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Interview at a Callan School


VaFunkoolo 6 | 654  
24 Mar 2009 /  #151
its 25zl netto

Don't get out of bed for less than a tenner an hour
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #152
A tenner an hour is around 50PLN, that's more like it. It's as the old expression goes, 'pay peanuts and you get monkeys'. 25PLN is pants!
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
24 Mar 2009 /  #153
well today i did my first lesson COMPLETELY unprepared as we are not allowed to take books home and are expected to go in am little earlier to read through what the students will be doing. which also isn't THAT accurate as it depends where the last teacher got to. it went ok but this evening i have to go back and teach stage 7! luckily i managed to download PDFs of all the stages, im revising from it right now, stage 7 seems a lot harder to explain to people than the first few stages, especially considering i know fuck all about the callan method!

but as was pointed out above, its march and i think im pretty lucky to get something in a callan school right now, even if im being paid very low and havent even been trained.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #154
Precisely, that's another naff thing about it. You are supposed to pick up from where the last teacher left off. To hell with that, one teacher was so damned lazy that she always left me a stack of revision. Having had time to think about the method, I feel that it isn't really useful in practical situations for the most part. I can't imagine the students using it in any meaningful way.

Still, practice is practice and you have some beer money now.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
24 Mar 2009 /  #155
just had 2 more classes this evening, im getting used to it already! who needs training ay. but one day, probably in september il start demanding at LEAST 30 zl netto from them or another school, there are plenty around krakow.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #156
Some of them may employ Callan as a method. Britam do here. Others may do. You will get a grounding in the grammar which you can use elsewhere.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
24 Mar 2009 /  #157
we have the official callan school here and a speed school. a few others too i think, i visited them last month
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #158
I know the owners of Speed. They treated me quite well overall. Knowing Callan is useful in Poland, it can open up some doors. I was invited to do extra classes in Britam but I handed them across to my co-trainer at Callan. He was more interested in the method as I had lost heart. It's not something I'd gladly go back to. I prefer discussions and classical teaching which my current school gives me.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
24 Mar 2009 /  #159
Precisely, that's another naff thing about it. You are supposed to pick up from where the last teacher left off. To hell with that, one teacher was so damned lazy that she always left me a stack of revision. Having had time to think about the method, I feel that it isn't really useful in practical situations for the most part. I can't imagine the students using it in any meaningful way.

It depends on the attitude of the school and teachers too, really. I could name a school in PoznaƄ where any creativity on the part of the teacher or the students is frowned upon as NOT BEING PART OF THE METHOD! - but thankfully, my school realises that keeping people happy is the key to success and ultimately more money for everyone.

Part of this is undoubtably recognising and encouraging 'different' answers to reflect reality - and skill on the teachers part in being able to change the questions without thought. One of my favourite tricks is to take them physically outside of the classroom to illustrate the difference between inside and outside, for instance.

This is where the usefulness of the method is so subjective - I think it has its use in teaching beginners, particularly young people who might be struggling in school. But it's useless beyond stage 4 or so - the grammar explanations are so badly written beyond that point that they simply have to be shunned or laughed at.

But I think I'm lucky in that my school encourages this. For instance, lately, I've noticed a lot of people mixing up is and are. So, I've been on a mission to check every single beginner class for this - and I'd like to think that it's working. It certainly seems to be, but we'll see.

(incidentally, as an aside...I had to take an exam with a rather dire/boring/dull/whatever group last week. They'd just finished stage 3 of the book - and they all passed. Yet more proof that for many of these people that complain about accents, the problem isn't with the teacher, but with the individual.)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
24 Mar 2009 /  #160
I agree that the earlier stages give the students the most benefit. It grounds them in matching and the tempo of the language. I gave a demo lesson to a good teacher on how best to teach stage 1. You need energy and rhythm. That was it, going with the flow. Holding the attention of the students is another critical thing. This is why I feel for the newbie who started today. The students expect certain standards with certain teachers. They can see when you are off the boil or slightly distracted. This isn't the case in methods where the TTT is significantly less. You can 'goof off', provided you generally keep the thread. STT is the order of the day in non-Callan environments. There's more scope for diversity but in Callan it can be rigid.

Some of the higher level answers were funny. Some even attempted the 'If you were in the middle of the jungle....' as a full throwback at the teacher. I knew that word for word, how sad.
Necramancer 4 | 17  
13 Apr 2009 /  #161
Ok here are my thoughts, I think the reason for you only getting 25 pln an hour is
because firstly you may not be a native speaker which is silly because your doing exactly
the same job as the natives and the company also gets paid the same from there clients/students for a 50 min slot, and the reason they pay the natives more is not neccessarily because they are native but because if times are slow they give more lessons to the Polish English speakers and less to the English Natives because they are making more for every lesson.

I guess at the end of the day in the eyes of the owners its all just common maths.

I plan to open a Callan school very soon, but I also plan to pay my Polish English Speakers and English Natives the same rate because unlike most of these schools I do

not believe in exploiting the Polish because to be fare so long as they are trained correctly in callan and pronouciation I honesestly believe a Polish person could be just as good if not better in the classroom especially when it comes to stage 1 and 2.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Apr 2009 /  #162
As they pick up the tempo, they are more likely to lapse into their own Polish pronunciation. It just depends if the students spot it. Equal pay for equal work I guess.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
13 Apr 2009 /  #163
and the reason they pay the natives more is not neccessarily because they are native but because if times are slow they give more lessons to the Polish English speakers and less to the English Natives because they are making more for every lesson.

Not true. The reason they pay more is because natives are three things -

1) They're scarce. Compared to thousands and thousands of English speaking graduates every year in Poland, there are very very few native English speakers in Poland.

2) Perceived worth. Many people will perceive a benefit from a native speaker - because of the language they use being 'real' and 'alive'. A native speaker can teach things that many Polish teachers just couldn't hope to know, even if they had the CPE in English.

3) Linking the two together - there's a low supply and high demand. This equals higher wages.

But when times are slow, a good school will retain their native speaker over a Pole. It's simple logic in this sense - a Polish teacher can be easily replaced, while a native teacher might be far more difficult to find. If you've got a contract with a business to provide a native speaker in every 3rd lesson (for instance) - the loss of the native speaker is going to be a tough blow for any business, whereas finding a Polish teacher is likely going to be easier.

It's not as simple as saying 'oh, the Polish teacher gets 25zl and the native gets 35zl, so let's sack the native'.

I plan to open a Callan school very soon, but I also plan to pay my Polish English Speakers and English Natives the same rate because unlike most of these schools I do
not believe in exploiting the Polish because to be fare so long as they are trained correctly in callan and pronouciation I honesestly believe a Polish person could be just as good if not better in the classroom especially when it comes to stage 1 and 2.

And you will struggle to recruit any native speakers with that attitude. Who would work for you for the same wage as a Polish teacher, when you can work elsewhere for more? You forget that for Polish teachers, they expect a lower standard of living than the native speaker will. It's quite normal for 20-something people here to share a room with their relative/friend. It's not normal for most native English speakers - so they will demand more.

If you teach nothing but 'pure' Callan, then you're right, there's no difference. But you won't attract quality Polish teachers, you won't attract natives worth anything and you'll lose a lot of clients because they'll be bored senseless with just Callan. So while you might be 'fair' in payment, you'll end up having to resort to terrible business practices simply to keep your head above water.

Even for Callan, there's a question about when someone last did something for you. How many Poles would know that it's quite common in the UK to say 'someone done something for me' instead of 'someone did something for me'? Hardly any, I would imagine. And this is where the value comes in - the native teachers can bring the language to life.

There is the point that you could recruit Poles that have lived in the UK/Ireland/wherever for a few years and so are speaking very naturally in English. That's fine - but you'll be forced to pay the going rate for them. They're not going to be cheap, again, because they can demand high salaries as a result of actually knowing and living in the language.

Running a language school is anything but black or white. Remeber one thing too - if you pay a native English speaker 25PLN an hour to teach pure Callan, they'll leave you as soon as they get the chance.

For instance, say everyone pays 15PLN an hour for a class. You might have 9 people in the group at the start of the year, but by the end of the year, it's quite possible that you will only have 4 left. 135PLN/hour is great in the beginning for the school, but when you're only getting 60PLN/hour and have to pay all the teachers 30PLN hour net - then there's barely anything left to actually run the school with. This is another reason why the Polish teachers are getting less - it's simply not financially possible to pay more.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Apr 2009 /  #164
The Polish teachers may be fine at the lower levels but they may well struggle when it comes to the higher ones. They tend to be too methodical, lack spontaneity and don't have the variety of vocab whereby they can turn their hand to everything.

I have teachers at my school asking me the simplest of questions and I think they're joking. Polish teachers tend to go on pride but they come up short in a bad way sometimes.

I've watched some Polish teachers teach and it's like watching paint dry.
Dazza 1 | 33  
13 Apr 2009 /  #165
Thank-you thread.
It's been amusing.

I feel sorry for your students, looking at the numerous grammatical mistakes that have appeared throughout.

No wonder half of you teach speaking as you obviously can't write.

ha ha ha
Torq  
13 Apr 2009 /  #166
LOL

You certainly know how to make friends
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Apr 2009 /  #167
I don't know who you were referring to Dazza but some natives are sloppy, you are right. I have taught all levels and both the productive and receptive skills so you are unlikely to see slip-ups on my part.

What is your experience of Callan, Dazza?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
14 Apr 2009 /  #168
The Polish teachers may be fine at the lower levels but they may well struggle when it comes to the higher ones. They tend to be too methodical, lack spontaneity and don't have the variety of vocab whereby they can turn their hand to everything.

Yup, I agree with this. The better ones (the ones I respect!) in my school are the ones who have that spontaneous approach, while the worse ones are the ones who don't deviate from the book. At least as far as I can tell, the better teachers are the ones who actively seek out English tv shows/radio/etc, while the worse ones don't do this.

As I see it, at least in a semi-Callan environment. Polish teachers are great for explaning grammar, because it can be done much quicker and much more effectively than a non-Polish speaking English native. They have the benefit of being able to switch between languages quickly, combined with the benefit of being able to compare it to the students own language.

But being native, I can often really go into a word, really explaning about how the word works, how it's used, how it can be used ungramatically and so on. I can teach things that Polish teachers just wouldn't know, such as why letting yourself go is a bad thing and not a good thing and why it's used as an insulting term.

Each group has their own strengths and weaknesses, but they can't be directly compared.

Incidentally, Seanus...these graded apparisal things. Do you think they can be used to actually compare natives with Polish teachers, bearing in mind that poor students will always want to resort to Polish?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
14 Apr 2009 /  #169
Graded appraisals, do you mean observations? The criteria is the same so I'm not sure what you mean here. Please clarify.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
15 Apr 2009 /  #170
No no, you know those feedback sheets that many schools hand out, where they ask people to grade the teachers, among other things?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Apr 2009 /  #171
Aha, gotcha. No, I think there should be a different criteria sheet. Poles have to be very confident to be dynamic. I don't think it's so fair to judge them on the same criteria.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
15 Apr 2009 /  #172
they ask people to grade the teachers

That's so bad. I bet the form doesn't have a section that grades the state of the rooms / the syllabus / the admin staff / the prices etc.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Apr 2009 /  #173
This may help you too
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
15 Apr 2009 /  #174
That's so bad. I bet the form doesn't have a section that grades the state of the rooms / the syllabus / the admin staff / the prices etc.

The worst thing is that it did, the form was like writing a 1000 word essay.

But as far as I'm concerned, it was discredited the moment I discovered that idiots would grade Polish teachers higher because the Polish teachers could use the idiots mother tounge.

Though, you're right - the whole system of grading teachers is nonsense. As far as I can tell, the whole thing was statistically unreliable because the stronger personalities in a class would dictate to the others what to write - I actually witnessed a mid 30's woman do this to a teenage girl. Both of them were blissfully unaware that I could actually understand them, which made it all the better.

I know quite a few students were rather irritated at having to grade teachers.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Apr 2009 /  #175
I agree, it was shambolic. They tried to make it such a professional thing. When I won my framed certificate for Best Teacher in Nov 2006, I accepted it but thought nothing of it. They circled way too quickly and I told them that they were not to finish it in less than 10 mins. What a farce it was! Hardly the crowning moment of glory in my career :(
dtaylor 9 | 823  
15 Apr 2009 /  #176
We ran a teacher of the month competition, which no native speaker won. I don't think it came down to who was the best teacher, but teaching lower levels without using Polish can be quite tricky to a new teacher. If Polish was banned during the lesson, i think that situation would change very quickly. But theres just some things that Polish can explain better, i even explain crap in Polish too.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Apr 2009 /  #177
Very good point, dt. Right on the money actually. I did a demo office hour for one of the up and coming teachers. He was a natural in the higher levels but struggled with the lower-level classes. I showed him that, in order to maintain interest and involvement, a little Polish is necessary. I got by well without it but it really helped keep the punch and flow in the lesson.

This nonsense of total immersion is pie-in-the-sky stuff. I used Japanese for 7C students in Japan (the lowest level). Had I not, there would have been awkward silences and head beating against the nearest wall. The same here in Poland. Screw what these experts say, I feel a classroom better than most and form my own views. Ain't no 'expert' gonna espouse their BS with me.
dtaylor 9 | 823  
15 Apr 2009 /  #178
Exactly, there are a few classes which the majority of teachers hate, but for some reason i love em. They complain that the classes dont open up and are to stiff. For example tonight, one teacher asked me to swap with him cos a couple of students gave him a hard time, and he thought they just wanted to stare at the teacher. I had same complaint from another teacher, but everytime i take this group, they are full of laughter, eager to learn. Horse for courses most of the time i guess.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Apr 2009 /  #179
There are preferred groups, that's for sure. This alone has a major bearing on how they judge you. You can be a super teacher but if you don't click with the group, they won't rate you. I was no great shakes despite what other teachers said. I just got on well with most groups and did what I was contracted to do.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
16 Apr 2009 /  #180
If Polish was banned during the lesson, i think that situation would change very quickly. But theres just some things that Polish can explain better, i even explain crap in Polish too.

I've even started to tell people the word in Polish if I can, my glorious moment was teaching a group the days of the week in English and being able to tell them the Polish translations.

But it seems to me that while a good group can have an excellent atmosphere in English, a poor group will need the Polish 'dummy' to be always in the hand, possibly because they don't motivate each other to use the language.

I so often see with the better groups, they'll talk to me in English outside of the classroom (say, on a break and I've got a different class) - but with the worse groups, they'll shy away and make it clear that they don't want you to talk to them.

It is funny how one person can dramatically change a group dynamic though.

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