Bruce Lee, martial artist, philosopher, actor, artist, self-made man, had a unique view of life, Zen and its place at the heart of the martial arts. Inspirational, and timeless, his reflections – captured in this easy listening classic – are as relevant today as they were when penned half a century ago.
1. Employees all use Chinglish names like “Peter Gao” or “Susan Liu”. These are fabricated ghost names that are virtually untraceable.
2. Their web site is less than a year old (or they don’t have one at all)
3. Their web site uses a .org or .cn domain.
4. Their web site contains no verifiable street address for their office.
5. Their web site has no land-line telephone number published – only disposable mobile numbers.
6. They demand copies of your passport before you receive a written job offer and sign a contract.
7. They cannot produce a color scan copy of their SAIC Chinese business license which can be verified on line.
8. They insist on meeting you in a coffee shop or your office – never their own.
9. They always fill out your visa application in Chinese so you cannot understand if they are lying or not.
10. They are not members of the BBB or any legitimate Chamber of Commerce. (if they are US-based)
11. They use disposable free emails like gmail, hotmail, sina, 163, qq, 126, yahoo, etc.
12. They claim there is someone else with your same name in the computer system and they need your taxpayer ID (SSN) to clarify for the Chinese visa bureau.
13. They tell you that you don’t need a Z visa right away and to just come to China on an L, F, or M, visa.
14. They offer to sell you a fake diploma and/or TEFL certificate, or FEC
15. They tell you that you have a job before you ever even interviewed with the school or director employer.
16. They never give email confirmations of verbal promises made to you.
17. They rush or pressure you to sign a contract giving a fake deadline that is only a few days away.
18. They ask you for the names and phone numbers of your teaching colleagues as a professional references. (They are later contacted and offered jobs in China)
19. No written job description with the name and school location is provided to you until after your arrive in China.
20. They ask for up-front money or a deposit of any kind.
21. They coach you how to lie when applying for your visa.
22. They tell you that the average wage for expats in China is 5,000-7,000 yuan per month.
23. They tell you that you must use a visa agent because the application process is very complicated and confusing and/or all the forms are in Chinese! (absolutely false).
24. That without a TEFL certificate it is impossible to find a teaching job in China that pays more than 5,000 Yuan per month.
25. That your China employer must hold your passport for a 3-6 month probationary period.
Aston is like Disney English – Screwed up management but not technically a scam. They are unethical in that they will tell you that you will work X number of hours per week and then always squeeze an extra five hours out of you. Their last minute schedule changes are famous, and one of the key top managers is a pathological liar. The pay is less than average but people are fooled by the fact they have been around a few years and old video testimonials are used from hen they first started and had some concept of quality and ethics. They do not provide Z visas from their own company unless you absolutely threaten to walk if they don’t. Anyway, my advice is to not put these guys on your short list or they will give you some bad memories but not a release letter nor your last paycheck. I worked there for one year. They have many locations, and I have not met any really happy teachers at any of them in the last 2 years.
Speakup London runs ‘free’ speaking classes as part of a promotional package to entice non-native English speaks to sign up for their paid classes. These classes are outsourced to volunteers.
They either come from a different teaching method than modern TEFL certificates or do not have a clue. We were asked the impossible: a speaking class to mixed ability students that does not use any course books and does not require them to read, or the use of the photocopier for class material.
The library was not for our use either. So we were left to our own ingenuity and devices which at the end of the day Speakup London only had typical, quoted, criticisms that they did not seem to understand themselves. The only advice given for the lessons was, “Second conditional: ‘If I were an animal what kind of animal would I be'”, though this is not authentic genuine conversation – so why would I teach it?
We were also required to correct language at the end of the class even though in a mixed ability class, what language was fair to correct?
In summary they wanted the class to be no more than what the students were able to do themselves in a coffee shop or bar, but the teacher was also supposed to teach – without teaching – and be invisible at the same time.
Looking at Shane English School, Japan, and have come across some not so good reviews, one of which is this. Trading forex teaches a lot as it is very psychological and a person has to have some sort of awareness about themselves and how they react to both loss and gain of money. The same principles, like Chess, can be applied in the real world; one of which is that rush feeling before a trade where hope prevails over common sense long enough for the consequences to be painful – I am getting that very feeling with Shane English School Japan (SESJ).