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Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby Puppet » 14 Jan 2010, 13:10


After working at terrible schools and finally finding good schools, this thread is quite entertaining.
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby Kinyonga » 14 Jan 2010, 14:14

I just found this thread and after reading all of this I feel I have to say something.
I worked for Richmond for several years. My experience was, on balance, a positive one. I loved my students and really enjoyed my classes. I taught mostly adults with as many hours as I wanted. My pay was lower than those who teach kids but better than any other adult business English schools offered, and I received raises every year. As someone else described above, once I'd been there awhile, the weird criticisms stopped and management pretty much left me alone to teach. As long as you keep your head down, smile and nod, it is POSSIBLE to have a good experience there.
I saw some good honest teachers come and go. Many had some very bad experiences. I have no reason not to believe their stories. Nothing that was said here seems too far off base. I have actually heard much worse than has been said here, by people who deserved better.
I have struggled for a long time to reconcile this contradiction.

So, here's my two cents...
Taiwan is a very different culture than where most of us come from, it blows our hair back from the moment we step off the airplane. Cultural differences go far deeper than tu di gongs and ghost month. Taiwanese ideas about relationships and values are often as opaque to us as ours are to them. Why should those in the workplace make any more sense to us? The language barrier is a yawning chasm, and most of us expect management to conduct all business with us in English.

Everyday in Taiwan is an exercise in overcoming a multitude of little miscommunications and cross-cultural mishaps, peppered with the occasional truly F'd up encounter. These are the the sources of the culture shock that knocks everyone down at some point. All of this is pretty obvious, and yet when we enter the workplace we assume all of this goes away, that management should know how to treat us like we expect to be treated, as if our notions of employee/employer relationships are the most just and reasonable, and should be applied universally.
Now I'm sure I'll get blasted here for defending the indefensible. My point is not whose right or wrong, but that focusing on whose right or wrong is counter-productive. Most teachers who come to Taiwan teach awhile and then go back. The quality of our experience in Taiwan is entirely our responsibility. If you fight every injustice and take offense at every deceit, the only effect is likely to be your own embitterment; you aren't going to make anyone see the error of their ways. This is a country where legality is often nearly irrelevant. That doesn't make it right, but recognizing this fact can help. Instead, try swallowing your pride, apologizing for whats not your fault, ignoring the insult, and do what you need to do to let everyone save face; not because its the right thing to do (I'm not saying it is), but because if you don't, you're the only one who will suffer.

Now its possible that Richmond is a crappy place to work, I have no idea. (Full disclosure: it was my first and only job in my three and a half years in Taiwan) I heard good honest people tell their first-hand horror stories of their battles with evil buxiban management all over Taiwan. I am, by no means an expert in anything but how I got along at Richmond. And I am by no means addressing or assigning fault here. Its about the fact that most of us understand that cultural difference means accepting some things that seem pretty F'd up, not because of some "I'm ok your ok" b.s. but because not doing so amounts to beating your head against a wall. If anyone thinks anything said here will change anything at Richmond or any other buxiban, you are deluding yourself.

Oh, and about the much maligned 15k deposit. I knew it was illegal for them to withhold it, so I negotiated an equivelent 15k bonus for completing my contract, which I received three times and upon departing received my original deposit back.

To Aidoue:
I'm really sorry you had such a s**k-a** experience there. You deserved better; I hope you find an employment situation that suits you, and that this doesn't embitter you towards Taiwan and Taiwanese in general. Let us know any further developments

Flame on...
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby Tempo Gain » 29 Mar 2010, 15:14

I split several posts to this new thread: Who causes problems, employers or employees?

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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby BearArmy » 23 Aug 2010, 14:41

Okay, so I just finished my year-long contract with Richmond Institute. Let me tell you a little about it.

First of all, I did enjoy working at Richmond for the majority of the time. And the other teachers seem enjoy it even more than me. However, you'll notice none of them posted anything in defense of the school. That's because none of us really appreciate what they did to Aidoue. Also, there is a strong incentive to keep new teachers away, as they are potential competitors who can take hours away from you. I quit, however, so I have no reason to hold back now.

The other teachers and I noticed a distinct change after the OP started this thread. Before she posted, Richmond was interviewing teachers almost every week, sometimes every day. After she posted it, nothing. She certainly made a difference.

The reason I quit was not really about how they treated me. Lorraine and Richard, who run the place, were always very nice to me and we got along well. Most Sunday nights they even give you cake. Granted, it's the leftover cake they don't sell, but still, cake is nice if you like cake.

No, I left because they weren't giving me enough hours. Some weeks I'd have 24 hours a week, some weeks I'd have 16. My last few weeks there, as they finally added new teachers and started pushing me out, I got maybe 7 hours a week. I didn't think this was very fair, but whatever. The fluxuation is a problem because every week your schedule is different; they give you the next week's schedule the Saturday before. That way, it's hard to make personal plans in advance, and it's very hard to get part time jobs somewhere else, even though they promise you that you can. Also, they'll call you in to sub for someone for 2 classes, then tell you it's only one class (because another teacher they like better said yes).

So, my experience was not as bad as Aidoue's, but not as good as the other teachers I've worked with. Richmond subscribes to the shitgun method of hiring people: hire anyone who seems good, fire them into a class, and see if they stick. I've figured out the type of person that will succeed at Richmond, and if you're this type of person, they'll treat you well.

First, they would always get on me for being too serious, even though I would joke the whole class and everyone would laugh. This frustrated me, until I realized that they all wanted ME to laugh at THEIR jokes. So, an easy laughter will do well because if someone thinks you're funny, you'll open up and be less shy. I am not an easy laughter in the slightest. A lot of the students I did find very funny, and those were the students that would attend my classes. Everyone wants someone to think they're funny. This is an important lesson I learned. Unfortunately, my fake laugh doesn't sound very convincing.

Second, always be cheerful, energetic, and talkative. I am none of these things, so it's a small miracle that I taught there as long as I did. I was especially not cheerful after they started cutting my hours, which is when they started to tell me to "control my mood". One teacher at that school that they really like could talk for an hour and a half about cake. I am just not that type of person. I don't have what it takes to talk for an hour and a half about cake.

If you fit the bill, then Richmond will be a great place to work. Several teachers have now signed on for one more year. However, if you don't fit the bill, and not enough students come to your class, you will have a hard time. Much of this is because of the students, who pay quite a bit more than normal to take classes there, and will complain about you if you slip up, or you're not prepared, or they just don't like you, or they think you're boring. The problem is that Richmond promises students that if they don't like a teacher they can attend another class, but there aren't enough teachers to give 2 choices for every English level. As a result, one student will complain that you're boring and you're kicked out of your class. You start to live in fear of every student as you try to smile, make conversation, and act interested in every word they say. So what I'm saying is that it's a challenging job, and not everyone who they hire will survive there.

A lot of classes were really fun to teach, and the students were all characters that made the class very fun and lively. The boss was also rather friendly and jokey with me, which is nice. And the staff was super cool too, although for some reason they're required to run everywhere. It's supposed to make the place look professional, but instead it looks like you're on the deck of the Starship Enterprise as it's under attack. (The futuristic uniforms add to this impression.)

Anyways, if you're talkative, lively, funny, and laugh at anything, you'll thrive. Keep this in mind, should you decide to work there.

- BearArmy
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby tomthorne » 23 Aug 2010, 18:25

I don't see how anyone could 'thrive' in a school that only offered 16 or 24 teaching hours and screwed up any chance of doing part time work elsewhere, unless money isn't an issue. I don't know what Richmond pay, but I'd guess it's around 700 an hour. You're not going to be bringing much home each month.
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby Aidoue » 24 Aug 2010, 01:08

Richard and Loraine might have been nice to you, but cutting someone's hours to 7 per week, isn't very nice, in fact, it's illegal. You should have at least 14 per week. It's a way of firing you, and if they can get you to quit before the contract ends, they get to keep your deposit.

By the way, Richmond doesn't pay much more than cram schools, I got NT580 for most of the time I worked there.
If you kept working there on 7 hours, you'll be taking home around NT16200 per month! Go and work in 7/11 instead, they might let you take some food home.

And another thing, I think I'm quite capable of talking about cake for an hour and a half, even two if you talk back. A bubbly personalty might just make them jealous, and they might just cut your hours as punishment.

Don't forget that Richmond promises a minimum hours/week in the contract, mine was 25 - again not very nice.
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby BearArmy » 24 Aug 2010, 17:29

Yeah, they only pay 600 an hour after you work there for 2 months. And that's just for the classes. Then there are the "foreign consultant" sessions where you sit in their "cafe" or "bar" for 45 minutes, get paid 200 an hour, and have to make random conversation based on no material. It's like you're stuck on a bad date with 10 or more people. And don't get me started on the kids. No one there likes teaching the kids. The material is either way too easy, or way too hard. It has something to do with the fact that you're dressed in a business suit. Kids hate business suits.

Yeah, I liked working there. And Brutus was an honorable man. ;) There are those that like working there, though. That's all I'm saying.
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby TheGingerMan » 25 Aug 2010, 10:50

BearArmy wrote:The other teachers and I noticed a distinct change after the OP started this thread. Before she posted, Richmond was interviewing teachers almost every week, sometimes every day. After she posted it, nothing. She certainly made a difference.

Aidoue shot, and she scored! And with the great trickle on doan!
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby Whole Lotta Lotta » 25 Aug 2010, 21:40

I don't know much about this place, but judging from the poor grammar in the response from Richmond, it sounds like there is a lot of truth to it.
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Re: Do not work for Richmond International English (瑞奇蒙國際美語)

Postby TaiwanVisitor12321 » 27 Aug 2010, 02:00

I did a demo at this place, and it was really strange.

The employees posed as students (including Richard), and then proceeded to pretend that they couldn't understand anything I said, and acted like children with shy one word replies to everything (if they even responded to questions), and no matter what I asked they wouldn't really cooperate. Then only maybe a minute in, they told me to move to the next section of the demo, claiming my five minutes for the first section were already up. The next section was ten minutes, and they stopped me after maybe two minutes at the most. Why did you even ask me to do a demo if you just cut me off before I can even really get started?

I'm really not sure what they were looking for, and it was my second demo in Taiwan (and first with adults) so it probably did suck but it was really odd. Real students are shy, but they do actually respond when asked something directly... most of the time. I've demoed at other schools that pull that shit too though (fake students acting overly shy and refusing to cooperate). I don't get it. I guess it's supposed to show how we deal with shy students, but I've never yet met a shy student that behaved that way.
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