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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Friday, January 19, 2007

Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Following a fine suggestion the Inspector is pleased to announce the opening of the nomination section. It'll be a bit like The Oscar's, however the congratulations will be replaced by a good kick up the backside for those stars of the TEFL industry unfortunate enough to be nominated.

Click here to listen to the soundtrack.

_______________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland

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113 comments:

Anonymous said...

TEFL Worldwide Prague.
It was a good school, in the sense that you really learned and the lessons were detailed....however....
Your grade was at the mercy of a lech. While they seem quite professional, they fully admitted that they lie and tell everyone they are good. If you are a guy you don't have much to worry about but if you are a girl you have to work tons harder unless you have a big rack and are willing to flirt with the MARRIED professor. I had perfect scores until one day I made a comment that I had a Boyfriend.... I got a strange reaction after saying that word then my score dropped considerably. I still passed by not with honours as I would have.

Anonymous said...

Mark Smith and Smith's School of English should be nominated for worst owner and school respectively.

TruthTEFLer said...

AAC in Helsinki are the biggest bunch of w**k***s on the earth. Low pay for teachers and lots of lovely interfering, the micromanaging c**ts. More later!

NB. As Granny is convinced that the innocent youth of today simply wouldn't understand some of the eloquence used above, I've had to humour her. So here you are Blacklisters - Granny's first word quiz!
Clue: the first word rhymes with thankers and the second with punts.
Answers on a postcard please to:
AAC Global
Tammasaarenkatu 5
00180 HELSINKI
Post address:
PO. BOX 206, 00201 HELSINKI
Tel. +358 (0)9 4766 7800
fax +358 (0)9 4766 7810

The Inspector

Anonymous said...

International House Kuala Lumpur.

The whole place is an utter shambles with awful pay, pathetic holidays, 6 day weeks, a corrupt owner and what must be the biggest turnover in staff anywhere. Still, IH London don't mind...they get the affiliation money and can say they are in Malaysia!

Anonymous said...

Bluniverse, Hefei China.

Branches in Anhui province.

60 hour work weeks. Teaching hours and office hours are not counted equally. Yes, the contract says teaching hours are limited to 24 a week, but you got to be in the office for more time than that.

Yellow, the boss, is a control freak who manipulates everyone.

He changes the schedule on the whims of parents.

Class times are random at best, at often depend on the schedules of the bratty kid whose parents have the most money or influense.

Accommodation is crap.

Most days you got to teach mornings at some offsite god awful middle school, then get the afternoon off, then work evenings teaching clawing high-school students and middle school students.

Salary is based on teaching hours, not on a monthly basis. If no one wants classes in January, you don't get paid because you didn't teach. Meanwhile, you're still expected to be in the office for 40 hours a week.

IF kiddies want lessons everyday during their spring holiday. you work up to 200 hours that month, but will be told that your get a monthly salary of less than you expect.

stay away

Anonymous said...

I would like to second the above nomination of Mark Smith's school of English in the category of worst owner and worst school. I believe his ripping off of people has been well documented enough on this and other websites so there is no need for me to repeat it here.

Anonymous said...

It's a really tough call as there is so much competition, but I do think that Mark John Smith of Smith's School of English, Japan is still ahead of Paul Lowe of Windsor TEFL for the Overall Worst category.

Paul will be disappointed as he has tried very hard, so could he get a consolation prize?

The TEFL Blacklister said...

I've sent him a cucumber. You can use your own imagination as to what he's been told to do with it!

Rapsamurai said...

Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu, must be home to some of the most unprofessional and low paying 'English' schools ever to have scammed wages from the long-suffering teachers.
I'd like to nominate a school in Dazaifu City, beginning with W. The owner is a bullshit artist who appears at first to be a great boss.
All the better to not pay you for each class you teach.
You're supposed to get paid per class but this lady will usually find a way to not pay you for new classes that are added on to your schedule.
Let's say you sign your contract from August 2007 to August 2008. Your contract says you'll be paid for "Each class" even when there is a complete no show because you still have to be physically present at work.
So far, seems good.
Your day (nearly all teachers work one day a week except for the special blonde boy)includes 5 classes or maybe 6. Fine.
Then one day there's a new private student or a new class added to your schedule.
That means you'll get paid for those classes, right? Especially as you gave the demonstration lesson that attracted the new student/s to commence studying at W in the first place, right?
Wrong!
This lovely Japanese woman will overlook that and guess what -your monthly salary won't change!
Except of course if you are one of her favorite teachers - usually involves being a sleazy blonde guy with a head the size of Fukuoka.
Of course, this manipulative woman will wriggle like a rat to get out of discussing it.
But bottom line is - she is cheating you out of your rightful pay.
She is withholding money from you -because you are a good teacher who is actually getting the numbers up.
Makes a lot of ethical and business sense, doesn't it?
Ah and the school is a crummy two room place at the bottom level of an apato.
There is the entrance with the 'office'. Then there's the 'classroom' which is stuffy, too brightly lit and with no windows.
What a great place to work! As all those teachers who have voted with their feet for the past 7 years or so have demonstrated. They might not all have been stiffed out of pay but they've been shafted in different ways.
Don't take the train near there!

Hypersonic said...

I nominate the Windsor School. I mean...wow! CCjs?

Anonymous said...

And Mark Smith is a more successful scammer than Paul Lowe, who's teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. With a cucumber up his arse.

Anonymous said...

Mark John Smith and Smith's School of English have a connection with the Yamaguchi-gumi in order to intimidate people and keep them in line with Mark Smith's commercial cult. He uses the resources of this organization to threaten anyone who goes against him or his business. Proof is there is a report of one of his managers repeatedly being harassed to keep him quiet. But everyone can see the truth if they do a simple Internet search to find the Smithwatch site or sites like this one. I also nominate Mark John Smith and Smith's School of English.

Anonymous said...

I've not seen any link to Smith with the yakuza and the person who started that rumor of it was Smith himself (per his intimidation tactics).

Smith is too greedy to want to share with the local thug population like that.

As far as intimidation and harrassment is concerned, Smith has and does but not to the level he likes to brag like a 8 year old about.

Anonymous said...

Smith was the one who started that bs about having connections with the local thugs of the yakuza in Osaka. Its the sort of stuff you'd expect from an 8 year old.

As far as intimidation is concerned, he's done plenty of it himself and with members of his group for sure. The harrassment is real. But the link to the yamaguchi gumi is not. Smith is way too greedy to share his money with Japanese... especially knowing his disdain.

Anonymous said...

Inspector,

I'd like to nominate this site, not for an Oscar, but I think the writer could benefit from your forensics and a sound cucumbering:
http://english-school-greenlist.blogspot.com/
It's supposed to be a list of good and trustworthy schools in Japan, yet the first one on the list is our old friend and shark Mr Mark Smith. I mean, if this guy wants to set up a list of caring schools and then puts Sm*th on it, doesn't it make you want to get to the market to buy some vegetables to help him understand?

Anonymous said...

Mark John Smith and Smith's School of English have a connection with the Yamaguchi-gumi in order to intimidate people and keep them in line with Mark Smith's commercial cult. He uses the resources of this organization to threaten anyone who goes against him or his business. Proof is there is a report of one of his managers repeatedly being harassed to keep him quiet by following him around in a black late model Mercedes with tinted windows in Kobe. The same area where the Yamaguchi gumi are located. They have a reputation of making people float down rivers. But everyone can see the truth if they do a simple Internet search to find the Smithwatch site or sites like this one. I also nominate Mark John Smith and Smith's School of English.

Anonymous said...

The proof is this link

http://www.aacircle.com.au/forums/f2/smiths-school-english-japan-3434/index12.html

Smithwatch said...

This is probably the main reason why I stopped the original smithwatch site. I got just about all the information from Scott Spargo. But I stopped taking him seriously when Scott started complaining of hearing Mark Smith talking to him though the new filling he had just gotten at the dentist. I realized the smithwatch site was full of Scott's lies and decided to take it down. But now Bearcat has taken all that inforamtion and continued where I quit. Bearcat is spreading all of these lies originating from Scotty.

But I still nominate Mark Smith for this award.

Wally Windsor said...

t's true - the further east you go, the more you fall into the trap of 'bonded labour'. The idea of 'professionalism' falls prey to 'cronyism', and the whole world begins to take on a very different perspective to the one that us westerners are accustomed to.

Still, if you can't take it, don't go! You can always stay at home and work for uncle Paul!!

Anonymous said...

Here we go again... fake Smithwatch posting on yet another comment/forum/discussion deal.

Again, the person who created the Smithwatch site and the person who created the Smithwatch blog before it are the same. Owner has not changed/switched/left etc. Anyone can contact Mike Hayes, the web administrator of the site and he can verify this.

I do enjoy the fact that the more Smith goes out of his 8-year-old's-actions way to play these games, the more he proves himself and his group to be the unprofessional, con artists that they are.

On the topic of the "green list" Kevin Burns is the owner of that blog and as well a school owner himself of controvery.

ELT News Site has had more than a few discussions concerning Burns. As the poster Neil (Originally he was known as lawman on the forum until he got in trouble for his posts)he has been criticised for his articles, his hiring and contract policies and more.

Reference these threads for more info:

http://www.eltnews.com/community/?board=comments;action=display;num=1105924170;start=0

http://www.eltnews.com/community/?board=jobs;action=display;num=1122473385;start=13

Mike Hayes said...

The person mentioned above is lying. I can verify that the original Smithwatch is not the person who created the new Smithwatch blog/site. Bearcat has taken over and Bearcat should stop playing these games and acting like a 6-year-old. Anyone can see that hardly anyone goes to the new site which is a real sham compared to the original one that Smithwatch created.

Anonymous said...

Now resorting to imitating M. Hayes I see. Hilarious.

The "first site" Smithwatch didn't create. It was a blog on a blog supporting site (That being Free ESL). Thus he simply created a blog on there, not the site.

Of course you'd know that if you were the person who created said blog and the current site for Smithwatch which is hosted by nanobit.

Smithwatch said...

The person above is simply trying to twist the facts to deflect attention from Bearcat's lies. I am the real Smithwatch. I am also Bearcat's ex partner yet Bearcat is forever denying this. I created the blog content. The blog was created by Henry. Later I decided to take down the blog content and then without my permission Bearcat copied all the content and used it on his new nanobit site. That's the fact.

bearcat said...

Smithwatch, why do you keep trying to take all the credit for the work we created together. Also, why do you need to comment on our past personal relationship. It's no one's business and I don't like it. I'm working very very hard on the site and I don't need you. I don't need you for the site and I don't need you for me. That's right! We are over. Accept it and get on with it. Besides. Cucumbers in America are bigger than the ones in Japan so I'm happy back home now and I can do everything by internet. I don't need you because there is more in life than just a good prostate massage. Yes, that's right! I want it but I don't need it. I have more rewarding things to do like expose Smith and his Smithlings for what they are. This is my purpose in life and I want you to leave me alone. The end.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps now that Smith has won for Worst Franchise, that all the fake Smithwatch/bearcat posting(Just Mark Smith and his merry band of idiots) will return to the troll caves.

TEFLPower said...

The Benedict Schools, (yeah, all of them) in Naples region of Campania Italy, specifically Pomigliano D'Arco and Somma-Vesuviano, have got to be the most disorganised, lying con-artists I ever heard of running schools. I am speaking for all the teachers who have worked there and us who still do, but maybe not after Monday. Don't believe a word the boss says.... we've learnt that it's best to try running the place ourselves without the boss getting too involved 'cos she is a complete muppet. Not only do the teachers get ripped off (we pay for the books that she wants us to use in class,(which we don't need) and then refuses to let us keep them with us. Student sign contracts and pay up front for courses that the school doesn't even run or know anything about. The flat had no washing machine, no hot water and when there was a shower it flooded all the bedrooms and our boss deducted the cost of cleaning it up and repairs from our wages.... I'm sure the other teachers will want to write something when I show them this site.... Nice one mate , best website ever....

Anonymous said...

Check out the Principal, Robert French at Richard Language College in Bournemouth.
The man is evil.Sexist, sizeist,homophobic, ageist, racist, a bully and dictator.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to see how Mr French could be critical of anyone's appearance:
http://www.rlc.co.uk/english_adult/meet_the_team.htm

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for the job at Berlitz. I took it at the rate they were offering: $9.25/unit. The customer pays $80/unit. As far as I know staff is also underpaid.

Many teachers have too often been cheated so it is incumbent on them to keep good records of their hours. I could have lost hundreds. Fellow teachers I know have been cheated so many times that they have given up! When there is a discrepancy management puts the onus on the instructor to prove that he or she worked the hours THEY assigned you! So, watch out. I am not sure these errors are out of ignorance, stupidity or design.

Their policy seems to be hire well educated, verbal people more or less down on they luck. They tend to hire too many PART TIME instructors. Work is not guaranteed and you may suddenly be without work with no warning or explanation. They have NO loyalty or consideration.

In my opinion they also cheats the students out of the best possible training: instructors are switched around so often that it impossible to provide consistent, planned training.

Many work there only because they have little choice and Berlitz takes advantage of it.

These company policies do not promote loyalty and “sometimes” one feels sleazily insecure.

To be fair, I have learned a great deal and been paid pittance enough to keep me off the street. In all, I would say that they are high class sleaze joint that pays good people the least they can with the greatest profit to Berlitz. Good for business, bad for people.

And that is not all…

sunzhi said...

O jeeziz this is some goooood mojo, hombre, primo, having logged in a dozen years of EFL I find the site gets an Oscar for Reality Check and another for Best ESL Site of the year. You've done the homework, you've obviously been there, and are not anybody's boy spouting and spinning about a school. Thanks for the humour, the truth, and the making me laugh my sides off. sunzhi@hushmail.com

Lozza said...

Interested to see the remarks about Richard language College. I didn't work there myself during my Bournemouth days, though I was once offered a job there which they cancelled at the last possible moment, via answerphone message last thing on Friday afternoon, by which time I had already chucked in my temping job expecting to start at RLC on Monday.

Anonymous said...

This lot could be an early candidate for next year's cucumbering at the Oscars in the worthless TEFL Certificate, or 'Cerification' as they call it, category:
http://tefl.londonschoolbus.com/

(It's probably wise to have a glass or two of calming yak juice first, as the bilious reaction to what is on offer could prove fatal in one as sensitive as the Inspector.)

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate UKLA Academy in Bursa, Turkey. I had a position/contract with them that was to include a 200USD reimbursement for flight. About 24 hours before my flight departed, I received an email stating that my position was CANCELLED! The school then also refused to reimburse any part of my flight. Needless to say, I also lost time and wages since I had to start looking for another job all over again.

Anonymous said...

i-Learner www.i-learner.com.hk in China, Hong Kong

Following the apparent trend of promising English to poor performers in Hong Kong schools, but being incompetantly, shadily, and uncompromisingly run.

I'm a little hesitant in posting this, because i-Learner of Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong does a lot of activities that do in fact promote English in a healthy way. However, I worked for them for a month and have been left with a bad taste in my mouth. And in reading about other horrible teaching experiences abroad, I've found a
lot of similarities manifest in i-Learner.

It's a small operation so contact was very personal. I was told that they were in desperate need of an editor and that work was "piling up" for this editor. I got a very vague overview of what the duties involved were, which later turned out to be misrepresentations, and was rushed onto a plane with the promise of reimbursal for both directions of flight.

I was placed into a very nice private apartment that was rented out for me, but it was over 1.5 hours away by bus, for a
total of over 3 hours of commuting, 6 days per week (normal HK work week). I was told that the entire ap't was rented to me
only to later find out that I was only entitled to the room, and was subsequently placed in the center of a fight for power
between my boss and the owner of the ap't.

At work itself, I slowly figured out that what I was hired for instead of an "editorship" was in fact to generate large bodies of English text and accompanying sets of questions several times per week, which was not what was advertised at all.

When I began to be overwhelmed both by work and life in Hong Kong, I found my bosses to be, to put it bluntly, ignorant asses who attempted to bully me into silence. When I'd ask questions, they'd insult and demean and threaten me in front of the entire office. When I'd had enough and demanded a private talk with one boss, she agreed and we talked at lunch at our own table, which right next to the table where the rest of the office was seated, quitely fucking shocked.

I was luckily paid in advance for my month's service, which probably didn't help their understanding of my situation but was necessary because I worked uncontracted. They of course wanted me to sign a contract, but I had agreed to begin work illegally in the hopes of their getting me legalized as promised. I pressed and pressed, and the legalization process never went anywhere that I could tell. Not only that, but as they became more hostile towards me, they became more adamant about my signing the contract, one of whose stipulations was reclamation of wages by employer for dissatisfaction. I felt it was pretty clear that they wanted to contract me, fire me, and then try to bully money out of me.

And all the while I had been reimbursed for neither direction of my flight as promised. My entire month's salary didn't cover the cost of the plane tickets, as the salary was really more of a stipend for the experience.

When I did quit at the end of the month, my boss demanded that I return the key to her while the owners of the ap't, who were freaked out by these people's gangster-like behavior by this point, demanded that I leave the key with them. i-Learner, my bosses, then threatened to call the police on me. It may've been a misunderstanding of the situation between the two bosses, with the one who made the threat thinking I was just going to leave with the key. Whatever the case, I immediately assumed he was going to put me in a spot where I'd have to explain to the HK police that I'd been there working illegally.

When I demanded to know what i-Learner wanted with the key (at the insistence of the owner of the ap't), I was told that they'd send 'someone else to live there.' She said she'd have another of the employees, who I know was a born resident of Hong Kong and had his own place to live in, come live there. I also heard from a friend that she wanted to have someone come over and "mess up" the place.

I made it out because I had a good network of friends in HK in place already, not to mention enough smarts not to get myself too far underneath their thumbs and enough personal money to get myself out, and am alive and well.

Whether they are in fact gangsters--I know Chinese like to put on tough-guy attitudes in business--it's clear these people don't have their act together. Also, their product really sucks and is marketed to desperate parents whose kids' English is bad enough to freak them out into desperation.

my story. cheers, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

I would not go anywhere near Bluniverse, Hefei, or any other branch in Anhui for that matter. The company is in absolute shambles at the moment and looks like it isn't doing so well. Sadly, they are resorting to some very low measures to save some money.
From personal experience, the company will promise you many things, and placate you with a contract. Unfortunately, they will change this contract alarmingly whimsically to suit their own needs.

Contracts have been unjustly terminated, they are refusing holidays, and it even looks increasingly likely that end-of-year bonuses wont be paid either. Lets face it, contracts don't mean that much in China, and all you have is their WORD.

In the last two months alone, there have been several teachers shafted by yellow and his underlings Judy and Richard. They have openly broken the contract of these unfortunate teachers, and the school is starting to hemorrhage foreign teachers as a result.

Learn from my, and many other people's mistakes: DON'T trust or even work for bluniverse!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

I am the world's most MISERABLE teacher! Englishtown Online School (as it is online, there is no actual physical location, though they say they are connected with EF in Shanghai). The wages are pathetically low, and the teachers have no way to represent themselves because we are all on different continents! We never get the same students because the online teaching system works like an English factory! They pay you using an account in Hong Kong, so THEY pay no taxes. I have no set schedule, so I am forced to sit in front of the computer until a lesson opens up and I have no time to prepare! The network constantly goes out and we lose pay over it, even though it's not our fault! I wish I could organise a classaction to sue the entire company!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Pretty strong stuff and I might have to edit out some of the profanity later. For the moment however your beloved inspector will leave the post as it is simply because International House Kuala Lumpur has appeared on his radar so many times now from various sources that the post has credibility.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

McHammered of the Lard.
I refer to your posting on IH Kuala Lumpur. Not disagreeing with anything posted anywhere on the Web about this University the IH school there is the only cover there for people who turn up and realise it was a dangerous and foolish mistake to turn up. So, in spirit yes. But this blogger clearly lost the plot there. Out of pity I won't name him, but his post is crammed with not only libellous untruths but as I see it encouragement to murder. I will ask you clearly to remove this post immediately as I am ready to report this criminally. There are in fact 2 people behind this. The comment can be taken colloquially of course, but you are on a World Wide Web.
After it is taken down, tomorrow please, I will gladly discuss all and sundry about this institution but how to either improve it or close it down, gladly.
The individuals in that post have no relationship, this is fantasy, based on presumed and non existent cliques, also domestic tension. The place got to this person.
This is not profanity this is incitement. Remove it please.
If you want to see how dangerous this person is read his blog at Soulcast with similar content.
THIS IS NOT DISCUSSING QUALITY OF EDUCATION YOU ARE PLAYING WITH THE WRONG KIND OF WEAPON IN THIS POST
I am a teacher there and in no management I have nothing to lose or defend. Get rid of it. In future you should immediately censor any language of this kind.

Anonymous said...

remove the threat to kill in the IH Kuala Lumpur website. NOW.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Hmmmm your beloved inspector has just had another look at the post. the Inspector considers threats to kill anyone as way over the top. Granny wouldn't approve and therefore I'm afraid the complaint is upheld and rest assured the offending comment will be cleaned up ASAP. What is the world coming to.

Anonymous said...

I would like it to be known that I am one of the persons mentioned in this post and I have consulted my lawyer due to the very fact that my morality has been called into question. Just because I have a good working relationship with a number of teachres there who include men does not mean that I am having an affair with them. Attack me academically, yes, I'm a big girl I can take it. Morally, no because I would ask this person to come to Kuala Lumpur and say those things to my face. I would suggest that you remove the slanderous comments.

Believe it or not, there are people at this institution who care for the students and to make it into a much better place for everyone including teachers. Give us a chance.

Lozza said...

Some very serious allegations being made about TEFL International in Thailand here:
http://www.eltworld.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=5396#5396

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Interesting stuff. The Inspector hadn't even heard of this organisation. A new posting beckons for TEFL International

Anonymous said...

Because I am committed to avoid what happened to me and my former colleages in Bursa, Turkey, I beg those of you who can read French to read my allegations against this so-called international language institute !!!

Other teaching job ads website have read the following appauling testimony and have right away removed the ad. The contact persons of that ad are just desperate to find an innocent website to place their ad since they are banned from other French-writing websites.

En effet, j’ai malheureusement fait la mauvaise expérience d’un responsable sournois, menteur, manipulateur et malhonnête, nommément Monsieur Tayfun Andiriç, directeur de l’institut de langues Adres Lisan à Bursa, Turkey.

Les méthodes qu’il emploie pour asservir ses employés, étrangers et Turcs, comprennent :

- la détention illégale du passeport (afin bien entendu de faire obstacle à tout mouvement, principalement un éventuel retour salvateur dans son pays d’origine)
- un contrat sans la moindre valeur juridique (dont je vous joins un exemplaire) qui a lui seul révèle les actions ou intentions malveillantes du personnage à l’encontre de ses employés
- des pressions psychologiques continues (agressivité, harcèlements téléphoniques...)
- des pressions financières (retards volontaires, voire absences répétées des versements salariales)
- la communication d’informations erronées quant à l’obtention des visas de travail et permis de résidence dans l’objectif de gagner un bénéfice sur de faux-frais (6OO euros payés par l’employé sans son consentement).

Watch out this boss is a sly, manipulative, very dishonest person and so are his collaborators (firms) who receive bribes for signing contracts with him!!!!!!!

Slayermoon said...

These days here in Japan, a lot of Boards of “Education” are trying to skirt the labor laws by using assistant language teachers dispatched by fly-by-night scam outfits like the one that hired me this year. The company name is International Education System (IES for short), run by a beady-eyed worm named Ikuo Ooishi and headquartered in Higashi-Azabu, Tokyo. Basically, after they found out I was a labor union member, they cooked up all these false charges about me saying something that could be construed (but only by a complete fool) as sexual harrassment, and that I was ogling the girls tennis club, and used that as an excuse to sack me. At one collective bargaining, Ooishi had the gall to characterize me as “defective merchandise”! The only defective merchandise there were his morals. I applied for unemployment insurance successfully, but that wanker Ooishi lied to the government agency handling unemployment insurance and claimed that I quit, which normally would’ve delayed my benefits three months. (It won’t though, since the three months have passed.) Here’s their url, so you know who they are: http://www.ies-english.co.jp/

- said...

Hi, Your blog had me laughing whilst I was writing my own describing how I have been blacklisted.

I wonder if you would be so kind to give me some feedback? The blog is here:

http://blacklisted-transgender-teacher.blogspot.com/

Just like the you web site does for the world of TEFL the shoddy treatment and being banned from work really needs exposing so all comments of support will be really appreciated.

Thanks Natasha

Anonymous said...

Not a nomination, but a question to avoid a future one. I've seen a few bad posts about Inlingua Schools. I'm asking, has anybody worked for the one in Porto, out of interest? They seem to offer a good contract, but is it a turkey? Advice please x

chris said...

WARNING to anyone who'll apply for summer work with AEST summer schools. I worked as Assistant Course director last year and it was by far the shoddiest shadiest bunch of cowboys I've come across (and in 10 years I've seen a few!). I worked in Galway, We were forced to pay £25 to receive our own wages (well overdue, needless to say) transferred into a UK bank account . I rang their bank (Coutts &Co. no less) and was told that it was NOT necessary to pay anything for a 3-day transfer: I rang the AEST head office in London to tell them this, they blatantly lied, I told them I'd just got off the phone to the bank who told me otherwise and they simply slammed the phone down on me. It would of course have been easier if teachers could have been paid in euro from AEST's Bank of Ireland account, though again they told me this didn't exist, even though at the end of the course I had to pay a company there with - surprise, surprise - a cheque from their non-existent account.
Apart from staff money problems, the kids had no books, pens, etc. Teachers resorted to buying these and paying for photocopies out of the own pockets.
There is another centre in Dublin, I finally tracked down the DoS there and if anything their situation was even worse: NOBODY got paid from the beginning to the end of the school. Half the teachers left before the end, simply giving up on the prospect of seeing any money. Regarding understaffing, in our centre the DoS ended up simply going round the pubs in the evening trying to find extra teachers (he found one, actually a qualified TEFL teacher, who lasted one day and then left in disgust).

It makes me sick that though we were treated like slaves, lied to and ignored by head office, I read the contract they had with an Italian government body, and they got 517,000 euro for the Galway centre alone. Yet didn't fork out for a photocopy budget or board markers for teachers. nice. (Anyone who doubts this can have a photocopy of the contract which I have). Yet they STILL wanted more money: they knowingly accepted more kids than they had accommodation for, even suggesting at one stage that Italian teenagers could simply sleep two to a bed (I kid you not)!
SO PLEASE: SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to put forward....

British Institutes (BUSTO ARISIZIO)

I lasted a month and actually left without pay because I was so keen to Foxtrott Oscar.

I worked in Japan and Poland before B.I Busto Arsizio so I wasn't completely green to the situation.

There are too many ridiculous things to mention. Most of them happened to us (another guy left just after me) and a whole lot more happened to the people who we replaced (they all lost money).

In short, stay clear!!

Anonymous said...

CBI Canadian Bilingual Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia (Slovak Republic). This English school has the worst management, an incredibly greedy owner, and doesn't take care of its teachers.

Teachers are coaxed into signing a contract, then after they arrive (paying their own travel expenses) are told about other personal expenses, deductions, and work requirements that weren't in the contract and never mentioned during interviews (I even asked a direct question regarding some of the matters during an interview, and once I started working found out that I was lied to!).

They also think they are above the law - illegal contracts, screwing up people's visas, income tax problems, etc.

Terrible!

Anonymous said...

Dear Inspector,

I’ve enjoyed your site for some time now—many thanks for providing a venue for accountability in the TEFL world. I happen to work for a TEFL provider that has enjoyed the most honorable distinction of having never been nominated for the TEFL Blacklist!

Unfortunately, we made the mistake of dealing with what seemed like a good TEFL partner at first, but apparently turned out to be a new Windsor TEFL in the making: World TEFL School. Therefore, I would like to officially submit World TEFL School for the Inspector’s investigation.

World TEFL School has ignored our repeated attempts over many months to collect a significant outstanding debt for trainees we sent to their course. This unprofessional negligence along with their questionable marketing style has forced us to cut all relations with them and we will be warning our fellow colleagues in the industry to avoid dealing with World TEFL School at all costs.

Apparently, World TEFL School is in serious financial trouble and unable to pay their debts so it’s doubtful we (and who knows how many other schools) will ever receive the monies promised under contract.

Not only that, World TEFL School has resorted to marketing ploys that belittle the integrity of TEFL. Below are 2 examples of their email campaign style:

1.

Dear________

I value your feedback and I have one quick
audio question for you.

Please click on this link to hear the question.

http://www.askdatabase.com/campaigns/?a=35878&c=agf&b=5553

It will only take you 30 seconds to reply.

Many Thanks
Jimmy Crangle
Marketing Director


2. Here’s the response:

Many thanks for your feedback.

The response to my question was just amazing
with over 500 replies....so far.

The 3 biggest concerns were.

1/ I'm too old for the program
2/ I don't have a degree
3/ Is the job placement guaranteed
4/ Too expensive

Here are the answers.

1. Unfortunately the Thai schools we represent
will only accept young graduates for this
particular program.

We can however consider your application for a
place on a 4 week TEFL course in Phuket which
will virtually guarantee you a job placement in
Thailand & around the world. Select a location on
the world map to see full details of the Phuket TEFL
course, the local area details, accommodation
arrangements and start dates.

http://www.worldteflschool.com/tefl_courses/tefl_course_phuket.htm

2. Although the Thai ministry of education states that
a degree is required for all teachers, most language
schools WILL employ you if you have a TEFL
certificate but no degree.

3. We have never known anyone who was unable to
find a good teaching job in Thailand. The only way to
guarantee that you will find a job approach these
schools is in person. We will give you a HOTLIST of
employers seeking teachers who hold a WTS TEFL
certificate. Email applications to these schools will
probably not be replied to.

4. We run a unique teaching program which includeds
everthing needed to teach abroad including accommodation,
visa, insurance, TEFL course and job placement with a
generous salary. We now offer an ezypay option to
spread the payments over 6 months.

Your will get a return on your investment in under 6
months.

Answers to every other conceivable question can be
found here.
http://thailandexperience.com/faqs1.htm

Please do not hesitate to contact our coordinator
Jessica should you have any queries.

Very Best Regards
Jimmy

QUESTIONS: Please call our Thailand coordinator
Jessicaon UK: 0207 193 1541 USA: 508 471 3662

Global Representative Offices:

UK: 78 York Street, London, England, W1H 1DP
Hong Kong: 39th Floor, Two Exchange Square, 8
Connaught Place, Central


UK: 0207 692 5665
USA: 508 471 3662
Aus: 07 3102 1923
Other: +44 207 692 5665

Global Representative Offices:

UK: 78 York Street, London, W1H 1DP.
Hong Kong: 39th Floor, Two Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Central.


Luckily, we were able to sever our relationship with them in time to mitigate the damage but such dubious practices need to be publicized in order to protect prospective TEFL trainees, schools, course providers, and the good name of TEFL. I just thought you would like to have World TEFL School on your radar as I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about them in the future. Thanks again for all of your diligent sleuthing!

Anonymous said...

Good to see that the EL Gazette has done an article on summer schools. It's time that some of the crapness in this area was exposed. Good to see Embassy was near the bottom - a condemnation not undeserved, as many people will agree. There are so many better summer schools about - there's no need to be ripped off and have a shite summer!.

Mike said...

North China Electric Power University.

Michael Coombs, an English teacher from the UK who was employed by the university, was disappointed to find that he was not given the three room apartment with all facilities he was promised. Instead, he was placed in foreign students accommodation. Living conditions included: One room; No hot water until 18:00; Absolutely no guests allowed except from 16:00 until 22:00, and then only two guests maximum; Main doors locked at 23:00 with no exit/entrance for residents until 06:00, any attempt met with abuse by the night watchman; A small kitchen shared with many students, from which food was consistently stolen; Improperly fitted windows and doors resulting in coldness and mosquitoes. He was told throughout the four months he was there that he would be moved to the three room apartment with all facilities soon. Eventually he resigned.

Anonymous said...

Daleena International Language Centre in Malaga, Spain

Not too sure if this is strictly one for the blacklist as I doubt this school really exists!!

Just wanted to warn others not to waste time with these guys- any recruitment process will end with them asking you to wire money.. its just a scam!

They may operate under other names also- but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Anonymous said...

Eurolingua in Brno, Czech Republic is best to avoid.

After one interview and seeing the premisis, I opted not to take a job offer with them and decided that I will not work with them ever.

The woman who runs the place has very little in people skills or social graces and said to my face that she refuses to hire people legally, won't help employees with taxes. Basically, she said she gives you the money and the rest is your problem and don't ask her for help.

The bureaucracy in the Czech Republic for foreigners is quite daunting, so you certainly don't need an employer like this

While I have not worked there personally, I have a colleague and a former student who both have done teaching work there (they are both Czech) and neither had much good to say about the owner of the school or her people skills, they also went on to say that many students were not happy at the owner's business practices on one level or another.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt recommend Berlitz Istanbul. If you are interested in seeing a foreign country for 6 months and experience a new culture then this place is a no-brainer. But, if you are looking for medical benefits, a teacher's permit, travel pay (all promised in the original contract) forget it! There is no honor by this thief. They even pocket the teacher's income tax at the end of the year!

Anonymous said...

WARNING IH VALLADOLID: this school is run by an American who promisses working visa for non European teachers but in the end make them work illegally. The European teachers are paid less because they are more expensive. The working conditions are Horrible and he tries to take as much money as he can from the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Berlitz Zagreb Croatia is nearly identical to its Turkish counterparts. 40 odd hours of unpaid and irregularly training, a Canadian LIS who can't tell time and confuses Tuesday and Thursday and who prefers to communicate changes telepathically, promises of ample classroom hours only to be rewarded with late or missing pay, unfulfilled working permits etc. They're also constantly hiring and have known to have a nearly complete turnover every 3-4 months. I'd recommend collecting garbage or volunteering for work in Iraq before this place. Hope it's not too late for inclusion.

Anonymous said...

Can I nominate Paul Lowe for his latest scam- the Windsor International Certificate in TEFL. It may be our last chance to nominate him as his businesses are looking decidedly rocky

Anonymous said...

Please beware---BONAS International School in Valencia, Spain is a SCAM.
They initially asked me for a 250 euro deposit to show my seriousness for the position which I paid...then an additional 950 euro (which thankfully I didn't pay) b/c it was 'more than they anticipated' for my arrival.
When I refused, they said they would refund my original deposit to 'retain their good name' which they have yet to do.
BEWARE!

Anonymous said...

well, no sooner was my spilling the beans about AEST summer schools up (anonymously)than I received an email from the wonderful Mr. Brian Cook threatening to take me to court! So much for the concept of free speech!!!! These are the huys who got Coutts & Co. bank to change their policy about money transfers the NEXT DAY that I spoke to them on the phone about this....I jest not! So where there's money, there's influence....I'd quite like to swear on oath what a bunch of shysters they are....

Anonymous said...

Komalingua sl, Basque Country, Spain

While this is not the worst EFL school I've worked for in terms of working conditions, salary and general treatment (apart from their recruitment strategy: see below), there is no good reason for which an EFL teacher (especially a native one) should decide to work for a company placed in a small town in the middle of nowhere (and where there is nowhere), spending his day driving (if lucky, going by bus or walking if unlucky) among mountains from seven in the morning to seven in the evening, when there are hundreds of better location in Spain. This has been my worst choice ever in terms of location but I was misled in making it by the lies of the centre director. Beware: she's desperate to get people for the school (and to keep them there when they arrive) and will tell absolutely any lie about promotions, payrises and the such in order to drag you to this place forgotten by God and men!

Anonymous said...

Every International School of Choueifat/SABIS supported school.
I am writing about my experiences as a Choueifat. I have worked at a number of schools in several different countries. I have been looking back on my whole experience and feel driven to share my experiences. Anyone who is even considering becoming part of Choueifat/SABIS needs to be forewarned. They are continually looking for teachers because they have extremely LOW retention rates. Their sole aim is financial gain at any cost.

They proclaim to care about staff. This is the boldest face lie any human could ever encounter. They do not treat staff with any human decency, but instead bully, blaming for them for every short fall of the schools practice. Choueifat/SABIS employees people whose main duty it to spy and report back to the higher up in power. They call them “supervisors” who are supposed to be monitoring the children’s behave, but is only a small part of their job. They encourage students to engage in this behavior as well, not only reporting on other students, but teachers as well. Choueifat/SABIS does not believe teachers should deal with classroom discipline because teachers are incapable of this.


Choueifat/SABIS discriminates based on nationality and bases pay dependant on where a employees comes from despite the fact the living cost the employee is working in is the same in a country whether one is from Ireland or from Egypt. There are no standardized employee policies and procedures, but vary from person to person. The organization is run by mainly Lebanese, with rigid outdated ideas about education and curriculum delivery.

Choueifat/SABIS claims to take a holistic approach to education. This is one of the biggest lies out there. They utilized a very draconian method which focuses on one type of learning style. They utilize a whole class teaching methodology which believes classes does not matter. They use the points methods which is based on the belief, though it has never been proven by academic research study, which claims every child can learn every concept at the sometime with one form of presentation. There is no deviation from the Choueifat/SABIS curriculum. Teachers are given s set amount of topics which must be covered weekly despite the fact that some students fall behind and others are not challenged and loose interest. Constant examinations are given which causes memorization of information, but lack the development of critical thinking skills. Teaching methodologies do not support or even develop the research or studies skills student need to be successful when studying at Universities. And god forbid, a student has a learning disability or other need which requires additional support service. I have heard first hand from a “top administer” that such things may exist, but the cost of employing school psychologist or teachers with training in special education is not cost effective.

And when children are not successful the Choueifat/SABIS the child is labeled as stupid or lazy when in fact the child most possibility would be successful if provided the learning supports and opportunities which are available in most western nations. The number of students who have been permanently emotionally and psychologically traumatized by this is system is shocking.

This is a warning to both parents and teachers alike. DO NOT GET INVOLVED in this organization unless you are willing to compromise your integrity and basic humanity. Do not allow the administration to deceive you into their lies and deceit.

Anonymous said...

The Bristol School in Porto Portugal and Inlingua Porto, Portugal...
Why?
Anything you can imagine that makes a school bad, these schools represent.
In my experience tefl is a shite existence - if you are an imaginative, intelligent and hard working person you are in the wrong profession, if you have't realised already...

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Institute Paris Republique Center a.k.a. Wall STRESS Institute

This is a horrible place to work run by vindictive, mean-spirited administrators who lie and cheat teachers. Some gripes include:

1) the commercial side; salespeople lie or say anything to get students to sign up so they can make more money.

2) the WSI method does not really work, the teaching materials are confusing and jump all over the place with little focus.

3) classes often have more than 6 students, as promised when students sign up.

4) when you are not teaching they want you to do 'busy work'

5) teachers are grossly underpaid

6) the area manager HR people lie for example, once the receptionist did not come in one Saturday morning, so we couldn't get into the building. We teachers waited 2 hours and then left. Because there were no emergency plans we had no number to call. We each got letters saying we had 'abandoned our jobs' and it was a grave fault, etc.

7)The Nancy woman and the Leticia woman actually lie. They made up all sorts of falsities to get out of paying me to the end of my notice period, which is against French law. These lies were outrageous and egregiously offensive.

I do not suggest working here by any means. It was a terribly stressful place with extremely low pay (€1000 euros a month = $1,567).

It's way too corporate with a disconnect between salespeople, administrators and teachers. Teachers are actually looked down upon, and paid the least, when they are the backbone of the business. WSI does not give teachers pay raises, no matter how long you should teach there.

Now for the methodology:

There is never enough time to cover everything in the lessons as they are set forth so that teachers must pick and choose what to skip. Most exercises are incomplete without enough examples to go round. The entire method assumes that all students progress at the same rate (fast) without giving them the chance to study a grammar point longer, and more thoroughly; the only option is repeating a unit, which makes the student feel like s/he's a failure or is being demoted.

Anonymous said...

Be careful about taking a job at Pro Linguis in Belgium. Although the teaching is reasonable (when you get any) the contract is worthless and the state contributions you will have to make from your wage are outrageous. There are no guaranteed hours, the (free) food is rubbish and the place is very remote, so it's not a place to consider for a job. Unless you like being a monk or a nun...

Daniel Brockert said...

WALES LANGUAGE ACADEMY BOSS CAVES, SETTLES OUT OF COURT

Dear friends, a lot people think that if you have problems in Korea that foreigners have no rights and the legal system is stacked against them. Luckily I was able to find out that that is absolutely not true.
I was referred to a paralegal in Seoul who specializes in helping foreigners. All I had to do was bring in a couple documents tell them my story and then they gave a threatening phone call to my boss. Since my boss has broken so many laws, he folded like a house of cards and paid me the rest of the salary I was owed.
Also, since I reported him to the tax office he's going to get audited and may pay up to 35,000 dollars in fines and will get audited every six months. Another employee is helping me report him for starting the school without a license which could cause him to pay 5,000 dollars more in fines.
On the internet you hear all the time about sleezy hakwon owners breaking the law, not following the contract, theatening workers with deportation and teachers who can't do anything about it. Well my case is proof that you can do something about it. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask me. Daniel

Anonymous said...

ESL instructor William Kapoun is living every teacher's worst nightmare, in a hospital without insurance and staggering medical bills. Almost two weeks ago, a fire broke out at Kapoun's Seoul apartment at dawn. With the only exit blocked by the fire, he was trapped and received third degree burns over 70 percent of his body. As a part-time teacher at a public school "after-hours" program in Seoul, Kapoun received no insurance with his contract. At the moment, he is facing a medical charge of upwards of $130,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and will take at least a week further, according to police, to discover. As a result of Kapoun's overwhelming medical costs, his family and friends have set up a fund for people to donate money and aid. You can contact the fund here: http://www.billkapoun.com. For the Korea Times article, refer to: www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/03/113_20066.html .

Anonymous said...

LTC Eastbourne. Just don't work there. The place is a mess. The principal is a bully and hated by all the staff.

In summer school you are overworked for no pay and the place is a mess.

It's full of racist middle-aged teachers who are bitter about failing in life and graduates who don't have a clue and spend all their time drinking.

You get no support from management either and the photocopier never works meaning you have to do lessons off the cuff every day.

Anonymous said...

To avoid most Illinguas....the pay is pitance and you will break your back with all the books...!

Benedict school carpi....sheesh google them ...they are constantly looking for staff..I know this girl who had the misfortune to work for the couple....and the swiss guy is REAL PERV and cun.......!

Kapitano said...

Maybe this doesn't count as a nomination, because I haven't worked for the school, but I almost did.

Hampson is a school in Mlada Boleslav, 50km from Prague. They use accelerated learning techniques based on relaxation and fun, and run intensive immersion courses. It's run by Pavel Sudik, who also has a sideline in organising corporate firewalking events.

I'm interested in accelerated learning methods so I sent a speculative note and CV. They responded in five minutes, saying "At the moment we have one opening for native speaker. Full time contract starting immediately. We would appreciate to know your decision about joining our staff. You could start to teach tomorrow."

So suddenly they have a vacancy, and they've just about offered me the job without checking my qualifications or referees, and they'd like my decision instantly.

They sent a brochure which mentioned that the pay is 120 crowns (after tax) per hour taught. There's no monthly wage - you get paid by the lesson, so if there's no students, there's no pay. Assuming 25 hours teaching a week, that's barely a living wage. The brochure said there'd be health and travel insurance provided, plus accommodation provided, but was extremely insistant that I must sign a years contract immediately on arrival.

I emailed again asking if they could refund my air fare to Prague (because I'm bankrupt), and they responded saying it wasn't company policy but they'd make a special exception in my case - because I'm so highly qualified with a CELTA, an MA and two months teaching experience.

Now, I'm in my first TEFL job - which I'm trying to leave because there's literally no students, hence my application to Hampson. Why should Hampson be so eager to get hold of an inexperienced teacher like me? Why do they want me to sign their contract so quickly? Why are they offering to pay my travel costs? And...why don't they want to interview me first? I offered twice, they declined.

The day after the first exchange of emails, Pavel Sudik's wife telephoned to encourage me to come. Her English isn't great, so she said she'd ask Hampson's one native English speaker to call me later so we could talk properly.

He called exactly on time...and it was very strange. I asked about wages, teacher turnover, course content and accommodation, and his responses were slow, vague, confused and noncommittal. Maybe he was being watched, I don't know. But...he honestly sounded as though he were drugged. His answers were not just perfunctory, they were drawling with long gaps.

I am, basically, freaked out by all this. There's no way I'll work for them because the pay just not enough to pay my debts. But am I imagining it, that there's something creepy about that place?

Anonymous said...

I nominate Wall Street Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina (there are about 30 centers, and I've worked at 3). It's commonplace here to disrespect teachers, apparently, and pay them pitifully, and lie to the customers to get them to sign up, ...

- You will get 13 pesos/hour (U$D 4), and way fewer hours than you were promised when you began, meaning that you will only be earning, approximately, a measly 1000 pesos/month (U$D 300). My rent is 900 pesos, so you can imagine what a fantastic wage WSI was gracing me with.

- The ultra-neurotic manager rudely criticizes teachers about their hair and attire.

- The director doesn't even speak English, never says hello and is never friendly.

- The turnover rate is staggering. I wonder why!

- The teachers are grossly over-qualified and exploited. Most don't know better until after they get screwed over, at least a month into it.

- The WSI materials are full of spelling mistakes and wrong answers in the keys!

- Students complain about getting cheated by the salespeople, getting things promised that turned out to be lies and they can't get their money back.

- If a class gets canceled more than hour or so before it's scheduled, you don't get paid for it unless you do "busy work", and if there's nothing to do ...

- They don't respect teachers' time. If the last class is canceled or the student doesn't show up, you do not get paid for it, no matter what. Why? Because you were going to leave anyway ...

It is ridiculously inadequate and and a blow to your dignity to work there.

Anonymous said...

'The Language House' in Malaysia. Beware! A momey making racket! No concern for education, teachers are given absolutely no respect. Students pour in by the hundreds from the middle-east, Korea and China expecting good teaching. Close on six hours contact time, 1 hour preparation time. Payment also sucks! If you are looking for a job in Malaysia, don't settle with less that RM3500 a month, free accomodation or alowance, medical benefits, 18 day paid leave a year! They will tell you to put up with unbelievable nonsense. If you complain, they will tell you to be professional! They are the most unprofessional bunch under the sun! Be warned and warn anyone wanting to teach in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

English World Business Liability Company, Ltd., a.k.a. My English World, Tongliao, Inner Mongolia, China should be added to the blacklist for China. They withhold salaries, give illegal visas, and fire teachers at the drop of a hat if not enough schools are interested in them. Recently, some teachers were sent to Hong Kong to renew their visas (at their own expense) due to the fact that this recruiter/school cannot provide visas because they have no permit for foreign employees and due to some difficulties with new visa regulations they were stuck there with expired visas. Unable to get back, English World washed their hands of the employees and they are stuck there still. Anyway, there's lots more, and they are currently being investigated by the local PSB, so they are definitely good blacklist candidates. It makes me angry that they still get teachers somehow, and these teachers end up being used and treated very badly by the management.

Anonymous said...

I nominate English World, aka My English World, aka English World Business Liability Co. Ltd., Tongliao, Inner Mongolia, China. In 2005-2006, English World was investigated on 3 different occasions. First by the Tongliao Public Security Bureau due to the fact that teachers were teaching under "F" visas, which is illegal. "F" visas are reserved for those invited to China to conduct business, not to teach. Lian was informed of the investigation beforehand by a friend who works with the PSB and all of the foreign teachers had to be interviewed by the PSB. We were told by Lian to tell the PSB that we did not teach, but rather that we participated in the writing of textbooks and did promotional work. We went through with the interviews, but it was very hard on alot of us because we knew what could happen if we were caught lying. But, it was either that or lose our jobs. The second time we were investigated, Lian left the office and a woman and 2 men from the Department of Education came to investigate...they went through Lian's filing cabinet and rifled through the desks.

They had alot to say about a sign that Lian had on the door to the office that claimed we were a school (it was written in Chinese) and because she didn't have the permit to be able to operate a school, or have foreign teachers, they said that she was breaking the law. These Department of Education people returned again and insisted that we all have medical examinations done, and to make matters worse representatives from the Department of Education were present in the room when we had our examinations, and saw us half-naked and it was quite humiliating to us foreign teachers. So, there were at least 3 occasions while I was there in which there were investigations. Until recently, illegal recruiters could fly "under the radar" so to speak, but now there have been alot of changes to the Chinese visa process which will make things alot harder for people like Lian.

I believe there will be no "F" visas issued between March 2008 and October 2008. Also there is no such thing as a visa extension anymore (Lian used to get a doctor to write a note stating that the foreign teacher was too sick to go to Hong Kong to get a new visa so that they could go there with an expired visa to renew it) Usually it worked, but I believe the authorities began to catch on...ask Nate, an American foreign teacher who worked for her. Lian told him that although his visa was expired she "had it covered"...he went to Hong Kong, was detained and fined for having an expired visa...at his expense of course. I went to Hong Kong with an expired visa and was questioned, but they let me through just because I was lucky.

Before I left for Hong Kong, Lian told me that she made a call and that it would all be fine. When I told the immigration officer upon entering Hong Kong, he laughed in my face and said that there was no such thing as "making a call" in such matters...an expired visa is an expired visa. Luckily, he let me through, but I felt like such a fool. I also read something about there being no visa switches anymore, starting in March 2008...before, you could come to China on a tourist visa and change it to a Z visa (which is what you need to have to teach) but now whatever visa you come in with is what you have to stay with; you can't switch it anymore apparently, and if it's expired, you need to get a new one by leaving China for 5 days (I think it used to be 24hrs, if that.), provide travel receipts and prove that you are affiliated with a government approved agency and so on. (For an "F" visa that is, but good luck getting that in Hong Kong without good solid proof, especially if you're not American or Canadian.)

Anyway,with regard to your question why Lian can have dealings with the school board and so on, while not being legal...it's not that hard to justify. Not many Chinese know about permits to employ foreigners (from the S.A.F.E.A.) or visas or anything like that. They're pretty much going on her word. Then there is the whole aspect of how "money talks" in Chinese society. Things often move a little quicker and a little more quietly when it's greased with a few 100 RMB bills.

Also, the schools are not going to care if the foreigners don't have the proper documentation, only Lian and the foreigner will get into trouble...maybe just the foreigner. Chinese don't know much about policies for foreigners, especially where foreigners living in Tongliao is still a relatively new thing for that city. They don't have alot of experience dealing with such matters. You can actually check with the State Administration of Foreign Employee Affairs (SAFEA...they have a telephone number on their website) and they will tell you if the place you are woking for is permitted to employ foreigners. The last time I checked, Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities was the only school in all of Tongliao with a permit, and also able to provide "Z" visas. As for the name of the company it has been changed, because she had to have the word, "business" in it in order to get away with having "F" visas which are only allowed for business oriented companies, not for teaching. By the way, after leaving China I did some research...foreign employees living in China for less than a period of 2 years are exempt from paying taxes so, if she's taking taxes off of your pay...it's going into her pocket.

I had Chinese ex-employees of hers tell me that they were apalled at how she used to keep the taxes for herself and the foreigners were not even supposed to pay taxes. Alot of things go on "in Chinese" that the foreigners do not understand...things that would make you sick. Did you know that all of her teachers are different prices to the schools? If a school isn't willing to pay whatever for a white foreigner, then she will say, "well, I can give you a Filipino or a Black for that money, but not a white person". Kinda makes you feel a little bit like a herd of cattle doesn't it? Oh well...the way I look at it, everything always comes out in the wash eventually. No bad deed goes unpunished and people always pay for their dishonesty.

As long as there are people willing to teach for Lian, then she will make money from them. I just couldn't stay around anymore, because I was tired of being treated as less than a deserving human being. There is no need to try to pick falsehoods out of what I say at all...I have no reason to make things up about English World. I know what I'm talking about, because I have been in China for a long time. This is a horrible company to work for...stay far away!

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please STAY AWAY from British Institutes in Rimini (Italy). The director, Valentina Douglas, will take MONTHS to pay you - or not pay you at all! They will load up your schedule, give you classes at the last minute, and give you a hard time reimbursing you for your gas (petrol) money. I swear I am not the only person with a problem , there are many, many people who have quit and / or are waiting to be paid. She even treats her Italian staff and teachers this way, not just her foreign workers.

I swear, I am not on a vendetta, this is the truth!

Anonymous said...

NEW TOPIC
Does anyone believe that a E.U. sponsored monopoly is begınnıng to take hold on the ESL industry? More and more jobs are statıng, ''British speaker wanted,'' or ''Only E.U. citizens may apply''. I personally believe all schools should have a corporate policy against non-dıscrimination based on natıonality for ESL and should pressure centers to accept natıve speakers from non-E.U. countrıes. For example, what give British citizens a majority hold over a country such as Romania. My family left Romania in 1947 because of the Communists, and I am told that because I am not an E.U. citizen I cannot apply. Personally, despıte beıng a certified instructor, I am consıstently turned down for jobs because the Eastern European centers are unwılling to sponsor a vısa or they say that the requırements are ımpossıble to meet for US citizens. The other common response is ''part-time'' or ''freelance'' which is easily translatable as - no visa support, no health insurance, no housing, no teacher permit, thus no legality. These gray areas of national law can easily cause an inexperienced teacher to be deported or detained. I have personally witnessed this situation take place on more than one occasion. A manager can act as though these really arent a concern, but they should be of grave concern to any illegal worker in any industry. What any company is doing with this type of structure is not attract professional teachers, but persons who may be in the country under special circumstances, i.e. married to a resident, university student, etc. I don't believe this situation adds value to the corporation, instead it detracts from what is important - retaining qualified and interested individuals. One of the reasons why ESL seems to attract the ''backpackers''. Why should British citizens be the only nationality sanctioned to teach English in the E.U.?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to nominate Sorrento Lingue in Sorrento, Italy aka Sorrento Sweatshop Lingue.

If you mind:
- working 10 to 12 hours a day without a lunch break or time for preparation;
- dubious pay slips that even the accountant cannot explain and always inevitably gets wrong every month;
- less pay at Christmas to reward you for your hard work and efforts (a Christmas tax I believe, or so I was told;
- 10 month contracts that will be changed after you have signed them (i.e. a 40 hour week dubiously being changed to 40 teaching hours per week!);
- arrogant staff on ego power trips treating you like a slave because they're Italian and you're just the foreigner - (be prepared to be constantly reminded that you should be ever so grateful to have this job otherwise you will end up on the streets) even if you are over-qualified for the position, come from a country far richer than Italy and are financially secure;
- a dodgy and unhelpful DOS who will do everything in his power to make your life unbearable;
- working Saturdays without paid overtime; and
- no holiday whatsoever

then Teflers everywhere …. I'd give this place a miss if I were you! You have been warned.

Anonymous said...

Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School - steer clear of this 'school'. It's more like a business than an educational institution. Although pay was always on time (very low though), organization was HORRENDOUS. Nobody took the time to help the foreign teachers; teaching 30 students (with some students excelling in English, and others who didn't even know how to stay how are you...) was an impossibility - especially since the kids viewed our class as playtime (apparently though so did the official teachers), and nobody listened to our constructive complaints - it was always just pushed to the side...

The school is located in the middle of nowhere (although construction for more shopping areas began right when we were leaving), and it takes about 55 minutes to get into Puxi and 40 minutes to get into downtown Pudong.

You do get relatively good accomodations. Two rooms (bedroom + living room), and a bathroom - traditional showers. No real kitchen though.

Anyways - just stay away from this school if you want to have a reasonably good time in China. Its major issue is the ridiculous lack of organization. When homeroom teachers tell you that the exams we give the students don't really mean anything - well, there you go. Don't waste your time.

Anonymous said...

WARNING!
Berlitz Bratislava is evil.
Berlitz Bratislava pays its teachers very little money even though the owner is rich. There is a cruel rivalry between the Slovak employees and the English teachers. Berlitz Bratislava has been to known to mistreat the English teachers.

I am posting the following links that list the problems of Berlitz Bratislava:
http://esl.visarus.co.uk/in/SK/Slovakia/schools/view/889.asp

http://www.spectator.sk/articles/view/2174

BOYCOTT BERLITZ BRATISLAVA!

Anonymous said...

WARNING!!

For anyone looking for work in Ulsan South Korea. EWHA Little Campus in Dal-dong is one of the worst schools in Korea to work for. During my year there I encounted lies, fraud, illegal goings on, bullying and theft. I was asked to pay for bills that were not mine and no one could show me a receipt for the bills. I had things stolen from my desk in work by a fellow ENGLISH TEACHER!! I also suffered bullying and name calling from this girl (who had previously been in trouble with the police in England) she is underqualified, inexperienced and generally untrustworthy...no idea how she managed to be accepted to work with children. The school did nothing to address these issues. For anyone wanting a happy experience teaching in Korea DO NOT teach in EWHA Little Campus, it will steal your soul, your spirit and your passion for Asia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Parents,

Please don't cosider Tharnpanya EP program in Bangkok, for your children.

They don't even have a 'First Aid Kit',no soap for the students in the bathroom,bad lunch,among many other unpleasant things.

Thai teachers physically punish students in front of everybody at the morning assembley, in the yard and in the classrooms.

Of course after reading this,they will spend 150 Baht to buy a 'First Aid Kit'and put soap in the bathroom for a week,but I have witnessed what the students should go through,at Tharnpanya.

Please talk to students at your ideal school,their parents and foreign teachers,before paying any school any money.Take time to really see what is going on at a school.Ask for the books they teach,Then take the book to the students and ask them if they really teach them that or it is just a show of big expensive books they sell to parents, and nobody ever teaches them!

Make sure you talk to as many foreign teachers as you can,one on one,outside the office.

At Tharnpanya, Thai teachers will lie to you,namely Sujee and Warawut.

Take your time and thoroughy check the school,because I know you love your children and they deserve a very good school and Tharnpanya isn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

I had an awful time at The British School Maglie in southern Italy a couple of years ago. It was enough to put me off teaching forever. The owner is a typical Italian macho. The school is in an isolated area. The school boasts hi tech this but the reality is very different and the teachers are really unhappy. During the year at least three teachers just walked as they had been treated so dismissively.
I've seen a few postings about The British schools. This one is definitely to be avoided.

Kiwigirl said...

NZ Centre for Culture and Education, Gangnam, Seoul South Korea.

Delusional management comprising of 2 Korean directors and 1 NZer that believe and implement slave-like mentality managment and employment practices.

The contract is dubious and potential teachers are misled into believing that they do not have to work more than 2 saturdays a month, working hours are flexible and initiative is rewarded. The management problems in this place are historic particularly since the employment of the Education Director who is a NZer. Management have gone so far as to make racist comments to pull staff into line.

Staff have been bullied to work on public holidays for marketing events. Staff who have resigned have been told they are not allowed to, fired, screwed out of their final pay, told that the management will make it very difficult for them to leave and they will never be able to return to South Korea again.

The management are using the NZ brand to make money and thats it. There is no NZ cultural program and the goodwill of highly qualified NZ teachers who either resign or do not renew contracts is exploited.

The employment and management practices of the NZC are an embarrasment to New Zealanders, what makes it worse is that it is endorsed by a NZer who sells out the teaching staff.

Unfortunately, this organisation is NZ Embassy affiliated and takes full advantage of free resources provided by the NZ Embassy on behalf of NZ tax payers.

The Tefl Tradesman said...

BLATANT RACISM AT ARAB UNIVERSITY!!

Local teachers at the Zayed University in the UAE have been given a whopping 28% payrise. The foreigners who work there, and represent the majority of teachers, will have to make do with just 5% though!!

No explanation has been forthcoming for this fine example of blatant financial racism. Read all about it here...

http://thenational.ae/article/20080818/NATIONAL/937585280/0/PAGETHREE

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=65273

Anonymous said...

United English is the epitome of education for profit. The school’s Swiss owner 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

Anonymous said...

United English in Queretaro, Mexico (www.unitedenglish.com.mx) 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

Anonymous said...

The Director Richard Jeong (Wife Suzie) dishonored the contract by cramming 33 students at 3 different levels into our classes that were to be 12 only. Captain Cheap was trying to save a few won, do not trust this lazy big mouth FAKE!

Anonymous said...

Pan Pacific Int'l English College!!
Victoria, British Colombia,Canada.
Don't buy it!!! Whatever you do! Thaddeus Monckton is trying to sell (off load it!). The rat is jumping ship! I visited the school as I do many around the world. The worst atmosphere ever!! Reluctant in everything: saying hello, showing around etc. Mexican students (all in one classroom)step out of class and speak Spanish, no English right in front of the teachers and administrators. Koreans the same then they go to the computers and use chat in Korean and Spanish. Students then 'hang' in groups from their own country; no English what so ever! The children's program, I hate to think as there was no transparency at all. All students socialized in their native languages. Don't believe the photo's: Monckton will make sure you get none of it. The guys a shiester, unethical manipulator. The Mexican connection will soon leave when there is no money in kickbacks. Oh, what an atmosphere!! Don't buy the school!! Putting gold in a ship and sinking it will stay afloat longer and be a better investment than Pan Pacific College!! Don't buy it!

Anonymous said...

I am quite glad that someone has posted JUNG JIN KUG English Academy (JJK English Academy) on this site: It is about time!

So let me start ranting and give my reasons for advising anyone NOT to accept a job offer from them:

- The director forbade me to be friends with my Korean colleagues. We had to meet in secret and pretend we didn't even like each other!

- I was FORCED to work over-time, which I was not interested in at all and therefore was illegal. I mentioned several times that I didn't want to do more hours - the director didn't care.

- I was forced to work at a kindergarten (for the over-time). Besides that being illegal (one is only allowed to work on the campus stated on one's visa), it was also not what I had signed up for. The kids were adorable, but anyone who has done it before, knows that teaching the little ones takes all of one's energy.
I also mentioned to him that it was illegal - he once again didn't care.

- The director conveniently connected my debt card to his cell phone number so every time I made a purchase with it, he got a text message. He also very often tried to interrogate me to find out what I was up to, with whom and where.

- I had to teach TOIC with a Korean book and therefore couldn't teach properly (since I couldn't speak Korean at all!). I complained about it several times, with no result. I then anonymously posted a comment on a blog, asking for advice from other ESL teachers. The director somehow found my blog, came to my apartment that evening and threatened me that I had breached the contract (for mentioning how much I was getting paid - when I had never even mentioned the academy's name).

- Although I had no problem with his wife or with my colleagues, the director was sexist, racist and very patronizing. I also didn't have medical insurance and at no point when I asked for help or advice for anything, did he come to my aid.

There was a lot more I could complain about, but I think this should be more than enough reason not to consider this academy. Like mentioned before: Stay away from JJK!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Saekyung College
Yeongwol, Gangwon-do, South Korea

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.

If more information is needed, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to nominate Les Petits Bilingues.

The boss is evil and abusive of staff, the parents have no respect for the teachers and nor do the students.

You're given a programme for the year which is made up of topics and that's it. On your own.

Eg. First week could be animals. "Teach the kids animal names plus prowl, growl, etc". That's the only thing your given, the rest is up to you. One week we had to teach the kids "plain, valley, mountain". This is to 5 year-old French kids. How many native English speakers know "plain and valley" at 5?

If the lessons are not perfect and if you speak any French to the kids you will get a nasty email or phone call from the manager questioning your capacities as a teacher. You will end up feeling like crap and questioning your abilities.

Be prepared to have your self-confidence torn to shreds by the management and the parents. Even if the kids love you and have fun each week.

Also, don't ask for anything. There is a bare (and I mean this) minimum in the school and woe betide anyone who asks for new things like pens and paper and books.

Anonymous said...

ABC Foreign Language Training School

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 adminstrative/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!

Anonymous said...

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 11months 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!

Anonymous said...

I hereby 'nominate' another British School, that of Lecce, which is owned and run by the father of the owner of the school in Maglie - also the ex-President and vice-President of the entire British School group. He is also the founder and ex-owner of the British Schools in Campobasso and Foggia.

Regarding the father-son, Lecce-Maglie, relationship the Italians have a saying: "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

The British School employs teachers illegally, without a valid contract, which should come as no surprise in Italy. You are employed on a 25-hour contract, only to find out that it is actually an ‘average of 25 teaching hours’ and you are obliged to work as many hours as they can give you. Thankfully the ex-DOS worked as a go-between for the teachers and he managed to secure a cut-off limit of max 30 hours a week and 7 hours a day. Since the DOS quit there is zero didactic support for the teachers.

Add to this the female equivalent of Quasimodo as secretary and an Ogre Machismo owner, who everyone has to refer to as Doctor, despite the fact that all his qualifications are merely certificates he bought, and you can imagine that the teachers are thrown completely on their own resources both at school and out of it.

But the teachers aren’t treated half as bas as the clients! The British School of Lecce, Maglie and Nardò (owned and run by another member of the family) combine to do official British Exams illegally on premises. They register all their students via the official Cambridge centre, the British School in Foggia and then do them in-house. This is all organised and run by the owner in Maglie, who is registered as Cambridge Local Secretary in Foggia. Students get their certificates with Foggia printed on it, whereas teachers are ‘trained up’ as Cambridge examiners to do the exams.

Avoid the British School of Lecce and its gangster 'Doctor'.

newzild said...

I would like to nominate RFT in Turkey for blacklisting.

Among their many misdemeanours:

1) Promised to pay me and other teachers flight money, but later refused.

2) Promised me four summer camps working with my girlfriend. We arrived in Turkey to find there was only one part-time camp for my girlfriend and two for me.

3) Because my girlfriend had no money and only one part-time camp, Koray agreed to pay her a per diem of $400 to help her survive. This was DEDUCTED FROM HER FINAL PAY.

4) This company routinely purchases fake degrees for foreign teachers who do not have university qualifications.

5) Numerous teachers were fired or quit during the two months I worked for RFT. Mostly because of broken promises by RFT.


This company is run by Zanore Cox and a psychopathic Turk called Koray, who gets all huffy and refuses to pay money then runs off to his bedroom so Zanore can come out to the office and play the "good cop" and say "Koray doesn't want to pay you the $400, but here's $100 of my own money if you just leave and forget about all of this".

Do a google search on this website and you will find RFT in Turkey mentioned several times in threads - no mentions are positive.

Cameron said...

The mildly Svengali-like director of Madrelingua in Bologna, Italy heads my list of nominations for Italy. He is not quite up there with dastardly villains of the TEFL world and does in fact run a school that would otherwise be a model for the industry to follow …….if (note the long pause here) he was as exemplary in practice as regards treatment of teachers as he is in his own head or as he presents himself to be. A paragon of helpfulness and cordiality at the outset it is all the more disappointing when this seeming embodiment of good practice drops his sunshine persona to become abrasive and sometimes simply “offensive” in the word of a DOS from another school who had no axe to grind with him.
He pays well by local standards (€20-25 Gross per 60 mins, 2007) but has a penchant for agreeing with teachers on a number of hours to pay them regardless- “a minimum”, then displaying some creativity in finding ways out of his commitment – assigning them classes which they are not competent to teach (business for YL teachers) or on days that one has already agreed will be left free as in my case and when one says no the teacher has “refused” work and hence the minimum guarantee is rendered void.
He may offer half-price or even a week or two of free Italian lessons for non-Italian teachers although in one case agreed to deduct the money in three instalments only to have a peevish change of heart and deduct it all in one capricious ah…whammy…from the teacher concerned who left not long after as a result. The director lamented that she made more money than he did.
Indeed she did as the school is new and still struggling (at least as of 2007) to get ahead. A fact that the director was always at pains to point out, in particular, how much his wife, also a partner, suffered when teachers ask him to stand by his commitments- She probably won t sleep tonight because of this!
For good measure he threatened not to pay the same teacher for the last few classes she had taught (I don’t know if he followed through) when she said she was leaving without teaching the few classes remaining till end of term despite the fact that as a “collaboratore occasionale” she could, by law, quit at a moment’s notice. For info on such contracts and other ex-pat issues in Italy you can visit www.informer.it/Default.aspx?tabid=39

Anonymous said...

China Center for International Educational Exchange, CCIEE is a Beijing Company operating without a license to hire foreign teachers. They conduct a program called the PGA which uses a fake curriculum in several cities throughout China. They do not honor contracts and have been told by the Ministry of Education to stop operations.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to nominate IESA in San Jose, Costa Rica for being completely misleading and unapologetic. They hired me via skype, then when I got there waited two weeks to tell me that it would be at least one-two months before there were any classes at all for me to teach. I spoke to a representative every day prior to my arrival who assured me that I would begin work almost immediately. I was incredibly disappointed as the lead instructor wasn't even the one who informed me, but her assistant. I left a good job in Europe for the job in Costa Rica and the company was well aware of that.

Anonymous said...

I worked for WSI saudi arabia. DAMN where do i start? It was great for the first2 years until an ARAB took over as the centre director and after that everything changed. No salaray no holidays you need to fight for your right.

Anonymous said...

WSI Wall Street are the worst ever dont bother

Anonymous said...

Just happened across this gem advertised by Brige TEFL:

https://www.bridgetefl.com/form/eod_apply.php

Under no circumstances give this group your passport number, credit card number and security code from your credit card (all required fields in their online form).

This is identity fraud waiting to happen!

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate WORWICK FRANKLIN LANGUAGE SCHOOL of SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA.

formerly known as WORWICK LANGUAGE STUDIO FOR KIDS until some investors who have too much money on their hands decided to pour their money into this pitiful excuse of an English school. the school has 3 branches in Seoul (Bundang, Daechi and Songpa) and will be opening another somewhere outside of Seoul in 2009. how this school still exists is beyond me. it is the most ill-organized institution i have ever come into contact with. like most things in Korea, the school is made to LOOK impressive and lovely on the outside, but on the inside it is a pathetic mess. with a "headquarters" that know nothing about education and management for that matter, each branch is doomed to failure. our principal was given the position, NOT because he is qualified or has any skills needed to run and manage a school but because he taught at the school for one year and helped write their music program. the guy doesn't know what he is doing most of the time, he doesn't know what's going on in the school itself, treats his teachers like shit, insists you go in to work even when you're sick as a dog, talks crap about teachers behind their backs, etc, etc.
there is stress and issues every other week in the schools, just recently we had issues with tax that the school had apparently messed up on and wants us all to repay tax owing. the school is relatively new and programs, curriculum, schedules amongst other things are always changing. part of the reason why nobody knows what's going on or what to do with new programs being implemented.
there are serious issues with this institution and i would not want anybody else to go through the stress of working for them. really, this place is not worth anybody's time!

Tay said...

RFT Turkey. Zanore Cox and Koray the Turk.

Anonymous said...

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.

Glitter and Doom said...

I nominate BERLITZ TOULOUSE (France) as the worst school, in recognition of:

their total absence of advance notification/course planning

the monolinguism of the direction (they speak only French and have the nerve to give bad teacher evaluations!!)

student evaluations kept secret

poorly lit facilities

unpaid evaluations (dozens per day)

harassing nightly calls (to give you your schedule, usually around seven pm the night before)

late payment

threats (we could replace you!)

Anyway, a group of us sued them and we won. Big. ALWAYS have your contract reviewed by a union counselor, especially if you have more than one year in the school.

PS The Berlitz "method" is just a bunch of stale flatulence: a gussied up listen and repeat scheme.