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, March 09, 2007

British Institutes Italy

ALERT
Just a quick warning that the British Institutes have been spotted on Tefl.com. Get that barge pole out when you read the word "expanding school". This is often a euphemism for "teacher has done a runner and we're now desperate".
So barge poles at the ready troops and be very wary of:
British Institutes Vicenza
British Institutes Trevizo
British Institutes Gorizia
British Institutes Oderzo
British Institutes Arona
British Institutes Venice
British Institutes Taranto

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ciao. Care to elaborate on your aversion to the British Institutes schools? I am currently on the lookout for a teachiing post in Italy and while I find your comments insightful, I could use a little more justification for your views.

Grazie

Smart

Kat said...

I've got the same question, and also - there are three specific schools identified here, any input on the British Institute Florence?

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

The British Institute of Florence is the real thing. The "British Institutes" elsewhere are a loose collection of small schools who pay to use the name. They have nothing whatsoever to do with The British Institute of Florence.
British Institutes are mostly to be avoided because most of them are cowboys. The franchise owner is actually an accountant!
Imagine a two bit outfit setting up and calling themselves "British Councils London" instead of The British Council and you'll get the general idea. It's all designed to deceive and not surprisingly often works.

Kat said...

that helps a lot with my school search - thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

The owner of the British Institutes in Pisa, or 'the Sargeant' as we called her is doped on power. Not only is she a 40+ walking about in a miniskirt and smoking wherever in the school she likes, but she'll tell you not to. While she's there driving a new Mercedes and telling you about her 100 euro manicure, she pays half your salary, and 'bonuses' for return students take a long time to materialise. If you complain, instead of actually paying you, guess what, she'll give you more hours you won't get fully paid for (seeing as other teachers are leaving anyway- wonder why). I didn't fall in this trap personally, but this report is echoed through several voices. Thank you Mr Inspector, I have an outlet for all my steamed up anger!

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't go to British Institutes of Oderzo in Italy. Working week is a minium of 33 hours with scams to stop you getting overtime. Teachers are made to feel terrible if a student cancels and are given extra hours the week after to make for it. If you use their 'free internet access' they track your history to see what you've been looking at as they are totally paranoid that teachers are going to do a runner which they often do. Horrible tricks played on teachers by the director (you wouldn't believe me if I told you). They won't register you with the authorities as it costs them money so you will in effect be working illegally with no health care rights etc. Don't, don't go to this school

Anonymous said...

Any word on the one in Macerata in Le Marche? I've sent them my resume b/c I'm looking for a teaching job in Italy.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Any word on the branch in Torino?? I'm probably going to be moving there in 2009 and am a qualified Primary School teacher in Australia. I would rather try and find work in a Primary School but will work teaching English if I can't find work in a Primary School straight away. I'm an Italian citizen so I don't have to worry about work permits or anything. If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it!
Thanks

Anonymous said...

The problem with franchises is that some will be good, some will be mediocre, and some will be downright terrible. Unfortunately, the old adage of one bad apple spoiling the barrel seems to hold true. The British Institutes I used to work for was owned by British teachers (not Italian business people, as in many cases), who did actually care about the the quality of the courses, and the welfare of the staff. Almost all of the staff were CELTA qualified or above, and some had been with the school for years. There were the odd issues, of course, but the bosses were quite approachable, and generally the conditions were pretty good.

I fully respect what the Inspector is doing with his blog, and kudos to him, but don't tar all schools in a group with the same brush.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

I fully respect what the Inspector is doing with his blog, and kudos to him, but don't tar all schools in a group with the same brush.

There is nothing linking this mish mash of schools other than branding. The owner of the trademark is an accountant. There is no unifying theme (other than marketing). The British Institutes exist to give small schools an identity and fool people into thinking they are part of some large entity.

There may well be some good ones but the reality is that there are no quality checks at all.

Acoreana said...

Oh wow, and I had an interview last June with the one in Ancona (Le Marche). After reading this blog, I'm glad I was too ill to make the interview after all...

Anonymous said...

OMG are you serious about this? what you are saying is really serious! I've just been offered a teaching position in the BInstitutes Rimini and now I'm getting suspicious not just because of what you guys are saying but also on the phone the director didn't inspire truthfulness...please, some info on that school. Thank you

Anonymous said...

I've heard horror stories from a number of teachers and Italians who have worked as support staff at British Institutes Rimini.

ALL of them have complained about late or non-payment, poor working conditions and a generally unpleasant atmosphere. I even heard one story of an angry teacher who, on demanding payment after several months of being fobbed off, was bodily removed from the premises by the owner/manager's boyfriend!

I've also heard rumours that at least one company in the Rimini area is not happy with the service British Institutes Rimini provides, but I con't guarantee how true this is...

Anonymous said...

I have been in TEFL for many many years now and I like to consider myself a "street-smart" teacher, but man was I side-swiped by the British Intitutes in Roma. I only taught one course there and that's all it took! I will give the office staff the benefit of the doubt and call them disorganized. I highly reccomend staying as far away from this group as possible.

Andy Barbiero said...

Remember, franchises are only as good as their owners. British Institutes has a good didactic base to work from and very good organizational structure. They just have to be careful not to let their name get ruined but unscrupulous entrepreneurs just looking to make a quick buck with no intention of actually building a school that truly teaches English. I’ve been an ESL teacher for 10 years and have worked in South Korea, Japan and now, Italy. I worked at a couple of schools in Italy similar to the ones described in the above comments. Now, after 3 years freelancing in Italy (I have a Partita Iva and invoice my clients directly), I’ve decided to accept an offer to run a British Institute in Seregno (just outside of milan). The previous owner was exactly like the owners described in these blog comments. The new owner runs a company called Etass (www.etass.it) . She’s my neighbor and has been discussing this move with me for over a year. We’ve had long discussions about the atrocious conditions esl teachers find themselves in when working in some Italian esl schools and she has agreed to allow me to start up and run her new investment. Our building is being renovated and our first evening course begins Nov 2nd. I also have a database of over 50 companies from Milan and the surrounding area that are already clients of Etass that want to organize English training sessions for their managers and employees. This, along with an average of 5 phone calls a day from people interested in taking courses makes me confident that we have a lot of potential work available. I will be doing all of the teaching to start but, I will need more qualified emt esl teachers very soon. We can’t offer anything fulltime yet but, I can assure anyone in my area that may want to work at this British school located in Seregno that the “guy in charge” is a teacher like them and all dealings regarding hours, work conditions and pay would be very straightforward and organized to be mutually beneficial. I would like to invite anyone interested to contact me directly for more information: andybarbiero@alice.it.
Good luck to all esl teachers and be sure to get all the facts before you commit to any school. Happy teaching.

Anonymous said...

Stay well away from British Institutes Faenza. Director is crazy, also lies and cheats: pays pants or doesn't pay you, reneges on agreed terms and conditions.If you challenge him:he gives your hours away to someone else wehey!! Currently pursuing him for failing to come up with the reddies .....

Anonymous said...

Stay well away from the British Institutes Faenza if you value your sanity (and don't wish to work for nothing)Director is very dodgy Mr Nice Guy cum Psycho... beware!!!