Site Search:
 
Get TEFL Certified & Start Your Adventure Today!
Teach English Abroad and Get Paid to see the World!
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

American Academy Dammam
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Saudi Arabia
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lord T



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TruthorFair, I would acknowledge that American Academy is not the worst agency to work for in Saudi Arabia. You only have to read recent posts on this forum to know that.

However, the combination of AA's low salary and the job on the afternoon shift at SPSP made it for me, a thoroughly miserable experience: I have never seen behaviour as bad as that of a certain senior teacher in all my years in the industry.

I posted about him a few months ago, but my posts were modified/deleted.

We are all entitled to an opinion, and the most telling statistic here, I believe, is the high turnover of teachers in such a short period.

My views on this thread are mellowing mainly because I'm out of it now. and never going back - thank goodness!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A.Graham



Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would counsel anyone contemplating taking up an offer with AA to do his/her research before accepting the post. I say this because of my initial dealings with them; I found there were a number of inconsistencies and evasions in their replies and, quite frankly, a good many of their avowals concerning salary and benefits did not stand up to scrutiny.

I had an interview with them (a one-way procedure where you submit three-minute video-recorded answers to 10 written questions). The next day I received a work offer and, hard on its heels, a contract. (The former was supposed to have been signed and sent before the latter could be approved but not, evidently, in my case.) I turned them down. I was then emailed by one of the managers, explaining the 10,000 base salary really amounted to 13,500 because of the accommodation and transportation allowance and a 1,000 monthly bonus which would be payable only upon the contract's being honoured. Again I demurred. (The accommodation would be shared.) They wrote again, offering to raise the base salary by 1,000. I said I'd consider the offer; I explained I didn't mind the drop in salary (given what's happened to the economy in KSA) but above all I wanted to avoid an EdEx/QEHC/NITI-type revolving door establishment. They said they understood this completely.

I had requested a follow-up interview so I could ask questions and clear up the doubts I had; the manager agreed but then failed to turn up for the Skype interview, later saying he hadn't been able to notify me as there had been a fire drill at AA. At this point I emailed to say I was definitely rejecting their offer: they were 'obviously desperate', I wrote, and this was never a good sign. I got a volley of abuse back; I was making 'massive assumptions' about AA, was being 'presumptuous' and 'arrogant' in calling AA 'desperate' - I knew nothing about the academy and was 'insinuating' they were a poor employer. I was a 'bad hire' who would only have caused problems once taken on... and of course, my candidacy was anyway about to be rendered null and void. I replied more or less in kind.

It pays to do research and to ask questions. When the manager from AA failed to turn up for my Skype queries, I emailed a raft of questions I wanted to ask - I knew few, if any, would be answered. (Last year I worked for NITI, suspecting they were rubbish - and so they proved to be.) I'd asked the same question with them as with AA: could I possibly be put in contact with employees already there, so I could see how the company functioned at the 'coal-face', so to speak? No dice. This is standard procedure when job-searching - but not allowed, so it seems, in the unregulated ESL field.

I believe this manager's petulant response to my refusal is a sure indication of the desperation AA feels in having to recruit sufficient numbers of qualified teachers in these straitened times. And whilst I might have some sympathy for his predicament, I stand by what I said that this is never a good sign if the job-searcher is looking for a reasonably stable, tolerably arduous work environment. (More than that is unrealistic.) And his insistence that I was unfair in describing AA as 'desperate' is somewhat undermined by the tone of his earlier emails: they had a narrow range between impassioned entreaty and craven grovelling.

Be careful.






[/b]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
David S



Joined: 21 Apr 2016
Posts: 25
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good first post A. Graham.

I was turned down by them and got an email which wished me at the end 'Have a nice day'. Completely inappropriate for notifying someone of an unsuccessful application.

The initial interview procedure seems interesting. Was that using Sparkhire software?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
A.Graham



Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David S:

Yes, the interview was with Sparkhire software. The questions were quite challenging, which I interpreted as a good sign (if you're offered a job midway through your Skype interview this tends to reflect badly on your prospective employer). But the work offer the next day - and the contract following at a gallop afterwards - set off alarms for me.

Interviews (however convenient for employers) cannot be one-way. It is simply unprofessional - as of course was AA's email to you. Think yourself lucky. My students at NITI were very complimentary about SPSP. Go direct hire, if you can!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Siobhan 22



Joined: 13 Jul 2016
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Were your students similar to this guy's experience?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RxJCfaGGQ4


This guy unbelievably has his OWN 'Tefl University' from where he got an MA in Tefl!! Also, allegedly studying for a doctorate from his own university.

Anyway, NITI seems to be a sausage machine for teachers (no pun or disrespect to Islam intended with the use of the word 'sausage').

SPSP has a good reputation indeed. So does KFUPM (limited to Iqama unfortunately). I suspect this may also be the case with SPSP.

I have a contact working in Saudi at IPA via the agency ICEAT. Students at IPA very good and ICEAT being relatively fair, though he doesn't like the accommodation in Dammam area.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A.Graham



Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting video, Siobhan. Many thanks for the link. This was Abuqaiq; I was in Al Ahsa. I notice a trainee was wearing a hood: this would not have been allowed - nor would that bottle on a desk. We also had CCTV in the classrooms. It wasn't all bad at NITI, but management was appalling and HR central office - well, I must suppress my homicidal urges here. Some nice classes, though.

To get back on topic, and as one other poster on this thread has mentioned - Veiled Sentiments - if, in the midst of a barrage of negative posts on an establishment, a favourable one appears (and during the hiring period, too), this post is very likely from management. One part of TOF's panegyric to AA caught my attention: the tone of 'welcome to Millennial morality' was remarkably similar to that of the AA manager with whom I was exchanging emails.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lord T



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Truth Seeker, why do you think AA lost so many teachers in such a short period of time?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Londonlover



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 90
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another first time poster that writes in to praise this organisation. As several people have said before, highly suspicious and probably a company stooge.
Is Truth seeker any relation to Truth or Fair?? He/She could have tried to have been more original with the name choice. They are not making much of an effort.
I look forward to seeing the posts of the member called Pack of Lies Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lord T



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Londonlover wrote:
Yet another first time poster that writes in to praise this organisation. As several people have said before, highly suspicious and probably a company stooge.
Is Truth seeker any relation to Truth or Fair?? He/She could have tried to have been more original with the name choice.
Perhaps I should change my name to Pack of Lies Laughing


Yes, I agree with you Londonlover: note the similarity in writing styles.

In fairness to TruthorFair/Truth Seeker, like a good salesman, he has managed to cover all AA's good points in his posts, but has shown no interest in seeking to understand why they have trouble keeping teachers.

Could it be that the recruiter is paid only when he recruits and therefore doesn't care how many teachers leave?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A.Graham



Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your last question, Lord T (whether rhetorical or not), gets to the heart of the matter. And whilst it is true, according to TOF and TS's condemnations, that I have not worked at AA, it is their (AA's) hiring procedures that concern me, and the manifest contradictions in their declarations; also their lack of transparency in their dealings with prospective teachers and finally, an approach to hiring I would say borders on the unethical. But more about that last point later.

An earlier poster mentioned being cut off by AA when he tried to ask questions. (Why is the interview only one-way, incidentally?) When I emailed my questions there was no reply, and the agreed-upon Skype interview never materialized because, apparently, there had been a fire drill. (A feebler excuse I have yet to come across.) I believe a lot of the doubts concerning the stability and effectiveness of AA as a working environment could be simply dealt with if, as I have suggested, prospective teachers could email or Skype those already working there. It seems to be axiomatic that if you are prevented from talking to people with whom you will later be working, you will find yourself in a workplace sinkhole.

Now for the inconsistencies. The interchangeable 'Truth' people paint a Parnassian picture where teachers go round hand-in-hand, deliriously happy, and there are no problems at all. (This is unusual for any workplace, never mind the lower end of KSA EFL.) This is what the manager I was in contact with had to say about salaries: " We have been slashed 40% on all of our government contract agreements and almost all of our contracts are government contracts. It is killing us and it is making it very difficult to secure teachers. " And yet, in the very next email he stated: "... you can get a clear picture as to who we are as an AA Family and why our team if [sic] teachers keep coming back to us despite our uncompetitive salary packages. I have been told many times by teachers who joined us that the main reason they chose AA was because I build bridges of trust by taking the time to answer questions clearly and honestly -- no games." So I was left wondering: if teachers keep coming back and everyone is so satisfied, why did this manager lurch from a relatively civilized manner of discourse to a childish tantrum when I said 'no' to him finally? If everything is so clear and honest, why do AA baulk at answering questions? Why were they prepared to hire me at such short notice and offer me a 1,000 SR increase in salary?

Which brings me to my final point. This salary increase would have required me to sign a confidentiality agreement (I was on a BA, not MA scale); thus I would in effect be working among people with the same qualifications yet earning more, all in an under-the-table type agreement. So much for "no games" and later - "no lies". Not quite straight dealing with their teachers, I would say.

It may well be AA is OK to work for. I don't know. But on the basis of my dealings with them - if I were considering an offer, I would insist on speaking to the teachers there first, to get a balanced view.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mr. Kalgukshi
Mod Team
Mod Team


Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6571
Location: Need to know basis only.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MOD EDIT - Multiple postings have been deleted to insure continued integrity of thread content.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
A.Graham



Joined: 19 Jun 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears AA has lost its contract. This is from their HR manager:

"American Academy wishes to inform you that all teachers currently contracted for the 4-month and 6-month block contracts on the SPSP Dammam and SPSP Al-Khafji projects starting July 23, 2017 will no longer be required to report for duty on these dates. Due to the unforeseen cancellation of funding by the Saudi Arabian government HRDF, SPSP has canceled the July 23rd intakes resulting in American Academy being notified by SPSP that AA teachers will no longer be required for this intake date. Officially, all American Academy teacher contacts for this project are hereby revoked and canceled until further notice.

American Academy is working hard to find alternative contracts to support the needs of our teaching team. While this setback is indeed unfortunate, American Academy remains committed to our team and hopes to resolve this challenge for everyone as soon as possible. To that end, we will be contacting each and every one of you with updates as soon as we have any additional information for you.

Thank you for your kind understanding of this unfortunate situation. Please feel comfortable to contact us with any concerns you may have."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Siobhan 22



Joined: 13 Jul 2016
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

K-AA-rma can be a bitch.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
marklor



Joined: 27 Apr 2017
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty sure it was because SPSP lost the HDRF funding not anything to do with AA. Having worked with a few companies in KSA, I gotta say AA was by no means the worst. SPSP may have expected non muslims to sit around doing SFA during Ramadan but AA gave them double pay. The folks I dealt with were very decent and hard working too. I mean maybe I would have a chip on my shoulder if I worked side by side with SPSP direct hires earning twice my salary for a long time, but I just wanted to make some quick cash and get out of KSA ASAP. I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who wants a short taste of life in KSA. Perhaps it's easy for me to be stoic about it because I was not comparing my salary with direct hires in SPSP but with ESL salaries in virtually any other place in the world.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sicklyman



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 922

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marklor wrote:
but with ESL salaries in virtually any other place in the world.

A healthy attitude which certainly helps where I work. Alternatively, we could always take a look at the janitor's pay slip... Shocked
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Saudi Arabia All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Page 4 of 6

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2018 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Teaching Jobs in China
Teaching Jobs in China