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Author Topic: Hong N English School in SUZHOU  (Read 16040 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« on: May 02, 2007, 08:37:06 AM »
A general note to avoid this school in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China at all costs.

It
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

lolochan

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2008, 05:12:41 AM »
Why? I heard from a friend from this site that it was a good school to work at. They contacted me and I have an interview tonight. any input?
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Bugalugs

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 05:17:06 AM »
Hi, the school seems to have changed a lot since this post, many people i know now happily work there.

welcome to the saloon and to SuZhou

agagagagag
Good girls are made from sugar and spice, I am made from Vodka and ice

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lolochan

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2008, 05:19:42 AM »
Any suggestions for the interview? I believe one of the members ffrom here (a friend of Con's) is going to be conducting the interview)
"All young people need somebody bad to look up to and I hope I can be that for you tonight. "

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Bugalugs

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2008, 05:37:38 AM »
Then don't mention con heheh nah be friendly and energetic and all will be good. I'm sure you'll do fine.

:) agagagagag
Good girls are made from sugar and spice, I am made from Vodka and ice

Do you have and ID Ten T error??

lolochan

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2008, 05:40:52 AM »
LOL!! i see his reputation has followed him to China. I notice they don't say much ab accommodations other than they help you find one. hmmmm, hoping to find something with accommodations provided as I don't think 7000 without is very helpful.
"All young people need somebody bad to look up to and I hope I can be that for you tonight. "

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Bugalugs

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2008, 05:57:01 AM »
Well training centers dont usually provide accomadations, though i think with 7000 a month you should be able to find something in the 1500 to 2000 a month price range.

I work with a middle school so my apartment is thrown in but my salary is only 5500 a month. Also though all my utilities are paid for :) Good luck
Good girls are made from sugar and spice, I am made from Vodka and ice

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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2008, 12:58:39 PM »
Something seems to have happened to the text of my review...? mmmmmmmmmm

The owner of this school has a TERRIBLE reputation...2nd only perhaps to Frank Zhang, with many years of horror stories to his name. Truly hair-raising tales of abuse and malfeasance. aoaoaoaoao
It didn't help much when he allegedly tried to steal his last school, where he served as manager, away from the rightful owners by having bank and other contacts change the names on the school's title and other documents... apapapapap

However, I have several friends working at his new school...and they all speak very highly of it. One has started his 2nd year with them.

The upshot seems to be that if you can sell classes (via a demo), fit their ideal of "good teechah", and more or less shut up and do what you're told, the owner can be great to work for...helpful and generous.

However, if you don't induce enough signups, are perceived as "bad teechah", or question or complain about anything, he'll fire you, have you evicted, revoke your documents, attempt all manner of fines and penalties, and have you duct-taped and summarily shipped back to Kansas, whether you come from there or not.

The people I know there are such that their word carries some weight with me. I can't outright condemn this school.
However, I'm far from ready to endorse it, either.
I would tread very carefully indeed at this school.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2008, 01:16:25 PM »
A further note:
Usually, when a school says they will "help you find an apartment", they usually mean "one of the office girls will pick up the phone and call a cousin, who happens to work as an apartment agent".

And that's it.

Typically, to rent an apartment in this region of China, you will have to pay the equivalent of 5 months' rent UPFRONT, before you can move in...3 months of rent in advance, 1 month as a deposit, and one month's worth for the apartment agent. A bit more is typically nailed on for "apartment management fee" (to help cover the cost of having some useless geek squat by the apartment-complex gate, take frequent naps, and drink tea), cable TV costs whether you want cable or not, and possibly more. A 2000 RMB/month apartment can cost over 10,000 RMB or more to move into.

Some schools help to soften the blow a bit, especially if you negotiate for it...they'll pay the upfront costs, and then deduct it from your monthly salary. I don't know the specific deal at Hong N, but no matter where you go- if an apartment isn't included, better find out for sure what they mean when they say "help you find an apartment".
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Shroomy

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2008, 01:56:35 PM »
Actually, even EF was better than that.  They scouted apartments in advance, took me to see them until I agreed to one, and then paid all the upfront costs and the monthly rent.  All I paid were the utilities, which in the winter weren't much.

But boy oh boy, Uni living is sure better.  I have an elevator in my building.  I still have to climb to the equivalent of the 8th floor in the teaching building across the street, but I ride in style to my 5th floor apartment.

As far as I can tell, there's only Lenny, myself, and another American living in the entire building.  Can't explain that.
Back home and still confused about what the locals are saying.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2008, 05:11:22 PM »
Actually, even EF was better than that.  They scouted apartments in advance, took me to see them until I agreed to one, and then paid all the upfront costs and the monthly rent.  All I paid were the utilities, which in the winter weren't much.

This sounds more like school-provided housing...a very different thing altogether. Still, this is an unusually nice arrangement. Most places will stick you in whatever apartments they've already rented in advance.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2008, 06:19:41 PM »
I'd add one thing to the twisty tale of Hong N.

I've had the pleasure of meeting a number of people who have had run-ins with the owner.

Some of them seemed like OK folks.
Some of them, though, were among the most frightening foreigners I've ever seen in China. People with really serious and scary mental problems. Child molesters. Useless food tubes.
I can't really blame the owner for giving these maniacs the bum's rush.

It's hard to tell who the good guys are these days. bibibibibi
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

nikcakebread

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2008, 04:49:19 AM »
um,
well i work for shane and Hongn and i have to say that hong en,despite having serious problems with the shane school have been nothign but helpful and open with me and even got me and my bro a sweet flat. the boss mr ma is a serious businessman and treats teachers like he would any other employees. alot of western teachers and freinds i have work there and some have for a long time and never had any complaints.some have had complaints, but then i dont know a teacher that hasnt had a complaint about at least one school they have been at.
:)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2008, 03:20:02 PM »
Well, Nik and bro are sweet boys who need a sweet flat. I'm sure together they attract many beauty girl who give many moneys to big school own mans!

a serious businessman and treats teachers like he would any other employees.
Uh...in China, this isn't necessarily exactly an endorsement... oooooooooo
I've seen how employees tend to be treated. cbcbcbcbcb

But so far the gnashing and wailing around this owner seem to have stopped. The few problems I've heard of came from people who, well, needed  a beatin'. The serious abuse cases seem to be in the past.

All we can ask is for them to STAY that way... agagagagag
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

joe.thinker

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Re: Hong N English School in SUZHOU
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2008, 03:14:31 AM »
The upshot seems to be that if you can sell classes (via a demo), fit their ideal of "good teechah", and more or less shut up and do what you're told, the owner can be great to work for...helpful and generous.

However, if you don't induce enough signups, are perceived as "bad teechah", or question or complain about anything, he'll fire you, have you evicted, revoke your documents, attempt all manner of fines and penalties, and have you duct-taped and summarily shipped back to Kansas, whether you come from there or not.

All right, so, I’ve worked there, and I agree with Raoul through and through. You have to sacrifice the notion of a personal life OR the notion of career advancement; at Hong N’ you simply CANNOT have both … unless you are prepared to relentlessly kiss bossman’s (Mr Ma’s) ass.

The problems at Hong N’ all stem from this one man. He is power-hungry and slimy. He has his hands so deep in so many pockets, and will not refuse any offer to dig in a new pocket. I mean this in the sense of new schools and, thus, will over work you; I mean this in the sense of guanxi possibilities to make connections with gov’t officials or police.

Should you make the mistake of saying “No” to Mr Ma once – just ONCE – you will be treated poorly until you say yes to him 10 or 12 times. That being a task I never wished to undertake, I was progressively treated worse and worse to the point that I was given no information (per time, amt of students, level of student, or text) about a new class, and then punished for performing poorly in said new class.

You will be asked to do classes you are not trained, comfortable, or even legally allowed to. As an example of the latter: I was asked to teach at an IELTS certified school, IELTS certificate classes, from an IELTS certified text, as an IELTS licensed teacher. Am I trained, comfortable, or licensed to do so ? NO. It was ILLEGAL for me to teach at that school, those classes, from that text, LYING about my credentials, and it was wrong for Hong N’ to “ask” me to do so. They did not, in fact, ask me to do the class. It was merely placed on my schedule, without description.

Information does NOT flow freely at Hong N’, as – to Mr Ma – it is dangerous for the employees to be informed. If you were informed even slightly about some the classes you would be asked to undertake – you would either of course say no, or be masochistic.

For example:

«My contract stipulates that I work 18 hours a week OR I will receive overtime pay. I was approached and “asked” [which, refer above, means “told”] to accept a “group of classes” totalling 30 HOURS A WEEK, for no overtime pay. I, naturally, told them “I do not think I am the proper person for this job, and may cause the school to lose face should I be the teacher chosen for the position.”»

“Coincidences” are abundant at Hong N’:

1. To work at Hong N’ I had to leave another school, which they were making slightly difficult. The process was going well enough, though, until the night I was looking at a contract with Hong N’. I made the mistake of updating them on my old school. Mr Ma has guanxi with my former principle, so he decided to call him “on my behalf.” The next day, the old school said they were going to revoke my visa. Panicked, I ran to Hong N’. The FAO came with me the following week to school, and it was all magically sorted in 15 minutes of Chinese conversation.

2. As he was looking at the contract for the first time, another teacher was switching flats, and made the mistake of having the FAO call them to arrange certain things, which he did not have the language ability to do himself. The next day, while signing papers, he was called by the landlord and told that he would not be able to move in after all, for unknown reasons. The FAO then stepped in with her guanxi and found him and his flatmate a new flat. Hong N’ still – 3 months later – have never finished signing a contract with him.

3. Two other teachers were having issues with their flat; they were being evicted. The FAO found them a new flat, but they began to have issues there; they could not register with the police at that address. Mr Ma approached them and explained: “You cannot register there, but I can call my friends at the police department and have you illegally registered under your old address. You will be able to continue to work.”

How are these coincidences ? All of them happen at crucial times of need; all of them indebt the recipient to Mr Ma.

If it is decided that Mr Ma does not like you, you will be punished in such ways as:

1. Horrid scheduling. Coincidentally, the same week I was trying to find part time work elsewhere to supplement income lost from being ill, I was scheduled block days from 8:30am till 9pm. I was scheduled with breaks, but not breaks that were long enough to find work. I wasn’t, however, scheduled enough hours to be in overtime, and thus, no reimbursement money was made to fill the time lost from illness.

2. Pay docks. Mr Ma is notorious for finding reasons at the end of a contract for not paying the due fees of Travel Stipend or Days Off. As noted above, I was unfortunate enough to fall ill, missing enough work to be cut from Days Off pay, and even enough so that they claimed they had the right to dock my final pay. Other former Hong N’ teachers have had their entire stipends yanked, for reasons they’re still unsure.

3. Negative reinforcement. For a number of months, I was convinced “I think you, uh, baaaaaad teecha’ !” was Mr Ma’s favourite saying. Nobody at Hong N’ will ever tell you you’ve done a good job, which simply isn’t true about China, or it being “Chinese culture.” The TAs have been so whittled that they cringe, and look at you suspiciously when you compliment them on a class. This, honestly, breaks my heart as most of the TAs at Hong N’ are wonderful.

All in all ? DO NOT WORK THERE ! That is all I have to say about Hong N’ at the moment.
something with upside down question marks, accents under "c" and prolific punctuation will do