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ACE
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Hsinchuguy



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject: ACE Reply with quote

I've applied to and gotten some interest from ACE. The pay and conditions seem good. Does anyone have any experience with them as an employer?
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Skyblue2



Joined: 04 Sep 2007
Posts: 127

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know them pretty well. They are the only professional outfit in town (they were recently accredited by NEAS, I think). They pay a bit over the odds and have smaller than average classes. They might be considered demanding compared to other places. Still, it's Cambodia, so don't expect to come away with much in terms of savings.
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Cal_Ger



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can anybody elaborate a bit more the ACE? What does 'considered demanding' mean? In what way, how, example would help
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Skyblue2



Joined: 04 Sep 2007
Posts: 127

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean your work will be held to higher standards. You will be observed. If you screw up, you will be held accountable (e.g. lateness, absence, providing too much time to complete a test, or otherwise mismanaging the administration of tests, etc.). You will have to fill in paperwork related to every class you teach (e.g. what you've covered in each lesson).

The pay is about 30% higher than other places, though some of the better universities can match their pay. But you almost always only get hourly, so your week off after each term is unpaid, and they give only a maximum of about 22 hours per week. If you're new, you might be on less. And then there are the public holidays, which are also unpaid.

Also, you will have no say over the way those hours are organized. You may be in for 6:30 a.m. starts, or very late finishes. Plus, they are open for half a day on Saturday, so you may have to work weekends.

You have to pay your own relocation costs, housing costs, insurance costs, and visa costs. So you won't do well financially in Cambodia, but if you're a serious teacher (min. CELTA and first degree and experience) then ACE is your best bet.

I'm not knocking the place. It's the best there is there. I'm just giving you what I know, so you can make up your own mind.
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spitshined



Joined: 08 Sep 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard there is a waiting place at ACE in Phnom Penh.

What is the best way to apply? Visit in person?

And I wonder how long a wait would be if hired?
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ACE is a job for the backpackers only.

It's not a position for anyone seeking a genuine career in Cambodia.

Although having said that, nowhere really is.

But.... back to ACE.... yes.... on the surface, it takes itself very seriously, but class teachers mark their own student's exams (unpaid overtime) and the word from the top is "no-one fails", unless they are in a so called "gatekeeping" class.

The words Mickey and Mouse could easily be at home together here.

Truthfully, it's just another very run of the mill, shoddy, profit based, private language school, centering mostly on "Headway", or other bits of various textbooks that they have photocopied and bound in a very "cobbled together" way.

Needless to say, these cobbled together books don't have a teacher's book, so you have to interpret them for yourself. If you can. And you might have an entire three month class based on this material.

As they proudly tell you, "There is no copyright law in Cambodia".

So much for their integrity!

This coming from one of the co-owners of IELTS.

They even photocopy many of the Headway textbooks they sell to their students. Students can buy the original for one price, or the photocopy for another.

I wonder what Oxford University Press would make of that?

And of course, the way they treat copyright is indicative of the way they will treat you too.

Unless you're on a full-time contract (which you won't be in your first term) you are only paid for the hours you teach.

There's no housing, no nothing....and I mean nothing.

The timetable is a totally, frightening, nightmare, and you can easily find yourself teaching six days a week.....with one Saturday class of around 5 hours..... or you may also find yourself starting at 8am in the morning and finishing at 7.30pm in the evening.

If you're totally unlucky, there are classes that start at 6am, and others that finish at 9pm.

You have no choice over the hours that you teach, or the level of the students.

You might find yourself teaching young learners at 6 am, and finish up the day teaching adults at 9pm.

If you manage to avoid the 5 hour class, then there's a very good chance that you will be landed with a 2.5 hour class....there is a 15 minute, break, but they actually deduct that from your wages....if you're not teaching, you don't get paid, but having said that, they still expect you to do substantial unpaid overtime marking exams.

All of the other classes are 90 minutes, without a break.

On the unpaid thing....Cambodia has the most amount of public holidays in the world. There can be several days in one month. These are unpaid.

And you are taxed too.

No sick-pay either.

Then there is a two week break between each three month term...this is also unpaid.

If you actually stick it out for a couple of terms and get offered a full-time contract, then the holidays and breaks are covered.

The downside of this is that you are expected to put in 40 hours on-site, which includes 20 hours in one of the most cramped and ghastliest teacher's rooms I have ever seen in my lengthy career.

You are given a small spot on a long shared bench with "pigeon holes" for your paperwork, and maybe 8 computers between 60 + staff.... everyone crammed together in rows separated by high pigeon hole walls....not nice.....and I mean it....it's really not nice...and it's noisy....very noisy....it's like some sort of old time post office sorting house that got married to a really dingy prison block and made a baby.

It's not the sort of place you want to spend 20 hours of enforced doing nothing, or trying to plan a lesson.

And if you don't like cliques, then this is not the place for you.

ACE is the sort of outfit where a significant portion of the ex-pat teachers will look the other way when you try to say hello to them in the corridor.

I'm sure that many of you will have come across this breed before, and for some reason they seem to have established a major base camp at ACE. It could be something to do with the high turnover of teachers, another aspect of this company, but who knows.

Anyway, it was the least friendly, and most unwelcoming place that I have ever worked.

It's a real experience, but not in a good way.

If you're in Cambodia with nothing better to do, it might be worth a whirl, but if you're considering relocating in search of a career, I think you will be sadly disappointed, and I would strongly recommend against it.


Last edited by the lowlander on Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 59
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there Sushikurva,

My outlook is negative because I had a very negative experience there.

They do have a nightmare timetable, and it's entirely the luck of the draw what hours you end up with. I knew people who were starting at the crack of dawn, and finishing late at night. I was in a similar situation myself.

The day seemed never ending.

I also knew teachers who had been allotted a six day week timetable (no choice) which included a 5 hour class on a Saturday. If that's not a nightmare, I don't know what is.

As for doing well, doing well means that you get a full-time contract, and are then imprisoned in that ghastly place for 40 hours per week!

And the money still isn't anything to write home about, even on a full-time contract.

As I said myself, there is nowhere for any serious career building in Cambodia, it's for backpackers, and backpackers only, and ACE is no exception to this.

There is also a huge turnover of teachers, who only stay for one term, which we both agree is the case. That doesn't happen for no reason. Crazy timetabling, awful premises, office hours, aloof colleagues, and no money or benefits are certainly major factors in many of these early departures.

If you're a backpacker in PP with nothing better to do, give it a go, but under no circumstances relocate yourself halfway around the world for this gig.

You will be sadly disappointed if you do.

It's nothing more than a private language mill with a lot of issues that badly need to be addressed.
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 59
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was there recently, and I didn't meet anyone who didn't have something to grumble about. Well, certainly among those teachers who would actually talk to me.

Overall, I don't think it's a very happy ship and I found the overriding atmosphere to be very gloomy.

Having said that, I don't doubt that you had an enjoyable time there, as everyone is different and it's possible to have different experiences, but wild horses wouldn't drag me back to that place under any circumstances.

As I said before, I would recommend it to anyone in PP with nothing better to do, but I would strongly caution against relocating to PP just to work for ACE.

That's my main point really, ACE is not worth uprooting yourself for, but it's just about tolerable if you're only passing through.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1217

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, just curious sushikurva - when were you there and what happened, i.e. why don't you work there now if it is such a good school?

Quote:
I was paid about 1900 a month after tax/My salary was about 1800 usd after tax (from another thread)


On another thread you mention $1800. Which one is it? Again, just curious...

Quote:
there are so many people passing through who only stay for a term or two (backpackers+celta are frequently employed because there is a shortage of people there


This fact would support the negative view of ACE.

Anyway, I knew two teachers who worked there and their comments were similar to lowlander's.

Quote:
here is a 15 minute, break, but they actually deduct that from your wages....i


If this is true, it is a big joke school.
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They do deduct the 15 minute break from your wages.

I estimated it was costing me around $60 (plus) per month, depending on how many non-working days there were.

This "if you don't work, you don't get paid" attitude could be seen as fair enough, but it really bugged me because they expect teachers to put in a substantial amount of unpaid overtime marking exams and entering them into the database at the end of each term.

When you consider the fact that you might have 100+ students over five classes, doing four exams each, all of which have to be marked and then individually entered into the computer database by the class teacher, then we are talking about a lot of unpaid hours.

But they they still want to deduct money from your scheduled breaks in over-long classes, all of which are timetabled by them!

It seems to me that ACE clearly want to have it both ways, at the teacher's expense, and this particular double standard was instrumental in helping to form my negative attitude towards them.


Last edited by the lowlander on Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 59
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may call it whingeing......I call it talking honestly about personal experiences.
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Filmstar



Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked

Last edited by Filmstar on Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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