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York School of English Krakow

 
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BenKrakow



Joined: 20 Feb 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Krakow

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:44 am    Post subject: York School of English Krakow Reply with quote

Okay so I know that there are some older posts relating to this school but I thought I'd supply some up to date information:

DO NOT, under any circumstances, work for this school.

I worked there for 18 unhappy months, and yes I am a bit disgruntled but I have genuine reasons for being so.

All that has been written about the DOS / owner is true; she is unbelievably rude and arrogant and what's more, she is a barefaced liar. She can be extremely charming and manipulative but only when she wants something. A real snake charmer.

There are rigid and inflexible syllabi which means native speakers are reduced to being little more than performing monkeys, teaching mainly speaking. Students are told as much, so when you occasionally have to teach grammar, students invariably complain and teachers get into trouble for following the syllabi they were told they had to.

Class sizes and times are reduced based on numbers, often with teachers having to tell students that their 90 minute lesson is now a 60 minute lesson and having to deal with the consequences. It's all in the small print, but undermines one's standing with students.

Teachers are promised 26 or 28 hours per week, but in my 18 months here I think I have only seen teachers reach that for maybe 3 weeks per year. The average is about 15. Last year most teachers had to survive on 10 hours per week.

The office and organisation of the school is shambolic. The DOS runs the school like a dictator, when she is not there, nothing happens. Nothing. Any request to resolve any issue in the DOS's absence is met with a shrug of shoulders.

Whilst wages are usually paid accurately, bonuses rarely are. Any reason will suffice to not pay them. One teacher had to wait 2 months for her final salary because the DOS quibbled over 30 zl. A number of teachers were not paid their final bonuses and salaries for no good reason.

The school has good resources, this is true, however, they can rarely be used because teachers have to stick to the illogical and inflexible syllabi.

Staff are treated with extreme contempt, there is no formal support for teachers. Last year an inexperienced member of staff asked for help in teaching a class of rowdy 12-13 year olds. Instead of getting help, his timetable was reduced to 5 hours per week, until he was eventually sacked and refused a reference.

The DOS has other business ventures (a travel company that has sold about 10 holidays [2 to staff] since its inception 2 years ago). Teachers are supposed to promote the travel company at least twice a year in official lessons. The travel company produces a magazine, with articles written in pigeon English. It's embarrassing. Good for teaching error correction to high level students though.

DOS frequently enters lessons and undermines teachers in front of their students. After doing so, it is not uncommon for her to try to sell holidays to the students. She will tell you that she taught for 20 years, but she hasn't been in a classroom for nearly that long. Any attempt to talk about teaching methods will be met with jargon or anger.

Any mistakes or mishaps a teacher makes are brought up in staff meetings, with the offending teacher embarrassed in front of their colleagues.

Huge native speaker turnover. This year, out of 10 new native speakers, 7 quit before Christmas. Polish teachers stay because there is such a competitive market in Krakow. Most are good, some can barely speak English.

The list could go on, there are many horror stories.

It may sound like an angry rant, and I won't deny that I am angry, but I am not making things up. Honestly, I just don't want people to fall into the same trap I did. PM me if you want more details, but I will just say, you have been warned.
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connor_bok



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about your experiences! Read my post on ILT for more of the same.

This sort of thing is more the rule than the exception now in Krakow.

I propose drawing up a list on this forum of schools that best be avoided in Krakow and members to who are willing to justify why! We might help somebody avoid the pitfalls we fell into.

Schools to be avoided in Krakow:
1. ILT - Inter Lang & Text (connor_bok)
2. York School (BenKrakow)

Let's see if these are only two in Krakow, shall we? Wink
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BenKrakow



Joined: 20 Feb 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Krakow

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea!
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simon_porter00



Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 443
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second this as a good idea, however I fear this thread's lifespan may be short. Threads about schools that treat teachers badly seem to disappear...

Last edited by simon_porter00 on Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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connor_bok



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have not followed here close enough to know that, simon_porter. However, will be watching now!

Well, let's roll then...about time teachers were a bit more proactive, instead of just griping Wink

So far, we got two confirmed:

1. ILT
2. York School

Who's next...? Although, should be accompanied by something believable!
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BenKrakow



Joined: 20 Feb 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Krakow

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, realised what people said about posts tending to disappear, and it is true.

I think we work in a risky business, one in which people can end up in a country, working for a poor employer and not being able to do anything about it for a good while. Even if as soon as you arrive you decide you dislike your employer, you're still out of your airfare.

One of my former colleagues came from the US this year, she can't afford to just quit because she can't afford the airfare home. Similarly she's distrustful of new employers.

There are some resources that can help prospective teachers to avoid poor employers, but I think there need to be more. More people need to speak about their experiences.

With all due respect to other posters here, not everyone has the foresight to send e-mails to teachers and check the lie of the land in a particular school. Anyway, as such I have created a blog.

I'd encourage you to post your experiences there.

http://teflhell.blogspot.com/

Thanks
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JPM



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Location: Krakow

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I've taught at ILT for two years. I don't know what problems people may have experienced, but I'm very happy there: great ICT equipment, clean, modern, spacious classrooms, helpful office staff (yes, they speak Polish, but so do I), very good pay and a professional, hands off boss. Maybe not everyone's opinion, but I just wanted to give the other side of the coin.

Having lived and taught in Krakow for five years, I'd say it was one of the schools to go for, not avoid.

No, I'm not the school's owner. PM if you like.
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elblagskich



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

connor_bok wrote:


I propose drawing up a list on this forum of schools that best be avoided in Krakow and members to who are willing to justify why! We might help somebody avoid the pitfalls we fell into.


I wouldn't bother with this list as I tried it a couple of years ago titled Dodgy Schools List. It was promtly removed, as was my account. I would like to think that this forum would be used for such a purpose but I fear it won't be. As an example try search for information on Regent School, Elblag. All my posts have been removed despite iterating my experiences in honest polite langauge.
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connor_bok



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenKrakow, just took a peek at your teflhell blog...doesn't seem to be anything there....wanted to post my 2cents on ILT.

How's it going on the job/school front with you?
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BenKrakow



Joined: 20 Feb 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Krakow

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the late reply!

I stopped the blog as the school owner discovered it and kept on posting hate messages. So, I decided to start my own website but then I realised that life was too short and I had better things to do with my time.

I left Poland this year, and now work in Spain. I have to say that I do not regret this one bit. It is great here.

In spite of my anger when writing my initial post, even after almost a year's reflection, I still maintain that what I said was valid and true. If I were a new TEFL teacher in Krakow, I would not touch York with a barge-pole. There are many schools in Krakow. Many are bad, but many are good. After York I worked for a pretty good one. I left Poland because the wages were terrible and life was hard.
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steviok85



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am startled that this operation is still going. Grim and gloomy times.
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PierogiMonster



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all

I've been offered a f/t contract at York for 2011-12.

Does anyone have any more recent news on the school or any other opinions re. management etc? Thanks for any help.
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john123



Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, BenKrakow sums the situation up sweetly..

Regards
John
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