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Is it normal for companies/schools in Poland to be rude?


Torq
13 Feb 2010 #31
The method of training has to change. More work experience, more international exposure, more apprenticeships.

That's exactly what I keep saying. More experience and international exposure
for specialists and more developped apprenticeship programs for all trades - that's
what we need. I like the Irish system of apprenticeship in many areas, much more
complex and sensible than Polish one. Hopefully, our people, coming back from Eire
will be able to transfer the Irish practices and standards to our reality (of course
it will be impossible without proper legislation, but it's not impossible to do).

very insular of you Torq. So if that is the case why so many Polish people accept the welcoming of other countries when they leave their great Poland to make money somewhere else. Just wondering.

I would say the very same thing to any Pole living abroad and whining about the
country he lives in. You don't like it there? Leave - nobody is keeping you there
against your will.

you sound very envious Torq. Envy and inferiority complex has passed onto another generation already and it is a characteristic, which is really difficult to get rid of.

Envious? There's not one envious bone in my body. Envy is the most nonsensical
feeling in the world and I'm sorry that you suspect I could be stupid enough to feel
it.

Most of those people you are talking about will always have a better grasp of English because it is their first language, which does not mean that they are good teachers.

Exactly! But they are very often paid more money than better Polish teachers, only
because they are native speakers, which isn't very sensible imo.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
13 Feb 2010 #32
Torq has a point, aphrodisiac. Why? Because quite a few teachers are disillusioned from experiences in their own country and feel thwarted and frustrated. They should not transfer that angst to Poland. It's not the fault of the Poles that their government (Polish) doesn't have a clue about the cost of living here and pay often grossly disproportionate salaries and shrug their shoulders, 'it's Poland'. Very few people in this world truly have full control over what they are paid. Oftentimes, you accept what you get. I know exactly what Torq was trying to say. They know where the door is.

I agree with the work experience part (from convex). It was inbuilt into my first vocational degree and I'm the better for those 6 months in my 3rd year. A better blend between practical, industrial exp and academic learning is definitely desirable.

Aphrodisiac, many Polish men do train their 'stiff', just on Friday and Saturday nights ;) ;)

I don't think Torq sounded envious at all. This is not Japan where the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. Torq is likely different from many of his peers (due to his fluent English) and can be. He doesn't need to be placed inside the brackets as it were.

Poland has embraced those EU exchange programmes (Comenus, Sokrates, Erasmus etc etc) so there is hope.

What I would wish of Polish schools is to explicitly clarify the relevance of their courses to REAL situations and requirements in life. From browsing through various fora for students, I can see that the views expressed therein square with what I've heard in that this is not done. In any business plan, the objectives should be clearly stated and laid out. With a school that provides useful content and measurable yardsticks for success, the student then cannot be too cheesed off when certain goals weren't attained (providing all aspects were conducted properly). Students complain about things I have very little control over and the teacher is the easy target. They complain about 'grammar', wow, that minor area ;0 ;) ;) It's very hard for the teacher to cater for their ill-defined whims and unrealistic demands.
Exiled 2 | 425
13 Feb 2010 #33
I had greek,english and US teachers for learning english in groups and there were vast differences in didactic methods.
1.Greek were more focused on grammar
2.English focused more on verbal abilities and communication
3.The US teacher focused on exam material

Overall I admired the US because he really gave unlimited stuff to make you perfect in short time depending on how much you tried.He was very methodical.

The English were more individualistic,the greek had better grasp of greek reality.As persons the English were more pleasant,I don't know why.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
13 Feb 2010 #34
Again, it's important not to generalise. I've met English English teachers that I would not relish the prospect of learning from.

Back to the topic, I've noticed that schools don't like it too much when you question them. Most have sth to hide and they rely on dumb+unquestioning foreigners taking up places. Probe deeper and you will see how they wangle the system to their own advantage. I've always been a man to combat injustice in whatever form so I've let those schools know that.

They need to stop making their 'bums on seats' policy so blatant and transparent. We need to preserve purer arts like teaching (read Jeffrey Harmer or Jim Scrivener for methodology) and not dilute them to McDonald's English. The process, I regret to say, is faultering with money considerations almost yelling out at us.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #35
Many foreigners find a place to live in Poland and jobs to support them and their
families. It is quite strange and quite sad how they see fit to moan like bit**es
at every inconvenience they encounter and criticize every thing that they don't find
good enough for them.

The ones that complain, moan and whine about everything to do with Poland really surprise me - if it's so bad, why are they here? Is it because they couldn't hack it in their own country? Of course, the same individuals proudly boast about how they simply do their job and go home, rather than actually trying to change things for the better.

and that these foreigners are a waste of money

In quite a few cases, they are. There's plenty of examples of utter incompetence by foreign management - just compare and contrast Tesco and Carrefour in Poland compared to their home countries. Likewise, there's quite a few examples of foreign companies in Poland having their Polish branch being run by a Pole and being a success story.

Likewise with teaching. I'd question the wisdom of hiring the vast majority of American teachers - unlike British English speakers, Americans tend to be quite poorly aware of how else English is used - simply because they're not used to or exposed to it. There are exceptions of course, but that kind of teacher is unlikely to bother with Poland when there's far more money to be made elsewhere.

I'd also strongly question the wisdom of hiring a non-EU citizen to teach English - there is what, around 70 million people speaking English natively in the EU - there really is absolutely no need to hire Americans, Australians or any others - especially when you consider the bureaucracy involved. Unless of course, they already hold an EU passport.

As for foreign management skills - ask yourself how many banks went bust in Poland. Then compare this to the current situation of British, Swedish and American banks.

Most have sth to hide and they rely on dumb+unquestioning foreigners taking up places.

Yes - which is why the native attitude of "I turn up, I teach, I cover myself and I go home" is terrible in the long run. It's certain that Polish employers certainly won't respect anyone who does that.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
13 Feb 2010 #36
Delph, I hear what you are sayin but that would negate the diversity aspect of things. Granted, most Brits tend to be aware of AmE from watching films from Hollywood etc etc but there is no substitute for the real deal. Also, as so often happens, a Pole meets an American in America and wants them to come across to Poland. Knowing only English, what are they to do? All I'm sayin is that we cannot preclude the possibility of them coming across. EU nationals are preferred but some schools directly profit from hiring Americans and, as we both know, that's a material concern.

As for Australians, the Poles need a laugh factor when an Australian pronounces cheaper. I was observing a class with a fine Aussie lass and she proceeded to say 'CIPA', meaning cheaper of course. The whole class laughed and she didn't know why. Yes, that's not a reason to hire them but, whether we like it or not, the world is becoming a global village.

It would be fairer to say that they have their English and we have ours. Besides, I've known many Brits ask me the most basic of tense questions. I'm sorry but that's plainly unacceptable and I couldn't imagine going into class with their lack of knowledge. It's fine if you are starting out and learning the ropes but not after.
mephias 10 | 296
13 Feb 2010 #37
The ones that complain, moan and whine about everything to do with Poland really surprise me

Some people are just like that and they will keep complaining regardless of the conditions. I think it is kind of negative thinking and I am trying to keep away from those kind of people since their negativity effects me in bad way.

On the other hand critics are good if they are done in constructive way because there is always room for improvement.

Sparkle_Ravelle
It is sometimes difficult to get a result in Poland. I would suggest you to call people directly in that kind of situations. I also had similar problems in my recruitment process, but everytime I called the person I am in contact with and I did not hesitate to write some complain letters to her supervisor.

Many people being are being shy on this, but it is also good method to understand if they are really interested in you and to show if you are interested in the position and moving to Poland.
convex 20 | 3,930
13 Feb 2010 #38
As for foreign management skills - ask yourself how many banks went bust in Poland. Then compare this to the current situation of British, Swedish and American banks.

You mean PKO, WBK, Bank Slaski, Millennium Bank...
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #39
Some people are just like that and they will keep complaining regardless of the conditions. I think it is kind of negative thinking and I am trying to keep away from those kind of people since their negativity effects me in bad way.

I think it's actually a form of homesickness in many foreigners - they focus on absolutely everything that's wrong with Poland in order to make them feel better about where they come from. But yes, you're right - it's just negative thinking.

On the other hand critics are good if they are done in constructive way because there is always room for improvement.

Yes, definitely. As far as I can tell, Poland is rapidly sorting out many problems - look at the ease of starting a business these days for EU citizens for example. Non-EU citizens have much more problems - but it's the same situation in virtualy every EU country.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
13 Feb 2010 #40
Very good points, mephias. Calling really does bring out natural responses, rather than ping-ponging through e-mails. It allows you to ask what you want and gets the ball rolling in no uncertain terms. Also, it shows your interest in their proposition.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #41
Calling really does bring out natural responses, rather than ping-ponging through e-mails.

Certainly for someone not in Poland or in the city in question, it shows determination - rather than someone simply hoping to get lucky. Sensible tactic by schools - leave the ball in the applicant's court and see if they've got the drive to succeed.

For non-EEA/CH citizens, they definitely have to show initative.
f stop 25 | 2,507
13 Feb 2010 #42
I think it's actually a form of homesickness in many foreigners - they focus on absolutely everything that's wrong with Poland in order to make them feel better about where they come from.

I see just the opposite around me. People turn a blind eye to all the things that are fvcked up around them, and will defend their choice of a place to live tooth and nail. The final replay is usually: if you don't like it here, why don't you go back to where you came from.

You do need more people to b!tch to make things change, even if we're just passing through.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #43
You do need more people to b!tch to make things change, even if we're just passing through.

There are ways of doing it though that are constructive - whining and moaning about Poland on public forums won't change anything, but getting out there and changing it will.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
13 Feb 2010 #44
The point is that, can you honestly say that the teaching union system here is as vocal developed as elsewhere? Forums are often the best shot at getting things off your chest but I'm surprised that Poland lags behind in this respect. They have enough budding candidates and political experience to make it a reality. Unions are often not given teeth. Where's Poland's Scargill? ;0 ;)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
13 Feb 2010 #45
Because we Poles (especially the older generation), suffer very often from an inferiority complex, which makes us think that we couldn't train our own men to do the same jobs foreigners are doing

anyone else tired of this excuse? the "we could do better but.....but it's a Polish thing"....excuse.

the work experience part

it's a major problem. what advice would you give a manager of 20 Poles, between the ages of 23-25.....who have NEVER had a job.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #46
it's a major problem. what advice would you give a manager of 20 Poles, between the ages of 23-25.....who have NEVER had a job.

I would question what kind of manager hires that many inexperienced staff, especially when there are plenty of Poles out there with 20 years of experience in a free market and plenty of others with work experience gained abroad.

The point is that, can you honestly say that the teaching union system here is as vocal developed as elsewhere? Forums are often the best shot at getting things off your chest but I'm surprised that Poland lags behind in this respect. They have enough budding candidates and political experience to make it a reality. Unions are often not given teeth. Where's Poland's Scargill? ;0 ;)

There was a good post somewhere about this - the problem is that many native teachers are happy to turn up, teach, file paperwork and go home without bothering themselves in the running of the business. Polish teachers are actually far more industrious in this respect - which is why I think we see so little natives actually in ESL management.

I also don't think there's any way for unions to get in - I know the vast majority of school owners would simply not give any hours to someone who was involved with a union - and who is going to risk losing all their hours mid-year just for the sake of unionising?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
13 Feb 2010 #47
I would question what kind of manager hires that many inexperienced staff, especially when there are plenty of Poles out there with 20 years of experience in a free market and plenty of others with work experience gained abroad.

I see what I just described above routinely. Who else is going to work for 1800zl. net per month?
uto
13 Feb 2010 #48
Polish teachers are actually far more industrious in this respect - which is why I think we see so little natives actually in ESL management.

I'd say it comes down to language. The average esl school in Poland has more Polish teachers than native speakers. There are accompanying responsibilities in regards to paperwork, a native speaker won't be able to do the paperwork in Polish nor will they be able to critique the German, French or Spanish lessons which, are probably run by a Polish teacher. I could be wrong but I really think it comes down to language.

A native speaker is really only an safeguard to ensure that your students function in the language studied or not at all.

I don't know how much Polish the teachers use in their classes but I'm starting to suspect it's a lot. Case in point: my Polish teacher tries to speak English with me in my Polish lessons- what the hell- I already know English, I'm trying to understand Polish, translating things is just giving up!

A native speaker doesn't allow students to capitulate so easily, but I don't think they like this "feature" in practice as much as in theory.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
13 Feb 2010 #49
I see what I just described above routinely. Who else is going to work for 1800zl. net per month?

Plenty of people don't have the choice or the luxury to pretend to be a "teacher" (despite having next to nothing in the way of qualifications - CELTA - don't make me laugh) and earning good money for doing so.

Do you really think all those tram and bus drivers are on much more than 1800zl netto?

I'd say it comes down to language. The average esl school in Poland has more Polish teachers than native speakers. There are accompanying responsibilities in regards to paperwork, a native speaker won't be able to do the paperwork in Polish nor will they be able to critique the German, French or Spanish lessons which, are probably run by a Polish teacher. I could be wrong but I really think it comes down to language.

True, but even in schools that deal with English only, you still see Polish management and nothing in the way of native teachers running things. I don't know if it's because Polish owners don't trust natives, or if the natives simply aren't capable of running schools. Fair enough, in small cities, there may not be the chance to manage - but in bigger cities?

A native speaker is really only an safeguard to ensure that your students function in the language studied or not at all.

That's a very interesting viewpoint - I don't agree or disagree.

I don't know how much Polish the teachers use in their classes but I'm starting to suspect it's a lot. Case in point: my Polish teacher tries to speak English with me in my Polish lessons- what the hell- I already know English, I'm trying to understand Polish, translating things is just giving up!

In theory, they shouldn't be using Polish - but if you've got someone who doesn't understand a thing in English, then can you really blame them for using another language to make the point?

A native speaker doesn't allow students to capitulate so easily, but I don't think they like this "feature" in practice as much as in theory.

That's one of the best observations written on this website, and I agree.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
13 Feb 2010 #50
you still see Polish management and nothing in the way of native teachers running things.

I agree as well, it's a language thing. if you want to be anything more than a teacher......speaking Polish becomes a necessity. talking to potential clients, dealing with issues with students.....Polish, Polish, Polish. Basically nobody from a foreign country speaks Polish at that level, hence, they never become anything else but a "teacher". I've been offered positions or have been recommended for them and I always need to bring up, "my Polish isn't at a sufficient level for that position." I wouldn't take a job like that unless I could really rock and roll in Polish.

also, I flat out never want to be in a situation where I need to deal with Poles on a daily basis making business decisions. I'm forced to quite often because they come to me for advice/guidance on this and that, but I keep a distance because it's simply not worth my time (or aggravation). I've seen enough to know I need to stay away. In language schools, it's an absolute clusterf#@k.
Harry
14 Feb 2010 #51
I don't know if it's because Polish owners don't trust natives, or if the natives simply aren't capable of running schools.

Or it could be that natives won't work management jobs for the money that Polish owners offer. A halfway decent teacher will make more money for less work as a teacher than as a DoS. P
Seanus 15 | 19,674
14 Feb 2010 #52
Absolutely true! It's not just in Poland though, Harry. The same was true of the pay increments and conditions in Japan.
pantsless 1 | 267
14 Feb 2010 #53
teaching phonetics
and phonology of the language

Phonetics? Youre not taking the **** here are you? I havent met a single student who is interested in learning phonetics... and I refuse to teach it because its pretty much useless

And I see some people here have got some serious beef against native English teachers. Understandably, Ive heard my share of horror stories, but just the same Ive met a alot of devoted and good teachers who absolutely kill polish teachers, not in terms of methodology or teaching grammar, but in liveliness, passion, and a knack for getting the language across. Just see how much attention a native speaker garners vs a polish speaker, with a NS youve have 9/10 attentive awake students, with a polish teacher maybe 5/10.

I would say a native speaker with a CELTA at least shows an inclination towards taking their job seriously, and quite honestly how the hell an attitude of "show up, do my job, go home" is somehow wrong is beyond me.

Its what 99% of people in the world do, and then consider the Polish angle...is pitching in and helping around with admin work going to get you some bonus points or something? Everyone who has ever worked in Poland should know that any extra work or hours is NEVER appreciated or rewarded. Never. In fact just the opposite, for employers its a great way of seeing whos a doormat in squeezing out few hundreds zlotys of free labor and then maybe buy them some cookies as a token of thanks. BS
Seanus 15 | 19,674
14 Feb 2010 #54
Phonetics doesn't really merit much attention, just the odd pronunciation demonstration as and when required. I agree that a lively teacher helps but sometimes Poles prefer the approach of a Polish teacher. It just depends on the method being used.

Those with a CELTA do tend to work that bit harder and I've seen that. I approve of the show up, do a good job and go home attitude. What's wrong with it? People have lives away from language schools.

Appreciation is not a strong point here, that's true. It's almost like everything is expected, like they are royalty.
Torq
14 Feb 2010 #55
Phonetics? Youre not taking the **** here are you? I havent met a single student who is interested in learning phonetics... and I refuse to teach it because its pretty much useless

That ignorant students do not wish to put in some hard work to properly learn phonetics,
that I can understand. The fact that a native speaking teacher says that phonetics is
useless and refuses to teach it, perfectly proves my point. Did it ever occur to you that
there are sounds in English (both vowel and consonant sounds) that do not have Polish
equivalents and if you don't explain that to your students they will remain as ignorant
as they were before you started teaching them and will mispronounce the language?
They might think they can do without phonetics - you as a teacher should know better.

Phonetics doesn't really merit much attention, just the odd pronunciation demonstration as and when required.

No, Seanus - the odd pronounciation demonstration is NOT ENOUGH in cases of sounds
that don't have Polish equivalents. If you don't teach your students the basics of
phonetics and phonology they will either hear something different (most likely the closest
sound in their native language) or even if they hear the sound well, they won't be
able to pronounce it properly. You have to explain to them what happens to the lips,
the tongue, mouth cavity etc. etc. when pronouncing the sound. If you don't do that
you will get the same results that 99% of native English teachers get with their students.

Why do you think Phonetics and Phonology (under different course names) are compulsory
in all university English Philology programmes in countries in which English is not the first
language? Because you cannot achieve fluency in a language if you don't understand
how the sounds are produced.

I could demonstrate the pronounciation of "W Strzebrzeszynie chrzÄ…szcz brzmi w trzcinie"
a million times and Americans or Brits still wouldn't be able to pronounce it. However, if
I explained to them exactly how the "sz", "rz", "cz" and other sounds in the twister are
produced - they would with time pronounce it properly (and I know it for sure, because
I tought one American to say it perfectly :-)).
It's the same with English - demonstration without proper explanation is pretty much useless.

I refuse to teach it because its pretty much useless

Your Polish students have a very different phonetics system, that they got
with the acquisition of their native language, than the English one.

If you don't explain to them that 'th' sound in 'three' is not the same as 'f' sound,
you will get people saying 'one, two, free (fri:)' - you can demonstrate as many
times as you want - they will keep saying 'free'.

If you don't tell them that 'th' in 'the' is not the same as 'd' sound - you will
get students saying 'de best' or 'de most' because that's what they hear
and that's how they would pronounce it using their Polish pronounciation
habits. You have to tell the poor c*nts to touch the back of their upper teeth
with the tip of their tounge etc. etc. so finally they can pronounce the proper
sound.

It's even more important with vowel sounds (Polish has fewer vowel sounds than
English so the mistakes will be numerous if you don't teach phonetics).

I could go on like that, but I really shouldn't be explaining such basics to a teacher ffs

So, to sum things up - phonetics is not "useless" and you should not refuse to teach it.
You should, however, get a good book on English phonetics and phonology (by Peter Roach
for example) and start doing what your students pay you for - teaching proper English.

Rant over.
MrBubbles 10 | 613
14 Feb 2010 #56
If you don't explain to them that 'th' sound in 'three' is not the same as 'f' sound,you will get people saying 'one, two, free (fri:)'

As Pantsless says, not worth spending time on. I can inderstand what you've written here from the context and remember that many natives also say fink fought and free.

The big problem with schools in my opinion is the huge burdern they carry from the public sector - the chaos, the apathy and the lack of concrete results.

Everyone who has ever worked in Poland should know that any extra work or hours is NEVER appreciated or rewarded. Never. In fact just the opposite, for employers its a great way of seeing whos a doormat in squeezing out few hundreds zlotys of free labor and then maybe buy them some cookies as a token of thanks

Spot on. This should be part of a CELTA course, but then again anyone not in denial learns it in their first year. Is this also typical of the rest of Poland?
pantsless 1 | 267
14 Feb 2010 #57
Did it ever occur to you that
there are sounds in English (both vowel and consonant sounds) that do not have Polish
equivalents and if you don't explain that to your students they will remain as ignorant
as they were before you started teaching them and will mispronounce the language?
They might think they can do without phonetics - you as a teacher should know better.

No really, different sounds!?! No wonder my students have problems with 'earth' and 'world'!! Thanks professor.
You are talking about pronunciation, not phonetics. Im talking about learning the stupid phonetic chart with Bre and Ame, and whether to say the 'r' like Americans, and wait, what if the teacher is an American, should they change their entire vocab/accent just to be a posh recieved pronounciation w4nker? Should it be said dawg or dog? You see where this is going. And then how many of them are going to be speaking to brits? I say better to have great intonation in your voice and speak a flat accent-less international english that would be understood by the germans, spandiards and greeks their 100% likely to encounter. You may call it McDonaldization of english or something, and I say thats a good thing.

Thats what Im talking about. Of course I do pronunciation exercises, just yesterday I spent an hour on hard and soft /c/ and /g/. And you know what, nobody was impressed or cared, but I had to do it. The biggest plus I see with these exercsies is that students are bombarded with 200 words and its a decent vocab/pronounciation review, not remembering that there is a soft sound if e i and y follow, because again who cares.

Phonetics and phonology are compulsory in english language programes because they are studying the language, thats no surprise. What average ESL student wants to master english or become fluent? Few, if any, for them its pointless. They want vocabulary, grammar, and communnication exercises, not theory and a bunch of strange looking letters and then another huge chart pointing out irregularities they have to memorize.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
14 Feb 2010 #58
Or it could be that natives won't work management jobs for the money that Polish owners offer. A halfway decent teacher will make more money for less work as a teacher than as a DoS. P

dead on. I currently take home more than the director at my school, I know this for a fact, and I never exceed 30 lessons per week.
Torq
14 Feb 2010 #59
not worth spending time on. I can inderstand what you've written here from the context and remember that many natives also say fink fought and free.

Yip - ya got that rite, fella. Ah can say ya hitted de nail rite on de heid! I ken all dem
decent folks from decent famblies saying 'fink', 'fought' and 'free' and it ain't never no
did no harm ta anyone.

should they change their entire vocab/accent just to be a posh recieved pronounciation w4nker?

Not at all - we ain't don't want dem decent folks soundin' like some posh wankas, do we?
Were goin' to teaches dem ta speaks like we, decent folks, speaks - and there ain't no
phonetics or phonology book to get in de way of ar teachin'. No, sir - we are de peoples!

They want vocabulary, grammar, and communnication exercises

you may call it McDonaldization of english or something, and I say thats a good thing.

Well, I says it a good thing two! An' ah got thinkin' about all that phonetics stuff an' ah
realized ah was wrong all de taim. What de hell good is it all - sure, dem folks on'y wants
ya ta teach 'em sam vocabulerry an' grammer inaf to communicate.

Well ah was wrong - but I'm man inaf to admit it.
hague1cameron - | 85
14 Feb 2010 #60
Unions are often not given teeth

My friend the day that the unions take over will be the day that the Polish education system will start getting dumbed down just like in Britain.


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