Think carefully before picking this one
I am going to apologize in the beginning for the length of this review. I endured a year of torture with JESIE, so please understand I will have a lot to say. To begin, my arrival day with JESIE was the day they take the pictures. I was not informed of this until the evening before when I was in the airport in Hong Kong. L at JESIE told me I need a formal outfit that is full black. As I had sent all of my formal clothes home recently due to never having used them, I told her I had nothing to wear. She told me to go ahead and wear my darkest colored jeans and top as the photographer could edit my clothes. Well, when I arrived I felt like an idiot because everyone was dressed very nicely except me of course. I also found out (unbeknownst to me) that the previous week was a training week. I had missed the entire training, though there wouldn’t have been anything I could do about that anyway because I was under a contract in Hong Kong and left the day it finished. Well, I expected someone at JESIE would catch me up with what I missed. Boy, was I wrong. I got a 15 minute run down of what people spent an entire week on before I was sent off to my school. JESIE is very particular on the structure and curriculum they want you to use, but I got no information about that beforehand. This caused a lot of problems later on which I will mention.
In regards to my school, I had a lot of issues. The apartment was particularly bad. First, there was a serious mold issue. The mold was growing uncontrollably on the walls. I noticed this in early October. I reported this to JESIE and the school multiple times. They finally said they would fix it during the winter holiday (middle of January) as they needed to paint and didn’t want the paint fumes to bother me. Since this was the best they could do, I agreed and lived in the moldy apartment, trying to clean it best as I could during that time. I also had a problem getting any help at the school. My electricity got cut off once because no one would give me the number for the utilities to pay even though I asked numerous times. It also took me more than 1 month to be able to get wifi. I had to bring my laptop to the school every day to do work that was necessary for my job. In the end, my Chinese boyfriend had to set up the wifi for me because the school wouldn’t do anything. I reported all of this to JESIE. I got no help at all. There were also some serious attitude problems. There was a teacher in the school the previous year who had left after half a year. This was the first foreign teacher to work at the school. My coworker was discussing this with me and basically complaining that the girl was always asking for help to buy things that were necessary to live, like groceries. She told me that no one wants to help us because it’s extra work that they don’t get paid for. I was shocked, but of course it made sense as to why I never got any help from my school, even for things they were responsible for. I also had two issues in which I had called my liaison, one being when I was sick and one being when there was an issue with an exam, and she laughed at me and mocked me on the phone. The issue with the exam was this: It was the last week before winter holiday and of course the school had just informed me about giving exams. I was nearly finished, but I had 3 more exams to give and one final day. The school decided they wanted to start regular exams that day and take my classes, but they still wanted me to give my exams. I told them they need to tell me when and what day. They couldn’t manage to think of a day and time. After considering it a while, we decided I would do it during the lunch hour of the same day they cancelled my classes (hope that makes sense). Well, I come to the classes during the lunch hour and guess what? The head teachers 1. Didn’t know I was coming and 2. Said I couldn’t have the class. I called my liaison and told her I was quite upset about this. Clearly, they don’t take things seriously as I do. There were also several occasions when I received a call in the morning around 7 am and the school told me I didn’t need to come that day. Then, about 20 minutes before class began, they called me and told me they changed their minds and I needed to go! I hadn’t even taken a shower yet or gotten ready. They told me I could just do it later, which isn’t even the point. This school had no idea of how to work with foreigners. What professional teacher wants to go to class looking a mess? Not me! In addition to these issues, I had a very hard time with discipline in the classroom. Many of the kids would be violent with one another, yanking each other out of their chairs and bashing the other one’s head on the floor. I had one student throw glass at another student. I tried to discipline them through the methods recommended to me, but it never worked. Sometimes the students would just run out of my class and around the side of the building. I would call for them to come back and they wouldn’t. I couldn’t get any help with my classes from JESIE or the school. It was a nightmare, but I personally tried my absolute best.
Now, for the part about JESIE. I definitely feel I was targeted by JESIE as they treated me as an outcast and picked on me. These are the reasons why. So, after the first half of the year’s issues, I had come back from winter holiday and found that the mold issue had not been touched at all. We had training that week at the JESIE headquarters and we were supposed to have a meeting with P the boss. I decided I would mention my issues at this time. At the advice of my friends, I was told to tell her that if this is not fixed, then I will be leaving. So, the meeting finally came and I told her that I was generally dissatisfied. I was also planning on telling her about the other above mentioned issues with my school, but we didn’t get that far. I said what I wanted to say about the mold, and she went off on me. She was completely yelling at me, criticizing me as a teacher. She was saying how I didn’t meet JESIE standards as a teacher. So, let me add in here that my classes had been observed officially by the academic supervisor V only twice up to that point and they were done during the FIRST MONTH of the year when I hadn’t even received the training everyone else had! Of course, I questioned her why this was not brought up before and also why more reviews hadn’t been done on my classes. She told me that, yes, she should have told me sooner and that she told V to stop coming to review my classes because I asked him why he came to my school… Apparently I missed the training in the manners class where it wasn’t appropriate to ask someone the reason for their visit as CLEARLY I had a reason to worry. She also proceeded to criticize me for not doing more than my required peer observations. The entire time I was with JESIE, I did every task they asked of me. I did every essay, every peer observation, everything…and I did it on time or early. She was actually criticizing me for not doing MORE when I already had an inflexible schedule, the travel is at MY cost, and there are many other things I have to complete for them and my school. I’m still stunned by this. She also berated me for getting upset at L 2 times on the phone because the address and directions she gave me for other teacher’s schools were not correct and I was nearly late. She told me that other teachers give the office staff gifts and bring in food that they baked, etc. She also told me that, due to my teaching, they didn’t trust me to do open days. I had done one so far the entire 6 months. V was present for that open day and I asked her what the feedback for that open day was. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t know anything about my performance that day. She was basing my performance on her own assumptions and not on reality. I did not get to discuss any of my issues with P. I listened to her berate me for 30+ minutes instead. Without even having a full understanding, she then told me “Well, I can see you won’t choose us next year and we won’t choose you either.” The funny part of this is that I was actually still considering staying with them depending on how this meeting went. Clearly, this was no longer an option for me.
After the meeting, of course I began to look for a new job. However, I tried to improve my standing in JESIE’s eyes as best as I could to leave on a good note. I apologized to L and gave her a gift. I made brownies and brought them to the office. I observed 2 classes outside of the one I was assigned that month. V came to see my class again in April. The report said that I did meet standards. I received 2 in the first month of working and then one in April, 2 months before the end of the year. I wonder how long this false impression was going on before it was corrected because no one cared to check on my teaching?
Well, did any of this improve anything with JESIE? No. They still treated me terribly. They caused a HUGE amount of problems for me in transferring to my new job. At first, they wouldn’t give me a document that I needed to transfer. Then, they gave me the document so late that we didn’t have enough time to complete the transfer of my residence permit. My new company asked them multiple times if they would extend my current residence permit, but they refused. So, we had to start from scratch. They really caused huge problems for me. I cannot express how horrible and stressful the year was working for them and the nightmares they caused for me as I was leaving.
I know this has gotten long, but I just want to end by saying this. More than half of the teachers they had last year left. There’s a reason for that. In the very least, I hope this makes you think hard and ask a lot of questions before working at this company. I certainly don’t want anyone to deal with this again.