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Super English in Surat Thani

 
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Kai6854



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 53
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: Super English in Surat Thani Reply with quote

Does anyone know of this school? Is it as laid back and idyllic as their post states on this job board? I've taught in Zhuhai China for the past 7 years, returned stateside in March this year and am ready to get out of my country! So, money isn't really the draw for me and this school and location are what I need right now.

Thanks for your advice/insights!
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NickNackPaddyWack



Joined: 08 Jan 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you've already made your decision so I'm not sure if my reply will make any difference or not, but here goes.

Quote:
Is it as laid back and idyllic as their post states on this job board?


You may want to read the posts under the heading "How stressful is it teaching ESL in Thailand?". This will help answer your question.

Regarding location, remember that Surat Thani is the name of a city AND a province. Some job postings will show pictures of beaches and while these beaches are located in Surat Thani, the province, they are NOT located in the city of Surat Thani. It takes approximately 3 - 3.5 hours one way to travel from Surat Thani (the city) to the beaches in Koh Samui, Surat Thani. This is important to know so you don't have any misconceptions that a beach is within walking or tuk tuk distance. It will take planning to get there. The closest beach to Surat Thani (the city), is 1.5 hours away in Khanom. While it's a beautiful beach, it's not very developed so you will not find many ammenities there that you would in a tourist destination. Hope that helps and good luck!
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kidefl



Joined: 22 Jun 2007
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I know them. Small school just starting up in about 2005 I think. Kinda laid back.
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superenglishsurat



Joined: 21 Oct 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our website is www.superenglishsurat.com. You'll find school and town profiles, travel articles, teacher testimonials, and much more.

Our blog is www.superenglishsurat.blog.com. This is a blog run by our teachers. Again, lots of info there.

If you still have questions about the school, please send an email to info@superenglishsurat.com
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Eagle Eyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surrantani is like a mini Bangkok. There are many language schools there. It is quite a stressful town with all the traffic and people everywhere. Super English is one of the better schools there although the pay isn't that great. If your looking for beaches and a laid back lifestyle try Phuket. It is a combination of a big city island with lots of beaches and a huge expat community. Good luck in your search! Surprised
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 820

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickNackPaddyWack wrote:
It takes approximately 3 - 3.5 hours one way to travel from Surat Thani (the city) to the beaches in Koh Samui, Surat Thani. This is important to know so you don't have any misconceptions that a beach is within walking or tuk tuk distance. It will take planning to get there. The closest beach to Surat Thani (the city), is 1.5 hours away in Khanom. While it's a beautiful beach, it's not very developed so you will not find many ammenities there that you would in a tourist destination. Hope that helps and good luck!


Still probably enough incentive for a beach bum to take a quick excursion on a weekend or holiday. However it will cost money too, and I don't think you're going to get paid much in Surat Thani.
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drpangloss



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Surat Thani for about a year and a half and worked for a similar school. Lots of my friends worked for Super English. You've got relatively low pay (~$800/month when I was there) at an hourly rate (usually around 250-300 baht/hour) but pretty easy working conditions and a cheap town to live in. Lots of people talk shit about Surat, but I loved it even though it wasn't at all I thought it would be. The community of farang there is small but was very cohesive and friendly while I was there, and I imagine the vibe remains.

I don't know him personally but Peter (the owner of the school) seems to be a really decent guy and has never screwed anyone to my knowledge. You won't be unhappy if you take a job there as long as you go in with an open mind to the town.

If you've got any more questions on Surat or the region I'd be happy to help, just pm me.
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pineconesaltlick



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Surat Thani and worked as a teacher, and I know a few of the "Super teachers." My impression is that Super English takes a very hands-off approach, which is typically the case in Thailand. You don't really work for the company; you work for the school that they contract you to, for better or worse. Basically these companies take a percentage off the top of your pay in exchange for housing and visas.

Here's the deal, as I know it:
-The owner does a fantastic job of maintaining a positive web presence, so it can be hard to get the real scoop.
-Many enjoy their time with Super English and Surat. There's a great deal of camaraderie among the teachers.
-Most teachers are right out of college and have no prior ESL experience.
-Super English gives their teachers somewhere between 50%-70% of what the schools actually fork over for their salaries.
-The teachers I know at the company housing have gone upwards of 2 weeks without running water, and that happens all the time over there.
-Most of the teachers opt to live outside of Super English's housing and have to pay out of pocket.
-I think one teacher calculated office hours, prep time, and contact time and determined that they make somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 dollars an hour. The guys I know over there work a lot.
-They hired 6 people at the beginning of this school year (May 2012); only 2 remain (October 2012).

I know a lot of teachers at Super English who have been very happy with the conditions and have had a great time. But 60% of their new hires this year have left by the end of the first semester. I say Buyer Beware.
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flow



Joined: 31 Aug 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah memories.....

Can't speak about Super English as I never did work for them but Surat town, dear me, what a dump. Suratthani province is very VERY pretty on the other hand. Unfortunately, Koh Samui 3 hours away from Surat town! A real bummer that is. Sad
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superenglishsurat



Joined: 21 Oct 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks to pineconesaltlick's recent posting concerning SE! There are a few complimentary words, which are always nice to hear.

I'm not sure what pineconesaltlick's source was but there seem to be a few incorrect statements in the post:

It is true that we take a very hands-off approach. We give the teacher time to get settled and then develop at their own pace. But we are not hands-off in terms of involvement with the teacher. We have two full-time teachers who also work as head teacher and school manager, respectively. These two teachers, plus myself, are always available to assist whenever it is needed. Beyond that, we have monthly events for our teachers. Last month we had a Christmas party, this month we will have Thai Culture party, next month we will have a beach party in Khanom. Assistance, training, housing, visas, management, Thai classes, events, etc. is all provided by SE, so to say that we are hands-off and that people don't really work for SE isn't very true, in my opinion.

In terms of getting the real scoop, we have pages and pages of teacher-written information about SE and Surat here: http://www.superenglishsurat.com/superarticles.html

We also have about 60 teacher testimonials here: http://www.superenglishsurat.com/testimonials.html

We also have our teacher-run blog. I don't know how much more authentic information can be provided than all of that. Does pineconesaltlick know of any other schools that offer that much information up front? Does pineconesaltlick have any suggestions on how we can provide better information or more real information? That would be very helpful. The articles and pictures are online to give people a very real image of what living and working in Surat with SE will be like. Whatever we can do to provide accurate information to the prospective teacher, the better for everyone.

We have two large houses that we provide for teachers. These houses both have hot water and wi-fi installed. They are in excellent locations with multiple restaurants, convenience stores, and activities nearby. They are just a few steps from an up-scale swimming pool and a sports stadium. They are in walking distance to the schools where people work. Yes, it is true that one of those houses has water issues. That isn't an issue with the house, however; it's the entire neighborhood. I've installed two large water-tanks and a pump to try and combat the issue but it still happens from time to time. The norm is about 3-4 days without any water, during which time people use the water from the tanks. The two weeks without water scenario happened 2-3 times in the entirety of 2012. When that happens, teachers from that house hop over to the other teacher house and use their water, since they don't have the same issues.

It also isn't accurate to say most teachers opt to live outside of SE housing. Right now, 5 out of 14 teachers live outside of SE housing, but one wants to move back in. Interestingly, the house with the occasional water problems has more residents than the other house, even though it has less bedrooms. We have always had more people living in the provided housing rather than on their own. But those that choose to live on their own pay for their own housing.

In terms of calculating office hours, prep time and contact time, that would be hard to do since we don't have office hours. So to calculate anything based on that is very misleading. Prep time isn't set by the school. Nor are prep materials. Those are up to the individual teacher. I wouldn't be surprised if some teachers spend very little time prepping. I don't care about the prep, since we don't require any significant paperwork. I care about the results in the classroom. I'm not sure how "hard" you can say someone who doesn't have any office hours, extra assignments and only minor paperwork (one typed 2 page report per month) really works. Do SE teachers work hard in the classroom? Yes. Outside of the classroom? Not so much. They aren't bogged down with two dozen daily bureaucratic endeavors. SE teachers also have more vacation time than any other school in Surat.

Currently, teachers get paid 250-350 baht per teaching hour. Salaries can vary depending on how many hours someone is teaching. Next semester we are switching to a flat salary of 30,000-35,000 baht per month. But to state that teachers now only make $3 (90 baht) per hour is ridiculous and misleading. Why would anyone stay if the salary was so low for so much work?

I invite pineconesaltlick to visit our articles page and scroll down to our "Financial Journals". We have 15 of them, detailing every aspect of how much a teacher made and spent. Check our average monthly salaries pages, too. Read through the testimonials.

It is true that May-October, 2012, was a tough semester for us. I hired two very large people who had an extremely difficult time working with the Thais, and vice versa. They eventually quit as a result. Another couple was let go at the end of the semester. So yes, 4 out of 6 new teachers were no longer with SE at the end of the semester. The remaining two are still with us and have decided to stay longer.

Generally, SE teachers not only complete their contract year but also stay on longer. Out of 43 teachers, we've had 17 teachers decide to stay longer with SE. That's about 40%, which is a pretty good stat, I think. The semester prior to May, 2012, we had seven teachers sign on to stay an extra semester. We've had many teachers stay 1.5 years, 2 years, 2.5 years and even 4 years. The exact dates are on our "Former Teachers" page. Out of the 14 current teachers, one has already been here for 1.5 years, another two are staying an extra 5 months, and another eight (possibly nine) have already signed on to stay an extra semester, from October, 2013, to March, 2014. Overall, I think that's pretty good.

I'm sure pineconesaltlick had good intentions of providing helpful information for others. A bit of due diligence never hurts, though. I invite pineconesaltlick to read through our online materials and let me know in what ways we can improve. As a teacher myself, I try to make SE the best place it can be for teachers.
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