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Author Topic: Suzhou Sunflower English Education Centre 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心  (Read 9264 times)

opiate

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 09:06:45 AM »
Try to insult me all you want it is not the first time you have done it and I am not the first poster you have left snide comments directed at.

Fact of the matter is it was my first time and I knew nothing , the job actually came with a recommendation and the e-mails I was given sang the places praises. I did not like the contract but I thought "that's it, I am stuck with this"

If the only thing you can do is rile others up with sarcastic comments I suggest you do not post at all.

You didn't know anything? What a cop out. If you went to a foreign country to work and did not do any research beforehand then who is to blame for that? I bet you did though....I bet you knew it was a terrible idea not to mention illegal to work under a tourist visa but did it anyway. And....why on earth would you think you were stuck with it? You ended up in a crappy position because you let that school take advantage of you. If you heeded the first 2 HUGE red flags you could have saved yourself a lot of headaches.

Really, it's not personal. I just have zero sympathy for those who throw themselves into a fire and are surprised when they get burned.


The Local Dialect

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 10:43:31 AM »
This sort of situation happens more often than you might think. Not everyone is able to land that perfect cushy non-exploitative uni job their first go round. Lots of schools lie. I am sure Sunflower made a lot of promises and I am sure the OP got conflicting information. It is hard for a newbie to know who to believe.

The OP kindly shared his experiences with this shitty school so now others know to avoid it. He isn't here looking for sympathy or asking us to chip in on a plane ticket home or anything. He was probably more fair to Sunflower than the school really deserved.

I'm honestly a bit perplexed at the hostility towards people for with shitty job experiences that we've seen recently. It is one thing when you have someone who just won't listen to advice and insists on doing things that Saloonies have told him will result in disaster, who begs for help but always has an excuse for why X or Y solution won't work; that gets frustrating for those trying to dispense advice and be constructive. But that's not what's happening here. OP has left this school and moved on. Lesson learned.

If we want people to keep posting about bad schools, it would be a good idea not to attack those who share. The schools are the enemies, not the teachers.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 10:46:56 AM »
Opiate, hold those horses before you trigger a stampede. asasasasas

Not everyone knows the sort of scoundrels that ALL recruiters and quite a few managers can be.  A few people hear about someone who came over, had a fine time with few problems, and came home to tell stories of wonder and awe.

So, what's a total clueless newbie to do?  Sorry, but "beware of flying in on a tourist visa and watch out for dodgy contracts" won't be the top link on the search engines if you search for "Teaching in the Big Silly".  There's also not a lot of bad press in the west about "teacher gets abused by a bad English school".  It's MUCH easier to trip into a nest of advertisements promising wonderful working conditions, easy schedules, and "we take care of everything for you."  There are also plenty of online tales about people successfully coming in on tourist visas.

I personally did do the research and I still got bent over and got a proper lube-free reaming - by someone who used to be a respected Saloon member.

As it stands, Sunshine was in the Saloon's list of good Chinese jobs at the time Eggcluck signed up.

Could Eggcluck have done a little more research?  Sure.  Did he have enough clues in advance to warn him how badly he needed to do this?  Probably not.  Would it have saved him?  Maybe, maybe not.  After all, once you've just flown to the flip side of the world, what do you say if the boss says "sign here" and you know the alternative is to give up and go home?

I'm pro-cloning and we vote!
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Stil

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 01:06:33 PM »
I hope your next experience (will you have one?) is a good eggcluck. Looks like you had unfortunate timing at Sunflower.

Private schools can be especially frustrating with regards to recommendations because they can change hands so often. Give me a cushy Uni position anytime and I'll make up the lower salary with side work.

As far as coming on a tourist visa, there is always conflicting reports on doing it. Many people have had good experiences this way and that just makes what to do as a newbie all the more muddied.

piglet

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2014, 01:32:01 AM »
Kudos to LD and Stil! We need to keep a civil tongue on our keyboards guys.People come here to vent,to seek help and to get comfort.That's what we do,right?
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dragonsaver

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2014, 11:25:02 AM »
Kudos to LD and Stil! We need to keep a civil tongue on our keyboards guys.People come here to vent,to seek help and to get comfort.That's what we do,right?

Yes piglet that is right.   akakakakak bjbjbjbjbj agagagagag agagagagag
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milkweed

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Re: Sunflower 苏州太阳花英语教育培训中心
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2014, 04:57:48 AM »
The irony is Sunflower were an advertised school on this site and because of that I interviewed with them on Skype and posted about them inviting teachers over on Tourist visas which is illegal.
 My interviewer was very keen on hiring teachers that 'had no previous experience in China' which I guess is code for exploitation and manipulation into 'their ways' of running the operation aka making as much money as possible without redress to teachers employment entitlements.

eggcluck

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I have been reading on SAFEA and found the following that are relevant...as sunflower does not provide them and thus is breaking the law. It does state that these are the 2002 regulations but is the most up to date official thing I could find.

1. What is the arrangement for the international travel expenses for foreign experts and their families?

    (1) For those foreign experts whose employment term exceeds one year (one academic year), the host institutions shall provide round trip economy air tickets for them and their spouses and one child under the age of 12 who live together with them during the employment term.

    (2) For those foreign experts whose employment term is of half a ear (one semester), the host institutions shall provide the experts themselves with international single trip air tickets.

    (3) For those experts who have special agreements with related Chinese departments of institutions, their travel expenses shall be arranged according to the agreements.

11. Shall medical expenses for treatment in hospitals other than the appointed one be reimbursed?

The host institutions usually appoint certain hospitals for medical treatment for foreign experts. If the appointed hospital gives the opinion of the need of transfer to another hospital, or the disease needs treatment in a specialized hospital, the medical expenses thereby incurred may be reimbursed with the approval by the host institutions. If the expert goes to other hospitals for treatment without consent from the appointed hospital or host institution, medical expenses thereby incurred shall bas a general rule not be reimbursed.

15. How long is the vacation and how much is the vacation allowance for foreign experts working for one year in China?

According to the Provisions on the Living Standard of Foreign cultural and Educational Experts, the experts are entitled to a one month vacation for one year's work, and a two week vacation for those working for less than one year but more than half a year. Foreign experts working in schools are entitled to the paid summer and winter vacations (foreign teachers are entitled to the same vacation treatment as that for foreign experts).     

16. What holidays are foreign experts working in China entitled to?

        (2) Foreign experts are entitled to the following holidays according to their nationality and religion: two days for Christmas, three days for Corban, one day for Lesser Bairam, and one day for Water-splashing Festival.

        (3) Foreign experts can have a one-day holiday if they request to celebrate their own National Day.

 
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Guangzhou Writer

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I was looking through this thread and wanted to add one of my experiences to support the idea that it's easy for a foreign teacher to feel they are in a very disadvantageous position when they have problems with their employer.

I worked for a private college for almost 3 years and was ready to make a change that happened to fall in the middle of my contract, which was from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn. I had a good relationship with the school, who often asked me to refer other foreign teachers there, which I did for part-time work, and I also did extra paid work for them.

I told the school my intentions to leave, noted the mutual contract option to break with 30 days notice and asked what they thought. They replied that I would not get my end of contract bonus and said that in addition, "It would be very expensive." Why? You'll have to pay 12,000 RMB. Why? The contract says you have to pay for your visa if you don't finish. How much is that? 800 RMB, which I already knew. Then why twelve thousand? Okay, five thousand, in cash. And that was the end of the discussion.

I had the money and I didn't know the full details of what trouble with the paperwork my current school could cause me in the transfer and I feared some long delays as described above by an employer who hired someone from Sunflower. I talked to the new school and asked their advice and what problems could arise, they weren't much help, but just said all they needed was the release letter; if I got that, all was well.

I was in the middle of changing apartments and I concluded that my current school simply expected to get their way. Maybe I could negotiate another thousand RMB off what they wanted, maybe not, maybe the whole situation would change. I was a bit agitated in general, which is why I wanted to leave that school, so I just decided to pay the five thousand. After I left, the school continued to ask me for referrals and also asked me to work 12 periods per week part-time at a good pay rate, so clearly they thought they were doing everything as it should be. I politely refused all their requests and I doubt the reason ever occurred to them. It's been a year and they have not hired a replacement foreign teacher for my position, just spread the work around to the remaining three.

My point is that I think the schools have a tremendous advantage over the teachers in many cases because they can cause us trouble with our visas and even related things like accommodations. Schools will either do this or not do this and if you think the school will do it, which apparently Sunshine did at least once out of spite, you tend to try and cut your losses and get out.

BTW, this school had the worst contract I'd ever seen, but I joined because many of the provisions were no longer enforced according to a few teachers that I knew beforehand, and that turned out to be true. However, I think these really bad contracts are often the result of conflicts with the school and foreign teachers and this is how the school tries to maintain the advantage. It's a bad sign.

The school I'm at now is fine, but they are very capricious about how they assist and inform different teachers. If teacher A asks for information about their health insurance, he receives everything he needs, but if teacher B asks, the FAO gives him nothing, and this happens on a variety of topics for a changing selection of teachers. Somethings I get others don't, and some they get I don't. It keeps the waters pretty murky.
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giesej

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Positive Experience at Sunflower English Education, Suzhou  bfbfbfbfbf

   Hi, I am a 23 year old American English Teacher at Sunflower English Education in Suzhou China. I just finished my first year at sunflower, and am set to start my second year next month.  I know that a lot of bad things have been said about Sunflower, and that many may have been true before I came.  However, since I started work in September of 2014, I have found sunflower to be a fairly good employer, no worse, or better than any jobs I had had in the states.  I would like to quickly reply to some of the things posted in eggcluck's very thorough post, and let you all know how it is now, a year after he had his experiences.  I speak fairly fluent Chinese, which has influenced my experiences for the better, but the following reply reflects what all of us teachers are facing now at Sunflower.

Visa:  I did indeed come over on a tourist visa, but agreed to this with full knowledge, as it was the only way that I could get to China to work without the TEFL or experience required for my work visa.  Other teachers here now have just done to work visa from there home country.  For me the process fine, and I received as much help as I needed from the company, plus plenty of time to do what was needed. I had two weeks notice before my trip to Hong Kong. Although the tourist visa is not the best way, it the fasted way that recent grads in my position can come to work in China. 

Management:  There are horror stories about Sunflower management all over the internet, but I have found them to be no more intrusive or cruel than my old American supervisors.  In fact, since last year, there has apparently been a huge shift in the management and business style of Sunflower.  The owners are hardly ever seen, and when I have seen George he has been very nice and always directed me to someone who could help better.  I have been very nice and professional to everyone here, and have been flexible when I needed to be, in exchange the staff has been nice and professional and has been flexible when I needed them to be.  Sunflower follows the Golden rule apparently. If you are nice, so are they. 

Leaving Sunflower:  This was the section of eggcluck's main article which frightened me the most, as I was coming to end of my contract.  I was very pleasantly surprised when I found that the teachers who will be leaving us in the next couple months, after their contracts end, have had nothing done to impede their exit.  Most of them in fact seem to be fairly satisfied with the way things have turned out.  My own best friend Eric signed a contract to work with us, but received a better offer even before coming to work on the first day.  Far from being in opposition to his decision, I witnessed George being very understanding and doing what needed to be done to move the work visa to the new company.  Since I have not left, I cannot say much more, but I can say that I am much less frightened now than I was after reading this article. 

General notes:  Although my contract did have blanks, they were all filled by the addendum page at the back, which was legally bound to the contract, and before I signed I stipulated that the blanks be filled, and they were filled by the company before I signed and sent it back.  I was promptly given a copy.  When I resigned last month George and I signed two contracts, and I kept one, he the other.  I have always been paid on time, and what I am owed.  Sunflower has asked me to do some things outside the bounds of my contract, but nothing humiliating, and nothing that was not then rewarded with ample overtime pay. 

Conclusion: No matter what Sunflower was like in the past, I find it to be a fairly good company today, and look forward to many years here in the future.  So I end my saying that Sunflower is no longer a company that must be avoided at all costs. It is a fairly good choice in a jobs market which is very uniform in its quality and options.


Wenn das Geld im Kasten klingt, die Seele aus dem Feuer springt

babala

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Sorry but I disagree. You are staying so of course they will treat you satisfactory. George is a vindictive ass. Before last year I knew every Suzhou Sunflower teacher and pretty much all of them had been screwed over by George. Not too mention the dealings my company had with them. A zebra can't change it's stripes. I'm glad you had a good first year but endorsing George and Sunflower is just wrong.
Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. Homer Simpson

opiate

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Positive Experience at Sunflower English Education, Suzhou  bfbfbfbfbf

   Other teachers here now have just done to work visa from there home country.  For me the process fine, and I received .... Although the tourist visa is not the best way, it the fasted way that recent grads in my position can come to work in China. 

I have always been paid on time, and what I am owed. 

So I end my saying that Sunflower is no longer a company that must be avoided at all costs. It is a fairly good choice in a jobs market which is very uniform in its quality and options.

Your English leads me to believe you're an imposter. Nice try, Buttercup.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 08:56:55 AM by opiate »

babala

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It is irresponsible to recommend this school.
Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. Homer Simpson

Escaped Lunatic

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So giesej, anything else to share, or was your sole purpose in joining the Saloon to post in a single discussion thread to try to damage the credibility of EggCluck's experiences?
I'm pro-cloning and we vote!
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giesej

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What a very harsh response to my post! I posted here not to destroy eggclucks credibility but to share my opposing perspective. The thread is titled Sunflower English and I replied with my own experience of that school, if that damages the credibility of eggclucks experience it was not my intention.  I am simple relaying how things are a year after he left.  If this is how my experience which is on the topic of this thread is treated, I am not sure whether I will join any other discussions or not.  As a forum for expats, I had not expected my reply to be read with such biased scorn and insinuations about my motivation and qualifications.  I have written about my own experience at sunflower, and would be glad to discuss it further.  However if you are just going to shoot down anything but your established truth, then I might as well not bother.   llllllllll 

Think what you like, you're entitled to an opinion.  Mine is a positive one, I leave the negativity to you.

-Josh
Wenn das Geld im Kasten klingt, die Seele aus dem Feuer springt