What's Going On In Sesame Street/Ladder Schools?

I am in need of some infromation pretty quickly. It seems there are some really strange things going on with this franchise. A majority of the employees have not been paid for the previous two months and the boss is writing post dated checks for July, to fend off angry employees. Is this franchise going down? Should I jump ship?
Anybody who knows anything, let me know, PLEASE?

Each Sesame is individually run by it’s own managers, not the head branch. It’s franchised out to and the managers who pay a yearly fee for the name and use of books.

Therefore, before you slander their name, perhaps you should specefy which specific branch you are talking about.

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Amos,

I agree that EOD need to specify which franchise location they’re writing about, but I don’t see any slander here. EOD wrote “Is this franchise going down?”, not asking if the whole company is.

Or are the slander laws that much different from those in N. America? (not being sarcastic–I really don’t know.) Also, I am aware that in other countries a franchise is never independent enough from the main company to be able to use the brand name while bilking people. I would imagine that Sesame Street would like to know if their name is being used while employees are being left uncompensated for their work.

And how would somebody be able to check up on a company’s financial situation? Is that possible in Taiwan?

I work for the main franchise!!!
More specificaly, training teachers for the local schools through the regional, headoffice.

EOD, I haven’t heard anything specific about Sesame Street, but I’m pretty busy and, aside from my participation here, don’t know many foreigners.

I have previously worked for three companies (2 in the US, 1 in Taiwan) who had to hold off on paying salaries. In each case, the company was experiencing serious cash flow problems. Though I was concerned each time that the company would not survive, in each case, it did.

However, in each case, the company was privately held, and the owner was able to find either a wealthy buyer to invest in the company, or beg a loan from a benefactor. Two of these companies are now thriving, one has managed to survive a year past the cash crunch.

I would find out as much as I could about the ownership of the company. Are they connected to people with deep pockets?

Two months is a long time to go without pay. Further, writing salary checks post-dated to July is highly unusual. Unless you are aware of a concrete back-up plan that has already been initiated, I’d say this company is in serious danger of going belly-up. If I were you, I’d find a part-time gig elsewhere, and cut back on my teaching load there if possible. If the part-time gig is with a company that could hire you full-time in the event of necessity, all the better.

Hope that helps. PM me if you need some part-time job leads and I’ll do what I can for you…

Good luck.

T.

EOD, if an English school is not rolling in money, then something is seriously wrong.

I have heard that Sesame Street’s yearly franchise fee is high ($300,000?) and with so many ESL programs on the market, perhaps franchise owners are going their own way. Have you been doing less training and/or visiting less schools?

Sesame Street’s program is not good and I do know that parents are becoming more educated about what they want in an ESL program. I don’t know if SS has changed books from the last time I looked at them, but if SS is still using what I saw, then SS can’t compete.

I hope that things work out for you, but Tomas was right in suggesting that you cover your bases. Good luck.

Slander their name? I think you take Taiwan English, Inc. a little too seriously.

EOD, my experience tells me it might be time to start looking for other opportunities. Two months of no pay means something is surely wrong. Does anybody remember the Anderson and GTE bushiban chains? Get out before you sink – you’re an employee, not an investor in the school, so why stick around and wait?

Slander? Not unless your computer is talking. Libel is what you mean. Not an English teacher, are you? :unamused:

Sesame in Taoyuan info please!

I have an interview/demo tomorrow at Sesame Street School in Taoyuan
The location is Zonzen (spelling?) road the street with the temple on it.
The school is at the other end of the street, not near the train station.

I keep hearing about Sesame and their problems. Have any of you worked at this branch recently???

Company: Sesame Street English School

Street Address: No.834, Chung Cheng Rd.

Telephone Number: 03-326-4566 (8am – 9pm)

City: Taoyuan City

Thanks!!!

That is someone else’s advice for me before I worked there… I have been teaching English for more than 8 years, and Sesame Street’s program is the worst that I have ever taught. The text books are from States, but all the lesson plans are written in Taiwan, very Taiwanese and up to D stage, the grammar is way too difficult, too much to teach in 2 hours, too much homework…
I have tried my best to teach, in the end, I was teaching the book but not the students, you will soon find out what I mean, I did not have any time to emphasize on the students but the bloody lesson plans.
Last year, they were learning passive and present perfect, and I was 2 lessons behind, because it was too difficult and the grammar book was 5 pages each time not including the writing book… poor kids…
I wonder why parents send their kids to this kind of crap school, learning this crap lesson plans…

I followed my instincts and the advice given to me by many of you. I quit. I now have about 60% of my pay and a post dated check for the rest. I still don’t know if I will be paid for the two weeks I worked in n February. I am not expecting much from the check.
Thanks again,
EOD

Sorry not to reply sooner, but I just saw this thread.

I currently work at one branch of Sesame Street, and have never missed a paycheque or had a late one (except national holidays and the like). My bosses have been, for the most part, fair and working conditions, while not perfect, are fine. I’ve signed on for my third year with them, if that’s any indication.

That being said, as someone mentioned above, each franchise operates differently and I have heard enough horror stories that if I had just landed, there would be no way that I would go to work at a Sesame Street. Each school has its own wage or salary and contract, though some will try to tell you that it’s a standardised one from the mysterious “head office”.

The material is not perfect, and there’s inadequate material for reinforcing difficult grammar concepts, but if your school is properly prepared and you know what you’re doing, you should more than be able to compensate with supplementary materials. The lesson plans and schedules supplied by head office are too fast, but my school has slowed some of them down a bit to allow for review and writing practice lessons. Seems to work as far as I can see…

Other comments???

[quote=“nemesis”]Sorry not to reply sooner, but I just saw this thread.

I currently work at one branch of Sesame Street, and have never missed a paycheque or had a late one (except national holidays and the like). My bosses have been, for the most part, fair and working conditions, while not perfect, are fine. I’ve signed on for my third year with them, if that’s any indication.

That being said, as someone mentioned above, each franchise operates differently and I have heard enough horror stories that if I had just landed, there would be no way that I would go to work at a Sesame Street. Each school has its own wage or salary and contract, though some will try to tell you that it’s a standardised one from the mysterious “head office”.

The material is not perfect, and there’s inadequate material for reinforcing difficult grammar concepts, but if your school is properly prepared and you know what you’re doing, you should more than be able to compensate with supplementary materials. The lesson plans and schedules supplied by head office are too fast, but my school has slowed some of them down a bit to allow for review and writing practice lessons. Seems to work as far as I can see…

Other comments???[/quote]

If you are able to create a decent curriculum to replace the crappy one you are presented with, you should be working at a school which pays you for that input. I don’t know whether Sesame Street does as I’ve no experience of it.

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Anyone here work for a Sesame Street school?

I have an interview at the one in Cin Shuei here in Taichung county tomorrow morning…

They are offering 55,000 NT a month for 100 hrs plus free apartment

Ive done a search and the consensus seems to be that this school is a good starting point for a career(!) teaching english…

Any new rumours or info about this school that I should know about?

Cheers for any advice… :slight_smile:

Arrgh! How time changes us!

My advice is not to take the position; there’s too much “extracurricular” work involved, and if you plan on doing a decent job, you’ll be ignoring most of the resources given to you and making/ adapting your own. Also, are we talking about 100 teaching hours or does that include office time, etc? Will the school farm you out to other schools/ kindies (which pay the school upwards of 750/hour for your services)? For 100 hours a month, you can make much more money on hourly pay, especially in a large centre such as Taichung. Most of the well-paying jobs never make it to overseas agents, in any case. Come here with enough moolah to survive for a month and pound the pavement; sometimes the best organised (and best paying) buxibans exist in teeny streets and alleys invisible to the naked eye.

Also, I advise you to negate what they offer until you’ve seen it; many people have been lured by the promises of free accommodation but the schools are not willing to deliver (or it includes a dump laden with cockroach droppings). Confirm all of the particulars, and keep looking.

Looking back, I can’t believe I posted what I did above. Lord Lucan is absolutely right; if a teacher is writing his or her own material to supplement an inferior curriculum (designed for ESL in the US in the 80s rather than for EFL in Taiwan in the next millenium, but rewritten by people with no grasp of English themselves), he or she should be reimbursed for these efforts.

I’ve since moved on to greener pastures, and while I still contend that some Sesame Street/Ladder schools are well run, I add in parentheses that such schools all have foreign headteachers who have entirely rewritten the curriculum and tests. I can’t see myself ever going back, but who knows what the future holds…

Thanks for the insight, nemesis - much appreciated :slight_smile:

At the moment I am considering taking a job with Shane buxiban that are offering 15 hours a week, and supplementing my income with 1 on 1 classes and selling junk on ebay…

As time goes on, Im getting more confident and will start looking closer to Taichung city, or even Taipei (Im a bit fed up with Taichung lately…)

[quote=“pubba”]Thanks for the insight, nemesis - much appreciated :slight_smile:

At the moment I am considering taking a job with Shane buxiban that are offering 15 hours a week, [color=blue]and supplementing my income with 1 on 1 classes and selling junk on ebay…[/color]

As time goes on, Im getting more confident and will start looking closer to Taichung city, or even Taipei (Im a bit fed up with Taichung lately…)[/quote]

Thats a good idea… maybe you could sell your English teaching guides online too hehehehee

Heh I just use the ‘Side by Side’ series of books in my 1 on 1 classes…

Its a fun way to teach English. Usually I go off on tangents anyway, but its a good base :slight_smile:

[quote=“nemesis”]Arrgh! How time changes us!

Looking back, I can’t believe I posted what I did above.[/quote] :blush: :blush: Me too! Slander, damn, wake up, amos.

Side note, I’ve been at Sesame Street for seven years now! Great school (our branch anyway).

Not full of muppets, then? Lucky, lucky you.