There is a school called TEFL Academy, based in Hangzhou, that I would advise any and all Foreign Teacher applicants to steer clear of.
I worked at a variety of TEFL Academy locations throughout Zhejiang Province for about 2 years. I held positions at Zhuji, Yiwu, and Hangzhou(Qingchun) and Hangzhou(Huanglong). The company\'s headquarters are located at the Huanglong center. While I enjoyed working with many of my foreign and Chinese colleagues, I must advise any and all potential foreign applicants to stay far away from TEFL Academy.
I left the company in good standing of my own accord, and I am now happily employed in Hong Kong.
There are three reasons for my recommendation.
1) The company is dishonest.
2) The company is disorganized and lacking a central management or any clear chain of responsibility.
3) The company is suffering in student numbers due to poor quality of instruction (largely due to reasons number 1 and 2).
TEFL Academy has little interest in actually teaching English - many of its Chinese tutors are barely capable of speaking coherent English, and they seem to simply provide the same failed-instruction that necessitated serious Chinese English students seeking instruction at a private school in the first place.
However, poor teaching materials, no time to prepare for classes, and an indifferent management have led to unhappy teachers and disappointed students. TEFL Academy's management is completely dysfunctional, and they have little concern for their teachers, Chinese or Foreign. They further have little to no concern for their own rules - unless the teachers themselves try to enforce the school's rules, which results in the teachers being penalized.
Excuse making and lies are rampant, as well as institutionalized racism against Foreign Teachers. TEFL Academy refuses to ever appoint a Foreign Teacher to be in charge of Foreign Teachers, and instead insists on only allowing Chinese Tutors to be in charge of Foreign Teachers - despite the fact that not a single one of their Chinese Tutors has ever been outside of China, and many have scarcely traveled outside of Zhejiang Province.
The contracts are wholly amateur, and the company will selectively enforce or abrogate parts of the contract at their whim. If no other reason effectively persuades one to avoid TEFL Academy, then perhaps the fact that their student numbers have dramatically fallen in the past year is enough to suggest that they may not continue to exist for very long. Their abysmal teacher retention rate (compared to other schools just in Hangzhou), coupled with precipitously declining student numbers, are enough to suggest that this company is not winning the game, nor is it deserving of the talents or sacrifices of Foreign Teacher applicants.
English First, Wall Street, Web International, Power, and New Oriental all offer better contracts and better job security.
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