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

Flight of the Conchords

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Girard English House, Kitami, Japan

Well I'm flabbergasted. Bludgeoned into submission and wisely abandoning the frail protection offered by blog-city, Sandy has risen from the cyber dead. To mark the occasion here is a reprint of the final posting that immediately preceded his exit from The TEFL Blacklist and led to the subsequent entry of your noble sleuth.

P.S. That old adage of "watch your back" should now be "watch your IP address".

Sandy takes no prisoners whatsoever, and whether you like it or not..............he's back.

And as for Jean-Guy Girard. You have had a temporary reprieve of about 18 months. Be grateful for small Murphies.


Friday, June 23, 2006
Girard English House, Kitami, Japan

I was recently employed by Girard English House (GEH) in Kitami, Eastern Hokkaido. After about 2 months, I decided to give my notice. For the record, I did work out the 2 months notice that was stipulated in the contract. I left the job because I felt that my employer was dishonest with me about certain aspects of the job before my arrival. I also didn’t like the way the school was run.

GEH is a small eikaiwa with one location in Kitami and another in Abashiri. The school is run by a Canadian man, basically out of his house. (The main location in Kitami is also his house.) The school employs two foreign teachers at a time. I felt the need to warn people about this school since, although they are a small school, they are frequently advertising for new teachers.

Here are some of my qualms with the school:

* In the job ad for this job it states that there are paid national holidays and paid vacation. While national holidays are paid, the vacation time is not. Because of this, you only receive the advertised salary (250,000 yen) six or seven months out of the year. The vacation time that you are paid for is taken from your yukyu days. So if you get sick at all during your contract, those days are deducted from your pay.

* In the job ad, it does say that driving is required. I was nervous at the idea of driving in Japan, especially in Hokkaido. When I asked the school owner how often I would have to drive he said once a week. He told me this over the phone and also in writing. However, once I arrived, I found out that I would be driving almost every day, sometimes just within the same town and other times I would drive for over an hour (each way).

* My biggest problem with this job was that the foreign teachers are not allowed to socialize with the teachers from other eikaiwas in town. Once I arrived at the job my boss presented me with a contract in which I had to agree to this. The penalty for talking to these people at all was ‘loss of privileges.’ If I were to have talked to one of these teachers about a work related topic, the contract stated that I would be fired. In hindsight, there is no way I should have signed this. But at the time, I had just arrived at my first TEFL job and I didn’t want to rock the boat.

*We were also discouraged from socializing with the local JETs, as my former employer said they were all losers.

* At one point, my former employer found out that the other foreign teacher and I had been going to a certain bar in town that other foreigners also go to. He then told us not to go there, because he claimed that the bar owners were spies for the other eikaiwas in town.

* I was told in the interview that all of the teachers had stayed on for at least 2 years and that one couple had actually stayed for 4. In reality, the two teachers that left before me had been there for only 2 months and they’d had another teacher come and go that year after only a few months. One of the Japanese staff (no longer employed there) told me that the couple that had supposedly stayed for 4 years had only stayed 2 years.

Now, about the contract…

* When I interviewed for the job, I was told that driving time was included in the 40 hour work week. But in the contract it states that driving time is outside of these 40 hours.

* The teaching hours that I agreed to were no more than 25. The contract states 30.

* Teachers are allowed to socialize with students but must ask permission of the school first.

* If the teacher breaches any of the clauses of the contract, he/she may be fired without notice. I’m pretty sure that one is totally illegal. It is my understanding that the employer must always give 30 days notice or a month’s pay in lieu of notice.

Now you may say, ‘why on earth would you sign this contract?’ Good question. I was hearing one thing from the employer and the contract said another. I thought that I could trust the employer and he made it sound like a good job. I was much more cautious when I went for my new job.

In the end, I did speak with the teachers from other schools and I found out some interesting things. For example:

* The owner of GEH used to work for another eikaiwa in town and he’s said to have taken a lot of their business with him.

* He has been successfully sued by 2 of his former Japanese employees.

* He was quite vehement that the teachers from the other eikaiwas were ‘unqualified losers’ but he had actually offered many of them jobs at GEH if they had been willing to leave their current jobs.

If you do decide to apply for this job, I would encourage you to make sure you ask very specific questions about the job and make sure you know what you’re getting into.

posted by The TEFL Blacklister @ 6/23/2006 06:10:00 PM
7 Comments:

Anonymous said...

This is so true!!!
A lot of illegal stuff is happening inside GEH!!!
July 10, 2006 4:00 AM
Anonymous said...

Indeed indeed. A terrible place, all because of a certain owner. I stayed there 1 year. I was never given the non-socialisation policy to sign (maybe because I'd been in Japan for a while already and He realised I wouldn't agree to that? I'm not sure). There's dishonesty going on in many places, although he's a very slippery customer. I suggest, if you work there, join a union (form a local chapter if necessary) and get Him sorted out.
July 14, 2006 8:42 AM
The TEFL Blacklister said...

Well, I'm just glad I can be of some help to any future 'mugs' who might be considering a move there.
July 14, 2006 10:26 AM
Jill Ball said...

This post has been removed by the author.
October 07, 2006 6:55 AM
The TEFL Blacklister said...

And now the boss of GEH is trying to sue me, intimidate me, and God knows what else. He claims it's all lies - so why not post your rebuttal, stupid?!
December 24, 2006 6:15 AM
Anonymous said...

I'm not going to get involved but Sandy you risk losing your job if some of your ever increasing enemies ever find out where and who you are and denounce you.
You could do a better job if you were totally sure of your facts, before you libel innocent schools/recruiters as they are the most likely to really want to nail you and expose you.
I am a firm sandyM supporter but I do think sometimes on the flimsiest of evidence you sometimes shoot from the hip before thinking and it totally devalues your potentially valuable blog.
As for your victim I haven't a clue about the place but I do know a bit about libel and you would be crucified if someone ever revealed who you really were. I expect you'll be tempted to pull this posting which would be a pity as there is a need for people like you - just exercise a little less venom as it may prove your undoing and the web would lose a useful blogger.
An anonymous TEFLER (who doesn't want to lose his job)
December 26, 2006 1:48 AM
The TEFL Blacklister said...

MORE of THE SAME!!!

WATCH OUT FOR GIRRARD ENGLISH HOUSE IN KITAMI, HOKKAIDO!!! [JAPAN]

Dear Prospective Teacher,

I have been living and teaching in Kitami(a small city in Hokkaido) for quite some time now. I must caution anyone thinking of accepting a position offered by GIRRARD ENGLISH HOUSE. In the short time that I have been here, I have seen eight different foreign teachers come and go from this school and none of them have had anything good to say. In fact, all with the exception of one, have expressed to me that it was an awful experience. The school is run by a man named Jean-Guy. He used to work for another school in Kitami called ASC. He either left this position or was fired. (I honestly don´t know which) He then opened his own school and has since been making a living in Kitami. While all schools within the Kitami area co-exist in relative peace, Jean-Guy has proven himself to be a vicious liar and a generally manipulative individual. I wish I could go into more detail as to my personal experiences pertaining to this but I must protect my own identity, as I have to live here and not make my school a greater target for him. His social policy is remeniscent more of a gestapo than any english school I´ve ever heard of. He does not allow his foreign teachers to converse(either professionally or personally) with any other english teachers or associates thereof. Since Kitami is such a small town, this generally means EVERY foreigner in Kitami. He attempts to convince his teachers that Kitami is filled with spies attempting to infiltrate and destroy his business, while the only one destrying his business is himself. He has been successfully sued twice in Kitami by two of his teachers for breach of contract. (Yet he will vehemently deny this) I spoke to both of the teachers involved and neither of them would have anything to gain by lying. Anyways, I don´t want to keep writing this. Truthfully, I would rather not say anything bad if I don´t have to. I simply feel a responsibility to forewarn any foreigner considering one of his positions. If you don´t believe me, ask him for recent references and find out for yourself. Then again, considering the type of person Jean-Guy is, he will probably try to talk you out of reference checking, or just give you phony ones.

Tread Cautiously,

Regretfully Anonymous

Regretfully Annonymo [2006-02-17, 23:22:00][ID: 1529-9791]
----------------------------------------------------------------------

This posting is completely true. I had the horrible experience of working for this man. He lies constantly about the most stupid and pointless things. He is paranoid beyond belief. One of those people who never has anything good to say about others, but has nothing but positive things to say about himself. The only people he treats worse than his native English teachers, are his Japanese teachers. You can speak privately with several past and present teachers to discover the truth, but I think that would be a waste of time. There are plenty of opportunities in Hokkaido for Native English teachers. Smart teachers will avoid Girard English House at all costs.

P.T. [2006-04-25, 17:11:00][ID: 1529-20091]
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I too had an experience that was bad!! I was intimated and threatened by this man. I realised very soon after starting this job that I wouldnt be staying long, after he asked me to lie about my professional career. DO NOT go to this school, unless you are not bothered by these comments.

Lesson learnt [2006-06-12, 13:09:00][ID: 1529-23188]
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I might be just repeating what is said about GEH, but Jean-Guy says seriously nothing but lies! And this posting is almost painfully true!!! Stay away from GEH!

Annonymous [2006-07-10, 08:13:00][ID: 1529-23891]
December 26, 2006 7:11 AM



ENGLISH SCHOOL WATCH


WATCH OUT FOR GIRRARD ENGLISH HOUSE IN KITAMI, HOKKAIDO!!! [JAPAN]

Dear Prospective Teacher,

I have been living and teaching in Kitami(a small city in Hokkaido) for quite some time now. I must caution anyone thinking of accepting a position offered by GIRRARD ENGLISH HOUSE. In the short time that I have been here, I have seen eight different foreign teachers come and go from this school and none of them have had anything good to say. In fact, all with the exception of one, have expressed to me that it was an awful experience. The school is run by a man named Jean-Guy. He used to work for another school in Kitami called ASC. He either left this position or was fired. (I honestly don´t know which) He then opened his own school and has since been making a living in Kitami. While all schools within the Kitami area co-exist in relative peace, Jean-Guy has proven himself to be a vicious liar and a generally manipulative individual. I wish I could go into more detail as to my personal experiences pertaining to this but I must protect my own identity, as I have to live here and not make my school a greater target for him. His social policy is remeniscent more of a gestapo than any english school I´ve ever heard of. He does not allow his foreign teachers to converse(either professionally or personally) with any other english teachers or associates thereof. Since Kitami is such a small town, this generally means EVERY foreigner in Kitami. He attempts to convince his teachers that Kitami is filled with spies attempting to infiltrate and destroy his business, while the only one destrying his business is himself. He has been successfully sued twice in Kitami by two of his teachers for breach of contract. (Yet he will vehemently deny this) I spoke to both of the teachers involved and neither of them would have anything to gain by lying. Anyways, I don´t want to keep writing this. Truthfully, I would rather not say anything bad if I don´t have to. I simply feel a responsibility to forewarn any foreigner considering one of his positions. If you don´t believe me, ask him for recent references and find out for yourself. Then again, considering the type of person Jean-Guy is, he will probably try to talk you out of reference checking, or just give you phony ones.

Tread Cautiously,

Regretfully Annonymous

Regretfully Annonymo [2006-02-17, 23:22:00][ID: 1529-9791] This posting is completely true. I had the horrible experience of working for this man. He lies constantly about the most stupid and pointless things. He is paranoid beyond belief. One of those people who never has anything good to say about others, but has nothing but positive things to say about himself. The only people he treats worse than his native English teachers, are his Japanese teachers. You can speak privately with several past and present teachers to discover the truth, but I think that would be a waste of time. There are plenty of opportunities in Hokkaido for Native English teachers. Smart teachers will avoid Girard English House at all costs.

P.T. [2006-04-25, 17:11:00][ID: 1529-20091] I too had an experience that was bad!!
I was intimated and threatened by this man. I realised very soon after starting this job that I wouldnt be staying long, after he asked me to lie about my professional career.
DO NOT go to this school, unless you are not bothered by these comments.

Lesson learnt [2006-06-12, 13:09:00][ID: 1529-23188] I might be just repeating what is said about GEH, but Jean-Guy says seriously nothing but lies!
And this posting is almost painfully true!!!
Stay away from GEH!

Annonymous [2006-07-10, 08:13:00][ID: 1529-23891]


MARKS ESL FORUM

STAY AWAY FROM GIRARD ENGLISH HOUSE IN KITAMI

Posted By: Rgretfully Annonymous (210.170.202.196)
Date: Sunday, 19 February 2006, at 5:03 a.m.

Word to the wise. Stay well away from this school unless you enjoy being forced to sign social policy contracts. Every aspect of your life will be invaded and monitored by the paraniod and manipulative owner named Jean-Guy. He is very nice and helpful before you arrive and when you become one of his teachers, you are treated like a disposable posession. You are not allowed to converse with other foreigners. (He will say this is a lie, but what he means is that you can not talk to any other teachers, while every foreigner in Kitami is an English teacher.)Be prepared to have absolutely no social life except going on pathetic field trips with his family. Several of his teachers have sucessfuly sued him for refusing to pay them. (Although he will vehemently deny this) Ask to speak PRIVATELY with SEVERAL of his teachers from both past and present and you will discover the truth about this nightmare of a school.

http://tefltrade.blog-city.com/the_true_calibre_of_efl_school_owners.htm

« H E » Sandy :: email link
About .45? That's the IQ, I mean. And I say this because some stupid geezer wonderful guy in Japan is threatening to sue me, and persecute me to the ends of the Earth, and all because of this little piece [LINK DELETED] that turned up on the Tefl Blacklist blog (which, as I am sure you all know, is nothing at all to do with Sandy McManus). I mean, I didn't even write the damned thing, and now it's apparently all my fault!

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