I've got a pretty good deal with them- for me, anyway. At my branch.
I think they're opening franchises quite aggressively these days, so I imagine there are a few people buying into their marketing scheme and starting schools when they have no idea how to run one... Worker beware..
I think the part timers have a better hourly deal- if they give you block hours and you can wrangle enough time elsewhere. You don't have all the responsibilities of the full timers.
Full timers are there for 9 hours a day, teaching or not. You get extra money on top of your salary for doing more than the main classes you are contracted to teach. There's an attendance bonus, a housing allowance, paid sick days, paid Chinese NewYear, government holidays, typhoon days, and some floating holidays you can take off paid during your second year. 12,000 a year "good job" bonus, and a 30,000 contract completion bonus. You are expected to come in on Saturdays or stay late occasionally for promotional activities. You are expected to decorate your classroom (I get my own classroom) and help out with the school decorations and functions. You are to give prospective students placement tests. You do many little jobs requiring your participation and preparation that have nothing to do with your actual classes. They have at least one special function per semester (spelling bee, speech contest) and it's a lot of work that nobody really has time for. Communication reports are written about every two weeks, and they're expected to be very well written and thorough. There's a constant barrage of suggestions from "head office", and they don't always make sense or are considerate of your lesson plans or students' time. It can really be too much sometimes.
The curriculum is fairly well laid out, includes suggestions for games, and has tons of worksheets. You can occasionally cruise through a class or two. The major problem is that there is too much of it, too fast. It's like they are trying to prove how good they are by the sheer amount of work the children do. They claim an American curriculum presented in a "spiral" method, but it constantly needs your attention and effort to make it work well. I'm usually struggling to be certain that the students have caught on to some point that was taught only briefly a short time ago. I'm always looking for efficient ways to review previous material without falling behind on the current stuff. The tests are difficult. They try to match the student's English level to the class, but it's not always accurate, and some students suffer. They are also expected to regularly read books, write reports, present reports, and write journals. A lot of their product has to be very finished and looking nice on the walls. You're not supposed to assign homework, but for some things, it's necessary. I think their fees and marketing strategy cater to the wealthy, but the kids are mostly all right, if not a bit spoiled.
I guess you could say that I "slave" away there, but for now, it's a good deal for me. The money is about on par with most salaried jobs. In my case, I get fed lunch and dinner, and I save a lot of money that way. I have a pretty nice work environment in a nicely designed, well-lit classroom with a big window. I have a computer in the class (really useful) and my bosses seem to leave me alone. I get all the supplies I need and my co-workers are very helpful. I prefer to be working busily rather than wasting time on the job. When I do get some time to waste, I appreciate it. I like not having to race around on my scooter for part time hours, even though I could probably make more money that way. I don't have a lot of time to play games, so the students really appreciate it when I do. I feel that I work hard and make a little difference for some of my students. As far as the English school game in Taiwan, I've had a lot worse. It's not a stickyball school.
Part timers still have to prepare for Christmas and spelling bees and all that stuff. I imagine some of it is unpaid. They don't get the other bonuses.
There is unpaid training about twice a year for newcomers that really sucks. I don't have to go anymore.
After writing this, I guess I've got it pretty good! My bosses are inexperienced, misinformed, and often unrealistic, but I'm pretty used to it. My work load will be better when they find another full timer to share the duties with, but for now it's manageable. I'm looking forward to a holiday, that's for sure.
Just keep in mind that it's a franchise, and under the skin, they're all a lot different.
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