Blacklist of schools


#161

[quote=“tomthorne”]One point does confuse me, though. Why did you boss need to run so many classes with only 30 students? Plus, even with your low salary of 50k he’s not going to be making any money with such a small number of children. Maybe you were his marketing tool?[/quote]It makes him look good to the parents for small classes and it doesn’t effect his bottom line because the labor cost of the teacher is fixed. Parents love small classes but are rarely willing to pay for them. :unamused:


#162

Sorry , Okami, I edited my post. I assume it must be 300 students. With 30 the class size would be two! Surely that can’t be the case? Or maybe it could?


#163

Due to the intense competition in the area, I’d believe 30, most schools in that area would struggle for 300 if it was at all possible. Your rent would be your largest expense.


#164

The school has a total of 30 students. He has grades 1-5, small classes. I was the only native English teacher in there. Now, there aren’t any native English teachers to teach his lame classes.


#165

That’s one weird set-up, SandaGuy. Okami called it right.

I can only guess that the parents are being offered tiny classes and therefore being charged a very big monthly fee, so the boss is looking for a teacher prepared to work crazy hours to tiny classes. Otherwise I can’t see how the economics of the business could possibly work unless your boss was taking a massive hit in the short term and using you as a marketing tool for the medium to long term. As far as I can see he was burning cash.

Usually western teachers will be responsible for around 70-120 students for the economics to work out. If I were the boss of I-Kids I would be looking to increase class sizes and employ a part time teacher on an hourly rate. My track record in this regard ain’t too good though.


#166

It’s a brand new school. I was the first teacher there. And there’s more to the story. There are 5 or six interest holders in the school. They’re all greedy Taiwanese people looking to make big bucks. Although their school is brand new, they shouldn’t have treated their only native teacher as poorly as they did. And what still puzzles me is that I had a talk with them already about everything, so they knew that I was pissed. But still, they did nothing to change the system. Very idiotic way of thinking.

From what I can see, the school is going to crash and burn, unless something changes quick. The entire cirriculum was designed without the help of a native speaker. Everything was way above grade level. Their purpose was to show the parents that “wow,” your kids are learning such difficult English. I told the boss about it one day, and his response was, “Nonsense, it’s not to hard for them. They’re just being lazy because it’s summer.” What’s even more silly is that they were telling me that I did not know how to teach phonics to first graders. I was teaching them non-voiced sounds like “k” and “t.” I kept telling them it’s not k-k-k-kite. “K” is non voiced, and I’m not going to teach phonics the “Taiwanese” way.

They charge $16,000 per month per kid. He is trying to increase the size of his school. All this was done through a combination of lying and manipulation, to the parents and to me. Little did he know that he screwed with the wrong teacher, and that lying and manipulation doesn’t work with me.


#167

[quote=“SandaGuy”]

They charge $16,000 per month per kid. He is trying to increase the size of his school. All this was done through a combination of lying and manipulation, to the parents and to me. Little did he know that he screwed with the wrong teacher, and that lying and manipulation doesn’t work with me.[/quote]

Oh, it’s one of those all day English ‘immersion’ school things. I thought we were talking about an evening buxiban.

To be honest the school probably will work. Teaching the ‘Taiwanese way’ - incorrect phonics, loads of grammar, setting the level way too high - will go down a storm with the punters.

Good on you on getting out of there. Good luck with finding another job.


#168

[quote=“SandaGuy”] Although their school is brand new, they shouldn’t have treated their only native teacher as poorly as they did. And what still puzzles me is that I had a talk with them already about everything, so they knew that I was pissed. But still, they did nothing to change the system. Very idiotic way of thinking.

They charge $16,000 per month per kid. He is trying to increase the size of his school. All this was done through a combination of lying and manipulation, to the parents and to me. Little did he know that he screwed with the wrong teacher, and that lying and manipulation doesn’t work with me.[/quote]
I’ve not experienced many employers here, particularly in the cram school industry, who give a rat’s patoot about whether their teachers are pissed or not. In fact, they are usually happy to get rid of teachers who get pissed as they see them as trouble makers.

How to treat employees is very low on their list of priorities, especially when they feel the employee can easily be replaced. While I understand why you left and would have done the same thing, the employer still likely doesn’t care that you left, they will do the same to the next person, and the next person and the next person, and it may or may not have any effect on the success or failure of the business. Most cram schools have a revolving door of teachers for various reasons and customers seem to not be too bothered by it. I pick my battles and draw the line where necessary, but I no longer expect or hope that I will be dealt with by Taiwanese employers with the same rationale as back home.

The private jr/sr high where I worked before also screwed it’s native English speaking teachers, and is doing just fine. First, changes in the way pay was calculated resulted in a 20% cut for same number of hours worked, then they cut the number of hours worked by 41% and along with it the pay. Of course I left, as did the other native English speaking teacher but for different reasons, and we were easily and immediately replaced by 2 others who were willing to take those hours at that pay. Feedback I get from contacts there say that the new teachers aren’t as good as we were and they don’t interact/collaborate with the local teachers, but the school administration doesn’t care. The school makes more money now. Period.

From what I’m told, in Chinese culture, on the path to making profit, there is nothing wrong with lying, cheating, stealing or manipulation. People who make a profit are admired, regardless of how they got there.


#169

Good day my fellow freestyle and qualified teachers!

Just want to put out the word on the street against Da Shin Happy Marian in Taoyuan City. Located in West Daxing Road close to the corner of Zhongzheng Rd. The culprits at this school are Rachel and Sabrina. They opened like 2 months ago and 2 teachers have been sacked already since opening. The reasons were that one student pulled out and decided not to come back. Saying that, it was a new kindergarten student coming to school for the first time (summer camp). They told the teacher that the whole class will be canceled and that they can’t afford to keep him anymore. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a fresh supply of 6 new kindergarten students were waiting in the wings. And guess what! The next teacher was ready to start too. The very next day! What good ‘recruiting skills’ these people have, hey!
We figured out that the whole thing was just a setup to get the ‘actual’ teacher in. Holding teacher A on the line while teacher B finishes his contract elsewhere. As soon as teacher B was ready to come to school, teacher A was told to hit the road.

Next up, teeeeeacherrrr C!!! In this round the teacher got completely pummeled! We were welcomed with big smiles and promises alike. It went something like this: OOO, you are so beautiful, ooo you are so handsome! You are just right for the position. (AFTER THE DEMOS) You are perrrrrfect, very good teachers you are indeed, ya da ya da yayayaya!!! They lied about several things, hourly pay, hours per week, working days, starting date and responsibilities. :liar:
All of this took place after the contract was signed. Now the peak job season is over and we are sitting without proper jobs.


#170

I am very curious about your situation because I was considering taking the position you had. But the ad I responded to was for a substitute for three months from early June until September. I already had another contract, so I couldn’t do the whole three months. Here are my questions:

  1. What happened to the Native speaker that I was to sub for? He’s the one I actually interviewed with. Did he wind up leaving? He was the one who was coming up with the curriculum. I also met one of the Chinese teachers. She was the co-teacher of the NST that I interviewed with. This was supposed to be an Anchingban as well as an English school. The hours were to be from 1:30 to 7:00. I was told there was only going to be one teacher to start, and that I was it. Since the majority of the communication was to be in Chinese, I wasn’t expected to do office hours either. What were you told?

  2. The school was poaching students and teachers from another school. My understanding was the owner had in fact just recently resigned from the school he was poaching kids from. The total number of students I was told I was going to teach was around 30. I was actually given a schedule of the classes I was to teach. I was always going to be hourly. Why did you agree to a salary? Did they offer you something else?

  3. Were they sponsoring you or was your other job sponsoring you?

I am not trying to be difficult, but something drastically changed between the time I rejected the offer and you starting. At the time I spoke with the owner he told me he was the only one in charge. This was his dream to have his own school. Interestingly, Kindergarten classes were never mentioned either. I didn’t know anything about extra bushiban classes because I was only concerned with the three months I was there, and there weren’t going to be any-- or so I was told.

Finally, the NST I spoke with and the Chinese teacher I spoke with both said they had a good working relationship going back a few years with the owner. He was an area director(or whatever the title for manager of managers of several branches is) for whatever school they all worked at.

Having been put through the ringer at a different chain school, I was wary of all bushibans. After speaking with everyone, I actually thought this one might be different. What surprised me most was that you never mentioned any other Westerner at I-kids. I now wonder if the whole thing was a big lie.


#171

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.


#172

Why are you still there? 6 years is a long time to put up a “toxic environment”.


#173

Why are you still there? 6 years is a long time to put up a “toxic environment”.[/quote]

Yeah, it does seem a little odd.

I have been banging nails into my foot for 6 years and would strongly recommend others not to do it because it bloody hurts.


#174

I remained with GVO for 6yrs in the hope that things would improved, I have become very close to a lot of the students, some have become my friends too. I would say that in the last 2 - 3 years GVO’s attitude towards it’s teachers have really gone down hill. Make no MISTAKE when I remarked in my first posting that GVO see ALL it’s teachers as ‘EXPENDABLE’ this was no joke, it’s dam well true, it doesn’t matter how long you have been with GVO either, they simply think we can easily be replaced, WE CANNOT and its as simple as that. They need to once and for ALL wake up in to the real world and ponder why teachers, excellent teachers are moving on, it’s always for the same old reasons!

I love the job too, helping others improve their quality of english gives me great satisfaction, if this were any other language school but GVO then it would be perhaps a great place to work. GVO will and do use it’s teachers, however I use them now, I turned the tables. I have nothing positive to say about GVO other than that the school buildings are nice!! I have dropped all my daytime classes at GVO, I will only teach 3 evenings a week now, until I inform management otherwise. I have another job, I make $1000 per hour, GVO could never match that, NEVER.

Why are you still there? 6 years is a long time to put up a “toxic environment”.[/quote]

Yeah, it does seem a little odd.

I have been banging nails into my foot for 6 years and would strongly recommend others not to do it because it bloody hurts.[/quote]

Nothing that ODD about it folks, let us just say it used to be a great place to work, besides I am possibly far older than most of you guys which in turn goes against me securing another job, hence I remained and bite my tongue at GVO. Having said this, I have been lucky to find a small pvt school in a town named ‘huewai’ that offered me working hours around my working schedule that I had with GVO, this school is amazing and I am paid for what I believe I am worth. I have since dropped ALL my daytime lessons at GVO as I am concentrating on pvt daytime work via a website I use named myu.com.tw this site has proved somewhat encouraging for me. I also have business cards that I handout, these are also paying off for me. I now make far more money by dropping the daytime classes I had with GVO, so GVO kind of held me back. GVO had me on a schedule Monday to Wednesday for over 12hrs a day for only 5 hours work, this practice goes for most of its teachers, so go figure. One is effectively tied up with them. I also had to travel to another GVO school about an hour away from my regular school to teach 1 class on Thurday evenings and 3 classes on Fridays begining at 13.30pm and ending at 20.30pm, these I also dropped 2 years ago.


#175

Of course you’re expendable. Your posts make that quite, quite clear. You think GVO is going out of business because you’ve “moved on?” :roflmao: No. They’re doing just fine, and will continue to do so for as long as there are local ladies squirting out offspring and planeloads of fresh young Canookians and Saffers to take your place. And there are.


#176

Hmmmm, I have heard that name b4 ‘sandman’ it rings a bell. So I gather you work or have worked at GVO? I have no illusions concerning GVO’s feeling towards teachers blah blah, all I was trying to do was to give others that are considering working for GVO an insight to how they conduct business and how they are towards long term staff and the like. As a company on a whole I don’t think its very good but I am entitled to my opinion considering the length of time I have been with them. I couldn’t careless if GVO will do just fine with or without me :roflmao: perhaps the many ass kissers GVO employs should also wake up and move on too as their ass kissing makes them look like stupid fools to us long term teachers, been there seen it done it :wink: Get my drift??


#177

There’s a market for everything and GVO go for the cheap end of the market. That’s why they pay such low hourly rates, have massive class sizes, classes where students can just ‘drop in’ at will, classes with mixed age ranges, mixed ability ranges… There’s nothing particularly good or bad about it, it’s just catering to the demands of the market.

In general there is a pecking order of schools and GVO ain’t near the top. Long time teachers know the pecking order and are generally to be found working in the schools towards the top. It just looks like it’s taken you a little longer than others to suss this out, Terry2011, but it’s good that you now have.

This is why the ‘Blacklist of Schools’ thread tends to be the exclusive domain of newbies.


#178

@tomthorne, I agree.


#179

Adding one since I see they are hiring. St. John’s English school in Changhua. Just the facts here so nobody can complain about my adding opinions in. You decide if this is what you want.

Pros:
–The owner, Uncle Gary, DOES pay on time. I never felt cheated on pay. (That is a good quality that is hard to find).
–They use good books and materials for the older kids. It wasn’t some stupid “Backpack” or “Smart Kids” series.

The problems I found came from how they conduct the classes. The materials were great, but the way they did it did not seem logical. I was told to make sure my kindergarten students could do “ch,” “sh,” and “ph” before they know what basic sound s, c, p, or h made. (??).
–The materials for the young students were full of errors. I scanned a good percentage of the pages and typed a long list of problems (more for my own amusement than anything else). My favorite: a picture of a shirt. You have to circle “shirt” or “shit.”
–invasions into your class are annoying. The owner wanted the kids to have more conversational abilities at home, so he decided to teach the kids songs. (Yeah…insert your own commentary there). I had the manager (who NEVER taught before just recently accepted the job and whose degree was in Plastics Engineering) bust into the class during a reading lesson to tell me that I should stop what I was doing and start teacging, “Do Re Me” to the 11 year olds I was teaching. She did that A LOT.
–He tried to sue someone for leaving without notice. It never worked. But he DID try. Hard.
–Completely pointless field trips. Yes…I am adding this as a fact, not opinion.

The real bottom line is the constant last second change of decisions. “I have an idea at 8:50 AM. Why not have your 9:00 class be about something totally different that we have no materials for? Like…maybe…you could cook food with the kids that we didn’t purchase yet?”

It’s also just a feeling of incompetence. I remember when they had the outside floors repainted and covered the drain in the process. Guess how wet it was next time it rained. . .

Read the contract carefully. There is part of it that says you will give up the end of year bonus they offer. (Who puts that into a contract?)


#180

Dude its getting worse ands worse by the sounds of things. Just went for an interview at a school–it was a giraffe school, one right next to taipei 101–was expected to do 18 hours of subbing for free as a “demo” process, expected to work 30 hours a week even though I was getting paid for 17, plus many other things. Check this - they expected me to do “make-up classes”, that is, if a kid misses a class for what ever reason (another teacher there told me they miss class for ridiculous things like baseball and piano) then I would have been expected to do that class again for whoever missed it for FREE. If a kid got sick and missed 2 weeks of classes, thats 2 weeks of make-up classes i would have to do for free. They had a clock in clock out system, if I was one minute late (by late that means less than half an hour before class starts), Id be fined 100 dollars a minute. Breaking the contract incurred a 50,000 dollar fee. It was a fkn joke and I almost took it cause there are so few jobs out there at the moment. I dunno if anyone else is feeling the same way as me, but im telling you, the teaching game is getting harder by the day for foreigners. Avoid this place.