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Resolve Disputes Instead of Bashing Schools!
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sperling
Site Admin


Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 116
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Resolve Disputes Instead of Bashing Schools! Reply with quote

As a (better) alternative, please visit www.esljudge.com

This website offers a free mediation service to resolve disputes between schools and teachers. You can also rate schools in countries around the world.
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alexcase



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 215
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a nice idea, but can't see how it's going to work. What's more, lots of the functions, like having recommended schools, doesn't seem to fit in with the aim of being a middle man between teachers and schools at all.
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Sgt Killjoy



Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a good idea and the ratings of school is something TEFLWatch has been doing for more than close to 18 months.

I just hope any service doesn't put teachers at a disadvantage, but this looks like a good service for the few schools that do actually care about their reputation and would like to solve issues. Maybe there are a few teachers who can take advantage of this.
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redsoxfan



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 178
Location: Dystopia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't this suggest that TEFL is not a real "profession"? Real professionals do not resolve contractual disputes over Skype with strangers, they use a formal arbitration process to force employers to honor contracts. My mother, for example, is a "real" teacher. She would take any dispute to the teacher's union, and their lawyers would do whatever lawyers do.

Either a school is honoring the contract or it isn't. If not, I don't suppose that they would change their minds because of some non-binding suggestion from a legally irrelevant website.

All of this underscores a more fundamental point: there are good schools and institutions out there (often owned/run by fellow foreigners) who will offer fair contracts and compensation, and honor such agreements. It is up to us to seek them out and to research them, contacting past and present teachers for feedback.

Now, if a dispute arises because there simply is no contract, well...that goes back to my original point: no real professional would take a job without a contract.

As far as the school ranking function on this website goes--great. It would be wonderful to have a consolidated database of opinions on language schools, and I think we should all post our opinions of schools we have worked for. But I think this idea of solving problems through a website won't work. It seems like an afterthought, really.
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vinpinman



Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFL Watch is already doing a pretty good job, the TEFL Blacklist also.
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zeke0606



Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 185
Location: East Outer Mongolia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject: what? Reply with quote

redsoxfan

Are you still in Baku?
And still with Languages Services Direct?
I understand that that school doesn't follow the contracts that they don't sign and you must. That is fairly one way -- your name on the contract and not theirs. Not very legal and not very binding.................

Zeke
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redsoxfan



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 178
Location: Dystopia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never worked for Language Services Direct.
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Nemesis



Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 122

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alexcase wrote:
... lots of the functions, like having recommended schools, doesn't seem to fit in with the aim of being a middle man between teachers and schools at all.


Agreed. However, no idea starts out as perfect. First it gets "thrown out there", and then it develops -- towards becoming "real", or else fading into obscurity. That takes time...

Considering that this (well-established) site has more to lose than gain by making this endorsement, I say thumbs up.

Nice to see a "middle man" making such an effort.
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jwbhomer



Joined: 14 Dec 2003
Posts: 876
Location: CANADA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=58849

In spite of my gut feeling that this isn't going to fly, I join the previous poster in congratulating Dave for trying and wishing the project well.

There are several -- ok, at least three -- ex-lawyers who are or have been ESL teachers in teacher. It might be good to have that kind of person involved to establish some rules regarding evidence and procedure.

In this regard, I'm reminded of a couple of threads running on the Taiwan board in which the OP complains that he was unfairly dismissed by a school for "touching" a student "on the waist". He says it was all a campaign to fire him, and none of the accusations were true and he has evidence (including video or photos?) to prove it. It would make a great test case.
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redsoxfan



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 178
Location: Dystopia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a teacher was dismissed for sexual harrassment, this is a case for the courts. Isn't it entirely degrading to our profession that the best recourse he should receive is to have his "case" moderated by strangers over Skype who will issue a completely non-binding verdict? Can anyone name me another profession in which expats resolve disputes in this manner?

The best way to not have problems with a school is to work for a reputable company/institution. Most private schools know that foreigners have little recourse due to the fact that they don't know their rights, their rights are not respected in that particular country, or the benefit of bringing a case to court is far outweighed by the costs of doing so. The best solution for people who have been jerked around by a disreputable school is typically to get another job in the same city, or else move. That's TEFL.

The best way not to get involved with a company like that is to research it thoroughly. I have found Daveseslcafe to be the best clearinghouse of information regarding particular schools. I kind of figure that if such relevant opinions are not to be found here, they won't be found anywhere else.


Last edited by redsoxfan on Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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jwbhomer



Joined: 14 Dec 2003
Posts: 876
Location: CANADA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The teacher in question seems to think he isn't going to get a fair shake from the TW courts. He seems to lack confidence in the strength of his case. If you read his posts on the thread in question -- "A Cautionary Tale" -- you'll see that there are definitely two sides to this particular coin.

Looking at the big picture, I think a lot of FTs WOULD rather have their complaints heard by a panel of "people like themselves" who will understand their language and understand where they're coming from, rather than the courts or governing bodies of a school in, say, China, where a foreigner really is at a disadvantage.

I take your point about researching a school thoroughly so you don't find yourself in a situation where arbitration is called for. Unfortunately, many FTs are surprisingly naive and gullible, and get into dodgy situations because they are basically "innocents abroad".

For instance, the teacher accused of inappropriate touching thought he could stand on the presumption of innocence enshrined in Anglo-American common law. He has now been told the presumption is the opposite in civil law systems such as that of Taiwan. And he is not the only one. I have seen several posters here respond to questions and problems by saying "In the USA it would be handled this way..."
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redsoxfan



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 178
Location: Dystopia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure that the teacher in question would like to have his case heard by a panel of his peers, but can you really imagine the school owner choosing to go along with this? Here's the conversation:

Teacher: "Instead of you yourself making decisions about how you will run your school/livelihood, I have found a website which will do it for you. Basically, a bunch of other English teachers who neither of us have ever met will make your decisions for you."

School Owner: "No."

You are indeed correct that we have very different legal systems/rights than many of the countries where we teach. Why then would a school owner in China, who can effectively do whatever he wants, voluntarily put himself in a position where he will be forced to abide by the laws/legal traditions of another country? In fact, why should he?

I certainly agree with you that most teachers will not be able to take their disputes to court, which is another reason why most TEFL jobs are not real professional expat jobs. My point is simply that such a website will do little good because unscrupulous school owners will never agree to such a sytem of arbitration.

It's a bit clumsy and awkward anyway, isn't it?
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jwbhomer



Joined: 14 Dec 2003
Posts: 876
Location: CANADA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Redsoxfan: Yes, that was pretty much the point of my first post in this thread. I agree with you.

Whether that makes TEFL "not a real profession" is a topic for another thread. I must admit that even though I was called "Professor" I never really felt like one. On the other hand, I did regard myself as considerably better than the proverbial dancing white monkey.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12905
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Bugs Reply with quote

Dear Dave,
I think this site still needs to get some bugs fixed:

"Server Error in '/' Application.

Runtime Error

Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a <customErrors> tag within a "web.config" configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This <customErrors> tag should then have its "mode" attribute set to "Off".


<!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off"/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Notes: The current error page you are seeing can be replaced by a custom error page by modifying the "defaultRedirect" attribute of the application's <customErrors> configuration tag to point to a custom error page URL.


<!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="RemoteOnly" defaultRedirect="mycustompage.htm"/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Also it seems to be still mostly "under construction."
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ John is that you ?




Welcome back. Long time no frivolous banter.

Those errors you're getting are because you're in the USA.

To get rid of them you'll have to hop on a plane and return to TEFLand.
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