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McGill University in RCJY, (JIC, JUC, JTI), Jubail, KSA

 
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iteach



Joined: 27 May 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 8:42 pm    Post subject: McGill University in RCJY, (JIC, JUC, JTI), Jubail, KSA Reply with quote

This post will be anonymous because there is a history and evidence of harassment and targeting of teachers who disagree or express their own opinions with the management of this program.

Fact #1: All teachers have signed a contract and sent it forward to McGill in Montreal. As of yet, not one teacher has received a counter-signed contract.

Fact #2: Remuneration is always on time, always correct, and always in full.

Fact #3: In my time working for McGill there was no real face-to-face feedback forum with the Associate Director, DOS, or the Project Leader. Also, communication from the management team was disseminated through Coordinators even when the message warranted the attendance of Senior Management. Communication only flowed one direction; top – down.

Fact #4: There is a Coordinator who is not qualified to teach nor does he hold any relevant degree.

Fact #5: Transport is provided regularly to and from work, shopping, and extracurricular activities. To McGill’s credit, they have successfully planned and followed through on a few fun weekend trips.

Fact #5: The Project Leader has surrounded himself with a group of teachers that have too much of an influence on proceedings and who do not appreciate resistance or outside input. This dictatorship that stems from the Associate Director is unhealthy, dysfunctional, and promotes a culture of fear among the remaining teachers. It also leads to constant misinformation, a lack of knowledge, and a general toxic environment of gossip. They function with a different set of rules than those expected and applied to the rest of the teachers.

Fact#6: The teachers have been given 3 days notice to pack up all belongings and move to an accommodation that is in total breach of the contract. The breach includes: no internet, no TV and cable, and an inadequate kitchen which is not Western style. They only includes a fridge and a microwave. This accommodation is not a Western style apartment but rather a college style dormitory completely isolated from all services and not fit for professionals with years of experience. Teachers are expected to share 4 ovens among 72 teachers for daily cooking. No burners/hot plates have been provided. The move takes place within a month of a majority of the teachers’ contracts ending.

Fact#7: In the contract it is stated that all visa costs will be covered by McGill, this however is not true and monthly bus trips of over 7 hours during your limited weekend hours result in a fee that you are expected to cover. If you do not want to attend these visa runs, you are expected to cover the entire cost of the trip at your own expense.

Fact#8: In the new accommodation, teachers are expected to purchase theirr own internet as well as provide passport and details for coverage. This is said to be reimbursed, but is clearly in breach of the contract.

Fact#9: Teachers, who are extending their contract to assist McGill with summer classes, were expected to assume the responsibility of changing their flights, while only a portion of the cost was covered by McGill.

Fact#10: On a few occasions, the gesture of a free meal has been provided and covered.

Fact#11: Constant lack of stationery supplies has been a challenge to the extent that some teachers have had to pay for their own supplies to complete their daily tasks for work.

Fact #12: Personality clashes between teachers or public disagreement with the “management” has led to a disconnect that results in the teacher(s) being observed and targeted in the classroom.

Fact #13: Standard practice in Saudi Arabia is to get an end of contract bonus and a resigning bonus. This has not happened. There is no increase for any teacher based on performance or cost of living.

Fact #14: An Assessment Coordinator was appointed who did not look at, review, or approve any of the tests or quizzes that occur.

Fact#15: There is an unqualified Coordinator that inappropriately and unprofessionally shares private and sensitive information about teachers with a select group of teachers that leads to gossip, paranoia, and humiliation for the teacher in question.

Fact#16: The unqualified Coordinator has continuously not been held responsible for clear mistakes in his work that has led to students walking out of Major exams as well as numerous critical mistakes in test papers. As he is part of the select management group, he is not held accountable or responsible for his numerous errors while other teachers are.

Fact#17: The DOS has little to no idea of the content of the curriculum being taught to the students and has not aided in providing any supplementary materials or academic advice.

Fact #18: There have been periods of time when true alignment and collegiality have been achieved. However, during a “McGill Team Building Day” not one management person was present.

This strenuous contract has left me drained and apathetic. To my remaining colleagues completing their contracts in Saudi Arabia I wish you the best of luck for the future wherever you may land. I also wholeheartedly wish success to the program; I hope that there will be change for future teachers and students. If any of the other teachers feel it necessary or appropriate to comment, please keep it factual for everyone’s benefit.
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rdobbs98



Joined: 08 Oct 2010
Posts: 191

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am glad I passed on them when interviewed.
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charlesmarlow



Joined: 17 May 2013
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 3:56 am    Post subject: Competent parachutist required Reply with quote

This sounds like a situation that requires a Competent Parachutist. Laughing
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sharkpunch



Joined: 14 Dec 2011
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the OP 100%. I would just like to add a few observations of my own. There is a lot of incompetence and ego coming from management. But I must say, I’m equally unimpressed with the rest of the staff. I work with a bunch of whiny, entitled, crybabies who spend their office hours kicking each other in the teeth when they aren’t busy complaining. The gossip here truly is toxic. It’s worse than high school, complete with popular kids, bullies, and those who get picked on. It really is the bottom of the barrel here, like waste that leaks in from all corners of the world and settles in Jubail. Now that I think of it, it’s actually a good fit.
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The Good Abaya Girl



Joined: 09 May 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 2:12 pm    Post subject: You sure you don't work at King Faisal University, Hofuf? Reply with quote

Shocked Wow! I read through your list and, item by item (other than those dealing with having to move to inadequate housing) it sounded like working for Shabaka. Yes, we get paid on time and that's about it.

The "leader" who surrounds himself with yes men sounds just like the one here, who has his own brother and numerous others who run around doing all his work and asking "Is this high enough?" when he says JUMP.

Yes, anyone who disagrees becomes a target. Especially anyone who questions the Academic Director (Coach's #2) about the books we use to teach, why they include very in appropriate material that is insensitive to Saudi (Muslim) culture, and why we teach things like "mackerel sky" as a vocabulary word. Worse, though, is the fact that the Program Director keeps pretending to make this little man accountable for all the mistakes in the tests, yet they are perpetuated week after week, quarter after quarter.

As a professional, I'm appalled at the number of mistakes. Recently, they tried to blame their mistakes on the teachers by saying that if the teachers could control the cheating during the weekly four-hour tests, they wouldn't have to create two forms, which is where they make the mistakes. Laughing Had to pause while I laughed sardonically. Reality check! So, the fact that these mistakes were pointed out by the proofreaders but not fixed can somehow be correlated to the teachers not proctoring correctly. Hmmmm. But, wait! The newest tests for the advanced intermediate level have only ONE form and are riddled with mistakes.

Finally, I agree with sharkpunch about much of the staff. But then, what can we expect, at least here? An interview for a job with this company consists of the applicant listening to the Director talk for about 15 minutes about how hard it will be. He throws in a few hockey metaphors about being a team, blah, blah, blah, then asks, "Do you think you can do it for 9 months?" If you say "yes" you are hired. Once you arrive, the systematic favoritism and bullying begin, setting employee against employee. Those who are professionals and want to really teach are tossed aside in favor of those who want to play hockey, drink alcohol and smoke "shisha" (wink, wink), partying with the "boys" and the one boy's wife.

So~~~BUYER BEWARE~~~ It sounds like both these places are black holes.


Last edited by The Good Abaya Girl on Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jargonscott



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 12:41 am    Post subject: Re: You sure you don't work at King Faisal University, Hofuf Reply with quote

The Good Abaya Girl wrote:
Yes, we get paid on time and that's about it.

The "leader" who surrounds himself with yes men sounds just like the one here, who has his own brother and numerous others who run around doing all his work and asking "Is this high enough?" when he says JUMP.

Yes, anyone who disagrees becomes a target. Especially anyone who questions the Academic Director (#1 Suck Up) about the books we use to teach, why they include very in appropriate material that is insensitive to Saudi (Muslim) culture, and why we teach things like "mackerel sky" as a vocabulary word. Worse, though, is the fact that the Program Director keeps pretending to make this little man accountable for all the mistakes in the tests, yet they are perpetuated week after week, quarter after quarter.

As a professional, I'm appalled at the number of mistakes. Recently, they tried to blame their mistakes on the teachers by saying that if the teachers could control the cheating during the weekly four-hour tests, they wouldn't have to create two forms, which is where they make the mistakes. Laughing Had to pause while I laughed sardonically. Reality check! So, the fact that these mistakes were pointed out by the proofreaders but not fixed can somehow be correlated to the teachers not proctoring correctly. Hmmmm. But, wait! The newest tests for the advanced intermediate level have only ONE form and are riddled with mistakes.

Finally, I agree with sharkpunch about much of the staff. But then, what can we expect, at least here? An interview for a job with this company consists of the applicant listening to the Director talk for about 15 minutes about how hard it will be. He throws in a few hockey metaphors about being a team, blah, blah, blah, then asks, "Do you think you can do it for 9 months?" If you say "yes" you are hired. Once you arrive, the systematic favoritism and bullying begin, setting employee against employee. Those who are professionals and want to really teach are tossed aside in favor of those who want to play hockey, drink alcohol and smoke "shisha" (wink, wink), partying with the "boys" and the one boy's wife.


Okay, I understand that everyone loves sounding off on Shabaka / KFU, but can we keep this thread on topic?
There are plenty of Shabaka-specific threads in this forum where the above text would be more applicable. The vast majority of your post does not even reference McGill/JUC/JIC/JTI.
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edd_moseley



Joined: 24 Jun 2009
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject: McGill housing Reply with quote

Whats this about the housing? Please elaborate......

I worked for McGill last year, it seems then that the team was much smaller and the management we had in place did an ok job. The current management team were only regular teachers back then - but they were a good bunch of guys. I wonder if they expanded too quickly?

I must say the housing always bugged me, the apartments were big but there was no outside area and a tiny pool. I heard rumours that teachers would be moving onto JTI campus, as it's having quite a lot built on it. Is this true? The gym and pool there were the major perks for me at the time. Esp as the pool on the 'compound' was TINY!

I probably would have stayed another year, as the money was pretty good for the hours, etc. CN$4000. But the McGill co-ordinator in Montreal (Mr. F) kept promising things that never materialised, such as a women's contract and a bigger proper compound. I got tired of waiting.
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iteach2



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:19 am    Post subject: Accomodations Reply with quote

Again, in the spirit of fairness:

We've been moved this past weekend, onto the JTI campus. Our contract stipulated we'd be given a "two bedroom, western style apartment to be shared with another teacher for the duration of the contract." Our new apartments on the JTI campus are single rooms, dormitory style, with a small en suite bathroom. There are two styles of apartment, in two seperate buildings - one with a kitchen (oven / stove top / tiny fridge) one with cabinets and a huge fridge but naught save a microwave to cook with. Apparently there'll be a cafeteria set up on the ground floor, inshallah in a few weeks.

The set-up is gorgeous - there is a small basketball court, an astroturfed football pitch across the street, and a shaded pool in the deep end that, while not huge, is certainly bigger than we had at the other compound. It's early days yet, but the hope is that there'll be an improved social atmosphere as a result of these changes.

There'll pretty much have to be - the JTI campus lies deep in the industrial zone, and restaurants / stores are slim on the ground. The promise is that there'll be nightly bus runs to the Fanateer area of Jubail, which is modeled after Southern California in both style and prices. Downtown Jubail, where we were prior to the move, was filthy, crowded and full of wonderful restaurants where $2.50 could easily buy you a huge meal. So there are trade-offs.

As for the management teams, the trains run on time. Things get done . . . eventually. But they appear to be stuck between teachers demanding information and the ever changing Saudi mindset - if god wills it done, it will be done, and nailing them down on specifics is like trying to pin an eel. As a result, the management team don't want to give us information only to have it change moment by moment. There appears to be some attempt to change this attitude on the part of the project leader, we'll see. An excellent example would be when we had to move into our new apartment building Saturday morning, having vacated our old digs, only to be told that the building wasn't ready to be moved into. All of our worldly goods sat outside the building most of the day until we could move in. Not necessarily the fault of our project leader, it seems it's just the Saudi way to tell you anything they think you want to hear if it'll make you go away and leave them alone.

Finally, I've made some good friends on this project. There has been a lot of gossip, but that's in large part due to the void of information we receive on subjects that obviously directly affect us. The head of the project in McGill sent out an email explaining their reasoning behind the move, why she thought it was the right move. It was reasoned, polite and to the point (more so than this post, certainly) and wished us well in our forthcoming move. Although it was undated, this seemed to imply that it was written a few weeks ago. It was forwarded onto us yesterday, as our luggage broiled in the 42 C heat of Jubail, by our project head, Mr. F.
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ebooktrial0001



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:10 am    Post subject: Excellent Summary Reply with quote

Hello Iteach and ITeach2,

Excellent summary.

I wish I knew who you were, so we could reconnect after the RCJY project.
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