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Beware of Hanoi Ivy League Prep Group
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:48 am    Post subject: Beware of Hanoi Ivy League Prep Group Reply with quote

Just a heads up... From experience, avoid Ivycation or Ivy League Academics... and possibly IvyPrep Academy... I do know a 3rd location is opening in Hanoi. The owner is using several locations in Hanoi and possibly Ho Chi Minh City. All of the websites use the same students photos. You can tell by the mobile number attached to the websites and printed materials that they are all owned by the same person. The organization uses an American front man and hires you for a good rate of pay, swaps pages in your contract while making you a copy with the signatures, does not reimburse the visa fee and if at all possible will not pay for your return ticket home. All of this, plus they have a scam to cut your number of hours and your pay rate by pretending the students complain and they change your job. I have evidence to the contrary for my students as they were told they could not book with me. It is a shame as the students were wonderful to work with.
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FreshlyBrewedCoffee



Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Ivycation in Hanoi (West Lake) a TOTAL SCAM--agreed! Reply with quote

hemispheredancer wrote:
Just a heads up...

Dancer, sorry to learn of your bad experience with these creeps--mine was more or less exactly the same (maybe you were my replacement?), so we can commiserate--and I can confirm your allegations.

Ivycation Hanoi made all the same promises to me a few months ago--very high rate of pay, etc. They seemed legit. They employed me for just one day--just one class!--and then sent an email firing me the following afternoon. "Due to feedback from students, your class has been canceled." Gee, whaddaya know, my ONLY class with Ivycation, ie, my job with them, bang, gone.

AND their office staff treated me very, very rudely--I won't elaborate.

With about 15 years' teaching experience and with SAT scores that are higher than the Harvard average, I ought to be doing well enough in the classroom, right? But deal with a roomful of impossible-to-please young princes and princesses, and forget it. They'll complain about anything, and everything, and nothing. In fact, the better you teach, the more well-prepared and well-presented you are, the MORE they will complain. After all, it's a Saturday afternoon, right? They are insulted if you try teaching them--how to write an SAT essay, of all things! Do the right thing, they complain. TEACH A GOOD CLASS, IVYCATION FIRES YOU--on the spot!

What makes Ivycation especially and outrageously bad is that their American front-man, a genuinely very well-educated, persuasive, convincing guy, WILL quite probably persuade you that Ivycation is "different"--that it's the one really "serious" prep center in Hanoi, or Vietnam, where you will be hired for your knowledge and experience, not to wear a Hawaiian shirt and play the ukelele or otherwise clown around and pretend to teach while being blond and pretty. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Ivycation is at least as bad as the worst of the bad. They will fire you after one day--because you DID teach a good class, when entertainment was what they really wanted. If you're utterly superficial enough, go for it: Ivycation may just employ you for more than one day. If you're remotely serious about teaching, or if you don't look a supermodel or do stand-up comedy like a pro--forget it.

Back to watching my Vietnam War movies now--I'm into Off Limits (1988), having seen Charlie MoPic (goes by different names) a couple of days ago. I'm envious! The Americans here in Nam in the 60s and 70s were issued FIREARMS to defend themselves with, and could even call in airstrikes! We English-teaching monkeys in the Nam today are defenseless, and NO, Ivycation is not the exception. It's a landmine just waiting to blow your entire foot off, or more. Proceed with caution, keep your wits about you, look for booby traps, and do not step on the Ivycation bomb.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right... I managed to be there longer than a day though and I quit! They are complete rip off artists, have no concept of curriculum development, college/university counseling or teaching. I did manage to warn the new SAT teacher that the American frontman had complained about her after one class. It is ridiculous. And I have had nice e-mails back from some of the students who actually filled me in afterwards to the fact that it was not that students did not request me, but they were told by the owner and frontman that they could not book with me.

Yes, everyone should beware when going into Vietnam for jobs...
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RustyShackleford



Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno about Ivy Prep in HCMC. I knew some people working with that group in and didnĀ“t hear anything exceptionally bad. Seemed to be a good payrate considering.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They claim a good rate of pay until you are there and they want to change your job, swap the last page of your contract with your signature on it to another contract and start playing games. I have now heard from no less than 5 people who have been done this way.

Just beware... It is too good to be true. You will waste a lot of time, effort, and money if you dare to go with them. They were trying to get rid of 3 more teachers who had been there for a short time when I left. All games... Even games with the parents and students. There is no reason students should be working on their essays for months on end or even teachers ghost writing essays for students. Parents are paying a tremendous amount for this and getting ripped off.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivycation in HCMC owned and run by the same 2 people. Beware...
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's this higher-than-usual pay rate anyways?

I just saw their advertisement on here on Dave's and one their requirements is as follows:

"- Bachelor degree from a top 100 American university or college (must-have) and/or higher (A degree in the fields of pedagogy, education or linguistics would be advantageous) "

Yet they're only offering $22-$28 per hour... and asking for only 50 hours a month. Who would be crazy enough to go for that? My pay falls within that range and I get more hours, and I live in the central region which has substantially less pay and hours.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: They must have changed their advertisement... Reply with quote

They must have changed their advertisement. The pay rate was double or more depending upon the job and over twice as many hours i the previous advertisement. Maybe they are changing tactics. I know they do not have enough students as you see the same ones over and over and they use the photos of the same students on all the websites under different company names and locations.
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gypsyhanga



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:06 pm    Post subject: Ivycation is still bad! Reply with quote

I saw a recent ad from Ivycation on the jobs page and wanted to bump this thread and add my experience. I also highly recommend avoiding this place! They do not care about staff or students.

I was hired just before this forum chain started, so I missed out on the warnings on here, although I did hear from an outgoing teacher during my second week. Anyway... a short overview of my experience. If you want more info, feel free to ask.

Scheduling: I was initially offered a contract for a base of 30+ hours, but that was changed to 20 hours before I even arrived (but actually preferable). However, by week 2 they were scheduling me 50-60 hours a week without asking. They give you an email with your schedule around 8 pm each night and pay no attention to your requests or the contract. I would frequently believe I had the next morning off, only to get a night-time email with a schedule of 8:00-8:00 (with an hour or two for lunch). My contract stipulated 2 days off per week, but they'd still schedule me for 7 days a week. After 5 weeks of this madness, SAT day arrived. I told the director that I did not want 60 hour work weeks. She replied that's fine, we could renegotiate my contract to 15 hour work weeks. She then "insisted" I take a 3 week (unpaid) vacation.

Teaching: The owner of the school has no background in education and no interest in learning how to run a good business. Her only concern is getting students to pay for as many hours as possible, and she is willing to do anything to get this. Ideally, she would like students to sign up for 120 hours of individual prep (that is not a typo and those are her words). Students are shuffled around to various tutors and you are given no info about them (e.g. prior scores, previous prep). In most cases, my tutor students had already used every test that had been released over the past 12 years (around 50 full-length tests). I had no materials and it was too late to break them of any bad habits. In some cases, we were scheduled for 4-hour individual sessions without new materials. It was absolutely heartbreaking because the students were really sweet and I knew they were being swindled. The director implies and sometimes directly states everyone will get a super high score (2300 range). My understanding is that, despite the fact the program is the most inefficient I've ever seen, the teachers are blamed if the students don't get the outrageously high scores promised to them. I didn't stick around long enough to find out my students' results.

I stayed until I was paid and got outta there. I could continue on with other issues (e.g. the previously mentioned front-man is real), but I'll end for now. Again, feel free to ask if you have other questions.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:57 pm    Post subject: Glad you got out Gypsyhanga Reply with quote

As the person who replied to my email was a there before me... I believe I was there when you arrived. Maybe others will find this and realize what is going on.
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dazoneman



Joined: 30 Jan 2015
Posts: 2
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like I got off easy. I previously worked in Vietnam in another capacity and was hired by Ivycation on my last day in Hanoi. After going home for a short break, rewriting a few essays for them as a "test" and hearing nothing from them for a few weeks, the American front man at the time got in contact with me and told me he quit since the owner was psychotic and unethical and I was left without a job after missing college admissions hiring season. Looks like its the same operation going on still with a new frontman.

Just one of the reasons I am forever done with Vietnam.
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hemispheredancer



Joined: 02 May 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:39 am    Post subject: Frontman Reply with quote

Was the frontman who left ML or L? ML is just as Psychotic as the owner! They worked as a tag-team... funny thing was that both of them were cheating each other and all of the teachers! I have emails that prove everything. I can laugh about it now... but I do not wish to go back to Vietnam to work either.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dazoneman wrote:


Just one of the reasons I am forever done with Vietnam.


While I understand your frustration, it's not just Vietnam. It's really all of SE Asia, China, the Middle East, and South America. EFL in general is well known for lacking in professionalism and being rife with scams.

Only a few countries have relatively clean images: Korea, Japan, several European countries, and maybe UAE.

This is why most people who make a career out of EFL teaching are the more adventurous sorts. Honestly, I think the life skills teachers who live abroad and work in these conditions learn should translate into something much more valuable back home... but it doesn't really seem to be the case.
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Dave_1



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

be wary of any language center where there is interaction between students and local staff unseen, corridor chat, and where comments are solicited informally and without teachers having means to verify..e.g. proof of logged comment, number of students signing, time and date hard to verify. Risk is teacher takes job, comes to VN, and is bullied,confronted with this. It's bullying and happens sometimes in VN language centres. Some students are unaware their comments are cooked up as complaints...don't blame students..seek accountable employer by checking feedback system. Some students related to or friends of local staff in school and problems start then..1 student says "we in the class" think such as such..it's 2 of 15..but made bigger..more soliciting of comments and suddenly you have DoS claiming big complaints when school went fishing.

Go on to New Hanoian and you see lots of ads for teachers...what you don't see is amount who walked out of 1 and 2 year contracts..that's why New Hanoian makes it look a teacher's market..it isn't..it's the amount who walk before end of contract thanks to the above and other vague contact issues. Don't work for any smaller school as that is where local VN staff get to chat with small number of students at breaks, post class...work where it is a bigger school,though that is no great safety sometimes I guarantee you,..but they are busy and so many students that professional evaluations are how things are run, not informal polling run against teacher not around and not informed feedback is being canvassed weekly behind their back..no chance to prepare.

In some cases classes have a case, in some not.. but no clear system in place to prove anything and contracts at a number of local English language providers will not see you save a lot after costs of living.

Some of the staff who sell the courses, and it is not their fault as CSOs at all, are asked to promise significant fluency, gains..in local language when teacher not at school, brochures written in VN language..all at payment stage and teachers unaware of what's been promised..e.g. great fun class, and you will be great after 3 months here. Teachers have to deliver and it's not easy. Student asked to judge if they are better after 12 weeks...scary to be judged on that when it is hard to pick up a language
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gypsyhanga



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:21 pm    Post subject: Ivycation is still bad! Reply with quote

Dave_1, I agree with your advice. I would add that one should be wary of any school that changes the terms of the contract before or shortly after your arrival.

In the case of Ivycation (and I suspect all of Diep Nguyen's prep schools), it is definitely a school to be wary of. At one point, the local staff asked me to leave the room and then spoke to the students in Vietnamese. It turned out they were changing the class's day/time (without consulting the teacher!). They also make unrealistic promises to students. For example, they primarily offer SAT prep courses and will promise students who are currently scoring 1600 that they can reach 2300+. I was not given any negative feedback, and was actually told I was well-liked, yet they still insisted on a 3-week (unpaid) vacation after my first month.

Regardless of the country and it's supposed reputation, I think it is highly important to talk to former teachers at the particular school before signing a contract. Being adventurous is great and I've lived in many countries around the world. There are good and bad employers everywhere (including Europe), which is why I am glad these forums exist.

When I signed on with Ivycation, this topic string did not exist. I searched online for info about the school, the director, and the "front man", but did not see much information (and nothing negative). When I saw a new ad placed by the school, I felt it was my duty to share my story so potential new teachers can make a more informed decision. While being the front man for one of these schools is quite lucrative, most English teachers who have worked for Diep Nguyen have not lasted more than a month. Again, if you have any questions, pm me and I'll happily do what I can to help.
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