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Blacklist of schools.

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby WolvesMon » 18 Jul 2015, 22:20

Big Byte is always advertising. Why? Beware constant adverts. They have retention problems for a reason. Any work below 650 per hour must be ignored.
She said to me in Harlem. 'Hey! Keep a cool tool fool. I'm wise to the rise in your levis!'
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby kj21 » 25 Jul 2015, 10:48

Giraffe (Lihu Branch in Neihu)

I have been in the industry for 10+ years, and this was by far the most unprofessionally run school I have ever seen. Don't waste your time with them. I could write volumes on how poorly this school is managed, but I'll just point out some key issues:

:thumbsdown: The owners (husband and wife) tell you one thing, then do the opposite. Most of what they say in the interview is a fabrication to get you in the door. Any issues you bring up after you start working, they just lie and tell you what you want to hear. They will not address any of your issues.

:thumbsdown: The communication (or lack of it) is terrible. The woman owner speaks Chinese half the time and English (broken) half the time. The husband has a day job, so he is only there occasionally in the evening. His English is pretty good and he communicates okay. The problem is that he'll say one thing and the wife will say another, so you don't know who to believe because they don't communicate with each other.

:thumbsdown: They will cancel classes without giving notice, without pay of course. They don't value, or even think about, your personal time and how cancelling your classes affects your personal life and your wallet.

:thumbsdown: They will not provide you with a schedule, even after you've asked for one again and again. If you can read Chinese, you will find out in the communication books that your classes are cancelled or that the school will be closed for an extended period of time. English classes are always cancelled for mid-terms and finals, a week at a time. That's 4 weeks per year of no pay. Of course, that is not communicated to you in the interview. I found out in the communication book that English classes would be cancelled for 2 weeks for summer break. I found out the Friday before those two weeks began. The owners didn't notify me about this. I asked them about it after I saw the Chinese notification in the communication books. The woman owner just laughed and said, "We take a 2-week summer break every year." Well, how am I supposed to know that? I wasn't working there at that time before. Also, her husband had told me a few months prior that we would have a summer camp during that time. Another example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

:thumbsdown: They do not pay taxes on your income and do not provide health insurance.

:thumbsdown: On two occasions my monthly pay was short. The woman owner will also come into the classroom and give you a wad of cash (no envelope) right in front of the students. Slightly unprofessional. The students of course would ew and ah.

:thumbsdown: The woman owner is rude, to put it nicely. Sometimes she won't even say hi when you say hello to her. I saw her throw a workbook at a student once. I was between them and the workbook almost hit me in the head. She didn't say anything. She's really pleasant! It's clear that her only desire is to make money. In my opinion, she doesn't care about the children or about their English improving (the system they use confirms this).

:thumbsdown: The school is a pigsty and the bathroom is literally more disgusting than a bar bathroom. They don't pay anyone to clean the school, so most of it goes uncleaned for weeks. If I didn't sweep my classroom and keep it tidy, I don't know if it would have ever been cleaned. I didn't have a problem cleaning my classroom, but it just seemed as if they didn't care either way.

I actually felt sorry for the husband. He's really nice actually, but he takes on all of the stress created by his wife. He spends his time trying to put out all of her fires. The school is so unorganized that I believe it's beyond repair. More than anything, I feel sorry for the children. Not only is their English not being taught properly, but they are also learning from the poor examples that the school teaches. Kids are smart, they pick up on all of those things.

Aside from the above, the workload that you have to handle (from all the tests, quizzes, homework, communication books, etc.) is almost unbearable (there is no co-teacher). It's such a stressful and toxic environment that it is just not worth it. Hopefully this post will save someone from the nightmare job that I put up with for a year.
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Re: Blacklist of schools (Shane)

Postby Heggy » 05 Oct 2015, 15:43

TheQueenOfFB wrote:Shane English schools in Zhanghua, Yuanlin, Homei, Lugang, and Dali. They fired people with no warning for minor infractions because they want to make an example for the rest of their foreign teachers. A lot of people then quit so they chased each of those people down at their new place of work to scare them. If a person gave their quitting notice they were then fired immediately, and many were asked to pay enormous sums of money. They have attempted blackmail, emotional manipulation, and lying in order to pit foreign teachers against each other. They will not get you an ARC until the last possible second because they want to have power over you. They have done even more than this but I don't want to post more so that individual people don't get in trouble as I am thankfully still in good standing with these schools. These schools should be avoided at all costs.

Just want to say that I worked here for over two years and I can attest to everything said above. The franchise owner will actively try to recruit new, inexperienced teachers, take advantage of them for as long as possible and then fire them once they wise up to the crappy deal they're being offered. As I'm no longer in good standing with the svchool, I can say what the OP can't:

A teacher handed in their notice so the school lied about leaving their ARC running. The teacher then started working elsewhere believing the new school only had to take over their ARC. The people at Shane had actually cancelled it, then proceeded to hound the immigration office (i.e. multiple calls a day for at least three weeks) until the immigration office caved to the pressure and ended up deporting the teacher for working without an ARC (the same ARC that Shane had assured the teacher was still active).

While the Shane structure seems quite good, and run well I'm sure it could be a great place to work, the one's in and around Zhanghua should be avoided like the plague!
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby Albert051 » 01 Nov 2015, 15:10

Learning Seed School in Zhunan is a very friendly place to work. It is the first school I've worked at in Taiwan where I really get along with the Taiwanese teachers, who do their best to work with me - as opposed to against me.
Zhunan may not be your idea of a fun place to live, but it is growing quickly and new stores are appearing all the time. It's not far from Hsinchu. However, if teaching pleasure is what you are looking for, this school is ideal.
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby WolvesMon » 01 Nov 2015, 21:46

Yo Yo near San Ming road: mental cases! unless you kow tow!
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby Dan2853 » 30 Dec 2015, 23:24

Happy Marian-Shulin Branch....for the love of god, stay away.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I am writing this to highlight some of the problems I experienced, so that others may know what to expect and what to look out for. If you google this school you may find a previous warning post about this school. I was aware of it and took my chances. I made a mistake. Don't be like me. If you think it can't be be that bad, it's worse, trust me.

I found this posting through a recruiter, which was my first problem. Recruiters generally only hire for schools with bad reputations who have problems retaining English teachers. I had problems the first month of my employment and asked my recruiter about other opportunities, which he forwarded to HM's manager, so much for confidentiality. Do not trust recruiters, they are only looking out for themselves and "their cut". I will never get a job through a recruiter again, and will definitely do my best to avoid major cram schools like HM.

For starters, Shulin is very inconvenient to get to. Unless you live nearby, you'll need to take the TRA to the Shulin station and take a 20-30 minute walk (I never did), or catch a quick bus ride. If you live in Taipei City expect 3 transfers, a 70-minute commute, and $2,000NT on commuting expenses every month. There's no 7-11's within 10 minutes of the school either, which sucks. No restaurants nearby either to eat at. Not very appealing since 60k-25 hour teaching jobs grow on trees in Taiwan.

HM will almost surely ask you do do an unpaid demo for maybe 30 minutes. Ok fine, no big deal. You will almost surely be hired on the spot and be asked to start shortly thereafter. Odds are the ARC/work permit paperwork will not be completed, which means you must realize you are being asked to work illegally. The chances of HM being raided before your paperwork is complete, and you being caught/deported are low, but the risk is there and you need to be aware of it.

I was shown a default HM contract that applied to all other HM branches. I noticed initially that the contract listed salary on a per-hour basis. It also listed fines for breaking contract (illegal) and various bonuses/incentives for good performance/attendance/etc. I was promptly told that this ONE particular branch (out of 24 total) just HAPPENED to not use this contract. When I listed my questions/concerns, they basically took this contract and deleted out what they wanted so that it ended up being a monthly salary ($60,000NT, standard), with no fines or bonuses. They would not list specified working hours because their schedules hadn't been created. I was told that it would be between 20-25/week, that they would pay bi-weekly, and that they do not pay hourly salaries. VAGUE CONTRACT=GIANT RED FLAG, MORE DETAILS IS BETTER.

The way HM is setup, they have morning Kindergarten classes, and afternoon Buxiban (elementary) classes. You will likely end up working both. It should be mentioned that working ANY Kindergarten class is ILLEGAL, and if they get raided, you get deported and HM will not cover your ticket out of Taiwan. You should accept this risk if you want to teach any Kindergarten class. If you get stuck in the J3 (oldest Kindergarten class), you will be paired with a resentful, bitter Chinese teacher who thinks that because she lived in the US for 3 years, that she deserves the same salary as you, a dirty imperialist foreigner. Any time she catches you doing anything other than busting your ass, she will bitch and moan to the boss and say you aren't doing your job. She is abusive and mean and will do everything in her power to undermine you, stab you in the back, and make your life hell. Some Chinese teachers are nice, but at HM-Shulin, there is definitely an "us versus them" mentality between Chinese and Foreign teachers, which creates a very toxic, hostile, and uncomfortable working environment. They may act nice but the weekly meetings are basically just used for the manager to tell you what additional work you need to do.

The curriculum is pretty straight forward. Not too much prep time to speak of as it relates to day-to-day teaching. Classes are generally 12-17 students which means you have to grade 12-17 papers almost every day (not in class) and write 12-17 "progress reports" every 2 weeks. There is no prep pay whatsoever and any type of grading or marking is simply expected to be included in the monthly fee they pay you. There is a good chance they'll bring in new students who are 2 levels under-developed, then complain why they can't read Shakespeare or write "an article" (manager's favorite word) after 3 months of teaching. The concept of level appropriateness is nonexistent, it's a money-making machine and no child is left behind, even if they are not ready to move up. You are simply there to sell the school's services and be a pretty white face for the parents, who are your real bosses.

At some point in the year they will conveniently mention that oh by the way, there is a HM speech contest between schools and that you need to write 12-17 one-page speeches for each of your students (on your own time). They will want you to also write a 10-12 page play (with 12-17 characters) on your own time. Both of these are expected to be done on your own time and no compensation is given for these. No matter how much you practice with the students, the manager will say their accent/body language/memory is not good enough, and that this is somehow your fault. Various other unpaid activities include unpaid PTA meetings, unpaid articles being written for the HM newsletter, and having classes canceled so you can provide private tutoring lessons for the manager's high school kids. Again, THEY THINK THAT FOR $60,000NT/MONTH, YOU ARE A SLAVE AND ARE OBLIGATED TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. At some point the schools bribes will pay off and they will be tipped off to the government's inevitable raid. You will be asked to stay home and will not be paid, despite having a monthly salary. NOT COOL.

Your afternoons will be split between further Kindergarten classes, and some Buxiban classes. In theory 25 hours a week means you SHOULD be working 9-4 with a 2 hour break, 5 days a week. In practice they will expect you to work 9-6:30 most days with a 1.5 hour break. The claim the paid holidays offset the low hourly average (hovering around $400NT/hour if you divide $60,000/130 hours a month). Anyone with basic math skills should understand that hourly salary is always in favor of the teacher, and monthly salaries should be avoided. If they claim that they will not offer this, then decline the job. TRUST ME. THEY WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU AND ASK YOU TO WORK 35 HOURS A WEEK, NOT THE 20-25 THAT WAS ADVERTISED. With prep working, you will end up working 30-40 hours for 20-25 hour pay.

The buxiban classes are basically glorified babysitting classes. The kids are unruly and just run around the class and have little to no attention span. Most actively admit their parents treat your services like babysitting because they are at work, and that any learning is more or less "residual benefits". There is a good chance you will be asked to teach a lesson and do 10 exercises in a 2-hour class, when the first 20 minutes are trying to get the students to sit in their seats. When they inevitably fail their bi-weekly tests it's going to be "because you didn't teach them", not because they can't pay attention and certainly don't study. Most students readily admit they don't look at their books except for the 1 day they are in class. When tests were taken you basically have to walk the students through the answers for them to pass, just to keep the manager off your back. Not exactly what I would call "learning".

Halfway through the year my bi-weekly paychecks started to come in late. I didn't get any reason other than "I am busy", and certainly no apology. Be aware that getting paid on time here is hit-or-miss. They finally acknowledged it was a problem and decided that the contract you originally signed is worthless, and they will now start paying you once a month instead of twice a month. Take that for what it's worth, but it is concerning that they don't even know what a contract means.

TAKE NOTE: As soon as parents start complaining or test scores start dropping, they will add hours or cut pay at random. This happened to me, as well as other teachers. If you are cool with them arbitrarily adding 2 hours a week to your schedule, or cutting $5,000NT from your paycheck, then have at it. This was one of the final straws for me.

After speaking with several teachers (Chinese and foreigner), I was told that this branch rarely has a foreign teacher last more than 2 years, and less than 1 year was common. Going into the year I thought that I was a patient, reasonable person and could tough it out. I was wrong, and now I am a statistic. I am sure there are some other issues/problems that I am forgetting.

Some of the problems I mentioned above are unique to just this branch, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some of these problems occur at other HM/cram schools, so I would advise to take note of some of the issues I've mentioned and make sure to do your due diligence before signing anywhere.

Good luck fellow teachers, and I hope you find a school that treats you right. This one will not!
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby starling » 31 Dec 2015, 14:20

Steer clear of Penguin American School.

They take advantage of experienced teachers new to Taiwan. Their job listing may advertise 6-16 hours but they give you less than 6 hrs/week if you do not want to take their back-breaking and mind-numbing 10 hrs/day position. They deceive you in their job description and in the interview into thinking that you will get paid the minimum 600nt/hr wage until they offer you the job with less pay than 600nt. They do not keep to their word since they will try to bargain your wage below the minimum hourly rate.
Their actions speak volumes about the schools' integrity and their treatment of teachers. The teachers I've seen do not seem happy and I've seen complaints from the teachers (e.g. the students' uncontrollable screaming behavior) not being addressed nor being taken seriously. I would say more about my personal experience with this school, but I'm cautious they'll take my criticism against me in court. As silly as it may sound, I'd rather be safe than sorry and if you are the same you'd stay away from this school.
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby CanadianTeacher6 » 09 Mar 2016, 03:57

Much like the other teachers in this thread, I too have worked at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and agree with much of what has been said. I worked for this school for approximately 7 months this past school year before I decided to leave. Many of the reasons for why I left have already been highlighted in this thread but I will continue sharing some of my experiences with CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan). This is a long post so if you need a brief overview please just jump to the bottom of the post and if you’re too lazy to do that, just let me say DO NOT WORK OR SEND YOUR KIDS HERE.

Before I begin I would just like to state that I know many high schools in Asia overcharge students for having foreign teachers and are generally just a place for the students to work on their English and hopefully one day go to an English speaking country for University. I understand this is a gross generalization but this seems to be the case the majority of the time. CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) is on another level on the topics of undervaluing teachers, treating everyone as if they were a piece of property, and overcharging students.

When I first arrived at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) I arrived to not one teacher from the previous teaching year. On top of no previous teachers, we had no previous resources. Just to note this isn’t just an English teaching job, this is actual Ontario based curriculum and you need to incorporate ESL into every one of these courses. Which, if you’re a teacher you know how long and difficult it is to build curriculum from scratch, especially when it’s for anywhere between three to five different classes. Now even though there were no previous teachers we had a newly appointed Dean of Academics who was previously mentioned in another post. She was a hard and dedicated worker who shared the vision of improving the school for the students and staff. Unfortunately like many of us she has since left due to management of the school. Her position was supposed to be one where she had the power to change things but it never worked out that way. Just to highlight the seriousness of this post I’d like to tell you the turnover rates. I think it speaks volumes that the current turnover rates for the first semester is already over 100% among the teaching staff. This is not including the 4 support staff and the Dean of Academics that have quit as well.

The problem with this school starts from the top. The micromanagement from the administrators is by and far the largest problem with this school. They take any critical feedback and suggestions from the teaching staff as if they are complaints and constantly defend their reasoning behind these decisions. This prevents much of the growth in the school and for anything to actually change they need to realize they are not educators, they are business people and they should respect the opinions of educators who are trying to make their business grow and have higher educational standards. They have had year after year of different teachers who have suggested the same suggestions again and again only to ignore them. There were multiple occasions where the teachers provided a collective list of students that shouldn’t be attending CICT for one reason or another. A few of these reasons were students not wanting to be there or students that had learning disabilities that we were not equipped to deal with. These lists were ignored and this demonstrates the schools lack of caring for what is best for the student’s education but rather only caring about the profits the business makes. At one point in time we were told by the administrators that we just need to teach and not worry about the business end of the school. They think that the two concepts of education and business are separable in a school when they are in fact not.

On top of the micromanagement there is the utter disrespect and uncaring nature for the staff and students of CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan), all who I mentioned before are seen as unnecessary and replaceable assets. Whenever a teacher either left or was fired from CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) the administrators would make up a lie to tell the students a different reason as to why they left in order to save face. If a teacher is fired, rather than fixing the problems or owning up to their mistakes (of hiring a bad teacher) they blatantly lie to the students with one reason or another. If a teacher leaves on their own accord the administrators give various reasons like “they were not meeting teaching standards of CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan)”, “They cannot adapt to Taiwan and they’re only here to have fun”. When I resigned one administrator asked to speak to me in his office. I was straight to the point and told him the list of reasons as to why I was leaving CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and told him he needed to reconsider his business practices since he is getting huge turnover rates. The day before my last day he called an assembly to inform the students what was happening and told them I was leaving because I was “intimidated” by the new teachers, a blatant lie. Many of the students were upset over this because they had already been told the real reasons. Like I’ve said, rather than trying to fix or even offer to fix the problems I had stated in my one on one meeting with him, he simply dismissed me from his office and turned his head as if the schools problems did not exist. The administrators will blame everyone but themselves when something goes wrong and will always try to displace the responsibility upon someone else.

A prime example of blaming everyone but themselves and taking no responsibility mentioned in a previous post was the sexual assault of one of the students attending CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) during a school event at Hanyin high school. No one took responsibility for the incident despite being pressured by the teaching staff repeatedly to do something. As a result nothing was done to investigate the incident or give consequences on the perpetrator. This is unacceptable in any environment and even more so when it happens to a student when under the supervision of the school. In addition to this event there was a more recent incident with one of the teachers who had been fired and then went on to assault another employee. The school had no policies in place in regards to workplace harassment, assault, or anything else for its employees or students. It is absolutely upon the business owners to have these boundaries established and to protect its staff and students in situations like these.

The students that attend CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) are charged incomprehensible amounts of money to attend a private school. The base fees for attending the school and living on campus are higher than those of an international school in Canada. We’re talking over $40,000 for one year of private school. Now perhaps this would not seem so bad if the students were receiving the benefits from these costs but they do not and the students are charged for anything and everything.

Your teacher wants some basic chemistry equipment? Night classes? The students are charged. Field trip? Visa to Canada? Trip to Canada for the summer? The students are charged and the price is marked up. What happens if you don’t want to attend any of these events? Punished or perhaps you are not allowed to attend CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) next year. Now I figure after all is said and done the students pay in the range of $50,000 - $60,000 a year. So now you’re thinking, well they must have some awesome equipment, extremely small classes sizes or some 5 star living and dining, right? There’s no way you can be charging someone that much and not getting the best of the best!

Wrong.

The school has less equipment than an underfunded public school. We’re talking a few projectors, two smart boards and the rest chalk boards. All of my classes with the exception of one (of 7) were over 25 students and had up to 35 students in one class. Keep in mind; this is at a school with 100 students. As for 5 star living and dining, up to three students are put into small residence style rooms and charged ridiculous amounts of money for them. The administrators say it’s to “get them ready for Canadian prices”; an unnecessary price when the cost of living in Taiwan is very low. Now for the food, I’d compare the food to prison food but that would be taking a shot at the cooks in prison. The food is disgusting and many of the kids complain about just how bad it is. When the students complain they are punished. After consistent complaining from teaching staff it was finally changed to a new company in February which happened to be worse than the first company (smaller portions, less quality of food and a smaller variety). After complaining again how bad it was, rather than searching for another new company they returned to the first company. The best part about the food is they advertise “5 star dining” on their Facebook page.

You might ask, why don’t the students just leave then? Well there are two problems. The first is there doesn’t seem to be much market competition for getting children into a Canadian University which is what CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) offers. Second, the students are essentially stuck once they enter in this system. If they try to leave mid-year, they would have to repeat their schooling for whatever time they missed in the Taiwanese system. (Note that CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) is not teaching under the Taiwanese educational system but instead under a Canadian one). CICT does this by listing it as a cram school where they can teach whatever curriculum they choose. If the students decide to stay at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and complete their two years there, but do not want to or cannot advance into a Canadian high school they have to pay up to $10,000 CAD for their regular Taiwanese high school diploma or return to the Taiwanese system and repeat the previous years missed.

Now I think I will end it on these three main points as my previous colleagues have touched on many other problems that exist in CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan). There is much more wrong about CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) but I will save you the misery I’ve had to experience and just say if you have any questions or want to hear more about my adventures please feel free to contact me.

Synopsis:
1. The administrators micromanage and all critical feedback is ignored.
2. Everyone is seen as disposable and replaceable: students, administration, teachers.
3. Nothing in place to protect students or staff if there is an incident that occurs.
4. The school values money over everything.
5. The administrators both consistently lie to administration staff, the teachers, the students and the parents.

Please DO NOT support this school by working for them or sending your children there. It is only encouraging the administrators that they do not need to change their business practices and will continue to profit off of this unethical business.

Please see another post where this school is discussed more at length: http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin ... read=69652
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby gavmasterflash » 21 Apr 2016, 23:54

Anyone know what other school this grease-bag Allan Lo (of CICT fame) owns in the South of Taiwan? Certainly should be on the blacklist as well.
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Re: Blacklist of schools.

Postby ExteacherCICT » 24 May 2016, 12:38

@gavmasterflash

He owns another CICT in Tainan, but to be objective and fair from what I understand that school's operated by a different owner just paying royalties to Allan Lo for usage of the CICT name and its connections to CIC in Canada.
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