Raoul's China Saloon (V5.0) Beta

The Teachers' Lounge => School Reviews and Experiences (ON-TOPIC) => Topic started by: Riz on March 25, 2010, 02:49:41 AM

Title: Birmy International
Post by: Riz on March 25, 2010, 02:49:41 AM
This is a warning for all the foreigners already in china and the ones intending to come and teach in china. stay away from birmy international school or anyone with the name Chloe/Alexandra who is a teaching supervisor in that. she makes people's life like hell and she's rude and very unprofessional.Remember the school's name so you won't get into any problem.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Rin on March 26, 2010, 09:45:32 AM
I've had some contact with Birmy's. Turns out they weren't interested in me as i don't have a degree. Maybe i had a lucky miss then?
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Stil on March 26, 2010, 12:53:57 PM
I've also had contact with Birmy. It's a mill. Pay is standard for the city and on time. There are office hours. Not a fan but perfectly normal for a mill. What was your problem Riz?
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Monkey King on March 26, 2010, 06:00:03 PM
Quote from: Birmy
With step-by-step, diligent study, students will be able to communicate with more effectively English.

Good start.

...people enjoy their lives in Taizhou

I love it when schools feel the need to put stuff like this in.  Who are they trying to convince?

Actually, the website wasn't too shabby, quite professional looking.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: AMonk on March 27, 2010, 12:00:50 AM
..... What was your problem Riz?

Turns out they weren't interested in me as i don't have a degree.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Stil on March 27, 2010, 01:02:20 AM
Different person Bunny, I mean't the OP. He complained about Birmy and I assume someone who works there without saying why. I think Riz is talking about the Birmy in Changsha which is where I am. I want to know what his problems were. He says Chloe/Alexander makes life hell. How did she do that? How long did Riz teach there? Where there other problems besides the girl? I mean read that original post. There's no information at all.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Riz on March 31, 2010, 03:13:05 AM
so here's the story
There are two birmy set ups in changsha. one is near that soccer stadium and the newer one is near the sharaton hotel. i was appointed at the second one as a full time teacher. Everything was going alright at birmy two where i taught for 6 months. later they transfered me to birmy one which is near the stadium. That's where i had met the teaching superviser named chloe. she was a tutor at birmy two and later got promoted as a superviser and went to work at birmy one. She went there two months before i was sent as a substitute teacher to cover Jason whose contract got over and he had the similar bad experience with that branch.

Chloe/alexandra happened to be my supervisor who acted VERY rude with almost all the foreigners there and pissed all of us. my students were happy and quite satisfied with my teaching and ' entertaining skills. i mean my classes were active. I am not sure where to put my fingers but she got a gridge against most of my foreigner colleagues. she even asked few students to talk against me in front of tutors to mar my reputation. she refused to provide any kind of help by saying " i don't know" or something absurd. On top of that she knows nothing about teaching methods and sat in my class few times and gave me no feed back..all she did was just doodling on a piece of paper. there's is a  and sarcasm in her tone of voice and she fired three chinese tutors who were doing everything alright and were good teachers. you know what" she's rude, unprofessional, talks against foreigners openly by saying that there are many foreigners who she can hire so no one is important. I am a teacher. I finished my contract for one year. she never gave me my release letter and reported to the police not to issue me next visa. if  you ever meet her , you can clearly notice that she's a fake person and her smile and every action is just bull-shit. Birmy two may be okay but i am sure they are the same. The situation now is that no foreigner is happily working there and waiting for their contract to be ended. i yelled at her as much as i could in the office because i had already decided to leave china.

Go see her for a check if you wanna know why i left.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Stil on March 31, 2010, 03:35:06 AM
Ok Riz thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: xwarrior on May 18, 2010, 05:47:35 PM

It might not still be relevant but Birmy International is advertising on Seriousteachers.com for teachers.

It is at Taizhou, Changsha

It has the usual blah blah intro and offers salary of RMB8000 ... and 'more than 15 days holiday for one year.'!

Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Riz on May 25, 2010, 06:12:38 AM
birmy international did not give me my release letter and i had to struggle so hard to receive my last salary mate. stay away. especially changsha birmy. they suck.
Title: Re: Birmy International - stay away!!!
Post by: The Truth on November 23, 2010, 02:41:40 AM
Hi all :) I'm very sorry to hear some of you have had the very unfortunate experience of having to work for these despicable clowns too. Here is an account of my own - and several of my teaching colleagues' and friends - experiences at this awful excuse for an English school:

Birmy International English (China) are one of the worst private English schools – if not THE worst – to work for in China. If you receive an offer from these scam artists and cheats, run as far as you can in the opposite direction.

Here is an account of some of my own, and some my teaching colleagues’, experiences at this despicable school:

1. When you arrive, if you are a girl, you will spend your first one or two nights in a shared, filthy, tiny dorm-room with 5 or 6 Chinese, English tutors from the school. You will have to do all your ablutions (going to the toilet, trying to wash yourself with no shower, bath etc.) in a tiny, filthy shared space with absolutely no privacy (you will be trying to wash yourself whilst surrounded by tutors defecating & urinating right next to you, with no-one ever cleaning up after themselves). Your first night, you will have to try sleep on what amounts to no more than a wooden board, crammed into this tiny, filthy space with 5 or 6 of the tutors. The next morning, you will have to make your way to the hospital to have your medical, very likely after not being able to wash yourself or get any sleep due to the appalling conditions. To add insult to injury, you will have to pay your medical check-up expenses yourself, which the school should actually pay for you but are to cheap to do.

2. If you are lucky enough to be a guy in this instance (yes, the school is sexist), you will spend your first night in the cheapest motel available. Anything above 140 RMB & you’ll have to pay the extra yourself.

3. You will have to cover all your visa costs yourself (the school should actually pay these for you) and, if in China already, will have to go to Hong Kong, at great expense, to try obtaining your work visa there. The school will not tell you that certain nationalities (such as South Africans) can no longer obtain a Z visa in Hong Kong, and must return to their home country first. So, if you discover this only when you arrive in Hong Kong, you will have no choice but to return home again, after having wasted your time and money.

4. When you first arrive, the school will tell you to take one or two days ‘rest’ to recover from your long journey. What you may mistake for kindness here is only a rouse on their part for, when you receive your first month’s salary, you will find they have deducted those one or two nights ‘jetlag recuperation’ off the money they owe you. You did not ask for this rest nor were you told they would deduct this from your salary, but they will do it anyway.

5. Speaking of monthly salary, the school will cheat you out of this too. Don’t count on getting any more than 1/3rd of your first month’s salary. They use some bizarre, crooked system which deducts all your paid leave time (you are entitled to 2 days paid leave per week in accordance with your contract, but they will say this is unpaid leave). Plus, the fingerprint reader (which makes you feel like you’re in a prison every time you clock in or out) is faulty and operates only in Chinese, many times not recording your clock in or clock out times or, telling you in Chinese that it has been accepted and then – a few minutes later – saying in an electronic Chinese voice, which of course you cannot understand, that you need to re-do the process as there has been an error. I kept an exact log of ALL my clock-ins & outs and was still cheated by Birmy on my monthly salary. They said the fingerprint reader indicated that I had clocked in late several times that month, a total lie and something fabricated by the HR department as they can alter these figures at will. You cannot argue this as it’s all in Chinese and they will say the machine is infallible.

6. According to your contract, the school cannot make you teach more than 5 classes a day or teach more than 5 days in row without leave. But, they will try cheating you on this at every turn, throwing in a 6th and sometimes even 7th class at a moment’s notice, often forcing you to work 9 days without a break.

7. There are no lesson plans at all for upper level students and, the one’s you may find hidden in a cupboard somewhere, are nothing more than Google-translated ramblings on the most complex and hopelessly uninteresting and useless topics. Upper and intermediate students will often come to class clutching just the first page of this so-called lesson, whilst you come in balancing reams of Google-translated material which the students were not given – but should have been – by their Chinese, English tutors beforehand.

8. After your first one or two nights in a filthy dorm room or fleabag motel, you will have to find your own apartment. The school will (if you are lucky) have arranged only one or two for you to look at AND you need to be at work to do training during this time too (which they will try get out of paying you for). Considering you will be training and working till after 9pm every night, it will be almost impossible for you to find a decent apartment in such a short time. For any apartment you settle on just so you are not sleeping on the street, you will need to pay at least 4 to 6 months rent as a deposit upfront. Considering that you will be cheated out of most of your first month’s salary, plus the fact that you will have had to pay for your medical and flight ticket upfront, with no help or reimbursement from the school, you will not survive even a day at this new job in China unless you arrive with at least 15 thousand RMB to start.

9. Although your monthly salary may seem good at 8 thousand RMB per month for your first two or three month’s probation (make that 3 months as the school will lie to you again in negotiations, saying you will only have to do two) & 10 thousand per month thereafter, the school is actually paying you one of the LOWEST salaries an English teacher could possibly earn in China. You will be working 40 hours a week; be called to meetings (often 3 to 4 hours long) during your off days, for which you will not be paid; you will have to outlay so much money in the first month and are being cheated on your first month’s salary; you will receive only 3 days paid leave per year (the lowest of ANY English school in China); you will be cheated out of Chinese public holidays too (for example, you will get only 3 days leave instead of the obligatory 7 days over Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival)

10. You will share an office with the Chinese, English tutors who are on the phone to students the whole day at fever-pitch volume levels, when not teaching, and encourage students to come in and out of the office at will. This will make it almost impossible for you to concentrate on your lesson preparations.

11. The school has disabled all the USB ports & CD drives on the computers and the IT department is absolutely useless and hopelessly ineffectual. This will make your life as a teacher a nightmare as you cannot use or save any outside lesson material from USB, DVD or CD, nor will you have flash or the latest Internet browser on your machine to prepare video clips for your students.

12. Don’t count on actually working at the branch you agreed to work for in your contract. When you arrive, as so many foreign teachers are quitting in disgust every few weeks or months, you will more than likely be told you will be teaching at another branch. They will try force you to do this and you will be very lucky if you can get out of it.

13. Not only are this disgraceful school cheating their foreign teachers, they are cheating their own government too. The school only pays a fraction of the tax it should be paying on your salary. It gets away with this by illegally forcing you to sign a document saying you are earning less than you actually are, so the government are none the wiser. But, we will be nailing the school on this too as several of us have gotten together to send a signed affidavit to the Chinese Education Bureau, detailing this deliberate tax evasion by the school. Make no mistake; the government will be contacting them about this VERY soon.

14. When I first arrived at this awful school, I wondered why all the foreign teachers never had anything to do with anyone else at the school. They just silently came in, tried to prepare and teach their lessons, and then left as quickly as possible, not saying a word to anyone. I soon realized the reason when one of my fellow foreign teachers told me that, anything you say to any of the Chinese staff at the school, will immediately get passed around the whole school (to your students too), only to come back to you in some twisted or warped form, making it seem like you have been up to no good. This applies to your movements and interactions outside the school too. Many foreign teachers were furious when being confronted by Chinese, English tutors at the school as to why they were having lunch or dinner with a Chinese girl, reported back to the school by who knows which staff member or student. It’s a free country (supposedly) and we are fully entitled to meet with our Chinese friends at anytime, especially being single and having the right to meet with whomever we want, whenever we want. How dare they pass judgment and cast aspersions on our character here. What in heaven’s name has it got to do with them anyhow?

15. This excuse for an English school does not stop at just cheating you. They cheat their students too by making them pay 10 to 20 thousand RMB upfront (no returns at all if dissatisfied), plus making them pay for their own textbooks at great expense (they have to buy these from the school, of course). Some students have had to beg and borrow this money and it has left them in an extremely difficult financial predicament for years to come. Also, 50% of the coursework must be done by students on their own, so they are only getting 50% of what they are paying for from the very beginning.

16. The textbooks Birmy forces you to teach from are appalling. They are hopelessly out of date and peppered with all manner of English errors. They are of course written & compiled by the school’s Chinese employees who are far from fluent in English. Most of the time, you will spend your lessons trying to explain to students why the lesson you were trying to teach them made little sense, and having to re-write and change things on the fly.

17. The promotional materials (videos, photos etc.) Birmy uses in their marketing are also misleading and fake. The westerners presented have either long since quit the school, have never worked for the school at all or certainly never agreed to, or received any form of payment for, their images being used to promote the school.

18. Although you will have specifically been told that you will only be teaching adults at Birmy, you will soon find yourself with classes full of children as young as 11 or 12, often mixed with adults in their 30’s and 40’s. This is because, although Birmy have spent a fortune creating kids teaching facilities in all their branches, they are too cheap to employ additional foreign teachers to teach in them. So, you will have to do most of the donkeywork.

19. In most of your social talking and conversation classes, you will have students of all levels in class, from absolute beginner to advanced. This makes your task as a teacher impossible, as the very basic students won’t understand a word you are saying and the advanced ones will be upset if you keep things too simple. The school will in turn say you are a bad teacher and that the students are complaining about you.

20. All of the schools are controlled from head office in Jiaojiang, Taizhou. Unfortunately, this creates massive problems as the people up there have no idea of the comings and goings of each individual branch, making their devastatingly incompetent and damaging decisions from the ivory tower, with no regard for, or interest in, the foreign teachers’ well-being. The director of our school knew no English at all, same with the finance and IT departments. You will incessantly be bothered at all times of the night and morning – outside of working hours – by staff asking you to do this and that and G-d knows what else. With little and often no notice at all, you will be asked to drop everything and go help out at another branch, often 2 to 3 hours away. You will have to get there first at your own expense, and will have no time to prepare anything (pack your things; plan your lessons, accommodation etc.).

21. Applying for leave will cause you the most headaches. You have only 3 days paid leave per year (worst for any school in China) and, to apply for unpaid leave, you have to find a teacher to take over your duties, who you must pay during that time. Even if you manage to pull of this feat (not easy when you only have one other foreign teacher at your branch, who was planning on going away the same time as you), they can pull the plug on this at a moment’s notice, making some excuse like they urgently need you at another branch. So, once you start at this school, plan on having hardly ANY leave per year at all.

This list could continue for days but, suffice to say, this school is disgusting and you have only yourself to blame if you accept a position there. As I write this, there is a class action lawsuit being prepared against these despicable cheats, by many former teachers who have decided that enough is enough. The school will also be facing a legal inquiry from the Chinese government soon, in regard to their evasion of tax on foreign teachers’ salaries.

I hope this will stop any foreign English teacher from accepting ‘work’ at this awful place. We do not want any of you to experience the torment and misery we had to endure at this terrible excuse for an English school.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: AMonk on November 23, 2010, 07:10:26 AM
OUCH!!!  A voice of experience, indeed.  Thank you for your insight, Truth.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on November 23, 2010, 07:18:51 AM
Thanks for your kind words of support! :) Enough is enough and vermin like these and their ilk need to be aware that treating foreigners this way will lead to their sweatshops being closed down faster than they can say 'Ni hao'. Best :) Peter
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Stil on November 23, 2010, 12:20:39 PM
Which city The Truth? Changsha?
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on November 25, 2010, 01:04:37 AM
Which city The Truth? Changsha?

Hi Stil, thanks for your response. I'm referring to their branches in Jiaojiang and the new one in Yuhuan, both in Taizhou, Zhejiang. But, as you will see from other posters, these clowns are rotten to the core right through (at ALL their branches). Which is not surprising, seeing as this very ugly dragon controls its hideous children from the head office in Jiaojiang.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Riz on November 25, 2010, 11:01:27 PM
The Truth is out!
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on November 26, 2010, 12:08:05 AM
The Truth is out!

Thanks Stil :) Yes, the truth is finally out. Our class action is gathering momentum and we're going to nail these miscreants to the wall soon, I promise you.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on December 02, 2010, 12:25:40 PM
Good news everyone! Our class action against these loathsome trolls is gaining momentum; several others (both foreigners & Chinese) have joined forces with us. Will keep you updated with further news and thanks again for all your support!
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: AMonk on December 02, 2010, 01:56:18 PM
 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on December 02, 2010, 09:08:43 PM
bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag

Hi AMonk and thanks again for all your support. Oh, what does 'th_bf th_bf th_ag' mean?
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: old34 on December 02, 2010, 10:15:30 PM
It means your browser can't display the "thumbs-up" icons A Monk gave you.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Local Dialect on December 02, 2010, 10:58:52 PM
I hope it works out The Truth. It is pretty rare that the bad schools really get what they deserve, so it is good to hear that you're making progress.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: AMonk on December 02, 2010, 11:27:59 PM
That's 2 "Thumbs Up" and a "Cheers" [having a celebratory drink] 
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on December 04, 2010, 11:50:27 AM
It means your browser can't display the "thumbs-up" icons A Monk gave you.

Thanks so much for all your support guys, from all of us! ;)
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: The Truth on December 05, 2010, 07:26:52 AM
A quick and important update. We have been flooded with support the past few days, as word of the evil machinations of these mindless charlatans going by the name of Birmy International English has spread like wildfire across the web.

We received a huge and very welcome boost this morning; several students & staff (both former & current) of this festering snake-pit they call Birmy International English, have decided to join forces with us in our class action. Many of them will also be taking on these troglodytes personally, as they have been royally cheated out of their hard-earned money here.

Through this, some extremely disturbing additional information has come to light. This includes Birmy's intimidation of staff (especially reception, which now completes the picture as to why we would often find them in tears at work) and their spy system (just like the cold war era, where one of the Chinese tutors spies daily on foreign teachers' comings and goings, both in & out of the school, reporting back to head office in Jiaojiang).

This has given us added impetus (not that we needed it) to nail these deplorable neanderthals (our deepest apologies to early man here) called Birmy International English.

To any newbie foreign teachers reading this. Never, ever, let your Chinese (or other) employer intimidate you. If you're having any trouble with them at all, come to this forum and someone will be able to help you, I'm sure.

One thing unscrupulous Chinese so-called English schools hate worse than anything is having their evil misdeeds exposed. Forget all you've heard about this 'saving face' nonsense. It's two-faced all the way for these clowns.

There is justice in the TEFL world after-all. We'll keep you posted!
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Just Like Mr Benn on November 29, 2015, 11:25:55 PM
Newcomer JW

Most of us (practically all of us) use aliases. If you're going to be working at Birmy, that may become useful.

Your topic was locked, maybe to move it to another section of the saloon, but to be honest, I think it's quite important to google employers in China before you accept a job. There are some very bad employers. Birmy has a lot of bad reviews, on many sites, albeit from 5 years ago and possibly from just one disgruntled teacher.

However, I think you should at least have a look at this thread and maybe http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=60414

Stil who's still very much with us will no doubt have something to say.

Here are the things that people have raised that you should get clarification on before accepting the job, (or since it seems you have accepted the job taking things any further).

-Make sure you have your own room from night 1.
-Make sure they agree in the contract to pay for the medical in China. (it's not hugely expensive, but it's a principle).
-(Most importantly) Make sure that you're entering the country on a Z visa. if they try to get you to enter on a tourist visa and change it to a Z visa, flat out refuse.

If only a fraction of what is alleged here is still true, this school should be red-flagged.

I can't stress enough though that 5 years is a long time. They may very well have changed for the better.

A look at the contract may be helpful. There's a section on the forum for that.
Title: Re: Birmy International
Post by: Stil on December 01, 2015, 03:56:08 AM
Birmy in Changsha has expanded. It has at least three branches now. I know several foreigners that work there part time and while there's nothing particular good to say about them, there's nothing particularly bad either. A run of the mill...mill. There's certainly nothing to the extent that 'The Truth' was talking about in Taizhou.

Just the usual mill stuff about only caring for profits etc., etc.. Everyone gets paid on time and there's no intimidation as was mentioned 5 years ago. In Changsha, I would consider it like working at Web or pretty much any other large chain. Everyone rates the branches separately though one of them is definitely less liked than the other two, so that's not a head office situation.

However, I don't know anyone working there full time, and working full time at a mill is completely different than part time.

I should mention that, I recently often take complaints by young foreigners with a grain of salt. Some of the millennials have a difficult time adjusting from the strong politically correct environment they are used to and tend to whine a lot. I kind of put them on mute, so they may have had complaints about Birmy that I paid little attention to.

Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that.