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Interview at a Callan School


Seanus 15 | 19,706  
16 Apr 2009 /  #181
I saw the best of both worlds in Gliwice. As many as 4 teachers were more or less fully bilingual. The lead singer of Papilla was a teacher there. Marcin Pasek, check out his group. They have played on national tv and did well. The Walkiewicz brothers were schooled in Poland but hail from America with a Thai mother, nice huh? What a world we live in. Gosia wasn't quite as good but her Polish is right up there with the best non-native speakers of it.

The thing is, they didn't score that well as some groups liked the fact that they were bilingual but others were clearly jealous and marked them down. I wouldn't describe any of them as natural born teachers but they were more than good enough for Callan.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
16 Apr 2009 /  #182
a poor group will need the Polish 'dummy' to be always in the hand

Well, we have plenty of dummies where I work. Teaching will always be a popularity contest with most students - it seems most of them come to these schools in the evening hoping to go back to their schooldays. Perhaps they were the quiet ones at school but now they pay money, they want to chat, play with their phones and flirt with the teacher. The schools often encourage this by trying to be as much like a state school as possible too.

Jeez. Last year I had the misfortune to be in a room next to a Polish teacher who I kid you not just chatted in Polish with the students for 90 mins. Now and again you'd hear a snatch of English but it would be on a tape recording and it would be followed by a lame attempt to repeat it and a load of laughter. Sadly he is one of the most popular teachers in the school. No wonder so many teachers turn to alchoholism.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
16 Apr 2009 /  #183
Yeah, I knew a teacher like that. She gabbled away in Polish and was eventually caught out. What's the sense in paying for English if you are not gonna use it in the classroom? It's just a selfish thing to do.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
17 Apr 2009 /  #184
What's the sense in paying for English if you are not gonna use it in the classroom

I often wonder but most students seem to think that by sitting and doing exercises , chatting in Polish with their friends and passing an exam at the end of the term they will master the lanaguage. They are genuinely surprised when they can't introduce themselves after 5 years of lessons.

And these are the people writing feedback about you...
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
17 Apr 2009 /  #185
Exactly, I have a student here who doesn't even know that tak is yes. She is easily intermediate and she says jest instead of yes. Holy smoke!! Passing the exam with their friends too.

I don't give a hang about feedback. I judge my own life and how I'm doing and I'm more than aware of my current failings. I don't need some other git to get involved.
dcchris 8 | 432  
17 Apr 2009 /  #186
Ah yes I had a student today trying to tell me that two words had the same meaning when in fact they do not. She was insistent that she was correct. She is paying me cash so if she wants to be right so bad than so be it. She is still wrong though.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
17 Apr 2009 /  #187
Which 2 words were they, do you remember?
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
18 Apr 2009 /  #188
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

I am a native speaker. In fact I am the only teacher from England out of 15. 1 other is American and another is South African, but other than that its all Poles. Everyone there gets paid 25zl per hour. I rung some other Callan schools to try find out what they pay but they didn't tell me.

The owner and headmaster at the school are both really cool and give a good amount of hours to me, but I guess in the end money is far more important to him than anything else and that is why he only pays teachers 25zl brutto/net.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
18 Apr 2009 /  #189
Please remind me, it's 25PLN per 40 or 50 mins?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
18 Apr 2009 /  #191
Teachers at Speed in Gliwice get 28PLN per 40 mins. 25zł is an insult.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
18 Apr 2009 /  #192
Do they get ZUS as part of that too? 25zl seems even worse considering there is no health insurance as part of the deal.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
18 Apr 2009 /  #193
No, ZUS is not part of the Callan package. At other schools it is. I pay my own and it's around 330PLN per month for the first 2 years.
OP ssjseifertom 3 | 36  
18 Apr 2009 /  #194
So most Callan schools pay their teachers cash in hand then? How do they get away with that, is it easy for schools here to do illegal things?
dcchris 8 | 432  
18 Apr 2009 /  #195
Which 2 words were they, do you remember?

sorry it is lost from my memory now...
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
18 Apr 2009 /  #196
It's very easy for schools to do illegal things. Yeah, I was paid cash in hand even though I had a bank account set up. It was all a fraud!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
18 Apr 2009 /  #197
So most Callan schools pay their teachers cash in hand then? How do they get away with that, is it easy for schools here to do illegal things?

As far as I know, the most common way to do business is to make the teacher responsible for their own tax affairs. It does depend on the school - my one gives people the choice of paying their own tax or getting the school to do it for them.

But non-Polish teachers seem to often be offered the 'brown envelope, no questions asked or answered' approach, especially if they're working without a contract or any real proof of them working there. It's this approach that often leads to them being ****** over with payment, although Polish teachers can be ripped off just as well.

Given that many language schools operate in cash anyway, it's easy enough to 'lose' a couple of thousand zloty to pay someone in cash.

But - one thing I'd argue is that even 25PLN an hour isn't bad (although you can make much more!) when you consider the amount of effort required - if you just have to turn up, take a book and "teach", it's a doddle. I've heard of schools demanding full lesson plans to a certain format for every single class - with the consequence that you could easily end up spending over an hour preparing a two hour class. 100zl for two hours isn't that much when you add in an extra hour for preparing - and any non-'method' class is always going to be more demanding on the brain.

Still, you get what you pay for. A Polish teacher might be happy to accept 25PLN/50 minutes because it's still more than they'd get in a state school. But a native can always get more, simply because there are options and demand.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
19 Apr 2009 /  #198
Even the schools that do the accounting for you botch it up. I had to get my financial guy to take over and rebalance the books. Even he made a pig's ear of the PIT. I had a little trouble at the tax office again and I told them that I wasn't in the mood for playing games. They thrive on petty squabbles here.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
19 Apr 2009 /  #199
The lack of a tax code system here is what surprises me, the whole fact that they could be deducting tax from you all year, only for the tax office to throw a big bill in your face is absolutely incredible.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
19 Apr 2009 /  #200
That's why it's better to get an accountant and stay safe.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
2 May 2009 /  #201
As far as I know, the most common way to do business is to make the teacher responsible for their own tax affairs. It does depend on the school - my one gives people the choice of paying their own tax or getting the school to do it for them.

Yep - though it's (yet another) a grey legal area. The tax office apparently frowns on the practice of requiring an employee to set up their own business and then work solely for the school. If you're going to do this (register as self employed), you need to be a genuine business with a number of your own customers or it's just another tax dodge for the school.

But non-Polish teachers seem to often be offered the 'brown envelope, no questions asked or answered' approach, especially if they're working without a contract or any real proof of them working there. It's this approach that often leads to them being ****** over with payment,

Schools love doing this, don't they? Think about it - you start the year with a few hundred students paying up front (often in cash) for a year's tuition at maybe 2000 zloty each. That's a few hundred thousand zloty of untraceable money straight into the pocket at once, earning interest for the year if you decide to invest it. If not, pay the teachers cash in hand and don't declare it. What an earner eh? In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of language schools are fronts for money laundering rings.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
9 May 2009 /  #202
Not too wide of the mark with that last comment, MrBubbles. I know some activities that have occured that would support that but I'm not at liberty to discuss them. Yes, an inextricable connection to Callan ;)
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
9 May 2009 /  #203
Any idea what percentage of private english language schools in Poland (especially large cities) are owned by Poles? By Brits? By Americans?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
9 May 2009 /  #204
I think the majority are owned by Poles. I don't have any stats to back that up, just a hunch. The majority here are owned by Poles, they know the bureaucratic loopholes better ;)

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