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The Pros and Cons of Working for English College (Radom)

 
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dexterity



Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:31 am    Post subject: The Pros and Cons of Working for English College (Radom) Reply with quote

If anybody is considering a job with English College in Radom, this is a good thread to help you make an informed decision. There is a lot that the company won't tell you through either the paperwork or the interview unless you ask specifically about it -- and even then they might try to avoid the question entirely if they don't like it.

If you have worked for this company before, feel free to relate your experiences -- the good, the bad, or the downright ugly. But please, both sides of the coin as much as possible.
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dexterity



Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:41 am    Post subject: My Experiences at EC Reply with quote

About English College

1. If this is your first teaching job, don't come here. They expect you to know what you're doing from the start, and the work environment isn't nearly as supportive as they say it is. For a new teacher who doesn't have the pool of resources and ways of finding things experienced teachers have, this place is Hell.

2. You end up working more hours than are promised in the interview and the contract.

3. They say you're supposed to be a "conversation teacher:" they seem to be a little confused on the definition.

They expect you to do way more than that...first they give you this massive stack of textbooks that you work out of with the Polish teachers, and then they expect you to organize your lessons around your half of the book. THEN they get angry with you if you deviate from the book, choose the wrong exercises to cover, OR TRY TO ELICIT TOO MANY ANSWERS FROM YOUR STUDENTS.

4. On the subject of textbooks: even if you have three classes of roughly the same age and proficiency level, chances are they are all using different books.

I'm not kidding. It's fairly normal to have twenty five classes and twenty different books. It makes planning from day to day a nightmare.

5. In the ad it mentions fully equipped facilities and extensive resource libraries. This isn't entirely true.

Their definition of a resource library is a shelf in each of the main schools where students can check out movies and books in English, and a few companion manuals for the texts, games and CD's for the teachers in the staff area.

As for fully equipped facilities, this is also not always true. The "schools" in Jedlnia and Iłża are rented classrooms in the local public schools (I'm not sure about some of the other smaller centers). You don't have access to an interactive whiteboard (unless you can manage to borrow a projector from one of the main schools), a printer for worksheets (you have to talk to one of the secretaries at either the school in Radom or the school in Kozienice to print them off beforehand), or the internet. If you want to play a cool video you found, make sure you can download it to your computer in advance.

You may also want to make sure you have a laptop before you go there.

6. As I mentioned earlier, there isn't really a lot of professional support for the native teachers.

First, they're not all that forthcoming about their expectations when they hire you. When they hired me they made very little mention about the online register (it's an insane amount of work).

Secondly, the schedules aren't distributed very fairly from one native teacher to the next. Some have far more hours than others, and some have a less varied age/proficiency range than others.

Also, if it is normal to have decent breaks during your shift, English College clearly didn't get the message. There was one day each week where I worked 7 hours straight with only 5 minutes in between classes.

Thirdly, there aren't a lot of professional development opportunities for the native teachers. And by "not a lot" I mean none. Aside from one orientation session where the one boss spends 5 hours lecturing you about building rapport and making sure your lessons are fun, you don't get much unless they are dissatisfied with you when they observe your lessons.

This doesn't mean that you get a great deal of feedback when you do have to discuss your performance, and you rarely hear anything good from them when you do do something well.

On the other hand, the Polish teachers seem to have pro-d meetings every week to share new techniques and ideas.

7. The online register: it's brilliant in theory, but a mess in practice. The interface isn't very user friendly or efficient, so you spend a lot of time entering your lesson plans.

Because it's so finnicky, they didn't even give us access to it until 3 weeks of the term had gone by ("waiting for the schedule to settle"), which just meant we had to enter a total of 60+ lessons (each) in order to catch up.

8. The way they handle their business is entirely determined by the clients. I get that they're running a business, but really.

First: the schedules and groupings get determined by when individual students can make it to class. I don't just mean when school-aged children are done classes, or when working adults can make it. They're also determined by when the adult responsible for the aforementioned children finds it convenient to bring them to class.

Second: sometimes this "client is always right" approach can create some problems in the classroom. One example is a class one of my co-workers had in which some students were below the level of the materials being covered in the book purely because the parents of said children wanted them in the same class as their older siblings. The younger children didn't understand the material, and started disrupting the older students.

9. NATIVE SPEAKERS REALLY SHOULDN'T BE TEACHING CHILDREN BELOW 10 ON THEIR OWN (without experience) but it happens and they expect you to come up smelling like roses, no matter what. They don't care that your students don't understand what you're saying half the time, or that you have no idea what they're trying to say to you because you don't speak any Polish. If there's a serious problem with one of the students (or in the case of one of my classes two boys started fighting for a reason that wasn't really apparent to be due to the language barrier), you're helpless.

10. They promise you that you will have time to travel, and even take Polish lessons if you are interested, but you will not have the time or the energy when the weekend finally comes.

11. All the reimbursements and bonuses they promise you don't come until the end of the contract. You may not see them at all if they are not satisfied with your work.

12. If they feel that you owe them money when you are ready to leave, they expect it up front.

13. DON'T GET SICK!!! I'm not kidding. If you have to miss a day of class for whatever reason you will be expected to make it up on a day you wouldn't normally work, such as government holidays or Saturdays.

14. When your students need to be disciplined you are expected to go through their Polish teachers.

15. Most of the support staff barely speaks English.

The Good Things

1. Even though they are often behind in the coursework, the Polish teachers are lovely people. The bosses not so much. This is why when they give references for the school they typically give the names of native teachers who worked at the two schools where the bosses generally weren't (Zwolen and Pionki).

2. They supply you with a sim card for the "Play" phone network on arrival unless you are already going through a different supplier.

3. The provided apartments are actually pretty decent, though most of them are far away from the centre of town.

4. If your flat needs repairs during your contract they will take care of it for you...though you may be expected to pay for anything that isn't basic wear and tear.

5. If you need a doctor for any reason they will take you. However, it is still on you to pay for the visit depending on your healthcare package.

6. Most of the classes are organized according to age group and language proficiency, but not always (see entry in the "bad" portion of this message).

7. The "Talent" system is a great way of motivating younger kids to excel, but it doesn't always work on the older ones.

8. If you do end up working more than the contracted hours, they will pay you for it at the end of the contract.

9. The students (mostly).
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Post Mortem



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ A very nice summation. Thanks for your effort.
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dexterity



Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there's anything I missed, feel free to add it. There isn't a lot available to help someone make an informed decision about working for this company and they're not very good at making sure that everything is on the table.

From what I've heard this year in particular has been a particularly bad one in terms of staff retention with 2 teachers dismissed and 3 resigned.
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Post Mortem



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I'm not familiar with the school but, gosh, does that ever read like...
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dexterity



Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you been through something similar, Post Mortem?
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Knedliki



Joined: 08 May 2015
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This could be "any language mill" in "any country".

There's always someone who is willing to take these jobs, so things don't change. A constant churn of teflers being chewed up and spat out
A cheery image.

Surprised
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1195
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:52 pm    Post subject: Radom Reply with quote

What made you want to live in Radom, dexterity? I've heard it's definitely not one of the nicer Polish cities.
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depechemodefan1966



Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A nice summary, dexterity, thank you.

I actually applied for a job there last year, but didn't hear anything back, so maybe that was a blessing.

They sound like a typical Polish school, where they have the nasty habit of making up rules as they go along, rather than telling you at the beginning what is expected of you. Polish schools set people up to fall over. I have had it at schools before where they told me after a couple of months what paperwork I should be doing. When I refused to backdate and try to remember what I had done in the lessons, they threatened to hold my pay, only to back down when I called their bluff and threatened to quit if they didn't pay.

I don't have a problem with paperwork and rules, but tell me in the beginning, not wait for something to happen, or not happen, and then chastise me for it.
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depechemodefan1966



Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All

Dexterity wrote a brilliant summary of this school. However does anybody have an up-to-date experience of this school, please? The reason for asking is that I have received literature from them in the form of an MS Word application form and a PDF file giving all the details of duties, hours, groups, salary, living arrangements, etc.

It appears to me that they want the pound of flesh for the money they are paying.

Any new information would be received with gratitude, guys.

Thank you.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1525
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:28 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Just read what the dude wrote. I think the message is very clear. What was the pay for this pound of flesh?
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depechemodefan1966



Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Everybody

Just an update, Guys, on English College in Radom.

As already mentioned, I sent my CV off to this place and received some literature the next day in the form of an application form and a PDF file outlining the school, the job, the expectations of the teacher, etc. from the director. He was very quick in not only replying to my initial application, but to any questions that I emailed him, often getting a reply within half-an-hour, so I think he deserves credit for that.

The salary is 2,400 zl a month for 90 hours a month, which works out to about 27 zl an hour. For this, I can only assume that the rent for the stated flat will be taken directly from the salary. So what you don't see, I guess you don't miss. The teacher is responsible of all the bills. I asked if privacy is respected and there will be no weekend visits by the director and he told me that there would be none of that.

After careful consideration and doing a little bit of working out, I decided, in the end, not to go for it. Here are a few reasons:

As Dexterity wrote before, there appears to be a heck of a lot of paperwork involved, as well as completing the online registration of which must be done in the teacher's time at the end of the day.

He told me that most of the groups will be young children. I have done this in the past and didn't enjoy it. It's not my scene. This is okay if you are young, maybe already have children or want them, but I haven't and at my age now, don't think I ever will.

As for the work and travelling involved, I copied and pasted this from the PDF file that he sent: "English College centres are based in Radom (3 locations) and 5 neighbouring towns Kozienice, Pionki, Zwoleń, Iłża & Jedlnia. Travelling to schools outside Radom is very convenient. Most of the week we secure a round trip to school and back in a company car free of charge. Teachers are picked up from their place of residence (the nearest bus stop) at approx. 2p.m. (+/- 30 min). We return after the last classes, which usually finish at approx. 8.30p.m (+/- 30 min). The trip takes between 30-45 minutes one way, traffic dependent, and is a normal standard commuting time within a city. Once a week teachers might need to take a bus to school outside Radom, the costs of which are reimbursed at the end of the month". I asked the director if travelling time is paid and he told me it wasn't. I don't know about you guys, but I for one, do not travel without being paid for it, especially with the amount of travelling this job involves. I don't think any teacher worth his salt would either. For me, if travelling is on school business and it's eating into my own time, then I want paying.

Other activities such as the Induction period, meetings and training sessions are also not paid.

All-in-all, Guys, this job does not give you much free time at all, and you don't get paid for the free time that you have to eat up doing work-related activities.

I emailed the director to inform him that I would not be pursuing the
position any further. So far, I haven't heard anything back, and in all honesty, I don't expect to.

Hope that helps and thanks for reading.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1525
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:10 am    Post subject: Dodged a bullet there Reply with quote

It's not a living wage.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15120
Location: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is in Radom.
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depechemodefan1966



Joined: 31 Jan 2015
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm afraid Dragonpiwo is right. Even with the rent, that I assume is deducted from your salary before you get it, 27zl per hour (approx.) is not a lot, especially with the European prices that Poland appears to have inherited over the last few years. By the time you pay your bills and buy food, not a lot is going to be left, especially to enjoy yourself and I am on my own, without wife and kids. I'm not much of a 'rock n' roller' these days, but I still like to go out and have a beer now and again and eat in a restaurant a couple of times a month.

It's the teaching young kids and the eating into one's free time, without being paid, that did it for me more than anything.
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