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Ministry Of Defence Warning
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Ashlee Peppercorn Monday



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Abu Dhabi

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Ministry Of Defence Warning Reply with quote

For anyone seriously considering working for Al-Marefa, I would strongly advise against it. I had the great dis-pleasure of working for them and can only stress what a god-awful experience is was. Tread lightly...

Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Al-Marefa/MOD

5. Location

Kuwait IS NOT Dubai. Kuwait IS NOT Doha. Hell, Kuwait IS NOT even Manama. While the Kuwaitis themselves a cheerful, pleasant lot their country boasts about as much cultural vigour as a night out with mute paraplegic. There is a limited amount of options to entertain yourself here and a complete dearth of cultural activities to engage in. Shopping malls and restaurants that’s about it. There are some nice areas of town, notably Salwa or Salmiya but.....

4. Accommodation

.....your Employer has you marooned in what is known as the “ghetto” of Kuwait. Mangaf is the farthest suburb from Kuwait City and is almost entirely inhabited by Indians, Bengalis, Filipinos and bidoon refugees. You will have to live in an apartment building which has no paved road leading to it; the building is in the middle of what can best be described as a wasteland. The whole area gives off the feel of a run-down neighbourhood in Pakistan. The actual living quarters are half-decent; basic being the key adjective. You will be paired with another teacher regardless of age, lifestyle, and religious compatibility. Get ready for the drama! Granted, you are a 15 minute walk from the adjacent Fahaheel neighbourhood which has a large, modern shopping mall. But in short, there is absolutely nothing to do in both these areas other than buy cheap goods or do your grocery shopping.

3. Administration

The MOD “administration” is managed by an Egyptian trio of incompetent fools. The management style can be best described as one of fear and intimidation. These individuals have no tact and little to no people skills; on a daily basis they are rude, demeaning and illogical. All three, thrive on making you feel uncomfortable and anxious. Get ready to feel ‘on edge’! None of them will try to engage you as an individual or try to establish some semblance of a professional or personal relationship. You will only deal with them when they need you to sign something or if they need their bullying fix for the day. A nasty lot, they encourage back-stabbing and spying among teachers to further de-stabilize any type of workplace normalcy.

2. Staff

My TESOL career has spanned decades, continents and cultures but never in my life have I come across some a sordid bunch of “co-workers”. It seems Al-Marefa goes out its way teachers of ill-repute. Case in point, the company hired someone who turned out to be a convicted pedophile. They also hired someone who had lied about his teaching credentials back in the UK and is currently on a ‘black list’. Among other Al-Marefa ‘starlets’ include a former French Foreign Legion sociopath with a penchant for narcotics, a South African who was likely a perpetrator during the Apartheid era and a consortium of pathetic drunks and losers. If that weren’t enough, individuals openly engaged in idiotic behaviour be it the consumption and distribution of illegal substances, homosexuality, soliciting prostitutes, rampant boozing and sexual liaisons with staff members. All in a deeply conservative and Islamic country, but heck what can you expect from a gang of misfits and screw-up’s? If you do, for inexplicable reasons, decide to work for Al Marefa, get ready to swim with sharks.



1. System

But alas, the very worst of it all it’s the educational system in place at the MOD. For any serious teacher, that is someone with more than a minor CELTA certification, this was the most depressing aspect of the job. You are teaching on an incredibly short two week rotation of classes and students using antiquated material from the early 1990s. I can’t begin to describe how lacking these texts are. There is little room for creativity or originality in the classroom as you are forced to stick rigidly to the framework in place. Students are not there to learn, they are there to simply get an adequate score on their exams so they can return to their posts. Depressing on an immense scale.

Do not work for this company! Have a look around at other threads, there is a near consensus among those who have worked there that it is not a healthy environment. You have been warned....
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bje



Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Ministry Of Defence Warning Reply with quote

Ashlee Peppercorn Monday wrote:
If that weren’t enough, individuals openly engaged in idiotic behaviour be it the consumption and distribution of illegal substances, homosexuality, soliciting prostitutes, rampant boozing and sexual liaisons with staff members.

Mate, no need to lump 'homosexuality' in with all those 'individuals opening engaging in idiotic behaviour', thank you. Furthermore, if you've spent a few years in the Gulf region you'll know that such dalliances are common amongst young local males, aside from the normal proportion of expats in any given country who might identify as 'gay'.
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globebouncing



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the other posters on MOD suggested all negative comments were from people who "left under a cloud" but did not mention those who were pushed into a puddle and trod on.

There are sackings at MOD based on purely personal reasons. People are tossed out with no warnings or notice. This happens in many places in The Gulf, of course, but that does not make it right or what most most Westerners would consider professional.

There is an Egyptian mafia. While I was at MOD, there was a little Egyptian with a Napoleon complex who was sneering and condescending from our first meeting and throughout my time there. I observed this happening to several other employees who similarly tried to stay under the radar and were not looking for any dispute. A long timer there responded to my initial bafflement at this by saying, "Oh, they try to scare you when you get here. It is just management style."

Many of the gripes about co-workers, though, make me wonder what the above poster thinks the ESL "profession" is really all about. I have met pedophiles, gun runners and people whose credentials are wholly self-generated. People fleeing from something or running toward a last stand, are a common feature of the ESL world and the Middle East in particular.

The Gulf offers better money than anywhere else but we pay our pound of flesh for being there. There is corruption, randomness, unfairness and sleaze, more than anywhere else I have been, in Asia, Europe and North America. You roll the dice, take a chance and try to hang on until the ax falls. It always does!
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Ashlee Peppercorn Monday



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Abu Dhabi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sexual lives of your co-workers should always be kept hush-hush. Open, flirtatious behavior or discussions rife with sexual over tones is scandalous. I can think of several, both straight and gay, dalliances that were not very well kept secrets the MOD. Embarassed

This made us women and a few men quite uncomfortable inasmuch as we all shared the same accomodation.
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Sleepwalker



Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 375
Location: Reading the screen

PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds awful and you're well out of it.

The remark about the convicted paedophile chilled me - when I was in Kuwait, there was a well known creature who had been sacked in the UK for molestation.

He operated in the same way in Kuwait and was sacked from a school. The surprising/horrifying thing was that he wasn't deported and was happily applying for jobs whilst doing personal tutoring when I left the country.

He's still in Kuwait ten years on.......
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Sounds dreadful. EFL is full of weirdos. There was a kiddy fiddler at a place Iworked at in Tripoli-he got stabbed to death by a young boy last year. He was a reverend! The ME is full of washed up types.
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JoeRomano



Joined: 12 Jan 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A way to reduce the number of weirdos is to have an MA and teach at universities. This way there will be at least a better chance of having semi normal people around you. At least you won't have a high school graduate telling you what to do or a person with a degree in Gardening stabbing you in the back because they are so jealous of you.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16183
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to disillusion you... but I ran into quite a significant number of MA holding oddballs in Gulf TEFL.

Of course, everyone has a different weirdo threshold. Part of the charm of the field is the eccentrics... but... there were a few who were a bit scary. Laughing

VS
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Warning Bells



Joined: 10 Mar 2011
Posts: 87
Location: Always Changes

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:26 pm    Post subject: Stay away from this place!!! Reply with quote

Hey, this is a really bad place to work! Surprised
Top ten reasons why you should just not go there:
1. OMG, this place is a haven for psychos, control freaks, Mafia types and another type of undesirable creature you could encounter in the troublesome field of teaching EFL! Twisted Evil
2. Apartments are shared. And God help you if you get forced into sharing one with someone who will beat you so bad you end up with blood all over the halls and in the emergency room (true story, I'm told).
3. Western teachers are always spied on constantly by Arab informants (from Syria and Egypt) who seem to be the eyes and ears of the whole operation.
4. People are constantly fired or refused contract for no reason given.
5. Constant problems with being able to get a proper work visa through this employer.
6. Teachers having trouble getting their health insurance as specified in their contracts.
7. Apartments are managed by Egyptian and S.E. Asians who have keys to every room. Things have gone missing! You get ordered around by them like you are their piece of trash!
8. This place works at a pace that is way too fast for students to keep up with.
9. The materials are dull and boring. You must follow the curriculm. There's not much room for creativity.
10. No Westerner has stayed for more than two years! About three out of thirty teachers stay on for a second term!
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JohnHarris



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone considering this job should take the warnings seriously. Yes, some of the posters have engaged in exaggerations and inserted irrelevancies in their messages (e.g.,sexual behaviors), but in the main, they are correct.

The place has had a 100% turnover rate (really, no exaggeration), and the people leaving were not fired or weirdos. Some of the people leaving were clean, competent, educated, and professional, with a good solid background in TEFL, who wanted to do a good job. The atmosphere of the place drove them out, often very quickly. They were not criminals from their own country.
Most people with M.A.s in TESOL would find the academic/management situation reprehensible and intolerable.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12487
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean you can get an MA even if you are a convicted drug-dealer and alcoholic ?
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JohnHarris



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did I say anything about alcoholics and convicted dealers? No, I did not.

But to kindly answer your questions: yes, you can be rehabilitated and education is part of the process.

Some people become alcoholics after they graduate from college, but that is another question. Perhaps they do it in response to job stress.
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Warning Bells



Joined: 10 Mar 2011
Posts: 87
Location: Always Changes

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
You mean you can get an MA even if you are a convicted drug-dealer and alcoholic ?

Don't know about his academic background, but I worked with one guy at this place who was a convicted drug dealer from D.C. and a pimp with a foul mouth.

FYI, you can even get a legitmate Ph.D regardless of your criminal record. Last I checked, no university did a background check prior to enrollment.
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Graham Jahra



Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 7
Location: An Englishman Abroad

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These strings are just so 'rich'. Just a little Emailing around the world turns up so much:


FW: Employment Verification
From: xxxx@msu.edu>
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxX

Provost XXXXXXXXX referred your inquiry to me.

Is it possible that Dr. Axxxx may have been affiliated with Michigan State University under a different name?

Michigan State University’s College of Education has a USAID (ERP/FOER) program in Egypt that was in place during the time period (2005-06) in question. However, we are unable to verify employment or a contractual arrangement under the name Axxxx Exxxx Axxxx.

Best regards,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

**********************************************************
Office of the Provost
424 Administration Building
East Lansing, MI 48824
http://www.hr.msu.edu/

That was Emailed quite some time ago when I received the offer from...I hope the Professor Doctor Director has no plans to go anywhere near the USA anytime soon....the FBI's fraud team may have something to ask him.

Oh, and Michigan State University also has one of the best law departments in America. Not exactly the first organisation I would have said that I worked for or with when I didn't.

Of course, it was also not a good idea to post your CV with this sort of twaddle on it all across the internet where it can be questioned. Effectively, the CV is and has been in the 'public domain', and is therefore open to question and scrutiny. Let me sum up: HE LIED.

Now that this is here, let's see how long it takes before we have the Inquisition in the long room with all the chairs and artificial plants in order to find out who dared speak out against him. I am tired of the 'we are all one team and one family' act and I am tired of being a prisoner in that bloc of flats in Stalag 13.


By the way, there are other Emails if anyone would like to read them...some from the US and some from the UK.
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EmowshinallChicken



Joined: 25 Jun 2010
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda cuuuuuuuuuuute innna cuuuute kiiiinda way

So how good is it working for the MoD and more importantly......

what day is the 'Friday Market' on....Q!Q!QQQQ!!!!
Wink
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