EZ English School review
Since there is very little information on this school on the net, I thought it would be helpful to write a short review. Up front I would like to say that I have reason to dislike the school and I was there for less than 1 month, which I will get to later, but I will try to give an objective report.
What they are looking for
They are looking for native English speakers who have at least minimum competency in Chinese, are experienced as teachers, will be strict and severe with students, and above all, are willing to exactly follow instruction from the head master.
PAY the best thing about the school is the pay. Starting salary is around $900NT (about US $29) per hour. Like other schools in Taiwan, this is only per teaching hour not actual hours you work. You will work more hours than that outside of class for preparation. At first this will effectively more than halve your salary, but I would assume that as you work there longer the time spent in preparation and grading will become more reasonable.
STAFF In my experience, the whole staff is very friendly and are quite helpful. They don’t all speak great English, but if you speak decent Chinese (and this job requires Chinese ability) then you will find them very engaging and kind.
PHONICS This school is really good at teaching children correct pronunciation. If you are serious about accomplishing something worthwhile for these kids, then correcting the basic pronunciation problems children have can be what you do here.
FACILITIES The furnishings, desks, white board, etc. are all nice and new.
GOOD STUDENTS The headmaster actively kicks out what he deems to be poor students, and the rest of the students will behave (or else). You won’t have discipline problems.
GOOD WILL The school does try to be fair. I was terminated from the school with little real warning, but only after a few days in training, and they gave what I felt was a fair amount of compensation for the trouble that this is causing me.
CHINESE The job offers a good chance to practice using Chinese at work.
GETTING FIRED Technically, I guess I wasn’t fired as I had to voluntarily release them from their contract. But when you sign a one-year contract that doesn’t mention any sort of trial period and then are suddenly terminated after moving into a new apartment that also has a 1-year contract, it can cause major trouble. Considering this happened to another teacher just a month earlier, this may be worth mentioning.
[color=red]NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT [/color]The headmaster’s way of instructing uses heavy doses of negative reinforcement with rare glimpses of positive reinforcement. This means some kids will get screamed at for very little, even when they are trying or when they don’t really know what the teacher wants from them. It is an effective method for keeping the kids in line, but gives them very high stress and stifles creativity.
CURRICULUM OVERLY-NARROW The teaching style is 99% teacher-centered with students parroting the teacher. Even replacement drills are few and far between, instead students repeat by rote exactly what the teacher says or what they have memorized from their CD. The course of instruction does not attend to students who learn visually, kinesthetically, or spatially. Learning only occurs by repetition of aural media and transcription of writing.
NO ENGLISH ENVIRONMENT The classroom is not a place for the children to use English. It’s only an assessment of how well they have memorized the CDs of the headmaster’s voice. Classes are conducted in over 50% Chinese. Students do not learn fluency in these classes.
OUT OF CLASS WORK Teachers are expected to put in a lot of out of class work. Experienced teachers who have a streamlined system put in at least an hour grading homework (including checking tapes) for each class. Preparation time for each lesson goes on top of that. Inexperienced teachers will have to do a lot more. This seems to be far above what other schools will expect.
THE CONTRACT The contract includes hefty penalties for things and requires a huge deposit. It also forbids you to do any work teaching children English while you work for their school. This is understandable, but still makes for a harsh contract.
RIGID TEACHING STYLE On a scale of 1 to 10 on how rigid the style is, the school gets a solid 11. If you don’t do things exactly like they want you to, there’s a problem. Even the English language is the province of the headmaster to determine what is right or wrong. If it isn’t how he’d teach it, even if it is used by other native English speakers, it’s a mistake.
TRAINING While the pay for training is fine, the actual training is terrible. It consists of observing the boss teach, listening as he interrupts the class to make comments to you in the middle of class, and teaching while the boss criticizes you. You are expected to ask how to do things instead of being trained on how to do them.
[color=red]THE BOSS!! [/color] :fume: Honestly, before I was terminated I was looking at job boards simply because of him. Were it not for the promised pay I would have quit on my own because of the headmaster. He does not know how to deal with people unless he’s yelling at them or dictating what they should do and how they should do it. He has no capacity to deal with people as equals and doesn’t seem to comprehend how to encourage people.
He is constantly in competition and incites competition between others in an attempt to motivate them. Basically, he treats employees and any other adult the same way he treats the children he is teaching. When he ‘corrects’ you, the only acceptable answer is to say “I’m sorry, I’ll change” as if anything else is said he will take it to be an argument against him. I’ve worked for many bosses, and of them all this guy was far and ahead the most obnoxious of them all.
My comments about the headmaster of the school are a personal dislike. He is not the devil incarnate, and he may even have been reacting to perceived arguments from me. (There were times when I was accepting his comments, but he acted as if I was arguing against him). But his attitude and personality were far and beyond the worst aspect of the job for me, and I strongly suspect for many others.
This is a school that may be worth looking at if you meet their requirements, you want a good paying job, and you feel you can get along with the boss. But it’s a risk, and getting hired does not mean you really have a job. Go to the job with your eyes wide open on this one.