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Malaysia Mentoring job

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Joined: 18 May 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:33 am    Post subject: Malaysia Mentoring job Reply with quote

Does anyone know if the Mentor program with the MoE has been extended for another 2 years (Jan 2014 - Sept 2015)? Are there any ex-mentors who could share their experiences about this project -working with the primary schools in rural parts of Malaysia? What did you find rewarding/challenging? Many thanks!
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Whatever will be

Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 303

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are various recruiters and varies jobs on offer, all under the MoE umbrella.

The primary school teaching component was to start in September 2013 and has been delayed, with some teachers still waiting for their postings.

Current contract - once they are going to be issued - will be for one year initially, with the potential for renewal (no guarantee).

If the previous model will be kept, then there will be a lot of driving around as schools are in clusters of five (one per day), contact with a lot of different teachers and students can be exhausting and non-rewarding as relationship building will be extremely difficult under those circumstances.

Rural life can mean no hot water (showers), no/limited internet access, lots of mosquitoes, nightly smoke from the neighbors as they burn their rubbish (including plastics), no/dim lighting in town or on the (unpaved) roads, limited access to fresh food (diary products, meat, vegetable, fruit), limited access to banking, communication & information services (TV, Radio, Newspapers), health facilities as well as general isolation.
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Joined: 14 Mar 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Contract with SMR ELT Project English Mentor Reply with quote

I have received an 18 page contract from SMR to be an English mentor in Malaysia. This contract is not signed and I only sign it when I arrive. I have to pay for my flight and will get reimbursed after 30 days. Do you know anything about SMR. They can't tell me where I will be put and also I only sign the contract when I arrive. I think this is very risky. I have to find my own apartment once I arrive. The recruiting company puts you in a hotel for 10 days. From your description of living in a remote place in Malaysia, it sounds terrible. Also did you have a signed contract before you went to Malaysia? Did the company pay for your flight? Can you give me any more information about being a mentor in Malaysia?
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Whatever will be

Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 303

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:01 am    Post subject: Mentor Reply with quote

Skibuff, you are right: it is very risky.

The actual contract might be less favorable than the offer. They might change things in there (insurance, sick days, annual leave), hoping that you will not read through all of the 20 pages again (it happened to me).

Although you may be 'put up' by the company in a hotel (meaning that they will arrange it and then take it out of your salary - it happened to me), you are unlikely to find rental accommodation that fast as you will be rather busy with immigration / health check/ setting up bank account.

In addition, you will have to furnish the place (white goods, small appliances, bed, other furniture), so bring plenty of money.

Mentoring really is an euphemism for teaching in remote areas, where the local teachers don't want to go.

Good luck to you!
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Joined: 27 Apr 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 9:33 am    Post subject: mentoring project in Malaysia Reply with quote

I have been away from this forum for sometime and am just catching up on the latest gossip and queries, specifically regarding the mentoring programme. Naturally as a representative of SMR I am biased and there are bound to be some who have had a negative experience of the project who regard anything I say as being a total scam, but I will say it anyway.

In response to the query as to why we do not require a contract to be signed prior to arrival it is very simple. If we do sign a contract and you do not turn up to fill the position, then what are we going to be able to do about it? Also if you are in your home country and have not arrived in the country, you have had no expense and so how can we breach our side of the contract. In addition I would love to hear from any individual who has been invited by SMR to join the project and on arrival found that we breached the terms of the contract before they signed it.

As for coming to a place without knowing where you will be placed. During the interview you will be informed of the different locations available and your choices will always be taken into consideration. But depending upon availability and arrivals of new candidates, we cannot guarantee to hold a place in perpetuity. Furthermore on arrival you are given an introduction to all the vacancies available and you may wish to choose an alternative from the one initially spoken about. There is a great deal of scope for negotiation of placements, based on the available slots left.

New arrivals are accommodated in a hotel and not one has ever had their salaries deducted for this residency period. After completing the contract signing and a short orientation the mentor then has an additional 10 days at the company expense to go to their new location and find appropriate accommodation. Throughout the whole period they are helped and guided by other mentors, managers and education officials. Some have harder times than others in finding a suitable place, but these charges are never deducted from the mentor's salary.

One commentator is correct, in that initial setting up can indeed be expensive and something I inform all new arrivals is that for the first two months you will find things extremely tight - along with the initial high tax (that is another subject) and the cost of setting up a home if you choose unfurnished accommodation. But we are aware of this and help each one as much as we can. The initial settling in allowance of RM4000 is given on immediate signing of the contract and is NOT deducted in any form from the mentor's salary (except the tax and that is deducted over time).

It is also quite a misnomer to call mentoring a euphemism for teaching in remote places where local teacher's don't want to go. Some of the placements are relatively rural, but the choice of residence is entirely up to the mentor and the whole idea of the programme is to go and help all teachers where they are located and whether we like it or not there are a large number of schools in rural areas where the need is greater than the city. But the picture of such remoteness and lack of facilities may be true of a very few locations but is by no means anywhere reflective of the norm. Perhaps this job should be seen just as much as an adventure, than a simple career move. Both of which are applicable to this project.

On the whole there have been a few individuals who have had negative experiences but I would think it fair to say that the vast majority of mentors are enjoying the opportunity to live in Malaysia and to work independently in a worthwhile job. Much of living and working in Malaysia is dependent upon attitude and an ability to adapt to a new working environment. I sometimes have to remind new arrivals of the quote from Wizard of Oz where Dorothy declared "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
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Whatever will be

Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 303

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skibuff: please let us know if "you're not in Kansas anymore" and if it is "an adventure" plus any other experiences.
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Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject: beware BC recruitment process Reply with quote

I would be wary of any BC recruitment process: two experiences where arrived and signed contract and then Oh by the way we don't pay for 15 minute breaks so you are actually teaching 25 hrs not 22 ( as they said on the phone) Egypt. or they put you on the wrong pay scale which takes ages to fix- Thailand. On arrival in Thailand -oh by the way you only get a visa extension and have to renew every month. No work permit so they had us working illegally for months. Then Thai immigration refused to keep issuing and so we all had to do two trips out of the country in our own unpaid time and endless hassle. BC the dodgiest TEFl outfit of all in my experience. And they are a sweatshop exploiting teachers to the point of sickness and exhaustion. So no they don't switch the contract (although I wouldn't put it past them) they lie by omission and twist the wording. A real culture of power and bullying by (mostly) scared little men.
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