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 

Birmy International English
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only)
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
satraveller



Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Birmy International English Reply with quote

Does anyone have any information on this school located in Taizhou, Zhejiang? Good school? Dodgy? Any former/current teachers out there who wish to post? Thanks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
texafari



Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Waiting to come back to China

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:38 am    Post subject: Why no replies? Reply with quote

Hi satraveller,

I know it's been over a year, but I was wondering if you ever made it to teach at this place? If so, are they any good, etc.?

If anyone else feels like sharing their opinion on this one, please do?

Cheers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sojourner



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 738
Location: nice, friendly, easy-going (ALL) Peoples' Republic of China

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi !

Apart from Jiaojiang (Taizhou area, Zhejiang province), there are some Birmy schools in Changsha (Hunan province) - possibly also a couple of other places.

The salary is around 10 K RMB per month for about 25 hours of teaching - possibly, also office hours. Check out Birmy's website, as well as their job ads (do a Google search). The specified maximum age for their FTs is 50; although one ad even specified 45 ! But, at least they appear to insist on some basic educational qualifications for their FTs (eg BA).

A quick Google search also revealed some v.negative feedback from a disgruntled ex-teacher ( http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=5009.0 ).

Of course, one shouldn't judge all of a chain's schools by what COULD have happened at one particular branch. But,why anyone would want to work for a language school beats me ! Apart from the long hours, as well as the requirement that you teach strictly in accordance with a particular syllabus (probably based on some outmoded psychological learning theories), would turn me off completely . And, as for their ageist recruitment policies . . . . ! Give me the uni sector anyday !
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject: Re: Birmy International English Reply with quote

satraveller wrote:
Does anyone have any information on this school located in Taizhou, Zhejiang? Good school? Dodgy? Any former/current teachers out there who wish to post? Thanks


Hi, I'm so glad I just saw your post and the replies below. Whatever you do, DO NOT accept a position at this school.

Birmy International English (China) are one of the worst private English schools – if not THE worst – to work for in China. If you receive an offer from these scam artists and cheats, run as far as you can in the opposite direction.

Here is an account of some of my own, and some my teaching colleagues’, experiences at this despicable school:

1. When you arrive, if you are a girl, you will spend your first one or two nights in a shared, filthy, tiny dorm-room with 5 or 6 Chinese, English tutors from the school. You will have to do all your ablutions (going to the toilet, trying to wash yourself with no shower, bath etc.) in a tiny, filthy shared space with absolutely no privacy (you will be trying to wash yourself whilst surrounded by tutors defecating & urinating right next to you, with no-one ever cleaning up after themselves). Your first night, you will have to try sleep on what amounts to no more than a wooden board, crammed into this tiny, filthy space with 5 or 6 of the tutors. The next morning, you will have to make your way to the hospital to have your medical, very likely after not being able to wash yourself or get any sleep due to the appalling conditions. To add insult to injury, you will have to pay your medical check-up expenses yourself, which the school should actually pay for you but are too cheap to do.

2. If you are lucky enough to be a guy in this instance (yes, the school is sexist), you will spend your first night in the cheapest motel available. Anything above 140 RMB & you’ll have to pay the extra yourself.

3. You will have to cover all your visa costs yourself (the school should actually pay these for you) and, if in China already, will have to go to Hong Kong, at great expense, to try obtaining your work visa there. The school will not tell you that certain nationalities (such as South Africans) can no longer obtain a Z visa in Hong Kong, and must return to their home country first. So, if you discover this only when you arrive in Hong Kong, you will have no choice but to return home again, after having wasted your time and money.

4. When you first arrive, the school will tell you to take one or two days ‘rest’ to recover from your long journey. What you may mistake for kindness here is only a rouse on their part for, when you receive your first month’s salary, you will find they have deducted those one or two nights ‘jetlag recuperation’ off the money they owe you. You did not ask for this rest nor were you told they would deduct this from your salary, but they will do it anyway.

5. Speaking of monthly salary, the school will cheat you out of this too. Don’t count on getting any more than 1/3rd of your first month’s salary. They use some bizarre, crooked system which deducts all your paid leave time (you are entitled to 2 days paid leave per week in accordance with your contract, but they will say this is unpaid leave). Plus, the fingerprint reader (which makes you feel like you’re in a prison every time you clock in or out) is faulty and operates only in Chinese, many times not recording your clock in or clock out times or, telling you in Chinese that it has been accepted and then – a few minutes later – saying in an electronic Chinese voice, which of course you cannot understand, that you need to re-do the process as there has been an error. I kept an exact log of ALL my clock-ins & outs and was still cheated by Birmy on my monthly salary. They said the fingerprint reader indicated that I had clocked in late several times that month, a total lie and something fabricated by the HR department as they can alter these figures at will. You cannot argue this as it’s all in Chinese and they will say the machine is infallible.

6. According to your contract, the school cannot make you teach more than 5 classes a day or teach more than 5 days in row without leave. But, they will try cheating you on this at every turn, throwing in a 6th and sometimes even 7th class at a moment’s notice, often forcing you to work 9 days without a break.

7. There are no lesson plans at all for upper level students and, the one’s you may find hidden in a cupboard somewhere, are nothing more than Google-translated ramblings on the most complex and hopelessly uninteresting and useless topics. Upper and intermediate students will often come to class clutching just the first page of this so-called lesson, whilst you come in balancing reams of Google-translated material which the students were not given – but should have been – by their Chinese, English tutors beforehand.

8. After your first one or two nights in a filthy dorm room or fleabag motel, you will have to find your own apartment. The school will (if you are lucky) have arranged only one or two for you to look at AND you need to be at work to do training during this time too (which they will try get out of paying you for). Considering you will be training and working till after 9pm every night, it will be almost impossible for you to find a decent apartment in such a short time. For any apartment you settle on just so you are not sleeping on the street, you will need to pay at least 4 to 6 months rent as a deposit upfront. Considering that you will be cheated out of most of your first month’s salary, plus the fact that you will have had to pay for your medical and flight ticket upfront, with no help or reimbursement from the school, you will not survive even a day at this new job in China unless you arrive with at least 15 thousand RMB to start.

9. Although your monthly salary may seem good at 8 thousand RMB per month for your first two or three month’s probation (make that 3 months as the school will lie to you again in negotiations, saying you will only have to do two) & 10 thousand per month thereafter, the school is actually paying you one of the LOWEST salaries an English teacher could possibly earn in China. You will be working 40 hours a week; be called to meetings (often 3 to 4 hours long) during your off days, for which you will not be paid; you will have to outlay so much money in the first month and are being cheated on your first month’s salary; you will receive only 3 days paid leave per year (the lowest of ANY English school in China); you will be cheated out of Chinese public holidays too (for example, you will get only 3 days leave instead of the obligatory 7 days over Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival)

10. You will share an office with the Chinese, English tutors who are on the phone to students the whole day at fever-pitch volume levels, when not teaching, and encourage students to come in and out of the office at will. This will make it almost impossible for you to concentrate on your lesson preparations.

11. The school has disabled all the USB ports & CD drives on the computers and the IT department is absolutely useless and hopelessly ineffectual. This will make your life as a teacher a nightmare as you cannot use or save any outside lesson material from USB, DVD or CD, nor will you have flash or the latest Internet browser on your machine to prepare video clips for your students.

12. Don’t count on actually working at the branch you agreed to work for in your contract. When you arrive, as so many foreign teachers are quitting in disgust every few weeks or months, you will more than likely be told you will be teaching at another branch. They will try force you to do this and you will be very lucky if you can get out of it.

13. Not only are this disgraceful school cheating their foreign teachers, they are cheating their own government too. The school only pays a fraction of the tax it should be paying on your salary. It gets away with this by illegally forcing you to sign a document saying you are earning less than you actually are, so the government are none the wiser. But, we will be nailing the school on this too as several of us have gotten together to send a signed affidavit to the Chinese Education Bureau, detailing this deliberate tax evasion by the school. Make no mistake; the government will be contacting them about this VERY soon.

14. When I first arrived at this awful school, I wondered why all the foreign teachers never had anything to do with anyone else at the school. They just silently came in, tried to prepare and teach their lessons, and then left as quickly as possible, not saying a word to anyone. I soon realized the reason when one of my fellow foreign teachers told me that, anything you say to any of the Chinese staff at the school, will immediately get passed around the whole school (to your students too), only to come back to you in some twisted or warped form, making it seem like you have been up to no good. This applies to your movements and interactions outside the school too. Many foreign teachers were furious when being confronted by Chinese, English tutors at the school as to why they were having lunch or dinner with a Chinese girl, reported back to the school by who knows which staff member or student. It’s a free country (supposedly) and we are fully entitled to meet with our Chinese friends at anytime, especially being single and having the right to meet with whomever we want, whenever we want. How dare they pass judgment and cast aspersions on our character here. What in heaven’s name has it got to do with them anyhow?

15. This excuse for an English school does not stop at just cheating you. They cheat their students too by making them pay 10 to 20 thousand RMB upfront (no returns at all if dissatisfied), plus making them pay for their own textbooks at great expense (they have to buy these from the school, of course). Some students have had to beg and borrow this money and it has left them in an extremely difficult financial predicament for years to come. Also, 50% of the coursework must be done by students on their own, so they are only getting 50% of what they are paying for from the very beginning.

16. The textbooks Birmy forces you to teach from are appalling. They are hopelessly out of date and peppered with all manner of English errors. They are of course written & compiled by the school’s Chinese employees who are far from fluent in English. Most of the time, you will spend your lessons trying to explain to students why the lesson you were trying to teach them made little sense, and having to re-write and change things on the fly.

17. The promotional materials (videos, photos etc.) Birmy uses in their marketing are also misleading and fake. The westerners presented have either long since quit the school, have never worked for the school at all or certainly never agreed to, or received any form of payment for, their images being used to promote the school.

18. Although you will have specifically been told that you will only be teaching adults at Birmy, you will soon find yourself with classes full of children as young as 11 or 12, often mixed with adults in their 30’s and 40’s. This is because, although Birmy have spent a fortune creating kids teaching facilities in all their branches, they are too cheap to employ additional foreign teachers to teach in them. So, you will have to do most of the donkeywork.

19. In most of your social talking and conversation classes, you will have students of all levels in class, from absolute beginner to advanced. This makes your task as a teacher impossible, as the very basic students won’t understand a word you are saying and the advanced ones will be upset if you keep things too simple. The school will in turn say you are a bad teacher and that the students are complaining about you.

20. All of the schools are controlled from head office in Jiaojiang, Taizhou. Unfortunately, this creates massive problems as the people up there have no idea of the comings and goings of each individual branch, making their devastatingly incompetent and damaging decisions from the ivory tower, with no regard for, or interest in, the foreign teachers’ well-being. The director of our school knew no English at all, same with the finance and IT departments. You will incessantly be bothered at all times of the night and morning – outside of working hours – by staff asking you to do this and that and G-d knows what else. With little and often no notice at all, you will be asked to drop everything and go help out at another branch, often 2 to 3 hours away. You will have to get there first at your own expense, and will have no time to prepare anything (pack your things; plan your lessons, accommodation etc.).

21. Applying for leave will cause you the most headaches. You have only 3 days paid leave per year (worst for any school in China) and, to apply for unpaid leave, you have to find a teacher to take over your duties, who you must pay during that time. Even if you manage to pull of this feat (not easy when you only have one other foreign teacher at your branch, who was planning on going away the same time as you), they can pull the plug on this at a moment’s notice, making some excuse like they urgently need you at another branch. So, once you start at this school, plan on having hardly ANY leave per year at all.

This list could continue for days but, suffice to say, this school is disgusting and you have only yourself to blame if you accept a position there. As I write this, there is a class action lawsuit being prepared against these despicable cheats, by many former teachers who have decided that enough is enough. The school will also be facing a legal inquiry from the Chinese government soon, in regard to their evasion of tax on foreign teachers’ salaries.

I hope this will stop any foreign English teacher from accepting ‘work’ at this awful place. We do not want any of you to experience the torment and misery we had to endure at this terrible excuse for an English school.

MOD EDIT


Last edited by pr1969 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:29 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
frenchfrydoggy



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Class action lawsuit ? In China ? haha Laughing Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Do you have any evidence to support your claims ?

Can we assume you chose to left your job there rather than finish the contract term?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

frenchfrydoggy wrote:
Class action lawsuit ? In China ? haha Laughing Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

As I write this, a class action lawsuit is pending against these vermin. Yes, this is very possible in China. You just need to find the right people to represent you (which we have done).

Do you have any evidence to support your claims ?

Actually, too much evidence. All you need to do is trawl the net for more posts on these despicable cheats. Or, better yet, try working there yourself and then get back to me when they do the exact same to you.

Can we assume you chose to left your job there rather than finish the contract term?


Your assumption, not mine. Oh, you quite clearly did not read my post thoroughly. If you had, you would have noticed these are not just my personal experiences at this fleapit, but those of many others too.

Again, all we are doing is trying to prevent others from experiencing the same hell we went through here. If you choose to ignore this, that is your choice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mike w



Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1071
Location: Beijing building site

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Make no mistake; the government will be contacting them about this VERY soon.


You are very possibly correct about the school being contacted. But you may find it won't be for the reasons you would like it to be. More likely to make sure that the school has got rid of the 'trouble-making foreigners' that work there.

Wheels within wheels. It would not be the first time that the local government and the school are 'related'. How much 'guanxi' does the school owner have? Probably more than you, so don't count on your reporting the school to the authorities achieving anything.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mike w wrote:
Quote:
Make no mistake; the government will be contacting them about this VERY soon.


You are very possibly correct about the school being contacted. But you may find it won't be for the reasons you would like it to be. More likely to make sure that the school has got rid of the 'trouble-making foreigners' that work there.

Wheels within wheels. It would not be the first time that the local government and the school are 'related'. How much 'guanxi' does the school owner have? Probably more than you, so don't count on your reporting the school to the authorities achieving anything.


Hi Mike, thanks for your response. As we are standing together as a group of jilted teachers here, we have managed to find just the right people to fight our case.

Suffice to say, together, we have more guanxi than the school's owners here (many of us have excellent guanxi ourselves, through our Chinese friends).

We have hard evidence on file with our lawyer (regarding tax evasion by the school, signed affidavits and plenty more).

We will not rest until this school (and all its branches) are closed down and revealed for what they really are. We are certainly not afraid of a fight. If it's a fight they want, it's a fight they're going to get.

Again, my only advice I can give all teachers approached by this school - run a mile in the opposite direction, as fast as you can.

Oh, as an aside; any former Birmy teachers reading this are encouraged to join our class action too. We have a good few on board already but, the more the merrier, and the stronger our case. I look forward to hearing from you through this website.


Last edited by pr1969 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:01 am; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mike w



Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1071
Location: Beijing building site

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We are certainly not afraid of a fight.



I applaud your stand, and they way you seem to have gone about things.

BUT, I still have some serious reservations about the outcome. You are an outsider, and you are fighting an establishment (Chinese authority, not the school) that does not like interference from outside its own.

However, I wish you luck, and hope you get the outcome you seek.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mike w wrote:
Quote:
We are certainly not afraid of a fight.



I applaud your stand, and they way you seem to have gone about things.

BUT, I still have some serious reservations about the outcome. You are an outsider, and you are fighting an establishment (Chinese authority, not the school) that does not like interference from outside its own.

However, I wish you luck, and hope you get the outcome you seek.


Many thanks for your kind words of support Mike. Yes, you are right, it is not going to be a pretty, nor swift, battle. However, as both myself and one or two other teachers in the class action have worked for the government English departments in both the South and the Northeast, plus the fact that three others have Chinese spouses with excellent connections, we are confident we can nail these guys.

In a nutshell, we are sick and tired of Chinese 'English' schools getting away with murder. Enough is enough and they have picked the wrong people to trifle with this time. Let's hope others like them (and there are WAY too many) will think twice about following a similar path in the future. If we can achieve even that, we will be satisfied.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Edge



Joined: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 455
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
therock



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 1266
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Birmy International English Reply with quote

pr1969 wrote:

4. When you first arrive, the school will tell you to take one or two days ‘rest’ to recover from your long journey. What you may mistake for kindness here is only a rouse on their part for, when you receive your first month’s salary, you will find they have deducted those one or two nights ‘jetlag recuperation’ off the money they owe you. You did not ask for this rest nor were you told they would deduct this from your salary, but they will do it anyway.

5. Speaking of monthly salary, the school will cheat you out of this too. Don’t count on getting any more than 1/3rd of your first month’s salary. They use some bizarre, crooked system which deducts all your paid leave time (you are entitled to 2 days paid leave per week in accordance with your contract, but they will say this is unpaid leave). Plus, the fingerprint reader (which makes you feel like you’re in a prison every time you clock in or out) is faulty and operates only in Chinese, many times not recording your clock in or clock out times or, telling you in Chinese that it has been accepted and then – a few minutes later – saying in an electronic Chinese voice, which of course you cannot understand, that you need to re-do the process as there has been an error. I kept an exact log of ALL my clock-ins & outs and was still cheated by Birmy on my monthly salary. They said the fingerprint reader indicated that I had clocked in late several times that month, a total lie and something fabricated by the HR department as they can alter these figures at will. You cannot argue this as it’s all in Chinese and they will say the machine is infallible.


You should have quit after the first month when they screwed you around. Hoping it will get better is just asking for trouble.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:25 am    Post subject: Re: Birmy International English Reply with quote

You should have quit after the first month when they screwed you around. Hoping it will get better is just asking for trouble.[/quote]

Yes, you're absolutely right!

A quick and important update. We have been flooded with support the past few days, as word of the evil machinations of these mindless charlatans going by the name of Birmy International English has spread like wildfire across the web.

We received a huge and very welcome boost a few days ago; several students & staff (both former & current) of this festering snake-pit they call Birmy International English, have decided to join forces with us in our class action. Many of them will also be taking on these troglodytes personally, as they have been royally cheated out of their hard-earned money here.

Through this, some extremely disturbing additional information has come to light. This includes Birmy's intimidation of staff (especially reception, which now completes the picture as to why we would often find them in tears at work) and their spy system (just like the cold war era, where one of the Chinese tutors spies daily on foreign teachers' comings and goings, both in & out of the school, reporting back to head office in Jiaojiang).

This has given us added impetus (not that we needed it) to nail these deplorable neanderthals (our deepest apologies to early man here) called Birmy International English.

To any newbie foreign teachers reading this. Never, ever, let your Chinese (or other) employer intimidate you. If you're having any trouble with them at all, come to this forum (or similar) and someone will be able to help you, I'm sure.

One thing unscrupulous Chinese so-called English schools hate worse than anything is having their evil misdeeds exposed. Forget all you've heard about this 'saving face' nonsense. It's two-faced all the way for these clowns.

There is justice in the TEFL world after-all. We'll keep you posted!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Edge



Joined: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 455
Location: China

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff. Thanks for the update. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pr1969



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Edge wrote:
Good stuff. Thanks for the update. Very Happy


Thanks The Edge, much appreciated! Will keep you updated Smile
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 -> China (Job-related Posts Only) All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
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