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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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Language House, Malaysia

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"'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."
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Wall Street Institute Buenos Aires, Argentina

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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 cancelled 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 cancelled 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."
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Hampson school in Mlada Boleslav, Prague, Czech Republic

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

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

Hampson 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?"
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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LTC Eastbourne, England

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Pro Linguis, Belgium

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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..."
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Every International School of Choueifat - SABIS supported school

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Komalingua sl, Basque Country, Spain

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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!"
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Komalingua sl, Basque Country, Spain

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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!"
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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BONAS International School Valencia, Spain

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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!"
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Berlitz Zagreb, Croatia

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Berlitz Istanbul, Turkey

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"

I wouldn't 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! This thief has no honor. They even pocket the teacher's income tax at the end of the year!"

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Eurolingua Brno, Czech Republic

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Daleena International Language Centre in Malaga, Spain

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."
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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Yang Jeong Academy, in Yongin City, South Korea

Posted on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section". Any comments?

"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."
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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