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Heidi English School
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gelynch52ph



Joined: 15 Feb 2011
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Heidi English School Reply with quote

Has anyone had any dealings with Heidi English School in Dandong on the Yalu River across from North Korea? I would imagine it gets quite cold in that region but I'm looking for SCHOOL related information. Info about living in that region would be nice from people who have been there but of primary interest is about the institution and management itself.

Thanks
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is stuff around on the net about Heidi's and maybe on Dave's if search is working..
I think the original Heidi who may have been Australian is long gone and the good rep MAY have gone with her.
As for climate you're getting well into Manchuria there and after two years in Dalian which is coastal but still cold (snow from say November) I expect Dandong is challenging.
Then v interesting historically and currently as you're living next door to the last Stalinist state.
Then that will be your take home story not that it was v cold for a couple of months.
Best
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gelynch52ph



Joined: 15 Feb 2011
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:48 am    Post subject: Did the Search before making the post Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
There is stuff around on the net about Heidi's and maybe on Dave's if search is working..
I think the original Heidi who may have been Australian is long gone and the good rep MAY have gone with her.
As for climate you're getting well into Manchuria there and after two years in Dalian which is coastal but still cold (snow from say November) I expect Dandong is challenging.
Then v interesting historically and currently as you're living next door to the last Stalinist state.
Then that will be your take home story not that it was v cold for a couple of months.
Best


I spent 7 years in Korea and know Dandong is way north of anyplace I've ever lived so know it might be colder than a witches t*t, but school management is what concerns me along with a less than desirable wage and contract.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The search is working and the post I recall from a couple of years ago isn't there.
My memory of what I read isn't positive. But hey I don't want to malign what may be an OK school now.
As always and you know this, your best guide is to talk to a former teacher at the school.
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gelynch52ph



Joined: 15 Feb 2011
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:29 pm    Post subject: Blank page only Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
The search is working and the post I recall from a couple of years ago isn't there.
My memory of what I read isn't positive. But hey I don't want to malign what may be an OK school now.
As always and you know this, your best guide is to talk to a former teacher at the school.


The past 3 days or so I have been getting a blank page when searching the China messages for terms, schools etc. That is why I can find nothing on Heidi School and have asked direct questions.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went for 'China job related' as forum (assuming we're talking about Dave's) and just the word 'Heidi'.
Nothing to help you.
I'll pm you if I find anything of interest elsewhere.
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4917
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original owner is no longer there. I remember being offered positions there but turned them down after reading numerous bad reviews of the school.
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milo7769



Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked there for 3 months (June/Jul/Aug and half of Sept) of 2013...
My job was as a 'summer-school teacher' for pre-University entry students... The school later wanted me to stay-on to teach the more regular age group of 6 to 12 year olds.... That's when I discovered some really big and entrenched problems with Heidi... But firstly, some facts....

The school celebrated its 11th birthday in early Sept 2013, while I was there... Every year they spend a fortune on the big birthday performance, as if every birthday is important.... In reality, it is all face-showing to the rather small Dandong community.

Heidi, a Chinese woman (not a Westerner!) had the school for about 4 years, and then sold it to another Chinese woman, the current owner.

The 'Australian joint venture' lie...' The school has absolutely NO connection to any Westerner or Western company... They simply say this on their Chinese website, as this type of claim looks impressive to Chinese people (that the school has a foreign financial connection)... The English site is just a translation of the lie on the Chinese version of their site. I can make an educated guess as to why they say 'Australian joint venture...': Their long term teacher (who was still there when I did my summer school work) is an Australian, and was very much liked by the original owner... But believe me, he is just a lacky to the whims and negligence of management, like most other Westerners working in Chinese schools.

I enjoyed by summer-school work, teaching teens, very much. The young HR girl wanted me to stay-on as one of the regular teachers for the 6-12 year olds, and I agreed to do so. Very quickly, I saw another side of Heidi...

First, there were huge problems with the visa processing.... For one reason or another, the school has a bad relationship with the local Foreign Experts Bureau (administered by a section of Dandong Foreign Affairs Police station, as DanDong is too small to have a real dedicated department) ... For over two months (of rapidly expiring visitors visas) I was getting all sorts of unbelievable excuses about why my application for a Z visa had not been processed.

At the same time there were two interpersonal issues:

1/ The school had not provided a working washing machine for the entire time that I was there (it broke down the night I arrived). The woman school owner had brought in a new (male) school manager from Dalian... On one hand, that was a good thing... She does not seem like a very likable person, so I was glad she was taking a 'hands-off' approach to her school (just one of a few businesses she has an interest in)... But the new manager from Dalian did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to fix/provide a new machine... For the entire time I was there, I washed by clothes/bedding by hand.... The guy did not give a sh*t about my personal welfare... I even said to him "would you treat your sister, brother or mother like this - or like to also hand-wash your clothes every day?" .... My question was answered with a vacant stare, like he 'just didn't want get it'.... Forget 'contract' stuff about washing machine and other things, it means nothing...

2/ Then there was a big teaching issue.... This is what will keep most Westerners away from this school... I have taught in Korea and Taipei for over 7 years.... Going to Heidi/Dandong was a 'summer-school' stepping-stone to a better job at a Shanghai University... This pending Uni job became a disaster, as the Uni screwed up every step of the visa process (thus, I accepted Heidi's offer to stay on, and later experienced even more visa BS from Heidi!)... Anyway, the point is, I have lots of quality teaching experience, and understand most leading teaching and learning theories.... At Heidi, there is a woman, a young looking 42 year old, who has worked there for many years.... Officially, she is just 'the schedules lady'... In reality, she has a HUGE hand in on the sales process, and even chooses (usually useless) books to match the classes being scheduled... Typical Asian lack of demarkation of official duties.... So everyone is afraid of stepping on another person's perceived self-appointed role, and therefore, there is little efficiency and constant misunderstanding / confusion about about day to day happenings. But the real problem is that this 'lady' is very much of the old communist school system, and thinks that rote-learning is the ONLY way to learn English.... She hasn't even lived abroad or studied English as a subject! Everything is just 'read-in-group', and sometimes 'one-by-one', from the boring standard 'Let's Go' textbooks...

Unfortunately, this above described 'Lady' also acts as a TA (Teaching Assistant) and would sit-in on a few of my classes... Whenever I deviated from rote-learning, and asked a student a basic comprehension question, 'Lady's' face would turn blue, and she'd shout at me in a rather aggression voice, "they CAN'T understand your question, JUST get them to read the BOOK"... She had NO CONCEPT that the tone of her voice was rude and aggressive, and that her methods of learning were ridiculous. Additionally, there is ANOTHER older TA (of the same communist style of rote-learning) there... So, two really bad dragons to put up with... Consequently, these children cannot speak ANY spontaneous English, even after 6 years at Heidi.

Therefore, I was glad that the visa delay 'BS' had taken place, as it gave me a chance to see what the real Heidi was about (remember, I had only gone there originally to teach the two months of teens summer-school, and was later asked to stay-on). I escaped the place before they had managed to do any visa work, and the one that immediately came after me (a U.S girl), seems to have only lasted 4 months, as I see them again now advertising for a new teacher on this site.

Apart from entrenched rote-learning, the school is very much about 'displaying the foreign monkey'.... They don't really want to teach English... What they are providing is an English foreign monkey entertainment service...

Parents sit on the ground floor, and watch the foreign monkey entertaining their children, on 3 huge LCD monitors... There are 16 teaching areas (classrooms, and a few smaller office-type rooms) and ALL are connected to electronic surveillance... These signals are fed to the public/parents viewing area on the 3 big LCD monitors (ie 6 sub screens on each monitor)...

In summary: You can work at this place if you want to be a walking English CD playing foreign monkey. The town and air is clean... Food is cheap. Shop keepers are totally dishonest to Westerners and will overcharge you every time! So buy from Vanguard or Tesco, where the prices are always marked. But for most people wanting to teach English, the lack of integrity concerning ESL, will be enough to make you NOT want to work there.

Further (as came up by a later antagonist, on page 2 of this thread), DON'T think that these bad treatment/management and teaching practices are limited to me, just because I had not signed any contract, and was working for 7 weeks on a visitors visa...
(a) Assisting a school (that finds it VERY difficult to get qualified teachers) is no excuse to accept bad treatment, just because one is on a visitors visa...
(b) the bad treatment (visa games, no washing machine, spoken to badly, and bad teaching practices) was also experienced by a teacher I shared the apartment with, a teacher they DID have on contract and fully Z sponsored/visaed.

I made a video of the "school's" 11th birthday party (promotion), where yet again, they are asking Westerners to make a monkey (or total ass!) out of themselves...
You can see it here -

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x15gtly_heidi-english-school-dandong-china_lifestyle

or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usTtuG-Zol8

------


Last edited by milo7769 on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:14 pm; edited 8 times in total
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cringeworthy video.

Now dance! Dance some more!

Yeah, that's a situation I avoid like the plague.

The name alone is absurd--Heidi English School. Whaaaat?

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the Australian connection may not have been the original owner, but a current staffer?
As to the name, it would have resonance with Chinese from the children's story.
Rather than a bad relationship Heidi's may simply NOT have authorisation to hire foreigners.
I've had parent observers but not via video. At a Kid Castle in Dalian they could look through observation windows and at another school they sat in back of the room.
I actually enjoyed the latter, as you could involve the parents who struggled to drag their old English skills from their childhoods to mind.
In terms of homework though, that was a plus.
For me the problem would be with Dandong. If you want to get into a better situation you'd have to think of Dalian or Shenyang.
If you're in a dodgy situation it's better to be in a bigger centre with other foreigners around and other schools to look at.


Last edited by Non Sequitur on Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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buffalobill12323



Joined: 18 Sep 2013
Posts: 115
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

milo7769 wrote:
(of rapidly expiring visitors visas)------


If you were knowingly here working for the summer illegally, anything that followed is your own fault
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

buffalobill12323 wrote:
milo7769 wrote:
(of rapidly expiring visitors visas)------


If you were knowingly here working for the summer illegally, anything that followed is your own fault


Can't disagree with that.
OP has in excess of 150 posts and must be aware.
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milo7769



Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

buffalobill12323 wrote:
milo7769 wrote:
(of rapidly expiring visitors visas)------


If you were knowingly here working for the summer illegally, anything that followed is your own fault


Non Sequitur wrote:

Can't disagree with that.
OP has in excess of 150 posts and must be aware.


To answer some questions from two antagonists above:
1/ I am not the OP... It is my first ever post on this site...
2/ The treatment on VISITORS VISA would have been the same, weather I was on visitors visa/pending work visa etc... As I have already detailed, I was only working there on my way to a job in Shanghai, and was then offered a permanent job... It is common for schools in China to employ summer-school teachers, and also teachers on interim basis (during visa processing)... I am aware of the law, but you cannot deny the realities that Chinese schools always want to 'try out' Westerners first...
3/ School DOES have authorization to employ Westerners, one has been there for many years, another two years.

TO: buffalobill12323
That is very much a self-defeating belief... Are you saying that just because some Westerner is assisting a school as a summer-school teacher, on his way to a bigger/better job, that the teacher should be automatically subjected to harsh/unethical treatment? If you think this is acceptable, then you are showing that you are willing to take too much crap from Chinese... I certainly didn't take it: I didn't sign with them! Yes, we are all aware of the risks, and we should all know how to 'manage' such situations... Therefore, I did not sign with them... It was a great way to 'try out' the school... What you see here is simply my report of it, in order to assist people who may be contemplating a move to this school... (So stop flaming --- My god, I hate internet forums... This is the FIRST TIME I have written on one in OVER 5 YEARS, and flamed STRAIGHT AWAY!)


Last edited by milo7769 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:55 am; edited 7 times in total
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Welcome to Heidi English School! Purchase one hundred hours of English lessons and we'll throw in two hours of yodeling lessons…absolutely free!

Act now before this great deal expires!"

Very Happy

That's basically what I think when I hear this school's name.

"Now dance! Dance some more!"

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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damn_my_eyes



Joined: 13 Jul 2013
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

milo7769 wrote:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x15gtly_heidi-english-school-dandong-china_lifestyle

or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usTtuG-Zol8

------


Does your dancing colleague know that he's a youtube star now?
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