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

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bell Thailand Centre - TJAS, Bangkok

Hi Sandy

A posting for your page if you want it -

Bell Thailand Centre - Thai-Japanese Association School

I'd like to tell you about the situation at the TJAS Bell Centre in Bangkok. Warning fellow Thailand TEFLERS - the pay at Bell TJAS may be reasonable and the conditions appealing but DON'T APPLY.

I want to make it clear that this posting has nothing to do with the school itself - it's really well run, the Japanese staff are terrific and the kids are cool. However, the Bell Language Centre within the school is a different story.

Mainly the issue is with the centre manager, who is, for want of a better word, a bully. He has so far driven EIGHT conscientious, well-qualified and experienced teachers out of the place. These former staff members even formed their own INTERNET SUPPORT GROUP on Yahoo for people who had to suffer under him. Almost every single staff member who has left in the past 18 months has been a member of this group - that's a nearly a 100% staff dissatisfaction rating.

The main issues with this manager are -

1. Holding “staff votes” for the appearance of democracy and then vetoing staff voting decisions, for instance on choice of course books etc.

2. Blatant favouritism shown to his "inner circle", despite the highly unprofessional behaviour of members of this coterie, including unexplained absences from work due to drug overdoses.

3. Turning a blind eye to staff members being bullied by members of his inner circle, despite requests for help from the bullied party. This eventually led to the victim of bullying having to leave the job.

4. Observing staff lessons without a notice period.

5. Refusing to do sickness cover (one of his management duties), instead placing the pressure for absentee cover on busy colleagues.

6. Treating PGCE qualified teachers, some with years of teaching and management experience, as if they are17 year old Gap Year TEFLRS who aren’t capable of making informed professional decisions about anything. No coincidence that most of his staff are better qualified than him – could it be insecurity at work on his part?

7. A complete refusal to hold staff meetings or allow any staff members to raise issues and concerns which are troubling them.

8. Inventing meaningless, irrtaional tasks which prevent teachers from planning lessons.

9. A policy of targeting members of staff who disagree with his policies and bullying them out of their jobs by making their work lives a misery.

10. Refusing to communicate verbally with staff members, insisting that people with desks a stone's throw away communicate with him via email.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives an overview of what's going on down there.

No doubt you’ll get a couple of replies from members of the “inner circle” to this post, singing the praises of TJAS and the manager. They’ll also focus mainly on positive attributes of the school itself (which are not in question), rather than responding to the issues raised about the Bell centre.

Then they’ll peddle some cod New Age baloney, accusing the eight unhappy former staff members of "being bitter", of "having a bad attitude" and suggest that we "move on" with our lives. Funny how all eight of us performed well in our jobs, observations and reviews and were hired by Bell in the first place. They have a right to disagree with us I suppose, but it’s because we have moved on that we're now all able to have a laugh about our experiences there. It wasn't funny at the time though....

Cheers Sandy

Duke of TEFL

Inspector McHammered of the Lard