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CNA-Q's EFL dept: embarassing media!
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Imdramayu



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Location: Prince Sultan University

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:30 am    Post subject: CNA-Q's EFL dept: embarassing media! Reply with quote

What is happening at the EFL department at CNA-Q? Or, as they call the EFL department now "Language and academic studies"?

How are dumb, dumber, and dumbest doing in EFL dept? Are they still running the show or are they getting dumped on by upper management (i.e., the VPs)? When will THEIR pink skips start appearing in their inboxes?

With law suits and human rights commission complaints flying at the college, I'm surprised the media isn't all over them. Embarassing media in Newfoundland would be especially effective. Hmmm? Sounds like an idea waiting to happen. All we need is someone to start the ball rolling!


Last edited by Imdramayu on Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lukey



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:04 pm    Post subject: CNAQ Reply with quote

All you CNAQ people - is it still a crazy place to work? Still shuffling the deck chairs as the "ship" heads for the iceberg? Everyone working the "CNAQ way"?
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MilesDavis



Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following was not written by me but comes from an informant on the inside.


My sense is that things are getting worse—at least, morale is. A year ago, you heard complaints about incompetent management, and complaints about unmotivated students. Now, you generally hear only complaints about management. Are the students that much better? Not likely. Management must have gotten worse. Students now look like fellow sufferers.Much of this is that, a year ago, people were still prepared to give management the benefit of the doubt. They had gotten rid of a very unpopular Dean, perhaps now they would set things right. For a time, it was still possible to blame many problems on the previous Dean.

But the promised improvements mostly did not happen, or turned out to be only window dressing, or seemed to be deliberately scuppered by management when they felt the heat was off. Now the only disagreement is whether it can all be explained by incompetence, or whether there must be malice involved as well.

Some details: It is less possible than it was to keep your head down, mind your own classroom, and ignore the chaos around you. Management remains as incompetent, but is now increasingly micromanaging.

Cronyism seems as bad as or worse than it has ever been. Lack of transparency is as bad as or worse than it has ever been. Almost all communication is by rumour. Now management has begun to fire instructors or not renew seemingly arbitrarily—often terminating the better-qualified instructors.

The one thing that has improved: pay keeps going up.

So much for the good news.

There seem to be a lot fewer students this semester, and a lot of instructors who have no teaching duties. Management insists this is temporary, but one wonders whether the offal is hitting the ventilation system. Qatari businesses may be realizing that the 1950s public school approach at CNAQ is not the most efficient way to bring their staff up to speed in English.

And why would it be? Besides defying all current research in language acquisition, it makes little sense economically. If these students were going to pick up English easily using old-fashioned little red schoolhouse methods, they would already know English—they studied it through high school. And if such non-communicative approaches are the answer, far cheaper to hire Egyptian and Syrian schoolteachers than to bring schoolteachers across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent, paying them huge and growing salaries, and accepting their cultural peculiarities. If you’re not going to do the immersion or communicative approach, any trained teacher would do as well.

Iceberg, meet Titanic. Titanic, meet iceberg.

Cue credits. Celine Dion voiceover.
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lukey



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:07 pm    Post subject: CNAQ aka Titanic Reply with quote

I think it is a combination of incompetence and what I would call the "mean spirited" way they run the college. Nothing will change while their present leadership remains
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linebacker



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi folks. While I agree that not all things are perfect at CNA-Q, I cannot remember having a better job. The positives - great salary, private and spacious office, my own computer, 15 - 20 contact hours, 30 total hours (contact + office), the freedom to choose my own office hours to concide with my light teaching days, small class sizes (11, 4 and 9), free accomodations (not great but acceptable), free schooling for my child, free bussing for my child to and from school, free water and utilities, respectful students, the list goes on and on.

I have no problems with my direct management - all inquires are dealt with as soon as possible. I find them quite accomodating, unlike those found in Canada. I do hear people complaining because ...they...have...to...WORK!! Imagine, you have to do something for the money they are giving you!I overheard people complaining about having two classes in one day 7:30 and 2:30. The problem? They can't GOLF! It screws up their day! They forget that they could leave 8:20 and return 2:20 for their class. I do not know of any other job that would allow you to do this! That was only one person. The only other complaint I hear is about salaries. People complain that they are not getting the same as their colleagues. I understand their argument, however, when they were in Canada, the salary and benefits were attractive enough to come over in the first place. When they arrive the feel that they are entitled to re-negotiate their salary. I look at it like selling a house - when you sold it for the agreed price you were happy. If the market continues up and the house increases in value you can't go back to the buyer and demand more money. Is HR perfect? No. Are instructors perfect? NO. Unless instructors are willing to be accountable, then do not hold HR to higher standards. I feel that they are doing the best they can. I had TWO issuses that HR dealt with. We discussed the problems and managed to talk through a solution to the benefit of both parties. Remember that HR is a very demanding job as they are dealing with all issues, personal and professional.

My own personal peeve would be the lack of equity within the faculty. Some instructors only teach 8 - 12 hours per term, others teach 16 - 20 hours per term. I think this should be corrected.

Whew I ranted.

Just my thoughts. I'm sure I have more!
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lukey



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: CNAQ Reply with quote

Linebacker - i read your last lines with amusement. I would guess that you are new to CNAQ - hence the glowing report in the first part of your "rant". The honeymoon period maybe? i know i felt like you did in the first few months. But i see your first "seeds of discontent" growing. I also guess they will not be your last on that place. Be warned - it is not a nice place.


"My own personal peeve would be the lack of equity within the faculty. Some instructors only teach 8 - 12 hours per term, others teach 16 - 20 hours per term. I think this should be corrected".

Whew I ranted. [/i]
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linebacker



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't say its still the honeymoon. I've been here for awhile...like I said its just a pet peeve - and its not really with the management, its with one or two staff who seem to think that they can't teach this or that. At the end of the day it doesn't affect my work, I accept teaching 16 - 18 hours because its much easier than other place's I've worked. I guess you have been caught up in the office politics, hence your somewhat negative tone.

I'm not trying to change the world. If someone told me that a job would pay me six figures, provide free housing and return trip to Canada, let me make my own schedule and have 1 week off in September, 1 week in December, then work for a week (with NO students) and then have two more weeks off, I'd say sign me up!

I think those that are complaining would find something to complain about - is there ever a perfect employer? I think CNA-Q does a good job with what they can do (the strings are controlled by someone else). I accept that I am not in Canada and that things are done differently. I do my job and mind my own business. I'm not scared to get fired for speaking up - I just don't see any issue that is a concern. Are staff mad that they have to return in December for a week with no students? Sure they are. However, staff were given the choice to stay in July and work extra to have a month off in December. They CHOSE not to. If your employer told you that he would give you a week to catch up often paper work, upload resurces to the server and not have students to teach most instructors would jump at that opportunity. I would! Therefore having to stay an extra week to prep is a great opportunity to get organised for the next term.

I think people forget (maybe you included lukey) that CNA-Q could make instructors work 22 hours per week with 15 students per class. This still wouldn't be a bad thing. Therefore, the situation as it stands now is much better. Again, would I like to see parity? Sure. Is it possible? Probably not as this inequity occured everywhere I taught (7 different institutions over 17 years). Its a small pill to swallow for the benefits and experiences I get.

Just my two dirhams worth.

Cheers
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Imdramayu



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Location: Prince Sultan University

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:16 pm    Post subject: SOme things are OK Reply with quote

The money at CNA-Q is awesome. The facilities are jazzy (nice office, nice buildings, free food sometimes, etc.). The teaching load and material is typical Gulf EFL. This depends on your view but, if you get stuck with TPP/SPP classes, the students are a handful. There is room for advancement & promotions to other areas.

This is the bright side. The dark side is snap decisions, incompetent management giving conflicting directions, and unfair management promoting their friends. I'm not saying all is dark at CNAQ. There are some brilliant minds at CNAQ. But they are frequently ignored and threatened. If this doesn't bother you (or affect you), then more power to you. But I couldn't take that level of nonsense.

I got out in time. I moved somewhere else where the sun shines 24/7. Much better students...students who make me think and challenge me to become a better teacher.
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linebacker



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If TPP students can't make you a better teacher nothing will! These students challenge everything. As a result, I have learned to change the way information is presented and tested. I have never been challenged like this before and I think it has made me a better teacher. Do I get frustrated? Sure. But so do they! The fact that I have taugh the same courses also helps, as I can modify approaches from term to term. It makes me improve my teaching, which improves learning, which creates a better atmosphere and reduces classroom management problems.
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lukey



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: CNAQ Reply with quote

I think baedaebok gets it right. I wasn't involved just in "office politics" - I was involved at a very high level with senior management at CNAQ and to a certain extent some of the senior officials in Newfoundland. - what I experienced was not good. If you are happy with the place Linebacker all the power to you - you are one of the people who can duck down and fly below the radar and pick up the money and other benefits and ignore what is going on around you. I couldn't - in the end the money and lifestyle could not make up for the way I saw senior management treat employees - and what they thought about them - what they think about YOU. In the end the country also got to me - the excess and the way "low-paid" workers are treated. (and the traffic - I was always convinced that each day in traffic would be my last). Oh, and by the way - are the Newfoundlanders still paid higher than everyone else -even though they have the same qualifications and experience?
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linebacker



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a follow up on baedaebok's post regarding "snap decisions". Yeah I've seen some of these and again, the bottom line is they are the boss. If my employer tells me to do something and its part of my job description, then I do it. Am I a "yes" man? I don't think so...I was hired to do a job and I tend to take these things seriously - I do it to the best of my ability. Keep in mind that managers and VP's also have bosses - QATARI bosses. I think that we forget that our bosses are relayed information when it is convenient. The fact that is gives the impression of incompetence or knee jerk reaction probably does not enter in the mind of the Qataris running the project. I feel that staff is informed as soon as possible. The problem seems to be that management only finds out days before - therefore the burden is passed to the staff. In my case, these snap decisions required extra effort, but the work was completed with my regular work day. No extra effort required. Again, this was my experience. Not sure what others had to go through.

Cheers
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linebacker



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey lukey. I agree with some of your points....

however, I also see the instructors side of it. Some of these people are down right spoiled. They come to CNA-Q thinking that the college owes them something because they did this job before in Dubai or somewhere. They want to be the boss. Well, sorry folks, there are already enough bosses. I think this inability to follow directions or resentment that some instructors feel towards management get miscontrued as incompetence when in fact its instructor incompetence. Again, I am not privy to management meetings, but I do know some senior management people on a personal level. I know the instructors who are complaining. My opinion (and its ONLY mine) is that these instructors do not deserve to work at CNA-Q. Their only goal is to undermine the entire project. Are there things wrong? sure. But they don't offer solutions - only negative comments.

I'm not sure what you meant by "ignoring whats going on around you". To me the place seems to run pretty good. Are there conflicts? If there are I am not aware of them, besides the December break issue.

In terms of Newfies...I think they still get paid more however all employees received a raise so most seem to be close to the maximum salary. Keep in mind that ALL provinces do this. I knew teachers from Newfoundland who taught in Ontario. They had a masters but were paid less than a masters candidate from Ontario. They were placed on a different level. Thats the system. There is a pay scale which a referenced in another post titled "The low down working in Qatar". It was quite easy to apply for an audit to see where I would fit on the Newfoundland pay scale. Then multiply by 10% and 25% and I should have my salary in Qatar. The problem is not all universities are the same. A B.Ed in Newfoundland is a longer degree (time wise) than in Ontario. As a result, the dept. of Education favours the degree from Newfoundland. Again its the same vice versa. The bottom line is that the salaries were good enough to come to Qatar. The fact someone is paid more than you for the same job - well thats business. And folks dont think for one minute that CNA-Q is not a business - it is. It is there to provide contract training to whoever wants it - long term QP or short term - banks.

Perhaps some of the problems it experiences due to snap decisions is the fact its growing so fast and trying to offer so many programs. They are trying to get as many pieces of the pie as they can

Can't say I blame them.
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Hannibal_the_Conquerer



Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey linebacker,

Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience at CNAQ. I too work there, and have been reading some of these threads in my time hear thinking, "what are they on about???" I think that as EFL gigs go, this is gotta the best, or at least right up there. I have worked in Oman, UAE and back in Canada, and I have never had such an easy go of it. I will agree that I have seen a few people treated inappropriately in my time here, and I will take Lukey at his word on the inner workings here at CNAQ, as I could see it being less than "world class". To be honest, I don't think there are any problems here that are CNAQ copyrighted. Some are EFL wide, many are Gulf specific, but I think that the main issue is that CNAQ is a very large "mom and pop" college that has grown very big, very fast. I think they do their best to cope, and I think I do still benefit from that "small town" hands on approach to everything. I hope that doesn't sound to condescending or like some kind of Sarah Palin-like pandering. I mean it as positively as it can be taken, but I often see a small institution model magnified to deal with the growth, and it doesn't always cope with an institution that has outgrown it. Bottom line, I would still recommend this job to anyone of my friends or former colleagues that was qualified. I never received a fraction of the increases I have gotten here, just for doing my job. Have others still gotten these increases for doing less than their full share? Sure, but as linebacker says, who really cares???

As for baedaebok's comments, I am skeptical that you left because you were not being challenged as a teacher. NO ONE COMES TO THE GULF TO BE CHALLENGED!!! You walked away from 6 figures a year to hold TPP/SPP students' hands and get them them through some very "success oriented" assessment because it wasn't helping you grow as a teacher?!?! Very noble, but I smell b*llsh*t! Doha is an armpit of the world, so they bloody well better pay me well to teach and live here! The CNAQ pays amazingly and if you have a family, there is not another EFL job in the world that allows you to spend the same amount of time with them, with above standard benefits. So I reckon you were either a single, sick to death of this place, or you were not renewed? CNAQ is a place that loves to bitch about things (as an institution) but no one in the EFL department leaves. A few have jobs back in Canada they don't wanna give up for good, and I can see that. But moving on to another international EFL job where "where the sun shines 24/7"... Please?!?! There is no such place... anywhere! So which one are you???

Wink
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lukey



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Armpit Reply with quote

Well, Hannibal - you hit the nail on the head when you said

"[i][b]Doha is an armpit of the world
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12370
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have never been in the REAL Third World.
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