Kenneth's English Jilin

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Kenneth's English Jilin
« on: September 04, 2013, 12:36:43 AM »
In brief: stay away. Pay is abysmal at 6000 per month. Granted they throw in a flat, but unless you're lucky and get placed in a newer place, you'll be in a dump. They charge you a monthly maid fee which you can't opt out of. For said fee, you'll be lucky if anything other than the floor gets swept and some dishes washed. Dusting, mopping and actual cleaning apparently doesn't make sense to their cleaning lady who also happens to double as the cook, so you're essentially paying for your meals on Saturday (which is no more than slop drowned in grease).

As far as anything academic goes, no one has a clue. The 'senior teachers' offer little in terms of support and nearly all the other employees are as green as green gets, haven't got a clue and are just happy to be somewhere other than the US or Canada. Training? Forget that. Peer observations? Forget that too. Feedback on your performance? Unless you consider 'talk louder' and 'do more TPR', well, nope. There is no Western management any more as the headmaster has apparently relocated to the US. The Chinese staff left in charge are about as clued up as your average mentally handicapped child. They haven't got a clue what's going on.

Parents sit in on all the classes and seemingly complain nearly non-stop about everything, which you'll never understand unless you happen to speak Chinese. The teaching assistants (i.e. babysitters and tattlers) barely speak passable English save for a few, don't know anything about teaching and attempt to run every class as if it were their own. They try to tell you what to do and how to do it and if you don't comply, you're in for problems and 'not being liked'. Allow it… Schedules change willy-nilly and there are four of five different branches (I can't remember at the moment) so you could very well spend a good chunk of your Saturday and Sunday zipping around Jilin with no prep time in-between and nary a moment to get something passable to eat.

Classes are mostly very young children to kids. They offer some 'IELTS prep classes', but they haven't got a clue about IELTS nor do they have any materials save for some ancient, photo-copied books that they use for rote grammar work. There's zero synergy between the four classes (reading, writing, listening and speaking) so don't expect the kids to learn anything, other teachers or the assistants to know anything and damn well don't expect to do anything remotely suitable for a proper IELTS classroom. It's a joke. There are no adult classes at all.

The only positives I can say are the fact that they'll sort your Z-visa, residence permit, medical check, etc. without issue. The FAO guy there is helpful even if he's a cocky, snobbish prick. Jilin itself is lame, boring and grey. If you're not an avid drinker or alcoholic, speak Chinese well or enjoy being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, stay away at all costs. If you actually try and do something, you'll quite possibly be singled out, isolated, lied to and stolen from and end up hitting the road early in the end.

Also, any holidays you're promised aren't really holidays. You're expected to make up all the classes missed during the camp weeks. You won't be getting any extra pay for this either. The schedules are adjusted for public holidays as well, so you end up making up any classes missed either before or after. In other words, you work for your 'holidays'. It's abysmal.

You've been warned…
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 04:50:40 AM by godmachine12 »

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 01:25:15 AM »
You had me at "They charge you a monthly maid fee which you can't opt out of."  And she's cooking for you too?  Deal breaker for me.  I don't think anyone's rushing towards Jilin anyway but thanks for the warning with specific details. 

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 03:08:43 AM »
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 01:49:30 AM by Isidnar »

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 04:05:47 AM »
The 'senior teachers' are mostly alcoholic, chain-smokers who most likely landed there and never bothered to leave. I reckon China is one of the few places they can hang on and get by.

It's hard to take you seriously when you make blanket judgments like that.

You're not wrong. Maybe I should hold my tongue (er, fingers) a bit next time. I'll edit that out. Personal judgements and digs don't really have a place in a review.

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 04:30:55 AM »
Actually I know a little about Kenneth's and it ain't good. Like the OP said, they have the visa.

I've been to Jilin City a few times. For a town of over 2 million, other than a bridge with a great view, there's not much else there
For you to insult me, first I must value your opinion



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Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 07:01:27 AM »
I quite liked Jilin.

Might have been because of the girls I met there though.



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Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 03:55:09 PM »
Having Mrs. Casey from Jilin province (Yanji, Korean autonomous prefecture), I have spent a lot of time there.  The only two good things about Jilin province, IMOHO, is family and Bing Chuan beer.

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 02:25:52 AM »
I liked the cool winter nights, sometimes it hit -35℃ before windchill   aoaoaoaoao
For you to insult me, first I must value your opinion

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 04:50:00 AM »
You can get that in Harbin in a city I much prefer to be in....
Sometimes it seems things go by too quickly. We are so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take the time to enjoy where we are. (Calvin and Hobbs)

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 08:36:09 PM »
While I have taught at worse places I can basically confirm the ops negative review of this place. The pay is mediocre for jilin and really not worth it for the number of hours you work. The so-called summer camp is a nightmare and is about as far from being a camp as can be imagined. They cram as many students as they can into a classroom for a full day and you are not paid for the extra hours (to be fair the camp is in the contract). Overall the students are unpleasant to teach. They are downright rude to teachers and seem more interested in making bathroom jokes in broken English than actually learning anything. Teachers are evaluated based on popularity with students rather than teaching ability. In fact, you will be told to sing, dance, pretend to fall down and basically be a freakshow or 'edutainer' as they call it here. Actually teaching English is actively discouraged in favor of strange antics and monkey humor. Perhaps this explains the comparatively low English levels of all of the students here.  The person who interviewed me and seemed to more or less run the place promised that teacher free time would be respected but this was not the case. I was forced to do a public marketing event onmy day off and essentially forced to go on a school trip on my days off that I didn't want to go on. The worst part was that I was forced to pay to go on the school trip! Pretty low... Some of the people who work there like the place and if binge drinking is your thing you might fit in with the other teachers there. The foreign management was inept, drunken and clueless. I received more feedback on my lack of binge drinking than my teaching( I don't count being told to dance and pretend to be a dinosaur as feedback). The ielts classes were completely a trainwreck as the curriculum involves being given a crappy grammmar book and told to teach it with no guidance or feedback. I don't know why any self respecting teacher would work there though some of the guys taking a year off after college seemed to get on well there. At least they pay on time, get you a visa and let you leave your contract early if you give notice. If you want to teach in the northeast there are much better opportunities in shenyang or dalian.


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Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 07:54:31 PM »
I would NEVER teach on my day off unless they were willing to pay o/t (maybe 200% of my hourly rate). Did you really PAY to go on the school excursion??? If you did, give yourself an uppercut young man! bibibibibi

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 01:37:05 AM »
Sounds like things have gone down hill in a big way since Ken left. I got the impression it was a good place to work at when he was there running things.

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 10:53:45 AM »
Everyone has their own tales to tell based on their experience. I can only relay my own.

The school let me choose my own apartment, and paid me a housing allowance.  There was no maid service required or offered.

The other teachers were 100% supportive and the FAO and staff always kept my stuff in order, (visa, apartment maintenance, personal errand assistance, etc.).

I was never asked to pay for any party. The school held a party at a lake once and teachers could choose to return at the end of the party or stay overnight at a hotel at their own expense. The school was simply offering to coordinate the paying of the hotel for those who wanted to stay. This was an after party voluntary event, the school had return transportation for those who wanted to return at the end of the party. 

My pay started at 8000 plus housing allowance. Teachers there with seniority made more, naturally. Teachers with their own profit sharing branch made quite considerably more I am told.

I never had any problems there. Most teachers had a positive attitude and worked as a team.

Re: Kenneth's English Jilin
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2016, 10:37:54 AM »
I was there around the time the OP posted this thread. Maybe I missed meeting him/her because I don't recall anyone who held these views.

I did notice that unlike most school reviews of this slant, there was no mention of a breach of contract by the school. Usually, when the school breaks the contract, that is the first thing people mention. After all, not being paid, being paid late, being underpaid, having extra classes, unlivable apartment, etc. are pretty big issues and high on the list of complaints, (well, at least for me).

Particularly surprising is the vulgar smear against the Chinese FAO. The guy was with the school forever and was liked by everybody. He gave a lot of his time to helping new teachers and assisting them with personal errands. When the school had parties, he was pretty much considered the "life of the party".

Not sure what prompted such a personal attack, but people have their own reasons I suppose.

In any case, my contract with the school was honored and everybody parted ways on friendly terms.