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CLS or CSC or whatever it becomes for September 2005
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pyramid



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: CLS or CSC or whatever it becomes for September 2005 Reply with quote

The Continental Language School or Continental School of Cairo or whatever it renames itself for September this year is hell on earth.

I was invited to join this school as a class teacher at a salary of 11,000LE when I arrived the salary was presented "as agreed in our email, 8500 + housing allowance"- say what?

OK so I'd given up my job and move countries to be here- I had no option, I took the job, what else could I do?

There is no work permit on offer. Well, that is to say the owner lies and tries to kid her staff that a year's long tourists visa allows you to work, even though it is clearly stamped on the visa "No work permitted"- well the government turn a blind eye- yeah, right.

The woman running the school states that she owns the place- LIE! she owns 51per cent (the other share holders can't kick her out). She has no experience as a teacher and makes the rules up as she goes along, including most of the curriculuum! She demands that teachers fiddle exam results, help the kids to cheat in exams, is as tight as .... with photocopying that is imperative for the students learning. She imposes unrealistic deadlines. Best of all, she steals money from staff whenever and however she can e.g. a child has an accident in a class and she fines the teacher and class assistant 250LE, even tho the accident was the child's own fault for constantly swinging on his chair! She fines you if your reports are submitted late, even tho you hand in your diskette with your work intact, it either magically deletes itself/the disc is lost- God forbid if you save it on the hard disc-you need to hide it so it can't be found and then an almighty argument erupts for daring to draw attention to someone lying and cheating- so she fines you a day's pay anyway! She leaks foreigners salary details to the Arabic staff ensuring that one race is set against all of the foreigners. Best of all, Children do NOT LIE in this school, yeah right. If the parent is someone with money/clout you are ordered to lie in the child's report and alter his/her grades; the child in question is never naughty/monster/verging on the delinquent. No! It is your fault you must be teasing the child.

I could go on ( I know I already have). But please no self respecting human being would work in this place. I understand that last year most of her staff F L E D- This year is no different. The foreign staff are leaving.

On a final note; I understand that this woman began her school as a special needs school a few years ago and then expanded it to have an influx of able bodied children. One point to note. HAs anyone ever seen another human being hit a special needs child with a litre bottle of water over the head because the child was being naughty? I doubt it because no self respecting human being would hit an able bodied child, let alone a special needs child.

Seekin work in Egypt? Beware of CSC! [/b]
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SOBELLE



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am so sorry you had a hell of a year. I am so appalled by what's going on in Egypt. Can I suggest for all of you who had such horrendous experience if its possible to put a list of the schools to avoid. So we don't fall for the same scam. Thanks a lot.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sobelle,

It is not just Egypt. It is typical of these 'international schools' all over the Middle East - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates in particular have many threads like this. I can't speak for the rest of the world.

As long as they are getting paid tuition, it is all too common that this tuition also buys grades and is siphoned off by greedy owners - and the teachers are always the scapegoats - and the kids run the show.

It is why I tell people to avoid them unless they can have direct contact with past and present teachers. There are a few good ones, of course, but you have to be VERY careful or very desperate for a job.

VS
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SOBELLE



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am aware that it is not only in Egypt. I come from a third world country myself and I know pretty well how the system works. However, I still find it shameful. I taught in the U.S for more than 10 years in the elementary public schools and couldn't put an F for a failing student the fear of reprisal we were told by the principals over and over again not to write anything negative that might chock the parents on the report cards. I think it's everywhere maybe less obvious in the western countries. I think as you mentioned it in your message one has to do his/her homework before applying for any school
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pyramid



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 6:30 pm    Post subject: CLS or CSC Reply with quote

The joke is that this school is going for International status this year. Asked what the difference is between a Language School and an International one this woman owner replied, "None" Hmm?

A male teacher with 30 years teaching experience was recently ordered by this woman to look over the childrens shoulders in an English exam and if the kids were writing the wrong answers, "just give them a nudge and tell them the correct ones".

Really this school is the pits! Worst of all is the fact that they will be readvertising for British staff this year to teach in the International School next year- again I urge you. AVOID AT ALL COST!
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lemonsong



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find this posting very odd - I have now been at this school for two years and have seen nothing of this, except that new teachers DO work without a work permit at first (have checked with friends from many other schools in Cairo and this is not unusual) but, having said that, work permits are forthcoming once the three month probationary period has been completed (although the process is a lengthy one!)
Having worked in a good few other countries I have seen some genuine nightmare schools, but this is not one of them IMO. There is a degree of getting used to working bloody hard and certainly teachers have to create more paperwork than is the norm in the UK but the apartments the school provides are pretty good, the salary is paid on time and the owners of the school have not interfered greatly since I've been here - they are very atypical of Egyptian employers in that "what you see is what you get" - there's no BS or two-faced crap - but if they don't like what they see you doing, they WILL tell you in no uncertain way. Conversely, they are also quick to praise their staff.
Of the expats here at the moment, more than half are staying on for another year or more, which in itself says much - and, yes, they ARE qualified teachers, not just native speakers who can't get employment elsewhere.

A chap was recently fired from the school for a whole bunch of dumb things (insulting kids, telling them he was God in the classroom, using foul language and not really teaching much at all, amongst other stuff) and he has spent some time bad mouthing the place and some individuals there on other sites - perhaps the poster of this thread had a similar axe to grind?

My advice - try to get to talk to people who are AT a school you are interested in and get a picture of the reality, not someone's take on it; and DO try to talk to as many people as possible - any school should be happy that you want to do so, because it would mean that you are very serious about considering employment with them, and not just a timewaster.
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, anytime we see a post/comment of extreme opinion from a person who's never posted on ESL, it's hard to lend a lot of credibility to just that one opinion. We've been burned before with someone giving a glowing recommendation for a well-known 'crap' establishment just as we've heard one time posters say wretched things about a school, and then never post again.

Quote:
The woman running the school states that she owns the place- LIE! she owns 51per cent (the other share holders can't kick her out).

That's not really a lie. People in Egypt LOVE titles. Being an owner of 51% makes her an owner. She's hardly the first to be kept in a job strictly because of how much she's invested. This was commonplace in Egypt.

Quote:
Best of all, she steals money from staff whenever and however she can e.g. a child has an accident in a class and she fines the teacher and class assistant 250LE, even tho the accident was the child's own fault for constantly swinging on his chair! She fines you if your reports are submitted late, even tho you hand in your diskette with your work intact, it either magically deletes itself/the disc is lost- God forbid if you save it on the hard disc-you need to hide it so it can't be found and then an almighty argument erupts for daring to draw attention to someone lying and cheating- so she fines you a day's pay anyway!

If I was actually being fined for such things, this is where I'd blow the whistle and pull on any wasta I had in the country. I've heard a lot of horrible things (fines for 'lost' library books) but this one takes the cake. This is where you get assistance from someone prominent in order to recover lost funds (and then get the hell out).

Quote:
I have now been at this school for two years and have seen nothing of this, except that new teachers DO work without a work permit at first (have checked with friends from many other schools in Cairo and this is not unusual)

It's usual: in crap schools. Many schools will bring you in a visitor's visa, and then change you over in a matter of a couple months. If you think this is commonplace and therefore "ok": it's not. It's as though you lose a benefit by not having the residency visa, which would give you significant discounts on flights and hotels. Travel for the teacher on a tourist visa (something most teachers want to do whilst living in Egypt) now costs them almost three times as much as those who have the proper paperwork. It's cheeky. Qualified teachers, in particular, deserve better contracts and should be able to find them in Cairo.

Quote:
Of the expats here at the moment, more than half are staying on for another year or more, which in itself says much - and, yes, they ARE qualified teachers, not just native speakers who can't get employment elsewhere.

This boggles the mind. Qualified teachers should be earning more than 8500 LE/month in Cairo. Qualified teachers should be able to find jobs with institutions that have the means and influence to acquire work/residency visas in a timely manner.
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lemonsong



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a newbie to this site I guess you could think that I was one of those "one time posters" but I can see your point about people praising or flaming somewhere or someone - from my experience on other forums it's hard to wipe off the mud that someone has flung.........some good cyber friends I have were particularly hurt by a rabid poster on a gardening forum I frequent and have, sadly, chosen to quit posting rather than continue to be abused.

As I said, I've seen NOTHING of of the kind of situation the original poster here described. The fines, ridiculously low wages etc. - all before my time or, maybe, never happened (?)

The school does not pay high wages, agreed, (but certainly a lot more than the 8500 quoted) but all prospective teachers are given a clear and concise (and lengthy) letter before signing on the dotted line, in which the terms, wages and so on are described. One of the reasons I decided to come over here was because it clearly told me that, in the event I may have large debts or outgoings, this school would not be for me, but if I was free of such I could live comfortably and afford to travel in the holidays. I liked the tone and the apparent honesty therein. And - it's been true so far ... have had an extended holiday back home, even managing a hire car for the 44 days there, and am going on safari this summer. Oh, and I've managed a luxury Nile Cruise with Movenpick as well as being able to drive to various other sites of interest in the car I now have.

As for the work permits - well, after two years here I have made friends with people from a good half dozen schools in and around Cairo and I have yet to find anyone who has been given a work permit immediately; some of these schools are the more well known and established ones, so I can only presume that this really IS "normal" - after all, I can only comment on what I experience, not hearsay.

Your comment about having a "boggled mind" seems to have missed the point I wanted to make - IMO the guys staying on are doing so because they feel that things here (especially in Cairo, which is a GREAT place to live!) are fine. Two of my friends moved on after a year with the school where I work, one because she can get Canadian wages and benefits (wish I was a Canuck!) and another because she had a better offer in the Giza area - but they both saw out their contracts first and left with no hard feelings, as far as I know.

Don't want to promote anything or sell anything - I just feel it's so unfair that someone can lambast people, or an institution, without any redress or response. I stand by my earlier comment - if you are looking at a job in a new country, do your best to talk to as many people as possible who are, or have been, there. Even then, any move will still prove to be a bit of a gamble, but at least you will have reduced the possibility of experiencing a major disaster in your life.

I guess we all know someone who's been through hell somewhere, no?
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As for the work permits - well, after two years here I have made friends with people from a good half dozen schools in and around Cairo and I have yet to find anyone who has been given a work permit immediately;


True, to a degree. Very few give it immediately, but decent employers give it promptly-usually within a month or two. This often boils down to influence and knowing someone on the part of the school administration. Sadly, lots of language schools in Cairo keep their employees on visitor visas for the duration of their contract and give them some letter saying that their visa is being processed.

Quote:
some good cyber friends I have were particularly hurt by a rabid poster on a gardening forum I frequent and have, sadly, chosen to quit posting rather than continue to be abused.
Laughing

Sorry to laugh at that, but this cracks me up. What sort of mud flinging happens on gardening forums? I do understand your point, and respect that you're trying to present a balanced view of the school. Ultimately, your experiences that the school has upheld their part of the bargain is something that needs to be stated. I've seen people come on this site after being fired from their jobs and then slamming the company, while those who knew what happened just rolled their eyes.

Quote:
The school does not pay high wages, agreed, (but certainly a lot more than the 8500 quoted) but all prospective teachers are given a clear and concise (and lengthy) letter before signing on the dotted line, in which the terms, wages and so on are described.


Even 10,000 LE (hopefully partially paid in USD or BP) plus accommodation is a decent wage. Provided that you are able to purchase foreign currency easily, you could easily save some of that money and send it home. I knew people working in language schools for 3000-3500 Egyptian pounds and no residency. Even they could afford a bit of a holiday (though not a trip around Africa).

We should probably note that this post is quite old, and it's possible that the OP experienced something at this school that have changed-for the better.
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clovis



Joined: 06 May 2007
Posts: 23
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Lemonsong, I wonder why you did not respond to my allegations on the other forum? You say you were abused on the other forum, well doggone if it wasn't you that was doing the abusing. As far as i'm concerned I stated facts that you were not prepared to repudiate. So the school is much better now. Really?????? I do believe the owner of thew school is still there, still shouting at staff in front of other teachers and children etc etc etc. You really do take the biscuit
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clovis... are you pyramid posting under a new name?

Did you read Lemonsong's post?

Are you stalking her from a gardening forum? Laughing

VS
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clovis



Joined: 06 May 2007
Posts: 23
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veiledsentiments, I am not Pyramid, although I do know of her. She used to teach at the CSC's 'British International school'. An ex-colleague of mine at the CSC knew her.

I have indeed read lemonsong's post, though why he (I believe lemonsong to be a he) would want to open up a debate about something that was written 2 years ago does baffle me somewhat.

I did indeed make comments about his beloved school on another forum. He then chose to make personal attacks upon me (as he did whilst I was teaching there) so i feel totally justified in treating in kind.

As for a gardening forum, well, I can only assume he is trying to be humourous, although I fail to see it myself.
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clovis



Joined: 06 May 2007
Posts: 23
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a wee bit quiet there lemonsong, and you had so much to say. In response to your comment about foreign teachers staying on, well, apart from your partner, they are all on the school's SMT. Might I just add, what an inspirational SMT they are!!!!
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SMT?
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clovis



Joined: 06 May 2007
Posts: 23
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SMT is yet another TLA that only people who want to appear knowledgable use, it means (I think) Senior Management Team, although the term 'Management' in a lot of schools is perhaps used rather flatteringly.

In this particular school's case it is used with extreme flattery. I think being 'unable to organize a p... up to a brewery' springs to mind.
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