Joined: 30 Mar 2010
|Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:13 pm Post subject: Ukraine and its schools
|I just finished working at AEC and thought I would add my comments to the community.
The school guarantees 26 hours per week but can and, and at times, does require teachers to teach 10 continuous hours on Sundays. There is a five minute break between hours but there wasn’t a convenient place to have a break or eat.
You won’t receive your last paycheck until two weeks after you leave. This makes it very difficult to dispute incorrect monies. Also, the school has you fill out a survey about your experience. Some staff say that bad comments could affect the last weeks pay. Also, if the school ‘feels’ the apartment was not left in good enough condition they will deduct money from the last paycheck.
The owner of the school is stubborn and doesn’t care about teachers. Her attitude is “if you don’t like the school then leave.” She considers teachers a commodity and treats them that way.
Turnover at the school amongst international staff is incredibly high. I would say most teachers don’t complete their contracts. They leave for a variety of reasons.
The program is incredibly boring. In a nutshell it is simply getting students to reformulate statements fed to them by you. The guise is turning this repetition into games. If you are looking to gain teaching experience and to build your skills this is not the place to work.
Teachers have become concerned about their roommates. There have been reports of missing “things” including money. The school doesn’t do background checks on teachers even thought it asks for sensitive personal data such as social security number.
Teachers have complained about being shorted money and hours. A complaint needs to go to the big boss in Kiev and not the local school director. This makes it very difficult. And, the big boss Olga is not easy to work with. She believes she is right and if you disagree she tells you to leave – but you must give one semester’s notice or she keeps your last periods pay.
Teachers are asked to come here to this forum to make good comments about the school.
The new recruiter hasn’t lived/been to Ukraine in numerous years and only worked there for less than two years so her understanding of the rules/law/regulations is questionable. Ask for legal documents for proof of such things as visa law.
American English Center is concerned about making money for its owner Olga. The program has not been enhanced since it was created more than 10 years ago. Teachers that want to truly teach and try to do it using established, credible methods are fired because they don’t follow the program.
Materials aren’t available to assist teachers’ creativity. There is barely a resource center at the main office and regional schools generally have one computer and printer which are for the school director. Teachers aren’t provided resources to help them.
The training director Olga A is good at what she does (and nice) but that is the extent of it. Many teachers that she teaches are far superior in teaching methodologies. Olga the training manager is good at teaching this specific program, but it’s doubtful she can help teachers grow.
It seems most that no one at the school understands the political climate in Ukraine as it refers to legal working status. Once I arrived I was told that it was necessary to “exit” Ukraine every 90 days which meant at the end of each semester. Olga the boss said this was necessary to register my stay in Ukraine. This sounded questionable. I asked about the legitimate method (using OVIR) but I was told it was too difficult. Exiting the country is also expensive since teachers have to pay for travel and hotel and other costs. I taught privately at a law firm and learned the reality from several attorneys. AEC is not hiring using a legitimate process but uses an old loophole in the law which is / has been closed.
The rumor at the school is that it is under investigation for tax evasion and could be shut down by the tax police.