

The worst thing of all is that Bruce is now trying to get the teacher mentioned in #2 jailed. See, in civilized countries, truth is an absolute defense of libel and slander charges. Not so in thailand. Now, TEFL International is trying to jail this teacher. I have no doubt he'll be successful in that since it's obvious that negative things were said about the company, but it's the truth. Of course, in Thai courts, the truth matters little.

The only chance to stop this largesse of TEFL international is to spread the word. Bruce controls ESL Cafe and most other major tefl sites through his advertising budget. I'm asking that we spread this word. If they do jail this teachers, I want it every newspaper. I want it know that TEFL International jailed a teacher because that teacher complained that they didn't their salary.

Now, Bruce is going to find out about this thread. He'll come here and talk a lot about how much he is a victim of vicious lies. He'll go on and on about that. I've seen it myself. Unfortunately, he's admitted to not paying his teachers what they are due. That's hardly the actions of a victim.

Keep this in mind. His money has silenced more threads on ESL cafe than anyone else. He has cheated teachers out of their due salary. He is trying to jail a teacher.

What do you think? Victim or victimizer?


Well I never! is there any truth in the above litany of alleged sins?

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Saturday, October 20, 2007

ITC-training.com - International Tefl Certificate Barcelona


This tale of woe which happened a few years ago in Barcelona, Spain has been saved for posterity, as the company in question still appears to be trading. This is not an official blacklisting more of a warning to be careful when dealing with this organisation. If they care to respond I'd be more than happy to post anything they have to say and as usual if they are innocent will amend or remove the article (which appeared in The Prague Post as their head office appears to be based in the Czech Republic). They may well be a type of Catus Tefl outfit selling anything to anyone as long as the commision is right, so your beloved Inspector feels that a warning notice needs to be published to all you unsuspecting Teflers.

Angry students struggle for refund

Company boss says money repaid, denies wrongdoing

By Peter Kononczuk
Staff Writer, The Prague Post

Angry students claim a Prague-based training company left them stranded in Spain after canceling their course and then -- for months, despite repeated promises -- failed to refund the fees they had paid to train as English-language teachers.

The owner of ITC International TEFL Certificate s.r.o., Iva Brozova, denies she defrauded clients. She insists that students who were owed money have been repaid, and that her firm has had a good record for a decade.

However, her company has had its membership canceled by the College of Teachers, a professional body that says ITC has not complied with rules requiring integrity and conduct that does not bring the profession into disrepute.

Around 18 people, most from the United States, enrolled in an October course in Barcelona run by ITC, which is based in an office on Kaprova street, near Prague's Old Town Square.

Bridget Lynott said she paid 1,050 euros ($1,400) for the four-week program in teaching English as a foreign language, known as TEFL, a type of qualification required by many language schools around the world.

"I left my work and home to relocate to Barcelona. I paid for accommodation, health insurance and flights," Lynott said. "However, upon my arrival in Spain, on Oct. 7, a representative of ITC informed me that the course was canceled. On Oct. 8 the office was closed down ... I was unable to reach anyone in Prague or Barcelona and my messages went unanswered."

Lynott said her fellow students have filed a complaint with the FBI in the United States and with police in Barcelona.

After The Prague Post spoke to Brozova, Lynott said Dec. 20 that the ITC boss had finally assured her a refund has been made and faxed Lynott a receipt of the money transfer.

"As of yet, I have not received any money but it can take up to several days," Lynott added.

However, Nicole Flessati, a 29-year-old Swiss-American, who teaches English in Barcelona, said she had not been repaid the fees she paid for the canceled October course.

Other students who signed up for training in Spain are also angry.

"Many of us saved up all of our money for this trip and changed our lives around to travel across the world only to do this program," said 22-year-old Bob Murphy of Chicago, speaking by phone from Madrid.

"The majority of us are recent college graduates who spent all of their money on the course along with flight, insurance, and housing," he added. "I, however, was extremely fortunate because my bank returned the majority of my money to me because of 'services unrendered.' I was very lucky though."

Erwin Ebens, 40, told The Prague Post that he was the director of an ITC course in Barcelona in September, which was interrupted when staff walked out.

"The owner was often late paying many staff. That's why many of them left. They did not want to work in those circumstances," Ebens said. "By the fourth week of the course, all the staff had walked out in Barcelona -- four part-time freelancers and me. It was very stressing and unpleasant."

Ebens said he agreed to come back and finish overseeing the last two days of the program.

"To date, some staff still have not been fully paid. I am still owed about 1,000 euros by ITC," Ebens added.

Conflicting versions

Brozova, however, gave a different version of events. She insists that her firm is not in financial difficulties, says staff members have been paid and denies that students arriving in Barcelona were left stranded.

"The trainers delivered the whole product [in September] ... There was a health problem with the main trainer, and that's why we also canceled the October course," Brozova said.

She added, "All money was returned to the clients' accounts," and said students had been warned beforehand that the October course had been canceled.

Brozova said that over the past 10 years her company had graduated more than 3,000 students.

"They are satisfied and successful. The October course is the first we have ever canceled," she continued, adding that students were offered a January course in Prague as a replacement without extra payment.

Meanwhile, a number of the students were incredulous that ITC was still listing courses in Barcelona next year on its Web site, even though the firm says it will scrap its training programs in the Spanish city from January.

Challenged Dec. 20 as to why Barcelona courses were still being advertised on the Internet, Brozova simply replied: "It's not on the Web site." Barcelona courses were still on the site as of the morning of Dec. 21 but were removed that afternoon.

On the reasons that the Barcelona program would be shelved, Brozova said "the rules are getting more and more strict," for Americans who want to work in Spain, and "we do also try to find a job for our graduates, so it doesn't make any sense for Americans to go to Spain, not being able to work there."

Meanwhile, a woman who said she worked at ITC's Prague office until she quit on Dec. 14 said she thought it was "really wrong" that the company was still listing a training program in Barcelona on the Internet at the time she resigned.

"It's part of the reason I left. There were a lot of decisions made that are totally against my ethics. I think it has to stop," said the woman, who asked not to be named.

She added, "I don't want to be responsible for a course breaking halfway through and then having to deal with all the people who put all their savings into this and who then come with all these expectations and then [have] their dreams shattered. That would be awful."

The woman added that she believed courses run by ITC in Prague would continue unaffected.

Membership canceled

Matthew Martin, a spokesman for the College of Teachers, a body for the teaching profession in Britain that awards accreditation for schools internationally, said his organization has rescinded ITC's membership. He added, however, that as far as its course material was concerned, ITC was "a very reputable organization."

Brozova suggested that a business rival had written to the College of Teachers to complain against her company.


_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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TEFL Jobs in Spain


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The Pain in Spain

Much as the Inspector has maligned the Guardian for hidden link selling to those shysters Cactus Tefl, here is an article from the Guardian well worth reading..............

Tales of bad employers abound in the Spanish Tefl industry. Jasper Knight tells you how to spot a good job and how to protect yourself once you get it.

Spanish friends often bemoan that while living in Spain is great, working in Spain is not. Private language academies are no exception and tales of unfair work practices, exploitative employers, poor pay and dubious payslips are all too common.
There are positive aspects to working for an academy. In contrast to private classes, they provide financial stability (some even pay a salary) - many classes last the academic year and there are fewer cancellations.

Through an academy, morning and afternoon classes are far easier to find - these are times that are notoriously difficult to fill with private classes. Most provide materials, a course outline and the Head of Studies is on hand to provide help and advice, which can be essential when teaching children. Academies are also good places to find private classes, either through recommendation or by subtly poaching students.

The problem in Spain is that there aren't many academies that treat their employees very well. Academies recommended by teachers are few and far between. Also, they are not altruistic educational institutions, but businesses that need to turn a profit. The student is the client, and what is good for business is not necessarily good for students or staff.

Some academies put students into the next level even if they fail, so that they continue to receive their money. This makes teaching harder. Many people who run academies appear unconcerned if their students don't learn anything. To them, the teacher's job seems to be to entertain, to ensure students are happy and, more importantly, to keep the euros rolling in. Experienced teachers expect nothing less, and many prefer to be left to teach what they want, how they want.

Legally, all employers have to give their staff contracts. After one year, employees are entitled to a permanent contract, with paid holidays and no dismissal without a redundancy payment. Academies get around this by offering temporary contracts for seven or eight months, and rehire teachers after the summer.

The holidays are therefore a period of uncertainty and worry. Teachers have to find additional employment in July, August and September, often working in summer schools or living off savings. Some contracts state that they finish at the "end of the course", leaving plenty of room for interpretation - some teachers have been given just one day's notice. Be warned that the academic year finishes on June 30th, and contracts may be terminated even if classes run until the end of July.

A contract is only really important if teachers plan to stay for the longer term, but many teachers work without a contract because they aren't given the choice. If teachers are working legally, they and their employers have to make social security payments.

Working for a year entitles you to three months' unemployment benefit at 70% of your salary. The Spanish benefits system is modelled on a savings scheme - it is your money, and it is set aside for you. However, very few academies declare everything you earn. Instead, many only declare between 10% and 50% of your salary - the rest is handed to you in an envelope. This creative accounting means that when it comes to claiming unemployment benefit, teachers are entitled to very little.

According to the agreement made between the government and the unions, teachers should earn 8.90 euros an hour. Assuming that English teachers do 30 minutes' preparation, arrive 10 minutes early for class and travel around one hour for every hour they teach, ¿8.90 is not a good deal.

Some academies pay less, while others pay up to ¿20 an hour. Teachers work, on average, 20 hours a week. Some teachers may be salaried to work 10 hours but will actually work more and only get paid for 10. Wages in Spain are generally bad. Since the introduction of the euro, prices (especially property) have increased while wages have not. Marking extra exams, writing reports, collecting and dropping things off, taxiing other teachers to classes in the academy's car, meetings and preparing specialised topics also take up more of the teachers' time. All of which is covered in the hourly rate for contact classes.

Teachers have been told that they can't be sick; one girl who had lost her voice still had to give her classes by writing on the board. Bullying is not unheard of. Some managers use meetings as a platform to publicly criticise teachers to the point where staff are literally terrified in case they have done something wrong; no matter how petty, small or ridiculous. One teacher ended up having anxiety attacks before meetings. Friends have spoken of being insulted and shouted at in front of students for minor things. These are extreme examples, but they are too often heard.

So why do teachers put up with it? Competition is tough and teachers know that, if they complain, they won't be rehired in September. Some academies receive five to 10 CVs a week, meaning that teachers can be replaced, as one manager put it, "with one phone call". In reality, a contract offers little security.

So what is the best way to deal with exploitative employers? Don't be afraid of moving on, try to work for at least two academies, and find as many private classes as possible. Talk to other teachers to discover the employers that take care of and listen to their staff. However few, they do exist; you just have to look for them.


_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Tarred With the Same Brush?

The Daily Telegraph had this to say about the arrest of the suspected paedophile Christopher Neil:

According to Rosalind Prober of Beyond Boarders, a Canadian Organisation that combats child sex tourism, many offenders use teaching as a cover for their activities.

"The children are sitting ducks. This is their teacher. This is someone you trust and tells you what to do," she said.

"You very quickly get trapped. There is such a level of control and power by a teacher. It’s multiplied when it comes to a foreign teacher."

She published a conversation conducted on the internet by two Western teachers in the region.

"I am having a wonderful time with them sexually. Some of them are very interesting. There is never a dull moment," wrote one of them. "Last night, four boys spent the night and I like all four of them."


What a great advert for TEFL.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Inspector Flees to Spain

Yes dear readers. Twas a narrow escape down the fire escape in fact, trousers down by the ankles with Lady McHammered hot on my heels. That's definitely the last time I try the missionary position. I've cricked the old back which should cool the love life a tad. Pity to have had to head for the "ausfahrt" so suddenly without so much as an "auf wiedersehen" to the gorgeous Ingrid, as a good time was being had by all concerned, at least until that old strumpet, Lady McHammered, burst into the hotel room with a horse whip. She had me fingered, so to speak, and clearly I needed to put as much distance as possible between the old battleaxe's whip and my buttocks.
Anyway as there's a fair amount of bulls**t around in the TEFL world I felt a strong pull towards Spain. Definitely loads of bull down there I muttered to myself as I boarded the night train, so I've now found a discrete hotel in a back street of Pamplona and will be reporting to you all about the state of TEFL in EspaƱa once I've settled the old nerves with a strong tot of fermented yak's milk (on the rocks).

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Supernova?


• noun (pl. supernovae /sooprnovee, syoo-/ or supernovas) Astronomy a star that undergoes a catastrophic explosion, becoming suddenly very much brighter. Source The Oxford Dictionary.

So what on earth is actually going on. Your intrepid sleuth reported a few weeks back that rumblings of a stellar proportion were emanating from the land of the rising bum. Here are a few juicy pieces reported about the dodgy things happening at NOVA Japan.

This is what the Sydney Evening Herald reported last week......

Hundreds of Australian teachers of English in Japan should "start making contingency plans", the Government has warned, as erratic behaviour by language school colossus NOVA this week fuelled more predictions of an impending collapse.

Dozens of foreign staff at NOVA, which employs more than 1000 Australians, have reportedly been given eviction notices because the corporate giant has failed to pay the rent on their apartments, despite in some cases deducting it from their wages.

Japanese students were in tears outside the biggest NOVA school in Fujisawa, south of Tokyo, yesterday, after arriving to find the school had been evicted from its building for defaulting on rent.

Roughly 2000 Japanese staff had yesterday not been paid by NOVA for more than a week, and some young foreign employees have gone three weeks without wages, the foreign workers union said. Several teachers told the Herald they had been forced to borrow money to eat.

One 27-year-old from Melbourne, working in Chiba, said he had been forced to eat only rice and instant miso soup for a week while waiting for his pay, which arrived two weeks late: "Many of those were one-meal-a-day affairs. We're not loaded - a lot of us live week to week."

NOVA controls half of Japan's billion-dollar private English-teaching industry. It has saturated the country with 925 schools - but has recently admitted it will have to close more than 200 of them - and employs 5000 foreigners, more than any other Japanese company.

But a combination of overexpansion and corporate fraud has brought the giant chain to the brink of collapse. If it goes under, it will become the country's biggest corporate casualty, leaving thousands of foreigners jobless and without visas.

CEO Nozomu Sahashi was due to make an announcement yesterday, prompting rumours that NOVA could be partially bought out, but he has postponed the statement until next week. Company spokesman Yoshiyuki Kurabe denied that schools were being kicked out of their offices, and said that NOVA was "implementing measures to provide a stable environment for its students".

Even as the Australian Embassy in Tokyo was telling anxious callers to "start making contingency plans", NOVA was bringing out new teachers last week.

However, the Australian Asia Centre for Education Exchange released a terse statement on its website last Monday to say: "AACE no longer conducts recruitment on behalf of Nova Group in Japan."

Natasha Steele, a 25-year-old from Sydney who has been teaching for NOVA at Fujisawa for nine months, was kicked out of her apartment after the company failed to pay the rent.

Another teacher, 24-year-old Jerry Johnston from the US working in Takamatsu, said he had been given an eviction notice despite the fact NOVA had deducted the rental money from his wages. "Why hasn't the Japanese government intervened yet? It's been going on for weeks."

A spokesman for the National Union of General Workers said that "there are 400,000 students who might not get thousands of yen in tuition fees back. It would be like a bank going down, with no guarantees or security for the investors".



The background is well documented by Wiki ........
Concerns about refund policy
On February 14, 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted on-the-spot inspections at Nova Headquarters in Osaka and several other branches.[38] Officials said that several Nova schools failed to give full refunds to students who canceled their remaining lessons after paying in advance. Other clients said that Nova refused to accept unconditional cancellation of lessons, claiming the eight-day "cooling-off" period had expired, and had also deceived students by giving false information about their cancellation procedures.The Kyoto Consumers Contract Network NPO also expressed similar concerns.Reductions in the number of teaching staff since 2004 had created a situation where students found it increasingly difficult to schedule classes, precipitating a substantial increase in complaints.During the February office inspections the Ministry had discovered a memo in which Nova President Nozomu Sahashi stated there was no need to stop pushing sales despite difficulties meeting student reservations due to teachers shortages.Consumer centers nationwide have received more than 1,000 complaints and queries regarding Nova annually and The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan says it received some 7,600 complaints or inquiries about Nova's contract and cancellation policies from 1996 to March 2007. Under Nova's system, students buy points in advance to pay for their lessons. The larger number of points they buy in bulk, the smaller the per-class fees. The case taken to the top court involved a former student who had purchased 600 points at a rate of 1,200 yen per lesson. The student canceled the contract after using up 386 points, but Nova offered a refund based on a calculation that 300 points were bought. That meant it cost 1,750 yen per lesson. Nova said the value of the used points should be calculated as having been bought in smaller lots.
The Asahi Shimbun cites an example of a contract for 100 lessons, which would cost 230,000 yen in advance, for a per-lesson fee of 2,300 yen. A contract for 600 lessons would require an advance payment of 720,000 yen, or 1,200 yen per class. But if a person with a contract for 600 lessons cancels after taking only 100 classes, Nova applies the fee of 2,300 yen per lesson, and the student receives a refund of 490,000 yen. Such students say the contract for 1,200 yen per lesson should apply in these cases, which would mean a refund of 600,000 yen.


Delayed Wages
On September 14, 2007, Nova delayed wages to many of its teaching staff. Many teachers who had previously resigned, are still waiting for salary payments from the month of July.[citation needed] The NAMBU Foreign Workers Caucus in Tokyo estimated that up to 3,000 had not received their salaries on time. According the the Sydney Morning Herald, some teachers said they were owed thousands of dollars and others posted messages expressing the intent to quit. Nova President Nozomu Sahashi issued a statement saying it had not been possible to complete all the necessary operations to deposit instructor salaries'. As a result of Nova delaying the payment of salaries, the Sankei Shimbun reported that insecurity spread amongst both staff and students surrounding the possible closures of Nova branches. On September 20, 2007, one teacher who demonstrated outside of Nova's office in Osaka was quoted as saying 'I've already heard about the possible closures of 200 to 300 branches across the country. Nova no longer has the ability to pay the salaries of teachers and staff'. By September 25, 2007, the cash flow problems had not improved and Nova President Nozomu Sahahshi mortgaged 9 million shares of company stock (which included 1.18 million of his own personal shares) for the purposes of raising working capital. Nova Corp. said that they were not involved in planning the transaction.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Children's English Centre, Hong Kong


There's a couple of interesting coments in the "nominate a school for blacklisting section" reprinted here. Anyone like to add to any comments? The Inspector is always a tad bilious when faced with a plate of chop suey and has yet to venture to Hong Kong. Rumour has it that they have an invountary organ donor scheme in place for those that transgress and therefore as one of life's great transgressors I prefer to hang on to my bodily parts and have so far kept well clear of the place.

Comment 1.
CHILDREN'S ENGLISH CENTRE HONG KONG - stay well clear of this place. The director of the school Clare doesn't even have a degree or qualification in education. She has a severe attitude problem and thinks far too highly of herself, when in actual fact she is quite an offensive human being. Classing her as human is controversial! Her muppet skivvy Charlie is equally as vile and basically they manage to upset and annoy all who work there. There annual turnover of staff speaks for itself! You did get paid on time, but by check because BACS cost an extra £1 a month to process, that is how tight they are! Honestly i would advise against going to work for them completely. There are some great schools in Hong Kong, so do your research first. Hong Kong is a brilliant place to live and work and I would definitely recommend it, just not with these farmyard animals.

Comment 2,
Children's English Centre. Whoever wrote the previous comment on CEC were absolutely correct and even slightly kind I'd say. I worked for them and they had a 100% turn over of staff. Some of us took less pay just so that we wouldn't have to look at those two anymore. There were numerous complaints about them on Daves ESL cafe website but they were removed. They are the worst employers I've ever had. Charlie the 'muppet skivvy' was so smarmy and utterly two faced. Claire on the other hand was absolute poison and you'd feel on edge opening your mouth in their crappy little office. They made me cry a few times! I'm glad I had the experience because I'll never let that happen to me again but it took me a good year to stop feeling angry at them. Pure and utter poison. Don't even go there on the apartments for teachers, nearer China than Hong Kong island. Just don't bother with them.

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The British Schools, Italy


The British Schools suffer to a lesser extent from the same problem as The British Institutes. Each must be taken on its own merit as standards differ so widely. The Inspector has received reports of the following schools in the group which should be avoided at all costs. Do however remember that some schools in this chain are fantastic, whilst others are the absolute pits but be careful not to tar all the British Schools with the same brush - just be ultra-careful if a school is blacklisted here.
If any school does not deserve to be here please let the Inspector know.

The British School of Avellino
The British School of Caserta
The British School of Livorno
The British School of Lucca
The British School of La Maddelena
The British School of Maglie
The British School of Pavia
The British School of Pisa
The British School of Potenza
The British School of Roma
The British School of Rome
The British School of Vercelli
The British School of Verona


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Thursday, September 27, 2007

TEFL in Burma Anyone?


Tefl.com are advertising a TEFL job in Rangoon with the British Council for an immediate start. What more can I say. For once the Inspector is speechless. Now steady on teflers, no queue jumping! It reminds me of the job advertised by Tefl.com in Beirut for International House

International House Beirut
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Murder at IH Kuala Lumpur

Threats of murder at IH Kuala Lumpur. Complaints have been received and the offensive comment has been removed from the "nominate a school for blacklisting" section. Thanks to the readers who tipped the Inspector off. Complaints against a school are one thing. Threats of murder are quite different.

The main IH post can be found by clicking here: International House

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Nova Schools Japan

A little birdy has informed your beloved Inspector that Nova Schools in Japan are in trouble. More to come later but a quick Google on "Nova Schools Japan Today" should get you the breaking news.

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A Death in The Family ?

"I hate to spread rumours, but what else can one do with them?"
Amanda Lear

" Or perhaps the word 'suicide' would be more accurate? No, no - it has to be a case of ... fratricide.
You see, I've done a dirty deed - a deed most foul, by any standards. I've killed off Sandy's World-Wide TEFL Blog. Where once there was, well, another of my 'works in progress', now there is a blissful silence - or rather, a 404 error message.
In fact, all that remains of the old blog is this. But don't worry - Sandy's UK Tefl Blog is displaying no tendencies towards self-annihilation, and fully intends to grow old disgracefully.
What's more, Inspector McHammered of The Lard appears to have resurfaced (just don't ask what he's been up to!) in Korea, of all places. Let's wish him well, and encourage more of his investigatory travellings, eh?"


If true "The Headmaster" who forced Sandy to hand over the keys of the Tefl-Blacklist to your noble sleuth might well, make the nominations for the Blacklist Oscars in time.

Long live The Tefl-Trade Blog.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yang Jeong Academy, in Yongin City, South Korea

Interesting posting.
I've never ever heard a good word from anyone about ESL/EFL teaching in Korea. The Inspector is therefore forced to throw down the gauntlet. Name one good school in South Korea? First prize an EFL course lasting one month with International House Kuala Lumpur, second prize an EFL course lasting two months!

"I nominate Yang Jeong Academy, in Yongin City, South Korea. The director prioritises building new apartments over paying teachers, Korean teachers always get paid late, so they are often understaffed due to them quitting after a month. Foreign teachers have had to battle with him to get their final payments. The glorified secretary (or self-proclaimed assistant manager) is the pettiest Korean i've ever met. She tries to scam you out of money, and when i called her on it, she turned into a silly teenager, got everyone at the academy to ignore me for a few days and made my work as much of a nightmare as she could. As extra punishment, they added free english lessons for her to my timetable, so i would have to come into work early, only for her to not bother showing up. I've heard from previous employees that she has done this every year. She's given a fair bit of control over the foreign teachers, and abuses that whenever she can - she's withheld pay, she's taken money from pay without permission and in breach of contract, she's refused to give vacation - we had to ask her permission for so many things that were already in our contracts. There were numerous occasions when they breached our contract terms and tried to lie and claim we had oral agreements, then tried to make us sign new agreements. They made oral agreements with us, refused to put them in writing, and then denied having ever made them - most of my year spent there was a battle for something.
They tried to send me to teach illegally at a school, and when i asked them if it was legal, they insisted it was and told me they'd check. Thankfully, i had a korean friend who called immigration for me and found out it was completely illegal, which is what the academy were also told, but they still wanted me to go because they didn't want to pay a korean teacher extra to cover the classes. To add to this, the book they wanted me to teach was all in Korean, and i was told to just find a way to teach it. I refused to go as i was illegal, and we'd had several people in the area recently caught for the same thing, and again i spent the rest of the day being shunned by all the teachers, whilst they plotted ways to punish me.
The academy has a reputation in the area for treating foreign teachers badly. I would never work there again - there are so many better places, and it's just too much hassle and pettiness."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Contract Killing?

"The report of my death was an exaggeration."

Mark Twain

Rest assured your intrepid inspector is still alive and kicking and much refreshed after a nice holiday in Tibet.

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

IQ Test

As most people reading this will be teachers, the Inspector though it would be a good idea to give you all an IQ test so that you can boast to your students how clever you are. As professionals dedicated to educating the great unwashed masses you should naturally score full marks - shouldn't you?


Well here goes......... oh and no cheating!

Below are four (4 ) questions and a bonus question. You have
to answer them instantly. You can't take your time, answer all
of them immediately. OK?



Let's find out just how clever you really are....



Ready? GO!!! (scroll down)



First Question:
You are participating in a race. You overtake the second
person. What position are you in?




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Answer: If you answered that you are first, then you are
absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you
take his place, you are second!
Try not to screw up next time. Now answer the second question,
but don't take as much time as you took for the first question,
OK ?



Second Question:
If you overtake the last person, then you are...? (scroll down)






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Answer: If you answered that you are second to last, then you
are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person?



You're not very good at this, are you?







Third Question:
Very tricky arithmetic! Note: This must be done in your head
only . Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.



Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000 . Now add 30 .
Add another 1000 . Now add 20 . Now add another 1000 . Now add
10. What is the total?



Scroll down for answer.....





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Did you get 5000?
The correct answer is actually 4100.



If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator! Today is
definitely not your day, is it? Maybe you'll get the last
question right... Maybe.



Fourth Question:
Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4.
Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did you Answer Nunu? NO! Of course it isn't.
Her name is Mary. Read the question again!



Okay, now the bonus round:
A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush.
By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully
expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.
Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair
of sunglasses; how does HE indicate what he wants?







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He just has to open his mouth and ask...
It's really very simple.

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Diverse



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Global TEFL Organisations

Global TEFL Organisations on The TEFL Blacklist:
http://teflblacklist.blogspot.com/2007/11/tefl-international.html
i-to-i
TEFL International


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i-to-i TEFL - 1 to 1 TEFL


Self publicity disguised as third party unbiased informed objective comment is often the last refuge of the morally bankrupt.

Richard Bradford of Cactus TEFL can frequently be observed secretly strutting his stuff in the Guardian. TEFL.com are not averse to taking money from rogue schools who advertise as long as they get paid. And of course, that old pirate Dollar Dave otherwise known as Saint Sperling must have been responsible for many an EFL nightmare as unwitting adventurers fall for his myriad of enticing jobs and instead end up in some god forsaken hell hole in the middle of nowhere.

Starting to despair? Well don't, because your noble Inspector is on hand to offer some friendly advice. Want to do some good PR on yourself. Well don't wait for eternity hoping that someone will write something complimentary about you. No no no. When in Rome do as the Romans my dear Watson. What's good enough for them should be good enough for you.

Just.........

WRITE IT YOURSELF .

Just write a nice flattering article about yourself, with lots of words like "good".......... "recommended"............. "wonderful".............and ehrm......well you get the Inspector's drift I'm sure. Then all you have to do is post it on some blog as an unbiased informed review and well - job done and end of story.

That dear readers is exactly what "i-to-i" TEFL have done!

"i-to-i" came to the Inspector's attention not so long ago as possible Oscar winners next year for the biggest load of horse manure in TEFL, but what with Lady Florence McHammered hot on his heels they weren't, shall we say, uppermost on his mind .

Well they've now made it onto the TEFL Blacklist in record quick time as shysters of self-promotion of the first order. They deserve a good cucumbering.

This has just been posted on the "nomination" section.................

I nominate "i-to-i".
"i-to-i" lists www.learntefltoday. com as an “official” evaluation of their online tefl course.

The problem is that this site is actually one of "i-to-i ‘s" affiliates!

If you click on the the "i-to-i" banner on the learntefltoday site it puts a cookie on your computer that tracks you via commission junction – www.cj.com. If you were to purchase the "i-to-i" online TEFL course, the owners of learntefltoday.com website will get a commission paid to them!

www.learntefltoday.com website is an affiliate partner of "i-to-i" . How can "i-to-i" dare put this site on their home page as if it were an unbiased evaluation of their course?

This is what "i-to-i" says:

“It's official! The best online TEFL courses available(as voted by learntefltoday.com)”.

Is this ethical? I don’t think so!!

Any comments dear readers?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TEFL jobs in Thailand

The following posting has just been made on the "Nominate a School" section. Anyone thinking of doing a TEFL course in Thailand would be well advised to take note. The Inspector can't vouch for its authenticity as his Thai is a little rusty of late.

So read on......................

"Please be aware that there is a dangerous situation developing in Thailand based TEFL training schools.

The Thai Immigration are getting hot on catching teachers working without the correct paperwork, a legal teacher needs a Work Permit and a Teachers Licence which is granted to teachers with accredited degrees only.

However two TEFL training schools, amongst many, are neglecting to tell prospective trainees this essential fact. One other TEFL school told me it is possible to work as they arrange the work but that it is lower paid for one year and maybe, just maybe, they may get a work permit.. Is mine a bloater?.

Examples of con-trickery.

Text and Talk http://www.teflteachthai.com/DoYouNeedaDegree.html actually point out to trainees without a degree that they can go and get a "life degree" from three Degree Mills.

Next is UEC / TEFL Institute and I quote from http://www.teflthai.com/faq.htm#17

"Do I need to have a university degree to teach in Thailand?
The short answer is no, as it depends on where you want to teach. There are hundreds if not thousands of English language teachers in Thailand who are good teachers of English as a foreign language, and who teach in language schools, corporations, English language tutoring centers, and regular schools."

The Thai authorities have clear rules on teachers and these TEFL training schools are only after money whatever they profess, as many TEFL students believe the web site statements only to find out the reality.

Anyone who is considering teaching in Thailand must consider taking a degree first from an accredited Uni., and do not be conned by UEC or Text and Talk or any of the others.

The Bangkok Hilton is still open and has many vacancies."

There's an intersting posting about TEFL International who operate in Thailand at TEFL International
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TEFL Jobs in Indonesia

Indonesian schools on The TEFL Blacklist:

  1. EF Indonesia English First


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Kingstonmae International School Greece

My dear readers. Please do not be so gullible as to ever send 950 euros to this outfit. You see it ehrm ............ well it doesn't exist!

It consists of one optimistic Nigerian with a mobile phone.

You know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? I'm sure you do, well there is a big bad wolf out there just waiting to gobble up all your hard earned euros.

There is no such school and the big bad wolf will probably pop up somewhere else so dooooooooo be very very careful or the Inspector will have to spank you and send you to your room.


"English Teachers needed We require enthusiastic and creative English teachers to join our friendly Team. The Teacher should: • be an excellent classroom practitioner • be able to work collaboratively with colleagues • be cheerful and flexible, willing to relocate. • Teaching experience preferred not compulsory • Good knowledge of all the modern educational materials for intensive classes in English Duties include: • Teaching English Language • Writing reports • Monitor students conducts. • Setting and conducting exams/tests. • Maintaining discipline in the school. SALARY: 1650 Euro Monthly. Free Accomodatation (furnished single apartment) Free Lunch (feeding) Visa and work permit sponsorship. Air ticket free. 12 Months renewable contract Start date june 30th(1st batch to begin with the special holiday english classes) september 9th (2nd batch to begin with normal English Classes). Qualification: B.E. or B.A./Diploma, High school certificate( ESL or TESOL Certification / / Teaching experience preferred but not compulsory) If interested, please send your CV/resume with recent photo and cover letter to:kingstonmaeintlsch@yahoo.gr"

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EF Indonesia, English First Indonesia

Your intrepid sleuth came across the following diatribe on his wanderings. The article is in serious danger of becoming extinct as it has been heavily censored on some sites and has even been completely pulled on at least two others. Here it can be preserved for posterity. The Inspector isn't too sure who wrote it but will be very happy to acknowledge the author if he cares to drop him a line.

"The biggest advances that man can make are achieved through knowledge and education. Education in Indonesia is usually only thought of in terms of the primary, secondary, high schools and universities of Indonesia. But what about the English language schools which are operating throughout Indonesia as privatized businesses? Who is accounting for THEIR academic standards? THEIR employments standards? THEIR employment practices?

English First is the biggest and most well known chain of franchised English language schools in Indonesia. They are well known, by name, by Indonesian students and are trusted by Indonesians to be an establishment that sells the highest academic excellence in the ESL industry. Having been an employee of this chain, I would challenge any claims of academic excellence and I am miffed at the recruiting techniques, contract negotiating, academic standards and treatment of their academic staff. I would also challenge English First to their competence in providing solid methodologies or techniques in teaching the spoken English language.

I am also miffed as to how this school can continually circumvent Indonesian employment laws, circumvent the immigration laws and visa regulations as well as circumvent Indonesian laws in regards to contractual employment agreements. As a former upper management staff member of an English First school, I was under the impression that Indonesian law required expat teachers to have qualifications to teach spoken English in Indonesia. I was also under the impression that to acquire a KITAS, foreign English teachers were required to be NATIVE speakers of English and MUST be from Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand or England. So why does English First have many teachers throughout their franchised system who are from countries other than the countries not on the list? And how do these teachers from OTHER countries have KITAS visas when they are full time ESL teachers at a language school?

Currently, the largest numbers of employed teachers from OTHER countries are from the Philippines and their contract salaries are considerably less than that of those from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or England. I was also under the impression that teachers were required to have verifiable qualifications to TEACH spoken English. How and why does English First continually hire what are supposed to be Professional teachers when the majority of their teachers have NO experience teaching spoken English, no qualifications to TEACH spoken English or are not even native speakers from the 5 stipulated countries clearly written in Indonesian Employment codes?

Why are English First teachers required to meet an “Agent” in Singapore, wait 3 months for a legal work permit and during the “waiting period” must be hidden from view when immigration agents show up at the school?

I am also curious to know why English First can consistently sign teachers to 1 year contracts yet not provide LEGAL KITAS work permits for 4 or 5 or 6 months, sometimes longer, for teachers even though the contract has been already signed. Is there a loophole in the law? Is it not the legal responsibility of English First to provide legal work papers at the time of contract signing?

Why is it that English First is allowed to change the terms of the contract of the teacher AFTER the contract is signed by both parties? And how is this done with no legal representation for the party whose contract is being changed?

Why are Native teachers required to sign a contract that stipulates that if they leave prior to the final date of contract they must pay $1000-1500usd, prorated for time of service, for the KITAS work permits when they are provided no receipts or proof of cost for the work permits? Where are these work permits coming from?

Why are there Native teachers honoring their contracts and teaching yet they receive no legal working paperwork for up to 6 months after arrival? Education is the future of Indonesia, the future of all who live on our earth. The President of Indonesia, a few months ago, stated that the acquirement of the English language is a priority of this country. Why is the future of Indonesian students treated with such passive carelessness?

Why can a school like English First consistently market themselves as academic professionals when it is obvious to professional English teachers that they have no competence in the industry which they represent? Indonesian students of English should be demanding educational competence from these privatized schools and demanding qualifications from the teachers who are teaching them or your children before they enroll. More over, companies that choose to be in the education industry should be required to meet basic academic and employment standards that are equivalent to the countries they represent. Meaning, privatized English schools should not be allowed to operate within’ Indonesian borders unless they can meet the minimum academic and employment standards of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or England.

English First has spent 7 years in making themselves an “Image” name in Indonesia. A statement they proudly and repeatedly clarify in their operating manuals. And according to their operating manuals they are ONLY an image name in Indonesia. They are not an “Image” native teachers want to list on their CV’s because reputable other ESL employers find EF to be less then sub-standard in academic delivery. They are not an “Image” name on ESL teacher forums on the internet where they are blasted for management and academic incompetence on a daily basis. They are not an “Image” name amongst international ESL Academic’s such as TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS and the de facto ESL accrediting agency, The British Council."

Phew!

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland

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