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Speak Up schools
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maniak



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:10 am    Post subject: Speak Up schools Reply with quote

I don't even know where to begin... a few positives if you work there but overall if you have any sense of decency, morality or even a shred of
humanity I'd avoid this school. Yes, you teach english, though the entire school does sort of function in its own little 'method' bubble, you get paid on time, money is ok, nothing special... lessons are preplanned and just require photocopying and thats about it, oh wait, you can pretty much go on vacation any time you want. But overall your job involves making up for the abomination that are the preplanned lessons (as well as students book/computer lessons), handling administrative tasks like calling students who dont show up, just finished a level, just started at the school or who just had a bowel movement, and pretty much bare minimum in terms of classroom materials, and minimal support, training or any kind of "perks" like water or a coffee machine.

I DO have an axe to grind with the school, as they should have been sued out of history or shut down by the govt , but I still work there (as depressing as it is), but once you learn the truly sinister inner-workings of the school, how they sign up students using lies and deception (imagine starting a class like usual to have a new student interrupt saying, "Wheres my 40 individual lessons that I was promised", or "I was promised groups of less than 5 and here are 10 people"... at least once a week), how they legally fine students for resigning, overall the entire setup of the school is pretty much a gigantic scam charging students exorbitant amounts of money for twenty one-hour lessons over 3 months. If you use google translate and type in "speak up" into google.pl you'll see for yourself what former students say about the school. Imo a system that HAD potential but got killed by greed.

And finally, avoid the consultants/director who work there and stick just to the DOS as they at least have an idea that of a "school" is, but if you ever wanted to meet the real life incarnation of that oily used car salesman, a hustler liar or cheat, you got it at speak-up. Most of consultants, and 100% the director, probably struggled to accept how unethical their job and what they do is, but the money quickly gets to them (10k+ a month), but most dont make it (including the receptionists) past 6 months due to the incredible amount of stress, pressure and deceit. Im talking about an 80-90% turnover rate over a period of months. Nice to have new faces every couple of weeks.

Anyway, if you need more info about the school just pm me, but seriously avoid it no matter how enticing their job offer might me, most of it was and still is a bunch of BS.

peace


Last edited by maniak on Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 534

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worth pointing out that they're also owned by the same people that own Empik.
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maniak



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, you actually dont work for "Speak Up", the school is a part of Learning Systems Poland, one big corporation which also own the Empik schools, together they have about 200 schools and 50,000 students. Basically the director of the school (not the DOS) is a paperpusher, cant make any decisions and everything gets routed to and done in Warsaw. LSP itself is owned by NFI Empik Media and Fashion Group, which run the Empik stores and a ton of other stuff. Speak Up is also in Ukraine. From what I heard the origins of LSP are pretty sordid, basically the Speak Up model (as a business and school) used to exist in Spain until they went bankrupt from scamming too many people the same way they do now, rebranded themselves here in PL and have been in operation for 5 years or so.
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Janek



Joined: 25 Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Location: Krakow, Poland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:54 am    Post subject: - Reply with quote

xxx

Last edited by Janek on Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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wojbrian



Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked for the Empik in Zielona Gora.

I never had any problems. Maybe it depends on what district or region you are in.
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Blasphemer



Joined: 03 Dec 2008
Posts: 199
Location: NYC/Warszawa

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard some positive things about Empik, mainly salary related. As per Speak-up, I've read horror stories from students. Something about the contract being actually tied to a bank and not school, so what they're actually signing is a bank loan and it's absolutely impossible to break. Also I've seen people trying to sell their remaining hours online. Sounds like a really dodgy place. It used to be called Orange, but from what I understand, that was even worse. Either way, the amount of negative things that I was able to find just through a simple search... nah... there are few other schools here in Warsaw that I've had the "pleasure" of working for... ugh... seems like there are no good schools which work at a level which even try to resemble professionalism.
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Blasphemer



Joined: 03 Dec 2008
Posts: 199
Location: NYC/Warszawa

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The used car salesmen line could apply to pretty much 99% of schools here hahaha... that goes for "lektor" employment as well as the deals that they sign with their clients.
Last year I met a young fellow from the US who was hired on some silly basis of work exchange of some sort. He had absolutely no work experience, nor did he have any credentials to teach... he spoke English... that's pretty much it. His first day, he was sent to teach 5 year old kids at some private preschool, where they told the parents and the school owners that he was an amazingly talented teacher with loads of teaching experience. Needless to say, they then proceeded to let him loose in a classroom environment with 15 little unruly chimps brought with the "stress free" approach; you know, the - don't raise your voice or punish your child for anything way... that didn't last very long. Funny biz that we all got into.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1033

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

blasphemer wrote:

Quote:
seems like there are no good schools which work at a level which even try to resemble professionalism.


blasphemer wrote:

Quote:
The used car salesmen line could apply to pretty much 99% of schools here hahaha


that entire industry is completely dodgy in Poland (which you have just indicated).

it's a reflection of how the entire country does business. don't think for a second that it "just so happens" that the ESL industry is sketchy, yet the rest of Poland's companies are somehow normal. Poles have a completely dodgy business sense, or lack there of. After about a year and a half in Poland, I started thinking about what I could do for my own business, a way to branch out somehow, but with every business venture I entertained, I simply kept coming back to, "yeah, but I'd STILL be stuck doing business with Poles." It's like a zoo out there.

The crap I saw go on out there.........just amazing.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 958
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My gf goes to Speak Up and seems to like it ok. One nice thing about the school is their 'flexible schedule' which lets you choose which lessons to attend. Her work schedule is always changing so she can't commit to a fixed weekly time slot.

But I've looked at some of Speak Up's materials and they're quite strange. Some of the answers to exercises are just plain wrong. I'll post some examples later.
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Blasphemer



Joined: 03 Dec 2008
Posts: 199
Location: NYC/Warszawa

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:


it's a reflection of how the entire country does business. don't think for a second that it "just so happens" that the ESL industry is sketchy, yet the rest of Poland's companies are somehow normal. Poles have a completely dodgy business sense, or lack there of. After about a year and a half in Poland, I started thinking about what I could do for my own business, a way to branch out somehow, but with every business venture I entertained, I simply kept coming back to, "yeah, but I'd STILL be stuck doing business with Poles." It's like a zoo out there.

The crap I saw go on out there.........just amazing.



It's because you simply don't get it - this isn't the US. It never was and it never will be [thank goodness]. You can still get things done here in a way where both sides can benefit. There's room for small entrepreneurs as long as they've got the right idea. I'm nearly done with my business project. There are a lot of things that one can do here, still a lot of things that Poland lacks in terms of availability, sometimes it's just silly things. A friend of mine owns a muffin shop... that's all... muffins... she's raking in thou... who'd a thunk it?
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maniak



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 194

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
My gf goes to Speak Up and seems to like it ok. One nice thing about the school is their 'flexible schedule' which lets you choose which lessons to attend. Her work schedule is always changing so she can't commit to a fixed weekly time slot.

But I've looked at some of Speak Up's materials and they're quite strange. Some of the answers to exercises are just plain wrong. I'll post some examples later.


hi shakes

Maybe I was too strong. And I know my post sounded a bit too much like riled teenage angst against "the corporations", and quite honestly I dont have any bad feelings towards SU as a teacher, I got a full schedule with the ability to take on or work less hours almost anytime I wanted, was always paid on time, the students were great, and our DOS was/is the nicest person in the world. Even from the students end I know a lot of them were very happy with the way the school operated, the flexible schedule, even the multimedia lessons.

But sometimes I felt embarrassed covering up for the materials at the school, and there were quite a few disgruntled students who were stuck there since resigning from the school wouldve cost them a few thousand zets in penalties. All that other bad stuff I wrote quite honestly didnt concern me, but still, its all a part of toeing the company line. But I managed to get a hold of a lot of "internal" company emails and details like reports and whatnot, and you see that Speak Up (and Empik) are just facades of schools or at having any inklings at being "educational institutions", its all about money and squeezing every zloty out of its students. Not that making money is bad, but not in such an unethical way. For christ's sake, TVN24 and a number of newspapers did stories on the school's shady practices.

Like I said before, a great idea with the flexible schedule that got killed by greed. Maybe Id work there again, no bridges were burned, but...

dynow wrote:
"yeah, but I'd STILL be stuck doing business with Poles." It's like a zoo out there.

The crap I saw go on out there.........just amazing.


Yea, its quite depressing sometimes, the unbelivable amount of "buractwo"... seriously, the second I meet a businessman or anyone who appears succesful and wants anything from me the first thing that pops into my head "he's gonna want to rip me off somehow". But then Ive met some straightarrows here, I mean seriously committed people who were incredibly honest, upfront and straightforward, where they see business as an opportunity for both sides.
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Having TEFLed in 7 different countries I think it's fair to say that EFL is like a dog turn wrapped up in a cowpat. Long ago Ichose to TEFL directly for oil companies. More dosh, paid on time, beach life and on some gigs home every 6 weeks for 3 weeks on full pay.

Poland is a land full of greedy schools and get rich quick types; ethics are a very low priority and corruption is rife.

Currently I'm living in Kuwait in a 5* flat with everything and I mean everything for less than it would cost in Poznan. I also have access to all the goodies you can get there;-)

TEFL Poland;why?
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volgaman



Joined: 02 Jun 2009
Posts: 30
Location: Middle East & North Africa

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

sharter wrote:


TEFL Poland;why?


Cos it's full of gorgeous women, you dozy sod!! Very Happy
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Richfilth



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 225
Location: Warszawa

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

sharter wrote:
Poland is a land full of greedy schools and get rich quick types; ethics are a very low priority and corruption is rife.


That was all you needed to say. Everything else in your post you've said many, many, many times. It's rather tiresome, and irrelevant to this thread.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 534

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

Richfilth wrote:
sharter wrote:
Poland is a land full of greedy schools and get rich quick types; ethics are a very low priority and corruption is rife.


That was all you needed to say. Everything else in your post you've said many, many, many times. It's rather tiresome, and irrelevant to this thread.


I think he's just trying desperately to convince himself that he's doing the right thing. I can't imagine why else he'd be praising the Middle East so much and bashing Poland, unless he's really not happy with his lot.

Must admit, the idea of being submissive to rich oil barons, drinking yourself stupid in Poznan once in a while and always knowing that you're "just" a teacher to people wealthier and better than you - I'd hate it, personally. Can't imagine there's much job satisfaction in knowing that you'll never be 'someone', only a contract worker.
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