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Interview at a Callan School


SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
20 Mar 2009 /  #121
I used to work in a Callan school.
We had teachers from, the U.S.A, Scotland, England and me from Ireland.
We did have to speak RP but you can never completely get rid of your accent.
I thought this was excellent for the students.

A friend of mine studied English Linguistics in university and after she got her masters, she went to London, thinking London is the capital of England and therefore the capital of the English speaking world.

You can guess what happened, she couldn't understand anyone. :)

What does that tell you, I hear you ask, probably nothing but I am waiting for something and thought I'd waste my time and yours telling you this little story.
Harry  
20 Mar 2009 /  #122
It's quite simply really, if the director of the school feels that your accent is too broad he will simple not employ you, after all it all comes down to profit no mater what personal justification you protest.

That's the other side of regional accents. And boy do the holders of those accents whine when they don't get the job (or even worse lose the job)!

I've never understood the pride that people take in their regional accents. I mean either: it is the result of how you spoke when you were learning to speak, which is a stupid thing to take pride in because nobody chooses where they grow up (it is chosen for them and thus is no reflection on them at all); or it is acquired and thus not natural, it merely reflects the social group that you would like to belong to.

Personally I generally speak to people because I want them to understand me. Having a thick regional accent is not going to help me do that.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
20 Mar 2009 /  #123
We see that the English tend to favour their accents as somehow better. Some Edinburgh accents are ideal for teaching. The West Coast ones and Inverness are not bad too, quite soft.

The female Morningside accent is probably almost perfect for such teaching - if you think about how soft and melodic it is, it's incredibly nice to listen to and almost soothing in a way.

West Coast can be a nightmare though, I know a guy from Fort William who speaks what sounds like the bastard love child of someone from Shetland crossed with an Irish person. And the Gaelic speaking areas? No way, they sound like Americans at times :s

But I find the ones who are complaining about accents to be poor learners in general - I had a couple of guys yesterday who were completely terrified of having me teach them. By the end, they said that I've got the clearest accent out of anyone teaching them. But the aforementioned old hag had problems - coincidence or not that she's also one of the worst students?
cjjc 29 | 408  
20 Mar 2009 /  #124
I'm Cumbrian and I'm quite sure I don't really have much of an accent. If you ask someone what my accent is they usually can't identify me as having one.

:)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Mar 2009 /  #125
Ukpolska is spot on. I have said it before, it's McDonalds English in large part, calculated to get bums on seats and profits rolling in. The actual process of teaching has been diluted. I'd actually like to be observed much more than at present. Once a week at least. To do otherwise is just not right.

Yeah, delphi, I dunno what I had in mind with the West Coast thing. I mean more Inverness rather than further across.

I don't have a regional accent, people can't even guess my home country, never mind the region. The purpose of communication is to be understood of course. Anyone who tries to baffle others is just being an idiot.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
20 Mar 2009 /  #126
I insist my Polish teacher does not have an accent. I also prefer them to be virgins due to my personal religious beliefs.
VaFunkoolo 6 | 654  
20 Mar 2009 /  #127
there is a big difference between accent and stress.

Yes, I agree

but dont declare yourself intelligent just because of that fact

That wasnt my intention - I was just pointing out a fact

Sorry, which accent do you speak with?

As I said before I try not to speak with an accent - I prefer to be understood the first time

The queens accent?

More like Diana's... from the esstcharry...

From what you are saying, You mean to neglect the whole need for a native speaker

Thats not what Im saying but its a valid point.

Plenty of argument to be had saying whats the point of a native speaker with a strong regional accent and a Polish speaker with their own unique accent
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
20 Mar 2009 /  #128
whats the point of a native speaker with a strong regional accent

I really dont think it matters all that much as long as teachers are understandable, I dontvsuppose alot of students would be able to distinguish well between accents. Bias toward BBC southern type english prevails, but for example Edinburgh and Dublin English is very clear, and Northern English distinction between staff and stuff for exam

ple , which is swallowed up in southern english, but handier for learners.
I dont know about pure Geordie mind!!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Mar 2009 /  #129
I think we were talking at cross purposes before. It's pretty clear that accent is different from stress in terms of voice Vs accentuation (emphasis). So, wind ups aside, let's continue.

Where is the dude, ssefeirtom? I would like to hear his thoughts on his first week.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
23 Mar 2009 /  #130
Sorry i've not been on the net much the last week or so! My 'training' wasn't really training, they just made us observe a few classes now and i'm being thrown in at the deep end and i start teaching classes tomorrow. They havent even given me a manual to prepare from or anything, I am expected to just go in tomorrow and know what I am doing, I hope it goes well!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
23 Mar 2009 /  #131
That is absolutely ridiculous. Where are you based, again? I got a manual and quite a lot of classroom practice before stepping into the classroom for real. Observations formed a minor part of my training.

We had loads of grammar tests and updates etc etc.

OJT should be more extensive than that.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
23 Mar 2009 /  #132
i'm in krakow. yeah i thought it was silly, basically on one day he spoke to us for a couple of hours about the callan method and the school etc, then the 4 candidates were told to come in to observe some classes being taught. i came in and watched 4 classes then on friday the 4 of us had to teach each other plus the headmaster. i got chosen, as did a polish girl, 2 others got rejected through a very bad performance. TBH my performance wasn't great and i really want more practice but i start tomorrow! i am downloading some manuals now but the torrent got stuck, so now i got audio books going. i do not even know where the class is at, i just have to go in tomorrow, pick up the manual and somehow try to ask them the questions without reading the manual?! i do not know what the manual says so how the hell am i meant to act natural? i will have to stand there like a fool literally reading from the manual.
pgtx 30 | 3,156  
23 Mar 2009 /  #133
i will have to stand there like a fool literally reading from the manual.

just like me after buying a car... ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
23 Mar 2009 /  #134
They have been thoroughly unprofessional. A confident teacher will produce confident displays funnily enough. They needed to really drill the method harder with you. They are more and more looking for instant cash these days and it really angers me. I sometimes wonder how Poland could have been communist at all with some of the materialism I see.

Trust me, you simply cannot act that natural until you have some exp under your belt. It took me a while. Then you can waltz around the class with the whole question in your head, no need for the book other than a quick glance as to what the next question is.

Stick with it and remember that you are new. It is a learning exp for you as much as it is for them.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
23 Mar 2009 /  #135
i will have to stand there like a fool literally reading from the manual.

can you get in there a bit early and have a swift read of it?
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
23 Mar 2009 /  #136
yeah and i'm not so sure about the pay and contract etc.. the guy said i could work with a contract, without a contract, however i want. its 25zl netto, he even said himself he knows its low, the reason its low is because its easy. i still havent signed anything or given them my bank details!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
23 Mar 2009 /  #137
Good point. Your school should have multiple spare copies of all books of the method. A swift something else may be in order too. Where's that bar? ;)

25PLN for how many minutes? You need a contract, that's a foundation document. Otherwise, he'll rip you off left, right and centre. At least you'll have some comeback then.

He should've dealt with this before bums on seats. Hold your ground, whatever you do. I know sb who is taking action at the moment but I can say no more than that.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
23 Mar 2009 /  #138
each class is 50 mins so i guess its 25 netto for 50 mins. when i go in tomorrow i will ask all these questions, i wanna sign something! shit wasnt this complicated in england...
dtaylor 9 | 823  
23 Mar 2009 /  #139
Ah but not all schools can afford to give the books to teachers, plus this method for experienced teacher need no prep. I've offered to help him out if he wants it. I manage one of the schools he works at, but not his school. Nothing like throwing a newbie into the deep end ;)

each class is 50 mins so i guess its 25 netto for 50 mins. when i go in tomorrow i will ask all these questions, i wanna sign something! shit wasnt this complicated in england...

You will be paid in cash, with no tax, trust me thats a good thing, they wont sack you cos they are scared about the tax situation.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
23 Mar 2009 /  #140
The rate is on the low side but these are crisis times. I got 35PLN in hand for 50 mins but I started out on 30PLN.

I moved on from then though but it was a fun experience at times.
dtaylor 9 | 823  
23 Mar 2009 /  #141
I moved on from then though but it was a fun experience at times.

As teacher who began at the beginning, thats a fair rate. Now im guessing we command about 50-80pln a month because we have the experience, and schools run around stupid actually trying to hire someone who knows his stuff for many years.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
23 Mar 2009 /  #142
It's hard to keep teachers who hit their prime as they start to look for something else. They grow tired of it and take their knowledge elsewhere. In my third year, I could teach it blindfolded and there was no challenge.

Teaching is a broad church and the more you go down one path, the harder it is to turn your hand to other ways of getting your points across.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
24 Mar 2009 /  #143
You will be paid in cash, with no tax, trust me thats a good thing

Well, it depends if you want to stay in Poland for any length of time. If you find you want to stay for a few more years you should look for proper contracts, Hell, you shouldn't really work for crooks who want to avoid their responsibilities by dodging tax (viz school owners). If they'll do this, what other dodgy business will they be up to?

Remember, if you accept cash in hand for your services, you are complicit in tax evasion.

The school sector in Poland is fundamentally shifty. Nearly all the people who work in the are pathological liars who will use other people for their own ends. I don't know whether the job makes them this way or whether it takes a certain kind of person to be successful
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #144
Spot on, Mr Bubbles. I'm loathe to accept these people syphoning off the profits by cheating. Contracts are absolutely vital, even if they aren't worth the paper they are written on concerning some provisions. You need some form of rights.

Explain to the guy that these things should be sorted out before any teaching starts. It's impertinent to even assume that you wouldn't need a contract. Trust me, they'll screw you somewhere down the line. These people are professional schysters, worth the watching!
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
24 Mar 2009 /  #145
These people are professional schysters, worth the watching!

Yep. They are not above drawing you in with something along the lines of "We don't need any contract - you trust me eh?" and then they just don't pay you. It happens all the time. Another scam is to get you to sign a contract for let's say 700 zloty but they promise to pay you more (2000 possibly). Would you sign that?

Of course not, but the problem is that Polish teachers and naive foreigners will and the owner gets away with it. The attitude is endemic throughout the sector from "beefeater london house OK cool English" private schools all the way up to, I'm sorry to say, universities and polytechnics. The teachers are generally idiots who willingly put up with it and employers are generally bastards who willingly exploit them. But that's Poland in a nutshell.
Harry  
24 Mar 2009 /  #146
Trust me, they'll screw you somewhere down the line.

You mean that paying 50grosze per minute isn't screwing him already? I was making more than that back in 1996!!!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
24 Mar 2009 /  #147
its 25zl netto, he even said himself he knows its low, the reason its low is because its easy. i still havent signed anything or given them my bank details!

The newbie teachers at my school (Polish) are on that per hour. In all honesty, I'd recommend exploiting the situation for what it's worth. There's always ways and means to do so, and to pay you 25PLN/hour is simply insulting.

But then again, it is March...perhaps simply accepting this for now might not be such a bad move, but I'd keep applying elsewhere and see if anything else comes up.

As for the crisis? What crisis? We actually seem to have more private classes than before in my school ;s
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #148
Harry and MrBubbles, exactly right. It has been said that everybody got a pay rise except the teachers. I fight for every amount, I have to as I am only on 48PLN per hour gross. 39PLN in hand. The corruption is quite incredible, my fiancee knows about it as she exposed a guy, caught him red-handed in his own lies.

I agree, delphi. Exploiting them to the max is worth doing. Don't suggest to them that you are in a position of dependence. There's always something else that you could be doing.

Private business is worth seeking out. Cash in hand is the norm for most teachers.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
24 Mar 2009 /  #149
I agree, delphi. Exploiting them to the max is worth doing. Don't suggest to them that you are in a position of dependence. There's always something else that you could be doing.

And of course, the second that you get a better offer elsewhere, feel free to take it to them (after being paid!) and tell them that they need to either better the offer or you'll leave. If you've got a better offer one week before payday, you can just be conveniently 'sick' for a week while you work at the other place to make sure that you get paid.

Certainly, don't hold any morals - they'll unlikely have any morals when it comes to you, so there's no harm in screwing them over if needs be.

As for the expectations - it does depend. If you can do whatever the hell you want in the class and you're not being held to doing things 'by the book' - then it's no big deal and you really don't need to be trained. But if you're being expected to teach perfect 'method' lessons (like a certain DoS in PoznaƄ!) without knowing the material, then don't take it seriously and be ready to quit at any moment.

25PLN an hour might not be a terrible deal if the school is ten minutes walk away and you've got the freedom to piss about as your conscience dictates ;)

(incidentally, my golden rule is as follows : if the school has a well stocked library of textbooks and other materials, including things that the teachers have written, combined with free access to a photocopier as you need it, then it's likely to be good. If they don't have these things, then be very careful...)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #150
Yeah, be firm as they will play that card with you. Truth be told, some managers here are more stingy than Aberdonians, no word of a lie. They feel that the world owes them a living and they will bleed you dry and justify all manner of sins.

Expectations is another point. I was discussing this with my fiancee last night. Many Poles see their education as somehow superior, rather than just different. I see this defensive arrogance all too often. I don't like to see that but I do think the education level is quite good here and that they are underpaid. Having said that, they have to accept it and move on, create their own luck and conditions. Inflation has gone up 3.3% and I've noticed price increases. People are scrapping and it's 'fight or flight', 'swim or drown' in these times.

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