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American English Center is a great place to work!!!

 
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kc4real



Joined: 15 Jan 2009
Posts: 27
Location: VA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: American English Center is a great place to work!!! Reply with quote

I have been working at AEC in Kharkov since March and it's great here!!!
I just wanted to be clear about this because i know that some people have posted negative information about AEC in the past and it almost discouraged me from coming here!!!

Really it's great here, my students are friendly, the co-workers are kind, and i'm really glad that I came here!!!

I just don't want anyone to be discouraged by some negative posts!!!
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Fred_Garvin



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a few things to think about when you consider AEC.

First, user jonpernick is a recruiter. I heard mentioned that someone thought he was the owner. He is a recruiter, plain and simple. And he is paid a commission for each teacher he hires. He's not in Ukraine, he's in Kosovo.

Second, the rent they charge you is often equal to the rent they pay for the apartment. So, when they charge ONE teacher 1600 UAH for a flat, it's usually the cost of the flat. But when they have 2 teachers in the flat, they are making 1600 UAH.

Third, much of your "salary" is based on bonuses. The bonus system has been changed a number of times, and they look for every excuse NOT to pay your bonuses. "Oh, the moon was blue on Tuesday, No bonuses this month" Wink

Fourth, they do not have permission from the Ukraine Job Center, or any other branch of the government to hire foreign workers. Each and every Native English Teacher working for AEC in Ukraine is illegal. With the exception of those who are permanent residents.

Fifth, the "letter" they will give you to take to a Ukraine consulate in another country to get a visa isn't worth the paper it's printed on. In every case, the latter has been rejected. Why? Because it's not the correct format of letter and they don't have permission to hire you in the first place. In the end you will have to get a standard tourist visa or private invitation visa. Which means you will still have to make more than 1 trip out of the country during your 1 year contract with AEC.

Sixth, in addition to working illegally, you are also living illegally. Under Ukraine law it is the responsibility of the company to register you with OVIR. But, in order for them to do this they have to have legal permission to hire you in the first place. (see note four)

Seventh, they will tell you it is your own responsibility to register with OVIR. you cannot register with OVIR unless you have a valid employment contract from a company with legal permission to hire foreign workers.

While they do have a good program, from the students point of view, most of it is ripped off from other teaching books, and their treatment of Native English Teachers leaves a LOT to be desired.

User jonpernick once said he was scrapping the bottom of the barrel and was having a hard time finding teachers. But the attitude in the Kiev office is that Native English Teachers are a dime a dozen. An easily replaced commodity.

And their turn over of staff tends to prove this.
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charlesinukraine



Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Visitor,

I am an American citizen trying to earn an honest living in Ukraine. I have lived in this country for about five years. I am the owner and director of the American Linguistics Center (formerly the School of American English). I have recently had some bad experiences with my former employer of two years, the American English Center, which I would like to make public.

First, some background. The American English Center was founded, owned and operated by MOD EDIT, who lives in Kiev. The American English Center has five schools in four cities. These are large schools; each one has around 500 students. As of this writing, each student pays about 800 hrv. ($130) tuition for a seven-week semester.

I left the AEC Dnipropetrovs'k school last November after teaching there for two years in order to open my own school with a Ukrainian partner. We were very successful for six months. Although we advertised very little, our number of students grew every semester. Many of the students came to us from the American English Center. Then, on Wednesday, April 2, during our evening lessons, we were raided by a local Ukrainian police (SBU). They came looking for me specifically and demanded to see all my paperwork. It was unusual that this organization would come to raid us out of the blue. After all, we were just a little school and scarcely had presence in this city.

The SBU subsequently questioned me on two occasions. As it turned out, there were some minor problems with the paperwork my Ukrainian lawyer had gotten for me. For this, they forced me to closed my business. The director of the institute where we rented rooms evicted my school in order to avoid a scandal. Later, after some research and questioning of contacts within the SBU, we found out that it was MOD EDIT, the owner of the American English Center, who had paid an official in Kiev to shut down our business.

We were accused of running our business illegally. But it should be known that the American English Center itself is not a legally run business for a number of reasons. For example, MOD EDIT rents her office space illegally. She uses state property, that is, elementary schools, as office space to do her business. She operates her schools in these places and stays there by paying bribes. Her school at 51 Komsomolskaya Street in Dnipropetrovs'k is an example of this.

To my knowledge, all of the Americans and Canadians who teach at her schools are paid illegally. Although AEC will usually issue business visa to teachers, they are not issued work permits, as required by Ukrainian law. MOD EDIT does this to avoid paying taxes. Since the Americans and Canadians do not have work permits, they are unable to register at their local OVIR office. This means that they must leave the country every 90-days (at their expense) in order to renew their stay for another 90-days.

If you are a Ukrainian, you should realize by now that the American English Center is a pernicious organization that contributes to the corruption in your country. The money you pay AEC for tuition serves to perpetuate it. If you love Ukraine and want to see changes eventually take place in your country, you should not contribute to corruption by paying money to the American English Center.

The American English Center gives out “certificates of completion" for those who graduate from her school. These certificates, although they are useless scraps of paper, are in violation of Ukrainian law. The study program at the American English Center does not have approval from the Ukraine Ministry of Education to issue such a document. Indeed, it would be impossible for her organization to get it – for good reasons.

The American English Center's material consists of texts and pictures stolen from copyrighted sources. A chief source of this plagiarism is New American Streamline, published by Oxford Publishing. Similarly, the American English Center's TOEFL preparation material and “Business English” book is a hodgepodge of plagiarized text and dull fill-in-the-blank exercises.

Ironically, MOD EDIT accuses us of "stealing" her material. The reality is that we spent a year and a half writing our own material from scratch. We will concede that our material looks similar; after all, we also used American Streamline as one of our sources. However, we were not so lazy that we copied from our source material verbatim as MOD EDIT has. Where we have copied, we have received permission and annotated the source, as is required by international copyright law.

To this date, the American English Center has yet to initiate legal proceedings against us for “stealing” its material. This is because the case would obviously have no merit. Our material is our true intellectual property. The gradual development of this material can be proven, and we have copyrighted our material in the US. To our knowledge, AEC has not successfully copyrighted its material anywhere, probably because it is not original enough to copyright.

On a personal note, I have a bachelors and masters degrees in English from a pedagogical university. I graduated with honors and have earned the Ukrainian equivalent of a "red diploma." In addition, I have taught writing at an American university and TEFL with the Peace Corps. I have learned two foreign languages and speak them fluently. I am a published writer and have written three novels. For this, believe me that I'm certainly capable of writing my own teaching material and do not have to steal other peoples'.

Although I don't know about the work conditions at most of the AEC branches, I can say with firsthand experience that the atmosphere is oppressive at the Dnipropetrovs'k branch. Currently, the manager there is an arrogant 24-year-old (?) girl named MOD EDIT. For example, if you are a few minutes late for a lesson, you will be scolded. The Center expects you to arrive 15 minutes early for class, but it will not pay you for this time. If you miss a meeting, MOD EDIT will fire you or threatened to fire you, as was a Canadian teacher who still works there, MOD EDIT.

Sometimes, a teacher will be asked to work an eight-hour day on Sundays or six hours per weeknight with only five-minute breaks between classes. I told MOD EDIT I was becoming physically sick from working so many hours a day without a break and that I wanted fewer hours. She told me it was MY problem and that she would do nothing. AEC offers you no sick pay, and if you call in sick for a class, you can expect a reprimand or to be fired at the end of the semester. I have many, many stories to tell about the cold-bloodedness and arrogance of the AEC management toward its teachers and students.

The American English Center advertises a "bonus" for student retention of over 60 percent. My numbers always seemed low even though nearly all my students returned to the school every semester. I never knew why until a few weeks before I quit. As it turns out, they count all the students who signed up for your class in calculating your retention rate - even if the students don't show up on the first day of class and withdraw from the course without ever showing up in your class. This means you are held even held accountable for students you haven't even met. And the results of your failure are posted in the teacher's "lounge" area to show everyone what a bad teacher you are.

If you are a native speaker of English and are considering working for the American English Center, you should know that it frequently does not pay its teachers (Ukrainian and American) for their last few weeks of work when they leave the school. MOD EDIT herself tried to do this with me. It took a call from my Ukrainian lawyer before she would pay me what she owed me. You may not be so lucky. Since the American English Center does not issue work permits, and you are essentially being paid under-the-table without a legal contract. There would be nothing you can do to get your money if your relationship with the American English Center goes sour.

MOD EDIT
Finally, on several occasions over the last several months, I have received extortion and death threats by SMS sent through the Internet. In some of these messages, the sender says I must pay $10,000 or close down my business. Either that, or I will be killed. Not much more information is given. Although I cannot trace these messages directly to MOD EDIT, my business partner, who used to work with her and has known her longer than I have, claims that these are exactly the same kind of messages MOD EDIT has sent other people she doesn’t like. The last person in my position, a Ukrainian who displeased MOD EDIT, was beaten and driven out of Dnipropetrovs'k by people she had paid.

At this point, I have reported MOD EDIT to the FBI through the embassy in Kiev. I spent an entire morning in Kiev talking to several people at the embassy who were interested in my case. Although I live in Ukraine, reporting her was necessary, as she occasionally travels to the US and can there be prosecuted for crimes against American citizens abroad. Acting on the advice of the US Consulate, I am currently drafting a letter to be forwarded to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior regarding MOD EDIT and the American English Center.

I would like to close by saying that I do not have a personal vendetta against the American English Center. I am friends with many of its students and some of the teachers who work there. The purpose of this letter is not to sell you on our lessons, but rather to inform you. In all honesty, I wouldn't even have written this letter had we not been harassed. But after my recent experiences, I believe that those wishing to attend the American English Center or work for them should to know the truth about the business and its owner.

Best Regards,
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do not use real names of individuals in your postings and do not spam this board with the same message. If either of these actions continue, there will be sanctions to include permanent banning along with one's iSP.
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charlesinukraine



Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:26 am    Post subject: AEC in trouble Reply with quote

One of my friends living in Kiev just told me that American English Center is having problems. I was told by a teacher terminating his contract that five teachers have resigned early. He says there are many reasons. I suggest that everyone beware or at least ask detailed questions and get detailed and verifiable answers.
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jonpernick



Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Ukraine

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Fred Garvin = disgruntled former employee Reply with quote

Fred is a former AEC employee that appears to have created this account to spew lies. Fred is not his real name. Fred was a problematic employee who thought he was better than all his colleagues. He was always complaining about something. He would shout at his school director and threaten to quit. One day the school director took the threat to heart and accepted his resignation. Fred is now trying to start his own school as can be seen in one of his posts.

Fred_Garvin wrote:
Here's a few things to think about when you consider AEC.

First, user jonpernick is a recruiter. I heard mentioned that someone thought he was the owner. He is a recruiter, plain and simple. And he is paid a commission for each teacher he hires. He's not in Ukraine, he's in Kosovo.

#1 I am not paid a commission by AEC. I am an employee that earns a salary. Your comment is a lie, at best entirely inaccurate with no foundation for belief.

Second, the rent they charge you is often equal to the rent they pay for the apartment. So, when they charge ONE teacher 1600 UAH for a flat, it's usually the cost of the flat. But when they have 2 teachers in the flat, they are making 1600 UAH.

Third, much of your "salary" is based on bonuses. The bonus system has been changed a number of times, and they look for every excuse NOT to pay your bonuses. "Oh, the moon was blue on Tuesday, No bonuses this month" Wink

#3 Not true! The salary is guaranteed as it states in all the ads and in an offer. The offer states bonus terms and teachers can check student records for accuracies. It is purely quantitative calculation.

Fourth, they do not have permission from the Ukraine Job Center, or any other branch of the government to hire foreign workers. Each and every Native English Teacher working for AEC in Ukraine is illegal. With the exception of those who are permanent residents.

Fifth, the "letter" they will give you to take to a Ukraine consulate in another country to get a visa isn't worth the paper it's printed on. In every case, the latter has been rejected. Why? Because it's not the correct format of letter and they don't have permission to hire you in the first place. In the end you will have to get a standard tourist visa or private invitation visa. Which means you will still have to make more than 1 trip out of the country during your 1 year contract with AEC.

#5 Not true! The visa support letter, written in Ukrainian, allows a teacher to secure a business visa. Teachers that have properly applied for this visa have received the business visa.

Sixth, in addition to working illegally, you are also living illegally. Under Ukraine law it is the responsibility of the company to register you with OVIR. But, in order for them to do this they have to have legal permission to hire you in the first place. (see note four)

Seventh, they will tell you it is your own responsibility to register with OVIR. you cannot register with OVIR unless you have a valid employment contract from a company with legal permission to hire foreign workers.

#7 Not true! For example, a person can hold a private visa and would need to register. I held a Cultural (C3) visa while with Peace Corps and needed to register.

While they do have a good program, from the students point of view, most of it is ripped off from other teaching books, and their treatment of Native English Teachers leaves a LOT to be desired.

User jonpernick once said he was scrapping the bottom of the barrel and was having a hard time finding teachers. But the attitude in the Kiev office is that Native English Teachers are a dime a dozen. An easily replaced commodity.

This is a bold faced lie on Fred's (Frank) part. I never said this.

And their turn over of staff tends to prove this.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
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Location: Anxious? Stressed? Repeat the following 300 times daily: A wet robin never flies at night.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thread is locked.

It would be a very good idea not to start another thread or post comments on the same topic.

There will be no additional warnings.
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