I have been working for GVO for 6 years, nothing has really changed from its early days. For newcomers wishing to come to Taiwan to teach, GVO is one school best to avoid, I have seen another website which GVO is blacklisted on along with many other schools here in Taiwan. There is a very very low morale, lots of gossip, fear mongering, negative environment within GVO, the incompetent management can be deceitful and the employees are not respected or valued.
High turnaround of teachers, starting pay for new teachers is around $400nt, not much higrer than they were offering in 2002 or earlier for that matter. I find the salary to be just too low to encourage newcomers. The schedule I had at one time was exhausting and prevented me from pursuing interests or being social (classes sometimes across a 12 hour time period). The schedules offered to newcomers seems more than adequate when first speaking with the lying receptionists at GVO branches, they do paint a rosey picture of this school, however once you have signed your name on the dotted line and receive your real faxed working schedule from Taipei, its like 14hrs a week & you will be lucky to make over 18,000nt, too late to cry, GVO have got you! No such thing as incentives for all the hard work we do, pay increases, simply forget it!! GVO give you sod all, but want want want always.
There are some western teachers who are strongly against anyone working for GVO, as doing so puts competitive pressure on other companies to pay as little as they do. In effect, some believe that working for GVO can drag down pay and conditions for all westerners in Taiwan. Hard to disagree with that.
GVO views people as expendable. Don't be surprised if they say nothing. I strongly dislike the company culture. I find the atmosphere to be increasingly toxic, though I liked certain people. I always have a feeling that I am completely on my own, unlikely to be supported by the company if anything happened. One coworker had a female stalker and the company did nothing to help him.
I also feel they seem to spend a lot of money on frills that have little to do with language learning.
The pay is probably the single largest issue. Many teachers would prefer to teach only adults and GVO takes full advantage of this. The pay is nearly 200nt per hour lower than basic children's classes. I accepted that at first but, as time goes along, I'm starting to feel abused at such a low level of pay. In order to make a decent total salary, one has to work a lot of hours. GVO will also change your working schedule as the deem fit and without asking you, I feel rules are made up as they go along.
Related to pay, is the issue of working hours. This summer, I taught classes from 10-11:30am, 1:30pm-3:00pm, 3:30pm-5:00pm and 7pm-9:00pm. The schedule keeps me effectively tied up for nearly 12 hours per day, 5 days per week. Some teachers even work 6 days per week. The pay is nowhere near worth the amount of time the job takes up in my life. I have very little time for friends, hobbies or classes and it is starting to bother me. I came to GVO for a relaxing change, but it hasn't really been that. Plus, if I'd worked these kinds of hours anywhere else, I'd be making 100,000nt per month.
Then we have the teaching. I used to like the easy-going approach GVO uses. Lately, it is bothering me. Classes have no goals, anyone can attend any class at any time; I do not know who will come to any particular class. Often classes are a weird mix of ages and levels that makes it impossible or me to be much use to anyone.
This brings me to the magazines. They are so poor, it's almost funny. I would laugh, but I sometimes have to get through 2-hour classes with the crap they write. The high-intermediate magazine is almost useable sometimes, but the advanced/superior one is just terrible. Both writers should be fired. Apart from the obvious factual errors, the writers are obviously just trying to fill the space so they get paid. The quality is so poor and the topics so boring, that it actually annoys me to read it aloud to students. lol.
The GVO mangers in Taipei whom are supposed to take care of western teachers problems are basically useless, they also have a high turnaround as it seems pressure prevails.
There is virtually no quality control, the teaching materials are bad, and the set-up (a membership system where students come and go as they please) is a recipe for disaster.
I could go on but perhaps I will leave all other negatives as to why one should avoid GVO for others to comment on.