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Working for the British Council
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 883
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crewmeal1 wrote:
managers who usually want to climb the BC ladder so location isn't as important as promotion.


And therein lies the flaw with the system.

We had a new teaching centre manager at a BC school somewhere in Africa. Heíd applied to do that job at four other locations with this African country being bottom of his list. He never wanted to go there at all. One could argue he took up this job in Africa to further his career; others might say he wouldnít be able to land such a well-paid job with another organisation.

Thatís speculation, but more importantly, he had no knowledge of the local language or customs. For me, he was OK at his job, although I felt sorry for him being trapped in a country he didnít care for. The local staff were less complimentary.

You need to have some sort of interest and affinity with your chosen country, or youíll never be effective there.
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horse



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hod makes a fair point, and certainly it helps to be the kind of duck that can swim in all waters if you want to make a success of a career in EFL. I suppose that most people these days sooner or later end up living and working somewhere they wouldn't necessarily have chosen to (including, dare I say it, a lot of people within the UK) , however, and I think it comes down to having a professional attitude whether one is able to manage that. Having said that, I personally would not choose to work in a country unless I had at least some personal interest in living there.
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oxi



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 325
Location: elsewhere

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've worked in a few. Some points here, quickly (badly?) written...

key phrase - 'it depends'

I think BC is generally a good place to work. I've found it varies depending on individuals in management and how they treat you.

For example:-
1. Azerbaijan - small centre (closed now I believe), good DoS, reasonably 'family-like' atmosphere.
2. Hong Kong - lots of paperwork and lots of staff, lots of great bosses, a few pains. Currently people tell me they're not so happy with the management and work/life balance. At the same time they only teach about 20 hours a week and have been there 2 years, haven't left yet.

Salary is usually better than Mcschools but not as good as International schools. Rough guide in Hong Kong:-
Mcschools - around 15000 HK$ monthly
BC - 25-30K
NET scheme - 35K up

Depends on country, but usually people do 2 year contracts. Usually can do 2 contracts. Then have to go. Some people switch to local contracts and stay indefinitely.

Good chances to develop career and do training and projects.
Dodgy hours - split shifts and weekends.

In HK I left to work more regular hours and for a better salary.
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horse



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, oxi, for that - succinct and useful.

Any idea what the Eastern Europe and/or Latin American variants are like, anyone?
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johncoan



Joined: 02 Jul 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work part-time and freelance for Prague BC. It's a decent set-up and they're a friendly enough bunch altho' what you get is a modern office environment (lots of people you don't know and never get to know working behind computers) rather than a language school-type staffroom.

The pay's good, as you might expect, but they insisted I get a business licence shortly after starting and I've been saddled with paying quite a chunk out of my monthly pay for health insurance, social security, and (at the end of the fiscal year) tax - and this will continue throughout summer even tho' I'm not going to be working in August. I'm not happy about this as it wasn't made clear it was a requirement, and I didn't get any assistance with getting the thing at all - and it wasn't easy. And at the end of every month it leaves me with only a little more than what a language school would pay. It benefits them much more than it benefits me.

The other disadvantage is that you have to use interactive whiteboards - they're in every classroom. They take a bit of getting used to and the initial training we got was barely adequate - potentially, they're great classroom tools.
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maenad1



Joined: 31 Oct 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've worked in one BC as a network teacher, 4 as a summer-school teacher, and 1 as an IELTS examiner only.

The BC was set up about 80 years ago with three unofficial objectives - empire-building and "positive propoganda", cover for spies, and charity. The english-teaching side of it grew slowly, and centres are often a bit schitzophrenic about that: they know that teaching and IELTS bring in loads of money, but some of the people who are "doing the REAL BC work" still feel that the teaching centre is secondary in importance. Although many BCs make money, frankly the BC would probably be disbanded if it ever became a major election issue in Britain - there are plenty of centres which are a drain on the UK taxpayer, and the whole organisation really needs to be re-vamped. If you go and wander the inner offices of any BC (fat chance, they are quite security-conscious) you'll find a lot of people working on projects that aren't used, publishing booklets that are never distributed, things like that. You'll also find a few people doing really good and useful work.

The BC hires "network" and "local contract" teachers. If you're a network teacher you'll get plenty of perks, such as moving allowances and a pension plan. If you are local you'll get a fairly good salary by local standards, but the rest of the package can vary from nothing to quite good.

The disadvantage of being a network teacher is that you aren't welcome in one centre for a long time. I know people who have married and want to settle down, and they can only stay on at the BC by becoming local teachers. They often do that, but few are happy about this - it's like taking a cut in your salary.

Regarding teaching itself, the huge advantage of the BC is that they focus on the long-term rather than the short-term. If you have a student who throws a hissy fit about being failed and told to repeat a level, most language schools will cave in and move him up rather than lose him. The BC will stand its ground and refuse. They'll also support you if you have problematic students. So long as they believe that you are doing a good job in the classroom, they'll support you and help you. They don't really care too much about the methodology you use, so long as EITHER the students are happy with it OR you are doing the kind of lessons that would pass a DELTA.

As with any other organisations, internal petty politics is a problem.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody know the process for getting a master's or DELTA funding through them?
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 883
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maenad1 wrote:
they know that teaching and IELTS bring in loads of money, but some of the people who are "doing the REAL BC work" still feel that the teaching centre is secondary in importance. Although many BCs make money, frankly the BC would probably be disbanded if it ever became a major election issue in Britain - there are plenty of centres which are a drain on the UK taxpayer, and the whole organisation really needs to be re-vamped. If you go and wander the inner offices of any BC (fat chance, they are quite security-conscious) you'll find a lot of people working on projects that aren't used, publishing booklets that are never distributed, things like that. You'll also find a few people doing really good and useful work.


Iím certainly no BC fan, but I have to disagree with the above.

BC centres are self-supporting and not a drain on any UK taxpayer. I donít know who these special secret project people are, but they never existed where I was. There were people doing cultural work, which in my opinion was a waste of time, but it wasnít secret. Others acted as advisers for students wanting to study in the UK, but these students had to pay for this, and a lot of money too, i.e. tens of thousands of pounds.

The government scrapped 192 of these so-called quangos in 2010, but the BC wasnít among them.

As far as the students were concerned, the BC was just a school, which suited me as I was just a teacher, although I did conferences and IT-based stuff which to be honest, were pointless and just fringe jobs done in my spare time. But that was my number one beef with the BC, i.e. inexperienced teachers spending hours on irrelevant fringe jobs at the expense of actual teaching prep. These teachers always got the complaints from students and rightly so. My appraisals talked about IT skills or my ability to mingle at conferences. Who cares about this rubbish? I tell you who didnít care. My students. Not one of them knew I was a so-called ICT Coordinator or had some conference in the back of beyond the week after next. They came to class to hopefully learn some English, end of.

A non-teaching complaint about the BCís cultural side is it only concentrates on the arts. It will invite not very famous authors or musicians, etc, to come and speak to students. Britain does other things too you know, e.g. sports, science and engineering. Unfortunately, such topics, which would be of great interest to students, are not understood by the current BC management and hence overlooked. The BC needs to recruit some real managers who would generate some interest in these subjects and not the wishy-washy arty stuff.
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A non-teaching complaint about the BCís cultural side is it only concentrates on the arts.

The non teaching side of the BC is on the right track then. Just take a look what can happen if you don't have an art education! This parishioner should have to do some heavy-duty penance (and join a proper art class to boot). : ))))

http://news.sky.com/story/976008/art-attack-pensioner-destroys-church-fresco
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psychedelicacy



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 45
Location: Qatar

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would those who've cited "endless paperwork" mind giving some examples?
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 457
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The BC in Warsaw had a good library. I am American but I could get a library card. My mate from Chesire worked there.
It was a good place, and a place to learn about Britain.

The BC in Tokyo is not as good. The library was small and the whole focus was on getting students to study in the UK.

I knew a Brit with a Canadian wife and both of them got to teach in Pakistan before going to Lisbon. Not sure how she managed to get a job there.
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emmett grogan



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The paperwork is mostly end of term/mid term reports for students and career development stuff for your own yearly and mid yearly observations and reviews.
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psychedelicacy



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 45
Location: Qatar

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^Thanks!
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tina20



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking of applying to a position in BC. I'm pouring over the application paperwork and was wondering if there are any pointers for writing the supporting statement - any format or specific notes that would be good to hit?

I ask because a friend's application was recently rejected and they hinted in the feedback that the supporting statement was not to standard. (A similar statement had got her her current job).
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Om2013



Joined: 10 Jun 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to carefully go over the Role Profile and be very familiar with the BC Behaviours. Match your qualifications and experience to what they are looking for in the RP.

I assume you have the minimum qualifications - BA, CELTA + 2 years and the right to work in the country. When it comes to shortlisting however, you are up against people with higher quals such as MAs, PGCE, CELTA + many years post CELTA, DELTA, Trinity Dip. etc. In addition to qualifications, many candidates have years of experience teaching a wide variety of courses, in different programs and with different ages.

The supporting statement helps you stand out in the crowd for shortlisting. It shouldn't be generic or similar to a cover letter.

Best of luck! Just keep applying until you get shortlisted for a post.
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