SCHOOLS AND RECRUITERS REVIEWS
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#1 Parent Ex-Sino victim - 2017-11-06
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

I worked here many years ago. Still sounds like things haven't changed. I was fired on trumped up charges and denied by airfare because I was "terminated with cause". I was bullied/blackmailed into accepting my termination by being told I would be awarded a release letter on condition I kept quiet and accepted the decision. When I asked the principal to substantiate his charges with examples his response was "I'm not going into detail. You should know". When 2 colleagues of mine got fired around the same time for "talking about leaving" they dared to fight the decision by organising a petition and going to the directors and sure enough the principal refused to issue a release letter.

This behaviour was beyond disgraceful for a Western manager and I would even be shocked to see a Chinese manager sink so low.

#2 Parent SCHS..."at a glance" - 2017-10-21
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Teaching at Sino-Canada School, Luxu, Jiangsu

If you arrive at self-proclaimed China's best school Sino-Canada: your gateway to the world, you may think wow that looks nice, as you approach from the highway to the location called Fenhu (some 64 KM from downtown Shanghai and about 60 KM from Suzhou).

ARRIVAL: ESL TEACHERS "The New Building"

the first thing you will notice is a big red brick building which is the one they love to use for marketing and actually is a teaching area for any classes that are not manned by certified Canadian teachers. This building was constructed in less than 6 months in 2014. It has many rooms but very poor facilities, including no wi-fi, no adequate office space for ESL staff, unclean washrooms, classroom doors that cannot be locked. You will also find that their is favoritism to how the classrooms are allocated with a clear 'them and us' mentality coming from the Chinese admin who run this part of the school.

For instance, each Chinese teacher has their own room. ESL teachers are often expected to shift around classrooms and not allocated their own one. It houses every kind of class from grade 1 to Chinese classes to Middle School to the runts of Sino Canada: the grade 10 ESL classes.

Allocation of teaching role withing the ESL department:

If you arrive new at this school and are asked to teach grade 10 ESL, you HAVE BEEN SHAFTED! Grade 10 ESL is reknowned for being the worst area of the school to teach in. Teaching grade 10 ESL classes is a hiding to nothing. The students are typically a mix of lazy, disrespectful, vile, rude and two faced 16-17 year olds with a chip on their shoulder because ESL is viewed as being something of a dead end street.

NO effort is made by the school to inform either parent of student of the role the ESL department plays on a wider scale - being able to actually speak English as a working language. If a student just does not pass the tedious examination process to study in the BC section it is a case of tough shit.

ESL teachers with more time in or guanxi (means ass kissers - regardless of whether they are good at teaching or not) get cushy jobs teaching Middle School classes. one man, a charlatan in particular called Nguyen - takes full advantage of this. Parents are totally unaware they are being cheated out of a lot of money to send their kids there because of people like this who are employed as teachers.

On the other hand, if you arrive new at this school and are asked to teach Middle School classes you will either be given low risk (grade 7 or 8) or kids deemed to be heading for Grade 10 ESL which means low level grade 9 classes. Be prepared and look at the article wrtten only a few months ago for real authentic advice from a group of teachers who were treated in this way.

ARRIVAL: CERTIFIED TEACHERS "The BC Building"

the first thing you will notice is a total contrast compared to the ESL building. This area of the school housed everyone - Chinese, Western: students, teachers, cooks and restaurants (!) up until 2014 when a new Chinese 'us and them' admin and Canadian snobbery forced everyone bar certified Canadian teachers out. The new look 2012-16 admin were responsible for this change, which has had a major effect on many ways the school operates and functions. Restaurants relocated to near Lake Fen (Fen Hu). Everyone else ended up in "The New BuIlding".

The BC building has many classrooms and some adequate facilities but is poorly laid out and in parts, run down and rank. You may try to speak to the Certifed (?) librarian who despite only being since 2016 has an impressive backlog of knowledge on the place. His side hobby is investigating the campus and taking photos of run down areas.

Once you pop along to the 'BC Office' (constructed 2011), to get started at your gateway to the world, you will notice it resembles a large glass house. The area acts as the Sino-Canada School core admin area, there are 3 secretaries in this area whose main purpose is to look after Canadian teachers and to think sod everyone else.

You will find that in the BC Office area, personal business has to be discussed in 'open' areas. 2/3 secretaries do not have offices but absurd little desk spaces where anyone - students included - can hear your conversations. Funnily enough these secretaries area also a bit worried about the Principal hearing what they are saying and will often act sheepish with you if he is present with his office door open.

You might also think it is amusing to see how small and pathetic the BC Principal's office is for that matter.

During the first weeks there you can expect to be in out out of this area quite a lot as you do things like arrange to open a bank account, go for medicals etc, probably some kind of visa issue.

Do not forget to kiss a few butts and tell a few war stories about previous gigs / teacher college when you arrive as first impressions really count at Sino-Canada. The incumbent in charge calls this kind of thing being a "team player".

Regarding certified Canadian teachers. Granted nearly all have obtained a secondary University degree in education but what makes this place such a pathetic cash cow is that there are teachers with degrees in unrelated subjects teaching 'preferred' subjects. Teachers with mickey mouse degrees backed up with a teaching cert are 'teaching' P.E., Social Studies, I.T., Canadian Studies and non of whom graduated in that field initially.

Compare that to the real international schools down the road in Shanghai where teachers are hired to teach the subject field they actually studied a degree for.

ESL teachers have been hired as recently as 2017 on tourist visas as a method of probation. Probation for ESL teachers is 3 months from start of contract. Salary is also paid cash in hand which has caused teachers to quit over non payment. As of now, 45 working days are required as notice to quit the place with a 5000 RMB penalty if you break the contract. End of year bonus is 1 month salary, if you satisfy enough of the right people by kissing their asses during your tenure there. BC teachers get a 2 year deal but need to kiss ass or similar kudos crap to get the 2nd year.

Oh and do not forget the 'power outages'. Stuff of legend in that place.

#3 Parent Silverboy - 2017-07-23
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Those Sino-Canadian schools are all shit and the staff are brain dead fuckwits.

I know, I worked near two of them.

#4 Parent Choose Sino Canada Your Gateway To The World - 2017-07-22
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

IT is located in a place called Luxuzhen which is heading east towards Suzhou using the G50 Highway. It is bang next to a lake called Fen Hu (Lake Fen) and also has some kind of rubbish hotel there called Zplashes.

there IS more than one website for this place which can lead to some confusion if you wish to find out about it for either employment, sending a child there, nostalgia or both!

www.sinocanadaschool.com

this is the unofficial page set up for western use. It went online in 2015. It contains information about staff who teach there and also some of the things that occur there academically. It does not seem to be updated much.

www.sinocanada.ca

this is a more official site that caters for students who wish to look at the school as a form of higher education it is designed much like how a university website would be.

www.sinocanada.cn

the messy original chinese version of the site. if you are able to view archived pages of this site from pre 2012 you will see that it was written in english and chinese and use to claim that "Sino-Canada is an offshore school and we are proud to call it the real thing". That is as close as I can recall that quote that they used to peddle on the site.

#5 Parent Choose Sino Canada Your Gateway To The World - 2017-07-22
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

can confirm that as of 2017, there is still no way of getting to local town via taxi when you first get there and want to go out and explore.

for anyone reading this. the location of the campus is approx EIGHT kilometers from the local town which is 3rd level prefecture on a very very good day.

there are however rentable bikes outside the campus but not the QR code type. You would first need to trek the 8KM to buy a prepaid card to actually use the bike.

Most people buy e-bikes now. Wanna know why? read on...

in 2014, due to the fact an imbecile called Graham Giske (who taught there) was involved in a major RTA on an unlicensed motorbike, use of scooters and gas powered bikes has been prohibited ever since. This is to protect guanxi with the local PSB and not fuck up the license and kick backs that allow the place to hire inexperienced bums as teachers year in year out.

So

The school has a policy where should a WESTERN teacher be seen using an unlicensed e-bike outside the grounds or even a gas powered bike he or she are subject to:

a) 10,000 RMB fine first offence
b) termination of contract second offence.

this information can be and will be made available online in due course to substantiate it.

#6 Parent Dale - 2017-07-19
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

This place is Fenghua, Wujuiang development zone, Jiangsu province. In the middle of nowhere.

#7 Parent Eddy Robbins - 2017-06-21
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

By the read of it, this is an org. I narrowly averted signing on with many years ago at the time when I was very green in China. As I recall, this 'prestigious' highschool really was located on the fringes of Suzhou, though was being marketed as a sanctuary for dyed-in-the-wool teacher types, namely from Canada. Reading over the OP's narrative has me feeling grateful I at last rejected the idea of working there.

They were actively recruiting that late spring when I agreed to an on-campus interview. In hindsight, I can say they were trying to fill what seemed like too many vacancies for an established school, which to me red-flagged widespread discontent amongst resident teachers. Reason still reminds that happy staff will stick things out with an employer, with everyone else owning an exit plan.

With that in mind I patiently felt things out as best I could short of doing any actual teaching there. The man I spoke with in person, a David, perhaps, was selling the virtues of the campus life & such. He was friendly enough, yet I had to wonder why I as a relative China newb was so highly regarded in his mind. During our walk around the campus came his admission how far from urban amenities it was. To go somewhere meaningful off the school grounds, I remember, one would need to summon a cabbie or the local rickshaw driver. Screw dat.

After a fairly lengthy overview of what I'd be getting into, I regrettably told the man I was willing to sign on. It was really out of dumb courtesy that I said it, not unlike a tired excuse to depart a dull gathering. Later that day as I was back in Suzhou, the school's Chinese lady recruiter (Maybe it was the nefarious 'Betty'! Can't recall other specifics...) called to remind me of the next scheduled bus to their campus. At last I manned up & basically told her to forget it.

That place got me feeling antsy in a way that's still hard to describe long after the fact. With so much light shed here on the school's evil-doing, I'm genuinely relieved I had the sense to pick up on tells & beat a path away from the outfit.

#8 Parent SinoWhere - 2017-06-19
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Did I miss the location?

You have a helluva warning there but it doesn't help anyone unless you say where this school is located.

because I've seen no less than a dozen different schools named 'Sino-Canadian' and I even know at least three of them are zero-relation to each other. They are totally separate companies.

I suspect some were simply knock-offs or coincidentally had the same name. There are some variations 'Sino-Canada' or Canadian-Sino' types of different ones too. I've seen two in a single city nearly a block away from each other, I've seen a city where they had 4 different locations. I've seen that name from North to South.

So which Sino-Canada school are you talking about. Is this even in China or are you in Vancouver Canada???

#9 Parent KEN - 2017-06-19
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

think back in those days as it was still a fairly new school the idiots running it were probably more concerned with face than education. the person who was the principal for most of the decade up until 2013 was a real tosser. scummy guy. very well connected in china though it has to be said but still a scumbag. He is retired now.

You might like to know that "Betty" wrote a book a few years ago. Apparently, someone told me that she 'plugged it' during a teacher orientation week yup you guessed it - at Sino Canada.

think it would be interesting if a few of the more old school teachers from the first few years were to share their experiences. it was not that long ago.

#10 Parent KEN - 2017-06-19
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

the days you speak of are long gone and the persons you refer to were on the gravy train.

bottom line is the place makes it up as it goes along. objective being for chinese poeople to get money out of china by means of their kid going to study in canada.

that is what the place is all about.

i worked there around the same time as you did.

#11 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-05-05
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

I am not a prick but you must be for making such judgments when you don't me. Anyway I think you misunderstood. [edited] Betty [edited] never fired me! When I said she was a liar and a snake I was referring to the fact she recruits Canadians to work here and from what I hear under false pretenses. She is also supposed to sign off the school during the annual BC Education Ministry "inspection" that she conducts but given she receives a commission for every teacher she signs up, she's hardly going to fail Sino-Canada during an inspection.

The bastard Principal is the one who fired me and used made up charges and half-truths to justify doing it. He also blackmailed me into accepting his decision and not contesting it otherwise he wouldn't have given me a letter of release.

#12 Parent sino canada high school: the truth - 2017-05-04
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

not sure you are being accurate there because Betty did not usually be hands on at the school. She was a part of getting it set up but never one for doing what you said.

I put it to you that you are just some prick with inside "knowledge" aiming at discrediting posts on here.

probably mates with Jabba ([edited])

#13 Parent sino canada high school: the truth - 2017-05-04
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

seeing as you require teaching yourself here ya go.

by the way this place hires vice principals with less than 5 years teaching experience. the next one is still doing a master's degree and has not even left university yet. this place is NOT a real school, IT IS a jumped up shit hole for canadians who figure teaching is the way out of a broke job market. The place is nasty.

but

not bad for 55 thou a month is it.

this is 2017 and written solely by the latest occupant of the "BC" hot seat.

#14 Parent sino canada high school: the truth - 2017-05-04
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

answer to this one is easy

if you come to work for the ESL side of the school all teachers will be subjected to a 3 month probation period. apart from the fact that it is impossible to get that kind of visa (mainly because no school would grant you a year long visa if they thought they can get rid after three months) the place is not set up like that and for some member of the ESL admin to go back and forth sorting out visas is total bullshit.

for anyone thinking of taking up employment at this school if you read this it is true comment and you will make it to christmas if they like you not whether you are good at your job.

3 months at that school is almost a semester...kinda convenient isnt it.

the documents to prove this claim will follow.

#15 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-05-03
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Betty [edited] was just a liar and a snake. She was interested in lining her retirement funds and enjoying free perks like a first-class round-trip from Vancouver to Shanghai. I made the mistake of trying to teach and discipline the worst students. This meant the students complained and I was the one who ended up being disciplined then fired.

#16 Parent Silverboy - 2017-04-26
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

haha, of course it's bullshit. No FT in China would earn anything even remotely approaching that. 55 k a month ( I assume in rmb ) is ok for a principal, but still an average salary in many Western cities these days.

There would only be a small handful of foreigners in China earning that.

26,000 a month? I never heard on any FT except in Shanghai earning that much as a salary. I think that's a lie also.

I know a few FT's in second tier cities who make about 24,000 rmb a month, that is with an 8000 or 9000 rmb a month salary at a public school,
then the rest doing private tuition on their days off.

The old motto, "if it sounds too good to be true it usually is".

#17 Parent shmidt - 2017-04-26
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

I call Bull Shit! Only a well qualified principal at a real International School in China earns 55k a month.I interviewed with Sino-Canada and they pay 26k before tax plus housing, I know and they are NOT even a International school, the students are local Chinese.

#18 Parent 50 CENT WORTH - 2017-04-26
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

IF YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN THIS PLACE YOU WILL MEET SOME OF THE BIGGEST ASS HOLES YOU CAN IMAGINE.

PLACE MARKETS ITSELF AS BEING SOME KIND OF BASTION. IT IS MERELY A CASH COW.

COMMENTS ABOUT STUDENTS BEING DELINQUENTS ARE 100% ACCURATE.

NO SCHOOL UNIFORMS! NO ASSEMBLIES! NO STUDENT DISCIPLINE PROCEDURE IN PLACE! NO CURRICULUM!

PLACE IS A FUCKING JOKE.

#19 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

true comment re agency

the school hires from outside using agents then, despite qualifications, experience or other redeeming qualities it is all about whether you kiss ass or not once you work there.

great if you (plural) are a bum from Canada who cannot get a teaching job. not great if you have any self respect or dignity.

#20 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Good story.

I know the people you mention in this post. Boult and Butcher. If it is a genuine post - they are long gone now due to retirement age however what you say about BC REJECTS is totally correct.

to anyone out there wondering what that means it is simple. the principal referred to set up a school that has two levels: BC is prima donna up their own arses teachers with fuck all experience (most are straight outta college and on double pay) EF (grade 10/11 REJECTS of that system) are shitty bastards with no respect for anything...because they are 'not in BC'.

that is what Sino Canada is like.

and...the clown in charge of BC is a make it up as you go along / cover my own arse merchant

#21 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

salary at Sino Canada is like this:

BC teachers are on a base 55K a month salary

ESL get 18k a month salary

Same school and expected to teach in the same way.

#22 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

know this as well

official: teachers as of 2017 September will now be subjected to a 3 month probation period (termination without notice or pay) surely that is illegal given the new visa regulations.

the jist of the previous thread which is totally accurate was a pretext for this.

this school is a fabrication - steer well clear unless you like being treated with contempt.

Great advice, and more illegalities, it seems.

#23 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

what happened was a few teachers had their own visas, that were legal and were in control of their own situation. quite rightly they were able to stick two fingers up and leave. if you read the initial post you would see that there are many reasons that they felt duped.

as recent as last year the school was still hiring teachers and sending them to hong kong after employing them for nearly 3 months in other words tourist visa situation.

it will continue. you know why? cos they have a 'special relationship' with the Suzhou PSB who grants the tickets.

you would need to get out of your own armchair first though to find that out would you not?

#24 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

know this as well

official: teachers as of 2017 September will now be subjected to a 3 month probation period (termination without notice or pay) surely that is illegal given the new visa regulations.

the jist of the previous thread which is totally accurate was a pretext for this.

this school is a fabrication - steer well clear unless you like being treated with contempt.

#25 Parent watch this space - 2017-04-25
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

It has only just begun.

The place is a fabrication with many, many levels of bosses who do god knows what and they allow students to do whatever they want and treat the foreign teachers like they are looking for an easy pay-day.

New boss of ESL who is a yes-woman and a mate of the clown who is in charge of the 'certified' high school.

If you are considering working for this place know this:

it is miles from anywhere
the kids there are rich spoilt ass holes
the chinese teachers are totally 'them and us' mentality towards westerners
there is a racist Chinese prinicipal and his co-worker (the woman who worked in Dallas for 14 years) in charge of the chinese school who cannot speak english.
random make it up as you go along philosophy: bosses / teachers / students

#26 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-03
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Got it.

Not been away long enough! End of.

#27 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-03
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Bootiful?

What do you mean?

Means beautiful. Bloke that sells turkeys in UK say bootiful. Been away too long?

#28 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-03
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Bootiful?

What do you mean?

I know what you mean but the spelling is so outlandish that I hope nobody believes that it was nothing but a friendly pat upon the head of British lower orders and the way wot they speak English hahaha!

#29 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Bootiful?

What do you mean?

#30 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Re Yuncheng county of Shandong, the birthpace of China's first lady! Wow!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peng_Liyuan

#31 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

The bootiful one in Shanxi,

#32 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Taffy, China has 2 Yunchengs! Which one do you mean?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuncheng_County

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuncheng

#33 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Taffy, if one has the financial resources and available time to fly to China on an L visa, investigate the job market in a particular region and then return to their 'homeland' to obtain the Z visa at the embassy/consulate, this is certainly possible.

I suspect that for most job candidates this is unrealistic. And I would suggest that any recruiter that promotes such a strategy is being, at best, disingenuous.

You are right of course, Trumpsey. Let's just say if you are a backpacker travelling the world and unexpectedly fall in love with Yuncheng on your travels you may consider returning home for that Z Visa to settle down in said beauty spot for the foreseeable future. Happy Tomb Day.

#34 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Both the British Council and VSO insist on testimonials. I suppose it is to ensure that said agencies have done their best to ensure that UK citizens teaching abroad are of the highest quality and have good moral character.

China would do well to follow the UK's example in this respect, as indeed would America, imo!

#35 Parent FTinPRC - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Taffy, if one has the financial resources and available time to fly to China on an L visa, investigate the job market in a particular region and then return to their 'homeland' to obtain the Z visa at the embassy/consulate, this is certainly possible.

I suspect that for most job candidates this is unrealistic. And I would suggest that any recruiter that promotes such a strategy is being, at best, disingenuous.

#36 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Interesting! Unlike in the UK.

#37 Parent FTinPRC - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA


Decent western employers will never
ask for references. Instead they woll ask for testimonials.
If your last job was working for a big company in the west, you can't get a letter of
reference from there

In the U.S., this is not true. References in writing are often requested and often provided.

#38 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

No 6 is naive and encourages dishonesty by the jobseeker. Decent western employers will never ask for references. Instead they woll ask for testimonials.

If your last job was working for a big company in the west, you can't get a letter of reference from there. However, you can provide a testimonial in relation to said job. Your potential Chinese employer can then telephone or write to your previous or current western employer to ask about your performance at work and your character.

You will never know what that person says/writes about you unless your new Chinese employer chooses to divulge this to you.

You should first ask someone who was one of your superiors if he/she agrees to provide a testimonial. The higher his/her position in the company the better!

#39 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Exactly!

#40 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

I spose in theory we could arrive in China with an L Visa and knock on doors asking about work, to return with a Zedd Visa? That would certainly have some advantages over trusting what somebody tells you over e-mail. You could even enlist an agent to point you in the right direction. Of course I suppose you'd need a friend to invite you? Or would you? Could you say I want to backpack my way across China?

#41 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

Exactly!

We shouldn't tar all backpackers with the same brush.

#42 Parent Alias Taffy - 2017-04-02
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

But it IS ok to seek or be offered work in China while there on an L visa. Unlike in the west!

In the past, western backpackers touring China got good contacts in this way. They later returned with Z visas to teach.

Glad you said that. Certain posters in the past have suggested that back-packers are all ill-educated- and not capable of obtaining Z Visas was the inference.Just steal our jobs and give us all a bad name.

#43 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-01
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Good post!

#44 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-04-01
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

At one time you could but they clamped down on it around the time of the Beijing Olympics and it became very difficult to impossible. However in 2013 or 2014 when China became very by the book, it became impossible to change an L visa to a Z-visa. Also getting a Z-visa in Hong Kong is almost impossible unless you happen to be a Hong Kong resident.

#45 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-04-01
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Reilly you hit the nail on the head!

#46 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-01
Re DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

But it IS ok to seek or be offered work in China while there on an L visa. Unlike in the west!

In the past, western backpackers touring China got good contacts in this way. They later returned with Z visas to teach.

#47 Parent Reilly - 2017-04-01
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

"During the same time period, other teachers were sent emails stating that, if they didn’t hand their visa documents in by a certain date (which just so happened to be during the holiday period) then their contracts would be terminated.

They too were ignored until after the deadline to hand in their paperwork had passed, and everything since then has been handled extremely unprofessionally. No apologies for causing emotional distress, no concern for the fact that we are outsiders in a foreign country, no common decency whatsoever!"

I quoted this part of your post because it strikes me as rather curious that people are allowed to teach at your school WITHOUT getting a visa first. The time to hand in your documents is BEFORE YOU SIGN A CONTRACT AND BEFORE YOU START WORK. Unless you have a Z visa in your passport you are NOT allowed to work (legally) in China at a school.(no matter what the school tells you) This is also likely why the school treats you the way that they do. You are working illegally and thus why would you expect any respect? I certainly wouldn't respect people working illegally in my home country and it is no surprise that the locals here feel the same way.

And this is 2017 meaning that there is no excuse for working illegally. Ten minutes on the Internet and you could have verified that teaching in China without having a Z visa in your passport is illegal. And all without leaving the comfort of your home country or even the depths of your armchair.

#48 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-04-01
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

What is the NAME of this agent? Is she called Maggie Mei? She recruited me at this pathetic excuse for a "school"? I arrived here and within a week my classes were taken off me without explanation and I was given another group who were taken off me again without explanation. I then had 2 or 3 weeks when I was just doing cover work and shortly after the visit of Betty Boult the BC agent, the Principal at the time randomly came to my office and said "can I talk to you?" He then unleashed a torrent of abuse at me and said "your students are deserting you" and accused me of "abusive disciplinary procedures". I then told him that I hadn't been given any regular classes and that I was being shuffled around like a pawn in a chess game and furthermore that I hadn't been equipped with class lists, textbooks, etc. His response was "those are just excuses!" and he then said "its not your job to discipline the students. Treat them like they're your children".

The following week, I got given the Junior High group with whom I got on quite well. At the same time I was given a group of "grade 11" students who were just rejects from the BC course and were not sitting any exams and to say their behaviour was a disgrace would be a total understatement. In this time I was given drop-in observations and then the Principal told me I was doing fine. However 4 days after he told me this, he then popped into my classroom and said "tone down your rhetoric. Students are thinking you're nasty". This was grossly unprofessional because a. A principal should NEVER reprimand a teacher in front of his students and b. If you are going to criticise someone, explain what you mean. "Tone down your rhetoric could mean almost anything". c. Students thought he was nasty and they were right. He was always verbally abusing them and reducing them to tears over issues that could be resolved diplomatically.

That same day I was called into the Principal's office and given my termination notice and given vague feedback. I was also lied to as the Principal told me 5 students in my grade 11 class had left the school because of me. I found out this was a lie because the following week all of the students from that grade 11 class were still there. The school failed to pay my airfare or winter holiday pay because I had been "terminated with cause". Furthermore I was coerced into keeping the matter private and not fighting the matter as otherwise the school would have withheld my letter of release, which is an illegal practice.

Others were also fired or coerced into "resigning" around the same time. Also pay was often late or with held and bonuses were often not paid.

Almost 9 years on I have still not 100% recovered psychologically.

#49 Parent Been there at the Sino-Canada Laogai for Laowais - 2017-04-01
DO NOT ENTER CHINA WITH AN L VISA

If this "agent" is advising you to enter China on an L-Visa, KEEP AWAY. REJECT THE OFFER AND BLOCK THE AGENT.

It has been virtually impossible to impossible to convert an L-visa to a residence permit since 2008 when the Olympics came to China.

Getting a letter of invite now is very bureaucratic. You need to undertake the following actions in your home country first:

1. Police clearance check in your home country plus a local one from the country in which you are currently working if its outside your home country.
2. Medical examination using the official Chinese template.
3. Notarisation of academic documents using a notary.
4. Legalisation of notarised academic documents by the government.
5. Verification of notarised and legalised academic documents by the Chinese Consulate or Embassy in your home country.
6. Obtain a letter of reference from your previous/current employer.

Once you follow these steps, you can then begin the process to apply for a letter of invitation which you need to take to the Chinese Consulate.

Once again tell me the name of this agent. Also STAY AWAY FROM HER! She sounds like a liar and a cheat.

#50 Parent JVW - 2017-03-02
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

An excellent post and long, long overdue.

There will be more to come about this school. a person with a gigaton of emails and communications is ready to put them online to serve as evidence about how this entire place operates and is run. BC admin and ESL admin: the place is a vile shit hole and absolutely needs to be outed.

It will be interesting to see how this school develops. I predict closure by 2020.

#51 Parent rj - 2017-03-02
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

The irony is that i applied to work at this school. I was original supposed to start in September but i had delays my side due to paperwork. Everything was sorted in November so i thought, then there was miscommunication and had to do a medical. Submitted all of this just before Christmas and waited to hear about getting the work permit and visa notification letter. Anyway fast forward to this week, i messaged them a couple of times asking what was going on etc as it had been a while with no ingormation. They are ignoring me. After reading this i'm almost kind of happy they are not replying. Just wished i'd of known sooner

#52 Parent Simon - 2017-02-28
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Excellent post!

#53 Parent heretosay - 2017-02-28
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Most of China is a facade. Education is just to brainwash the
proles and stop them from thinking like in 1989.

Hmm. Another FT "expert." So I take it you've been to most of China, and have been involved in the education system in "most of China." Please tell me what your opinion is based on. Is it research that you've done? Is it your amazing insight? Is it exposure and verification based on past education? Is your degree in Sinology? Have you discussed this with other experts - both foreign and domestic? Please enlighten me. I'm always willing to learn.

Chinese should just play podcasts rather than buy foreigners for peanuts to sell their
morals.

What does that even mean?

Still another pretend teacher who's limited exposure has suddenly made him an expert on all things Chinese. How absurd.

#54 Parent Sold - 2017-02-28
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Sounds like Lambton college. Most of China is a facade. Education is just to brainwash the proles and stop them from thinking like in 1989.

Chinese should just play podcasts rather than buy foreigners for peanuts to sell their morals.

#55 Parent Sold - 2017-02-28
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

you cannot change a work visa outside of china or any visa to a work visa which is not your home country unless the documents are addressed to hongkong.then you apply for the entrance visa. which is then used for residency in China. However your employer will need some powerful friends to do this.

unless the law has changed recently

Go to S.Korea it's much better

#56 Parent LostInZhongGuo - 2017-02-26
Re Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

Nice to see a honest opinion! I have been talking to an agent and she's trying to get me to work here. The deal sounds too good to be true, so I am doing some research. I've seen so many other bad reviews! I am still thinking about it but I'm taking the warnings seriously. The school I'm at now keeps screwing with my paperwork, does this school at least give you a z-visa? I don't have a CELTA/TEFL/TESOL cert, but I have a few years experience. The woman I've been talking to is saying I'll need to get a L-visa and transfer it in Hong Kong. It sounds kind of fishy to me because I already have a z-visa. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

ESL Teachers 7466 - 2017-02-26
Sino-Canada = ESL Hell!

As a group of ESL teachers who currently work at Sino-Canada, we would like to make prospective teachers aware of what a joke this school is. We are not referring to the BC side of the school - they are well managed and have administration that knows how a school should be ran and how teachers should be managed - we are here to talk about the ESL side.

Before you accept a job at this school, please do your research! We hope to prevent other teachers from going through what we have experienced, so please take the time to read what we have to say.

This school is simply a Chinese school that just happens to hire a few foreign teachers. There is no curriculum so we are forced to design our own, which we are neither paid, nor qualified to do. The students are mostly delinquents who have been expelled from public school and this is the only place that will accept them; because of this, they have little or no respect for teachers.

There are regular fights, often with weapons - as many students walk around with knives (with no repercussions), bullying and serious threats of violence go ignored (to the point where ESL teachers have had to physically protect students from their bullies) because Chinese administration doesn't care enough to intervene. Homeroom teachers are often violent towards students and, when the students complain, they are accused of lying and punished for it.

School management is almost non-existent. Schedule changes are made last minute, which affects our lessons. A lot of the time, it is the students who inform us of these changes, which makes teachers look like the incompetent ones. There often aren’t enough desks/chairs in the classrooms, which leads to fights between students, and the ones we do have are so cheap that they often break (while students are sitting on them).

There are regular power & water outages, which may not be the schools fault, but they still force students and teachers to attend school. This would be bad enough with no electricity, but with no running water it is just DISGUSTING! Toilets get backed up with urine and fecal matter, the halls begin to smell and students return to (freezing cold) classrooms with unwashed hands.

When we raise issues about the work conditions to management, we are disrespected and humiliated. In a recent meeting, our Principal or Vice Principal (we're not actually aware of what her position is, or anyone else's for that matter) referred to us as "feverish, selfish little clod's" because we asked for help in bettering the department. She has also attempted, on numerous occasions, to humiliate many of us in a public forum. This woman has no idea how to treat people or manage a school. She got the job based purely on her connections, after she was KICKED OUT of America for not having the correct visa, and she is the reason the ESL school is being ran into the ground. When teachers or other management have good ideas which will help the school/students/teachers, she overrules it and decides to go with what she sees as best (which is generally a poor decision). Her main goal seems to be to turn all the teachers against each other (she continually asks us how we feel about other teachers’ performances, and is foolish enough to think that we don’t speak to each other about it), as dividing us will be of benefit to her.

The living conditions of the school are also very bad. We are put in apartments that have no appliances and heating that doesn't work. As the apartments are on campus, they too are regularly subjected to power cuts, which means we are unable to make food or even shower. The location of the school is very remote, and we have no way of getting around when first arriving. There is a local taxi driver on hand that the school likes us to use, but he overcharges foreign teachers for everything and pretends he is doing us a favor. The school encourages us to use his services, probably because administration is getting a cut, and he often helps us with things that people at the school are too lazy to do. He has helped some teachers with issues with their bank accounts, SIM cards, hospitals etc. when the person whose job it actually is has refuse to help. He of course does this for a fee, whereas if the person at the school actually did it for us, it would be free.

Positive things about this school are the pay and the amount of holiday, or they would be if we weren’t shorted on pay. The school gives us more than our contracted hours, then refuses to pay us for the extra because the principal thinks what we get paid “is fair”. Apparently she has the authority to break the contract whenever it suits her. When we say we don’t want to work the extra hours, we are told that we are welcome to work at another school and suggests one in particular – which just so happens to be one of her side projects. Also, we were told that we would have our flights reimbursed (it is also stated in the contract), but admin has decided to only give some of us our money back. Luck of the draw, we suppose.

And about the holiday…yes, it is a bonus, but during the most recent vacation, one teacher was sent an email telling him that he had been fired from the school. He attempted to contact management during this period, but was completely ignored until, eventually, he was sent another email saying something to the effect of “sorry about that, we are planning on keeping you at the school after all”. During the same time period, other teachers were sent emails stating that, if they didn’t hand their visa documents in by a certain date (which just so happened to be during the holiday period) then their contracts would be terminated.

They too were ignored until after the deadline to hand in their paperwork had passed, and everything since then has been handled extremely unprofessionally. No apologies for causing emotional distress, no concern for the fact that we are outsiders in a foreign country, no common decency whatsoever!

All management cares about is lining their own pockets, which we believe is where most of the school budget goes – it certainly isn’t spent on classroom facilities. Teachers are in a position where we have to spend our own money on basics that should be provided for us such as pens, board markers, paper, books (as we aren’t provided with curricula), glue (to put classroom furniture back together). We don’t get reimbursed for our flights, physical examinations, criminal checks etc. despite the contract saying we will.

Please do not let the salary entice you into a job at the ESL school of Sino-Canada. You will be given extra hours, which you won’t be paid for; you’ll be forced to create your own curricula, which will take up hours of your free time and you will receive no gratitude for, you will not get your flights reimbursed; you will spend most of your time disciplining students, and won’t actually get the chance to teach; you will be treated as a servant. THIS IS NOT A GOOD SCHOOL! ANYONE WHO IS THINKING OF WORKING HERE SHOULD EXPLORE EVERY OTHER AVENUE BEFORE ACCEPTING A JOB AT THE ESL SIDE OF SINO-CANADA!

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