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Clueless Coordinators at Click

 
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bluemoray



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: Clueless Coordinators at Click Reply with quote

I would like to inform you of my experience at English Click here in Bangkok.

I was contacted for an interview and was told to bring my resume copy, 3 references, prepare a 15 minute demo class and turn in a sample full length lesson plan for an hour and a half class. I came prepared with all of this paperwork for the interview. When I arrived I was given another 4-5 pages of a further application. So I sat in the room and filled out most of this and then the director came in to meet me.

The director's focus was on basically 4 questions relating to what I expect a class should be and some cultural and broader view questions on the reason and importance of the usage of English in general from a world perspective. The final question the director asked was to give my view on how I think English is actually learned. I answered each question succinctly and briefly and he replied positively to my responses. After this he started looking at what was available for me to teach. I wondered about the demo and all this lesson planning etc.but he added as I was thinking about this, that it wasn't necessary for me to do the demo since I had plenty of experience.

What we agreed upon was that I would assist him in developing conversational English classes and ideas for various levels. There was talk of possibly teaching this student or that with IELTS or TOEFL but nothing in stone. So we left it this way and I would help him the next day with creating a program.

The next day I found out that this director did not seem to have any resource library whatsoever or any laid out format of teacher's recording information. He had no cancellation policy which is important considering there were a lot of 1 to 1 classes. In addition to this, the American director (who said he worked at Sinakran Wall Street before) seemed to be against using any kind of text giving the excuse that students would complain if they found out they repeated the same topic.

Following this I was joined with another American teacher who had basically zero experience teaching or planning who also insisted he wanted to re-invent the wheel by writing a new text book and voiced that a good existing text was somehow just a lazy crutch. The director seemed to be persuaded by this guy in his views and did not really have any particular stand or conviction as to what he clearly wanted.

He brought me in because he thought I could assist in this development. I shared that if he didn't want to have a set text then it would be important to build up the resource library. The director did agree with me but said this wasn't happening at this time.

The thing that just urked me a bit was that this guys is supposed to be the director and he is asking the advice of another teacher with zero experience for advice on developing not a class ..... a whole program! I have 16 years experience, a Masters of Education and (TESOL certified if that matters....personally I don't think it does) and when I tell the guy he needs to diversify his resources and provide this for teachers he just says I'm worried about the students complaining if we have a set text.

The director then explains to me that he has a continual program where students can come in at any time. I concluded that whether you have 65 topics prepared or you use a text at some point you will add this element or that as you progress and learn what you students can handle well or not.

Then I learned that his school has sold these students a package and the sales person put all these promises in this package to each student and so then the pressure comes down on the director to make sure we include in the package what the THAI salesperson promised. I then asked the director what is it that the sales people promised? Do you have a list? He diverted my question to something else and I could not pinpoint what the sales THAI staff wanted. Then I was told their was no break in a 1 hr. and half class of straight conversation (by the way the director did not want to diversify the practices. He just wanted strictly conversation based ie; speaking only.....FOR AN HOUR AND HALF AND NO BREAK even at the beginning level.

I suggested adding new dialogues and the director said well we don't need dialogues. I added that if you then move to blank slate questions with beginners even for discussion that will be very tough for the beginners with no break. Then the director looked puzzled again and could not come up with a solid answer. He was the most flaky, clueless so called leader I have ever seen in a language school.

Lastly what I realized was this English Click program really was not about trying to provide what was best for the student but rather bowing to the sales people and letting the students or the sales dictate what should or should not be implemented even as to saying or worrying whether the student likes or dislikes one exercise. I understand that it is a business but when you let the students and non-native English sales people control what you have been trained to do as an English teacher then it is only about making sure money goes into pockets and students control and complain as they see fit.

I'm an American and have lived overseas for more than 16 years and these other guys were American too. I however have not succumbed to this notion that the student is the leader and that we must bow to the dictates of the students. It seemed clear to me that these so called teachers or directors were and are kowtowing to students and business/profit while sacrificing genuine learning.

You are always going to have this tension between a business and a school ...profit vs. learning. English Click is not about students learning English. It is about pleasing the sales staff and saying that the student is now the professional and they also dictate what the teacher does. sounds familiar to this current approach in the States.

I guess I break my leg then perhaps I can find how to fix it on the internet since I don't think a doctor has that kind of expertise. How about I ask a guy who wants to be a doctor to fix my leg. If we are not that important or professional or have expertise or experience as English teachers .....then why put us through TESOL, CELTA, DELTA, TEFL.befl , snefl bla bla bla and say this qualifies us.

Seems to me this whole English thing is about MONEY! Go to any language school here in Bangkok and see what students are signed up for IELTS and TOEFL. Ask yourself ....are they there because they can handle it or because it was sold to them like a shiny new car with a great paint job but no engine. Where is the placement evaluation for these students? In too many language schools it is lacking.


i think it is obvious I left this place, preferring to work with more competent leaders. I would not recommend ENGLISH CLICK located at Ploen Chit and Lad Prao Central.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 781

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Clueless Coordinators at Click Reply with quote

bluemoray wrote:
Seems to me this whole English thing is about MONEY! Go to any language school here in Bangkok and see what students are signed up for IELTS and TOEFL. Ask yourself ....are they there because they can handle it or because it was sold to them like a shiny new car with a great paint job but no engine. Where is the placement evaluation for these students? In too many language schools it is lacking.

Sounds like you might be new to teaching in Thailand. Every single private school in Thailand is about making money period and in a lot of cases at any cost. Not having textbooks can be ok as long as there are resources for making your own lessons and activities. What makes or breaks learning is the student's readiness to learn whatever materials are being used be it textbooks or something original. In Thailand many of the student's readiness for the materials being used tends to be low.
bluemoray wrote:
i think it is obvious I left this place, preferring to work with more competent leaders.

You should be able to get into a better place. But I have not seen any leaders that are really all that competant other than in how to deal with the crazy Thai Ministry of Education and greedy school owners. Although keep in mind that my experience with places like Wall Street and the other one on one places is zero.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 422
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting story and legitimate concerns. Any follow-up from the OP?
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bluemoray



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When a company puts priority on the students and sales staff and an inexperienced teacher (if you want to call him that) makes decisions on teaching English from only a profit and complaining factor, then you have a failed program and no professionalism whatsoever. You are just ripping the students off and by not taking charge as an expert you further let the students be lazy and deluded in thinking they are truly learning English. In addition to this when you decide that a resource library is not an essential asset for diversification in methodology in teaching English then you are the one who does not know the value of true education. Moreover this idea that comes from Wall ?Street English schools that textbooks are unimportant and obsolete is not only stupid but also tries to dwarf various styles in teaching and puts the focus on pure subjectivity. Next thing to come is that it will all be based on student's FEELINGS and not on proven methods of mastering English. If you were truly educated you would know that whenever you write a term paper or conduct research on a specific matter or issue you better back up your premise with support and a bibliography of several or many sources. Or did you just write an opinion based on your feelings and no support. Textbooks are useful as tools to use just as quotes and ideas of other writers are useful to term papers and thesis reports supporting one's rationale. If students want to practice and learn English on their own that is fine and I' support their decision. If students come as a small group to learn from a native English teacher who has training in teaching English then he/ she takes the lead in teaching and deciding what will be the best fit for the class. It may not always work as planned. If you want to turn this whole thing on its head where the patient tells the doctor what to do, the kid tells the parent, the passengers tell the pilot, the enlisted tell the Generals, etc ....maybe you are calling that education. And you are right I didn't get the kind of BS master's degree in western education that is doled out now . I was fortunate to go to school when my masters meant something you had to work for.


Where is the factual basis for why you think I do not have an advanced degree. I challenge you now to debate me on this rather than you just trying to label me. Prove me wrong.

I have already given you a strong argument against the company English Click here in Bangkok and facts based on my previous report.What have you proven? And if you respond , you can be certain I will too.

English Click is a sales run profit driven unprofessional business and its acting director lets students have the last (or any word) word over teachers because they simply don't care to teach them properly. They just want the cash.Prove me wrong.


Where have you been?
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing there that is new or different from any of the bulk of other language academies anywhere / everywhere else in Asia.

What confuses me is that people (especially those with real teaching credentials or post graduate work) confuse language academies for anything other than what they are; a cash cow.

They never were, are not now and never will be anything else and real education has never been and I suspect never will be any higher on their priority list than something to pay lip service to on their way to the bank.

.
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bluemoray



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There have been in the past English Language centers in Bangkok that have been handled professionally and respect the knowledge of teachers and have had adequate resources in store.

I think it is important to judge each language school here individually although I will say that there has been an increase in the cash driven only language centers in which you believe consist here.

As to an experienced teacher going to any language school here and looking to teach part time and enjoy it for a reasonable amount of baht per hour why is that as you think beneath that person?

There are a lot of seasoned teachers who basically babysit for cash, Hey i get it . I worked in the Middle East and there is no doubt that teachers go there for financial reasons. And there teachers that may be working here in Bangkok at some international schools and with all their qualifications etc. they also just go through the motions at a school when profit is more important than teaching.

The bottom line is this point I am making is not about money or about the position being beneath someone who should be employed in more respected places etc.

With all the credentials and so called expertise in schools that offer positions to experienced teachers , it does not mean that behind the scenes the quality of the education is as good as it's popularity.

Here is a belief I have that may be considered out of the box. But my view of why students here in Thailand learn English at least independently from regular school is for IMAGE , or FACE.....however way you want to call it. It's a nicely painted car with no engine.

Yes I have known this here in Asia but my issue was against the WESTERNERS (in this case ...Americans) at the school who embrace this nonsense. There are teachers who do care how they teach and schools also.

Take a Thai boy at age 10 with hardly any English practice and put him in England, USA, Canada, Australia to where he needs to use English and he will learn in 6 months what would take 3 years or never to learn in a language school.

I know what is going on here in Bangkok as I have lived here for over 12 years and i have seen the changes.

There are experienced English teachers in AUA who have been teaching for years there and that is a good established school. It has a good resource center and is well run. granted the salaries there are not high but those teachers who have been there for so long like teaching and have other income coming in; pensions etc.

Money or the thinking that the language center is beneath me due to my education is irrelevant
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that the job is beneath you but perhaps naive of you that you imagine that the vast majority of language schools (in Thailand or anywhere else in Asia for that matter) are anything other than what they are.

They are not now nor have most of them ever been engaged in real education to a measurable standard. If you think they should be then maybe it is time to start one of your own because largely you won't find one in Asia.

.
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bluemoray



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well thanks for the clarification.

Unfortunately your statement is becoming truer.

I am actually more in agreement with you on the pure profit making only model on most of the schools in Asia.

I wanted to point out however that there still are some legitimate decent educated language schools running here. But AUA only come to mind.

You see some years back here you could work at any number of language schools and have a Thai man or woman just hand you the materials to teach without much fuss and away you go. Now they have hired a bunch of farang symbolic puppet directors. Hence my complaint against English Click management. It was not always so. 2004 or so 500+ minimum baht an hour to teach TOEFL gigs were standard and plentiful. And the cost of living cheaper., and before that the baht was 42 and higher. when the dollar was stronger..ha ha ....not now.

But I don't think the language schools are the only example of profit only types. Lots of ESL dump offs in international schools. I know I have seen it first hand having worked at them over the years. Collect the pay and put them in ESL since they can't make the mainstream classes.
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bluemoray



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to add that when there were fewer foreigners teaching here the Thai management of the schools I worked with in the past did not stand over my shoulder or tell me how to teach.Of course Thais (Asians) in general would not be direct towards you if they didn't like you or your methods. But I never had any issues with past Thai directors and even some foreign directors. the schools had decent resources and no one was micromanaging me much. I really don't care whether the director or owner makes a fortune or not. I do care if the western directors are MOD EDIT who just got here and push all this American student control type of philosophy like what they do in Wall Street. And then having them try to sound educated while saluting to the sales package given.

MOD EDIT
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kazuo62



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Republic of Korea

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bluemoary, don't get discouraged! You didn't pursue your degrees in education for the money (unless you were VERY misinformed about the income potential of teachers). Most of my work has been at public schools in the USA and abroad. There is B.S. in the private schools (lovingly called cash cows by another poster), as well as the public (politics anyone?). For those of us who love the students and all the ideals of our noble profession (should I put quotation marks around that?), navigating through the administrators and businessmen can be quite discouraging. I'm sorry that you've been exposed to a particularly disappointing moment of B.S., but I do hope you'll be able to release the burden of knowing that our calling in the world is able to manifest as part of industry -- a cash cow. It's hard, but don't let it burn you out. Good luck with your next gig -- it can't be worse, right? Smile
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refugee



Joined: 21 Dec 2009
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised you've been teaching for 16 years and it seems like this is the first time you've come across a school putting profits before education.

It is first and foremost a business. The fact that it is in the business of education doesn't necessarily mean that it suddenly subject to a list of principals.

Being incompetently and unprofessionally run is nothing unusual, especially in certain countries, and this will eventually hurt its business prospects. Providing a poor educational service is only a problem when it effects the bottom line.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 781

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluemoray wrote:
I just wanted to add that when there were fewer foreigners teaching here the Thai management of the schools I worked with in the past did not stand over my shoulder or tell me how to teach.Of course Thais (Asians) in general would not be direct towards you if they didn't like you or your methods. But I never had any issues with past Thai directors and even some foreign directors. the schools had decent resources and no one was micromanaging me much. I really don't care whether the director or owner makes a fortune or not. I do care if the western directors are MOD EDIT who just got here and push all this American student control type of philosophy like what they do in Wall Street. And then having them try to sound educated while saluting to the sales package given.

MOD EDIT


Odd really odd. Isn't being competitive an important part of how things are done?
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