Greetings, this is a warning about a particular school, Uncle Sam's American School in Sanxia. I worked there for one year after ignorantly signing a contract. Hopefully, this thread can help others when deciding between this school and others.
They also have another branch in Banqiao and are opening another one in Inga.
About the school.....the worse management ever and the boss is a major scumbag who will barely look a foreign staff member in the eye, much less speak to him/her.
When I was there, he would instruct the Chinese staff to treat the foreigners like children, constantly double checking and overriding us in front of the kids, and would never even have a conversation with us, though he speaks pretty good English, especially compared to the goonies that he labeled as management.
Well, with the exception of one goonie that is. The head foreign teacher, a morbidly obese Canadian, is the biggest joke of a manager I have ever come across in real life or even TV. Ever see that show The Office? He commanded zero respect from any of us....
Seriously, this is the worse managed place on earth, has to be. I used to work in Hagwons in Korea and I thought that was bad. The force is strong with Uncle Sam.
Back to the owner....maybe this is the norm in Taiwan.....but have you ever worked for a small company and not had a conversation with its owner even one time in a one year span despite passing him in the hallways every day and always saying hey to him? The only time he even has the courage to actually say something to a foreigner staff member or acknowledge that staff member's existence in when he is liquored up and being a total creep.
But on to financial matters, the owner knows most foreigners who come to Taiwan are newbies straight out of college and don't think to question their employer's financial ethics. We had some serious brown nosers and sheep there.
However, several of us knew we were being cheated out of a lot of tax money as well as being over charged for health insurance. The school never wanted us to do our own taxes or even look into the matter, but it was reportedly "for our convenience."
After having several group meetings with our paperwork and pay stubs....tax sheets that we had to beg for, the head Chinese manager informed us that the owner was in fact reporting us as well as a fictional employee for each of us as part-time workers for tax evasion. We were only getting part time tax wages back as a result. Well at that point, we threatened to go to the tax office and report him. He then promptly gave us a refund for an adjusted percentage and begged us not to go to the government and say anything....mind you, this is the first time I actually was able to talk to him and that was after numerous meetings with Chinese managers who can't speak English half as good as him. More on all of this later.
Then they turn around and treat you like you are a horrible person because you were unable to get a student to finish 20 pages of work in a two day span right before the take home books go out on the weekend because he/she was absent for the last two months.
But hey, the books have to be perfect for the parents, right? Everything does. Learning is an afterthought at this place. Like I said, I did ESL in Korea for a while, but this school puts any of my experiences there to shame, and I worked at a pretty shady place in Korea. They would have the older middle-school age kids at my school in Korea bend over so they could hit them with bamboo sticks.....
Another thing, one of the school's big Christmas activities is to have the parents push their children in a wheel-barrow style rely race to decorate the foreign teachers like Christmas trees. They also just recently had a Mother's Day event in which, the foreign teachers were instructed to stand outside of the school for several hours in the rain while the parents, kids and Chinese staff stayed inside. Yeah, come to Uncle Sam if you want to be micro manged to a fault, treated like dirt and cheated in any possible way.
Also, the Chinese co-teachers are constantly at each others' throats and are hell to work with with a few exceptions. The competition to be head Chinese teacher for each level to have the highest salary and/or bonus at particular level was fierce.
An example on hell to work with.....one co-teacher once instructed my students to tell me not to put anything in her trash can. So one day three students jumped up and ran to the trash can right after I threw away a paper with coloring marks on it that one of them was playing with after snack time. They said, "teacher ----- teacher said you can't use her trashcan." The funny thing is I rarely put anything in there. Of course this Chinese teacher never ever mentioned anything on the matter to me before or after the incident....this Chinese teacher was really a piece of work, she also alienated all her Chinese co-workers on her power hungry quest to become the head kindy teacher. This chick was the Madonna of the ESL world. But hey, the owner promotes cuthtroat behavior from his employees, so it's all good. More negativity breeds more....well you get the point.
Stuff like this happened on a regular basis. It's just a very tense and negative work environment. If you have any questions, then please ask. I have so much more I would like to say about this school and its management.
I also know of another previous thread on formosa warning about this school, I have the link....wish I would have found this before I signed my contract there, but you live and you learn. Here is the link:http://forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=84377