Joined: 01 Aug 2013
|Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:42 am Post subject: Stay away from SHANE ENGLISH SCHOOLS / AILE !!!!
|When I think about a school, I think of a nurturing, fun, educational, organized environment to pleasantly work in! What I got when I arrived at Shane School was the complete opposite. I find it ludicrous that the company is even allowed to portray and name itself a school, the owner Mr Szhu reminds me of a pirate; obsessively motivated and driven by greed to hunt for more "treasure", done so gracefully despite the webs of deceit spun and causalities incurred to his own crew. Yes this man does not give a flying fig about the quality of teaching, the adequate abilities of his managers, the usefulness of his recruitment team or the reliability of his welfare officers because, lets face it none of these people "have" to have any people skills or do they "need" to speak or understand much English..... if they have a qualification in being dishonest, insensitive or able to suddenly want to screw you over at all costs (over nothing you've asked for within your rights) ... then B-I-N-G-O they're hired instantly. Like any private school in China, their whole objective is to make money. I was aware of that, I understood that this company and school was run like a business and I thought ok, I'll still give it a try. Never in my life have I used the word hate and actually meant it but after enduring 14 months at that school I now hate the manager "MAGGIE", I hate the company and everything that it stands for and most of all I hate all of the employees in "responsible" positions who not only treated myself badly but, harassed and drove other teachers away. I am not exaggerating any of these points or the following events that I witnessed regarding myself and other foreign teachers whilst working for Shane English School, East City, Dongying , Shandong Province. I feel that everyone should be warned about this pitiful excuse for a school!
Dongying is a very small city with a handful of places to socialize at in West City and only two to enjoy in East City. Despite the city being mundane and the locals reacting to you like an UFO, the foreign teachers that I worked with made the city seem more alive and the bulls#it at work more bearable. The first obstacle I had to face once I arrived in China were my living arrangements. Of course I was eager to get started and settled in, I had just left my friends and loved ones the other side of the world, I wanted to make the most of my time here.. which anyone would understand right?! No, I was there for a month before I moved into my apartment. The apartment that I had chosen was still being occupied by a teacher who was leaving and was in dispute with the school. Unbeknownst to me at the time the school were trying to screw him over in regards to his salary, visa, paperwork .... the usual things that are rightfully ours ... before he left. The welfare officer at the time Tony told me that the foreigner was trouble and not to listen to him and it was his fault why I couldn't move in. Therefore I was taken to a "temporary" apartment to stay in, bearing in mind I had already been staying in a hotel for a week in West City ( a 25 minute cab drive away) despite working in East City. I would not have allowed stray animals to shelter in that place. It was disgusting, the oven didn't work which was caked in layers of mold and grime, the sofa was green leather but it looked like a tiger had been unleashed on it and it was shredded to bits, when you opened the kitchen cupboard doors you were greeted with a herd of *beep* running over moldy food and dirty crockery towards you. The beds were covered in unthinkable stains and the entire place had a unique but gut wrenching stench. I pleaded with Tony that they was no way I could stay here, but he reassured and promised me it would be for a few days. A few days turned into a week and then an expected further week to which I thought, " What have I come to?" It took an experienced teacher at the time to call Tony and demand that I was put into a hotel. So I was put into a different hotel in East City, this time for a few days, which surprisingly turned into 2 weeks.
I felt and feel even more so now, that foreigners are brought to this school under false pretences. The contract lies, my contract stated I would be working 20 hours a week, this was not illustrated that infact I would be at school 40 hours every week and that 20 hours would be spent in the classroom, whilst the remaining 20 would be wasted confined to the teachers office as a reminder that the school "owns" us and if we disagreed with any office hours or holidays... we would be fined. One teacher was promised a free apartment, when he arrived here he was told, " No that was the contract that we had changed a few weeks ago but we have gone back to the original one now." So no free apartment, there's one lie. Being branded or accused of being a liar was always the most insulting thing you could suggest to MAGGIE the boss of East City, also nothing was ever her fault it was either WAYNE'S ( foreign teacher / department manager/ sits in the foreign office defending the school abusing fellow foreigners and sprints vigorously back to MAGGIE to relay anything that is said), CHEMIE's ( an officer of some sort, general dog's body of MAGGIE'S), CHRIS'S ( recruiter for the school, the communication between these two must be banned seeing as MAGGIE never knows what CHRIS has promised or informed newcomers), ADAMS'S ( welfare officer to the new foreigner teachers, e.g does well at being unorganized and informative) , all of these people are as much use as a chocolate teapot and should be ashamed of the way I witnessed them treating fellow teachers, aswell as myself.
Just to shed an insight on how misleading the contract is for new teachers, since Christmas of 2013 excluding the West City school, we had had 13 teachers leave. Some stayed for a month, a week, a few days, one girl even stayed for an hour. Alas, the school will still continue to claim that these people were bad and that they had done nothing wrong, especially MAGGIE. The most common denominator with this school are the incapability’s and treacherous, calculated methods of MAGGIE. This is a manager who is a complete sociopath and takes pleasure in trying to threaten foreign teachers, especially when they want to leave. I had heard and witnessed various horror stories from fellow teachers regarding MAGGIE and the things she had done and said to them because they wanted to leave the school. This woman will not only lie to your parents and tell them bad things about you, she will also try to play you off against the other foreign teachers, discuss personal matters that she'd had with other teachers with yourself and then ask for your opinion, try to bribe the Chinese staff and TA's with extra money for spying on the foreign teachings in the office and outside of work, try to withhold you're Foreign Experts Certificate aswell as your reference and release letter, keep your retention bonus for herself, fine you at even given opportunity despite in the contract stating that verbal and written warnings will be given first before being issued with a fine, intrude and try to violate your personal life and try to break relationships up by cancelling visas and calling the Chinese parents of your spouse to poison them against you. Have I made myself clear by this point that this woman and this company should be avoided at all costs.... you still unsure and think, " HMMM maybe it will be ok for me?" ... read on my friend there's more to come.
Being taken ill anywhere in the world is unpleasant, imagine being admitted to hospital because you were hit by a car and nearly murdered for defending friends and your boss is more concerned on when you will return to work. Unfortunately some fellow teachers were attacked one night by a mass of Chinese men, which was spectated and encouraged by by-standing locals. Luckily nobody was killed, however some people's injuries were more major than others. One teacher got stabbed in the leg, but recovered fairly well which sounds bad enough but in relation to the teacher who was nearly killed and how MAGGIE treated him seems minor. Not only had the Chinese men beat him constantly with a baseball bat to his skull and body, so much so that his cranium had a hole and was indented and had to be stitched, they also hit him with bottles and then allowed him to stagger and find his feet to be then ran over from behind by their friend revving and waiting in a car, the mental impact that this had on him was understandable but scary. All the teachers visited him and tried their best to support him, these efforts were squashed by MAGGIE's insensitive, barbaric nature. Following a CT scan the Chinese staff member who was with him at the time was SCWARN. SCWARN was told that a piece of the teacher's skull was fractured above his ear, she obviously informed him of this. MAGGIE later scolded her for this and banned her from dealing with us " foreigners" and that she should think that she is Chinese and that he would now want more time off work! She then decided to visit the teacher and showed no regard for his mental or physical state and proceeded to inform him of her criticism that had resulted from a lesson she had observed of his the previous week! The woman has no brain! I happened to be there when she made the following remark, " Why you so hurt, some of the others are not so bad, maybe because they can run faster than you." I couldn't believe what I was hearing I told her that she couldn't say things like that and she just responded with her usual fake laugh and shrugged it off. CHEMIE also informed us that MAGGIE had asked for the hospital bill to be paid for by the school and for it to be approved by MRS SAI ( like a regional manager), MAGGIE informed the teacher that the school could do nothing and that he would have to pay and would lose his salary for time spent recovering and not in class. However it was later bought to our attention that she kept the money and that when SCWARN had told her the seriousness of this matter following the CT scan results, that MAGGIE had spoken to the teacher's doctor and tried to " bargain" his recovery rate, e.g reduce the amount of days he had stated that the teacher must rest at home. Naturally when able to barely walk this teacher went back home but, again he was a bad person and I quote MAGGIE to myself, " Why he leave, he just want make me look bad, I tried to help him, why he doing this to me?"
Unfortunately I myself ended up having to endure a hospital stay and MAGGIE'S humanity levels had neither increased nor faltered. After finishing two IV drips and still being in crippling pain the doctors decided that I needed to be admitted and stay in for tests and treatment. My TA at the time rang MAGGIE to inform her of this, MAGGIE was not aware that she was on speakerphone and when my TA relaid what the doctor had instructed and that I had to stay in hospital she erupted in Chinese, " What, why? Stupid doctor they don't know anything, has she drank hot water? When can she come to work?" Naturally the doctor sitting opposite from myself and my TA heard this comment made against them, so the doctor shouted that MAGGIE was an idiot and she didn't know anything. I then spent 4 nights in hospital and a week resting at home. MAGGIE'S visit was as always not in the least sincere she was there to quiz me about the whereabouts of the teacher who had been nearly killed, did I know anything and she protested that she knew I knew something. This relentless intrusion of questions continued for fifteen minutes until I told her I was in pain and this wasn't fair. The teachers who had got injured by the Chinese men were told that they couldn't receive any financial help from the school because the insurance for the school did not cover them. MAGGIE told them that because it wasn't an "accident or an illness" that they couldn't be helped. Well I suddenly became ill, surely I could be assisted in some way? NO! Due to me being responsible and taking insurance out before arriving in China ( which is what I was instructed to do by TONY because it was "mandatory") , I wasn't entitled to anything and in essence lost 7000 juan / rmb. MAGGIE coyly explained to me that I had taken my own insurance out therefore the school hadn't put me on theirs. SCWARN told me that the school doesn't fully explain somethings to foreigners to get out of having to lose expenses or assisting in payments....shortly after this SCWARN was no longer an employee at our school.
After experiencing all of this and seeing how childish and ridiculous the school had become, I had made my mind up that under no circumstances or offers was I either staying or resigning another contract at that school. My contract finished June 30th 2013, I made MAGGIE aware at the end of April that I would not be staying and I started to ask questions about my replacement. The response I got back from her body language and bitter expressions, was that she didn't care how hard I had worked or what the classes had achieved, she was just focused on getting "any" foreigner in to teach them. I could not let this happen to my students, therefore I offered to stay in Shane until July 28th and we both agreed that my replacement would be here for July1st and I would have 4 weeks to work with him or her. I was really pleased with this because then I thought I could leave and know in my heart I helped them even if the new teacher was sh#t ... which wouldn't be their fault but the schools for employing him/her. Unfortunately I had a family loss in my home country on JUNE 9th, I had spoken to my family who are very supportive and I spoke with MAGGIE and made the statement, " Despite whats happened I have spoken to my family and they understand and I gave you my word that I would help and stay an extra month." Today is the 1st August and my replacement still hasn't arrived !!! MAGGIE doesn't want the new teachers to hear bad stories about the school, incase they run away. Well I think its about time that this devil and the hell hole are exposed really for what they are.
An American, married couple were hired a few months ago at the school, they had TEFLS but no degree or experience and they were told, " Oh its ok, we will train you." They were also informed that they would not be separated. When they arrive they have a schedule awaiting them which doesn't involve training but includes teaching the 2nd year teacher's weekend classes who had gone back to his home country to see family. Naturally they both felt inadequate and intimidated by the situation. The school didn't really help or prepare them. Following this fiasco they had to have a meeting with MAGGIE whereby, she informed them that the husband would be sent to HEKOU ( 50 minutes away) and that the wife would stay here. They were confused and reminded MAGGIE that she had told them that this wouldn't happen, MAGGIE did her favourite response and denied this, " What you must misunderstanding me , I never said that." The following afternoon MAGGIE was in our office crying on the sofa talking in Chinese to WAYNE as to why they had ran away and that they had called her a liar and she isn't a liar. WAYNE was doing his best to convince her she had done nothing wrong, like Smithers comforts Mr Burns. The American couple were lovely and the ordeal that endured was disgusting. MAGGIE was suspicious when they both rang in sick so she went to their apartment to find them packing, she was asking them why are they doing this and they told her because she lied to them, everything they had previously been told was all a lie and they had received no guidance from the school for the classes they were covering, least of all to mention that they should have been " trained" first. MAGGIE instructed CHEMIE and ADAM to follow them and prevent them from leaving CHEMIE and ADAM harassed the couple at the bus station constantly. They told the ticket officer not to sell them a ticket. They tried standing infront of them so they couldn't walk, they told the ticket inspectors not to let them on the bus, then finally they protested that the husband had assaulted them and that they both needed to be stopped and the police should be called. Luckily they both managed to get home safe apart from being extremely shook up.
Following this event MAGGIE decided to hold a manager's meeting to which all teachers must attend. This was her opportunity to try to bad mouth the couple to us and state that they had called her a liar and the reason they left was because they had been told something from another teacher and it wasn't her fault ....again! Her and WAYNE then asked us to give our opinions on how the school could avoid this from happening as they were the 12th and 13th teacher to have just ran away. All of us gave constructive and relevant advice which at first was immediately defended by WAYNE which just illustrated that we were wasting our time because nothing was going to change. The school would still continue to hold the TAs school certificate as a blackmail that they could never leave because the school had their original copies, they would still employ TA's with little English, lie to new teachers, not do research or background checks on new teachers and not inform new teachers of everything in relation to the job, hour, salary, housing, vacation, bonuses... BEFORE they had even booked their flights to China. No none of this was going to happen, infact the meeting had the reverse effect which will make it even harder for a new teacher, MAGGIE has now decided that new teachers will not arrive until the previous teacher has left. Clearly observing the previous teacher's style with their classes, seeing how the children behave, meeting the parents and just getting a general feel for the class is not important, it is more beneficial for the new teacher to go into their classes completely blind without any helpful information to prepare them for the class because, this way nothing bad about the school can be said to them from the previous teacher. This just shows how ridiculous and petty MAGGIE really is she thinks this will stop teachers running away, not to mention the other 9 teachers that the new teacher would be sharing an office with, who are all able to speak and voice their own experiences. During my final meeting with Maggie I told her that to eradicate this she simply had to stop doing bad things to people, " If you don't want bad things to be said, then just stop doing them."
I knew during my last week at Shane that MAGGIE would try to pull some stunt on me, I had to receive my salary and paperwork because the following day I flew to England and she knew that. I questioned her a few times as the end of the week approached just for reassurance that everything would be ready for me on Sunday and her attitude with me had become very cold and bitter. There have been some teachers and there are some that are aware of MAGGIES nature but they "entertain" her when they are sat alone with her in the office, what they don't realise is that when they want to leave she will try to do something to them too! Throughout my 14 months at Shane School MAGGIE has inappropriately changed the topic of conversation from a school issue to a personal matter or asked personal questions about the other foreign teachers. I have always bluntly told her that I was there to discuss myself, nobody else. I also made her aware that I would have no patience for any games that she tried to play with me on my final day, I just wanted what I was owed and I would leave.. simple right? No, I am still in shock as to her actions that day. She told me to see her at 12:00 and she would pay me, and I approach her office she is leaving and then she screams at me infront of parents and students that I'm a liar and that she had said 15:10. At 15:10 I go to her office, I have my final class to teach at 15:50 and surprise she isn't there. So I tell the receptionist JESSICA that I won't move until she arrives and gives me my things like she had said. By this point I was done with this woman and her lies and power games. She walked in at 15:40 and dangled my paperwork infront of my face and pointed to where my money was, like I should beg and plead for what I had earned. She then told me what a bad person I was and that all the teachers had told her things about me and the TAS, this was her delusional attempt at trying to enrage or hurt me but her attempts were wasted because I just insisted she stopped and handed over my things. She then said get your handover notes for the new teacher and you can have your things, to which I said no because I didn't trust her. I knew that she was trying to make things difficult for me and that she was enjoying doing so. Therefore I knew I needed a Chinese member of staff that I trusted and who wasn't brainwashed or terrified of MAGGIE. They bought my handover notes up to me which enticed MAGGIE to throw my money at me and reluctantly shove my paperwork infront of me. She then said something bad about me in Chinese and that I was late to class to which I understood, so I told her it was her fault I was late. She stood up and grabbed both my money and my paperwork back and told me to shut up or I would get nothing and that she would give me trouble. This sorry excuse for a human being was not getting the better of me or ruining my plans to fly home the next day, so I grabbed them back and went back to class and informed my students the truth as to why I was late and apologized to them.
By now you are clear on the vindictive and malicious behavior that this "manager" has. Also her actions are encouraged by the owner of the company , don't forget that because aslong as the school is making money.... he isn't bothered, MAGGIE can do what she desires. You should also be made aware that the threats this school makes against your visa and salary are visible. The school has strong connections with both the visa office and the government. This is how the illegal teachers working at our school go unnoticed. Now I commend anybody for wanting to better themselves but it was frustrating taking over classes from the previous teacher who had no experience or degree and having alot of work to do. If you don't have a degree the school just makes one for you, which the government accepts. If you decide you want to leave without telling the school, once your new school start to process details over to a new visa, the visa office instantly contact Shane. Usually when you leave a job in China and you go to another job your visa and foreign experts number is all transferred to your new employer to be cancelled and changed, simple process. Well, a simple process for anybody who doesn't have the maturity levels of a 5 year old. Due to me staying an extra month, my visa needed extending. MAGGIE asked me", We do your visa today. Can we give you L visa?" I instantly replied, "NO!" I had paid for a Z visa, I was a professional. MAGGIE proceeded to ask why this was an issue and I told her that I understood the procedures and that if I was put on a L visa it meant I would be working illegally in China because it is a tourist visa. The ironic thing is that weeks later when my new employer contacted her asking her to transfer my documents she wouldn't. She made up a lot of excuses as to why she couldn't help, when the real reason was that I wasn't receiving any help because I was leaving. My new school had asked her to cancel my FEC and visa 4 days before my last day. Maggie simultaneously shook her had and waved her hands around, " Oh no can't, I get in trouble with police, big police man get me." I suddenly remembered her wanting me to work illegally for a month, but she wasn't willing to do it for 4 days because it didnt involve her or the school. After explaining this to her she angrily said," Ok tell them I want 6000 juan/rmb and I will help them." Thankfully my new job seems very professional and they refused to negotiate my information and declared that they weren't the kind of school to operate like that.
China can be a good place to work just avoid SHANE school or AILE if you see either of them don't sign up!!!!