Author Topic: Rip-off Academies! Beware  (Read 21283 times)

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Iano

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Rip-off Academies! Beware
« on: May 07, 2005, 10:31:08 PM »
Hi all,

I was just reminising earlier on with a friend about my experiences last January when I stayed in a hostel on the Paseo del Prado for a month or so (I'll refrain from giving the name, however should 'madridinsider' be reading this; \"hey Rocco, will be in touch in due course about you setting me up with a room for September\".....anyway, moving on) when I recalled my hostel mates who were staying there the same time as me, all of which were North Amercian bar one.

Basically, from what I could gather, one particular academy (again, I shall refrain from disclosing the name, not too sure about libel laws in Spain...je je) which had a tendency to have mostly North Americans studying in their 4 week intensive TEFL course, had a special offer tied to the itinery of the programme whereby the students needed to complete an excessive amount of teaching hours in order to succesfully graduate. :huh:

These hours could be completed by working for the academy in question for a period of up to one month, post course, delivering standard TEFL classes to fee paying students without any renumeration whatsoever. You are basically working like a dog, possibly travelling up and down metros, rushing for bus 7150 @ the Plaza Castilla to get to Alcobendas, metro to Moncloa to get a bus to the suburbs, hopping in and out of cabs and argue with the driver as to the quickest route.....and for what?:
To deliver a single hour long class with absoultely no back-up or advice from the academy as to what to teach for some student who will proceed to cross their arms in disgust should they suspect that you don't know what you're doing! :angry:

Mmmmm, and I thought slavery was outlawed in the 21st Century! :unsure:

Oh, and the incentive is to offer the course at a knock down price which should coerce you into thinking that its a good deal because the majority of the other academies are charging twice that amount.

The students I stayed with you were on this TEFL course seemed to feels that it wasn't particularly a good deal.

Any thoughts on this?

P.S. One Director of Studies in one academy told me that Madrid has only two academies offering TEFL courses that are worth their weight in salt and are recognised as giving accurate and professional marks to their graduates. I went to one of them! :lol:

Anyone agree or disagree.........?  
Que la fuerza te acompañe, siempre........

SRedw

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2005, 08:30:42 PM »
Iano,

Thanks for that post.  I THINK THAT ALL TEFL PROGRAMS ARE A JOKE and not worth anything.  But, I am special because I have over 12 years teaching and tutoring experience combined.  I have taken numerous classes that have trained me to be a teacher.  So, in my opinion, if anyone is serious about teaching, they will go for the MA in teaching and learn theory and practice, instead of cramming for a 4-week course, which is worthless outside of Europe.  If people want to teach in other countries, the RSA DIPLOMA and CELTA are both known worldwide.  TEFL is like me writing my own diploma to teach in other countries.

This is just my opinion and I welcome others to join this thread.  

Shawn

SRedw

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2005, 08:34:23 PM »
I forgot to say one thing.  TEFL is good if you've never taught before and you want just a little teaching practice to get you started in the field of English language teaching.

So, in otherwords, it's worth something.  What that worth is, I don't have a clue.

Shawn

Iano

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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2005, 09:14:40 PM »
I studied for the CELTA in Madrid and I have over 3 years Corporate Training exp. along with a GradDiploma in Learning, Training & Development and I still left my course with a confused look on my face....like....mmmm... :huh: yeah! just like that one!

I found my tutors to be quite apathetic to the cares and concerns of the students and didn't even bat an eyelid when one of the students packed it in after 3 weeks and went home.

As a trainer myself, I found their laxidazcal attitude with regard to the success of the students an absolute disgrace. One fellow student told me during a heated debate about this that (and I quote) \"well, when you've been teaching for as long as they have, you eventually lose the passion for it and you see so many different faces, coming and going, that they must see us as yet another TEFL teacher, merely a number. They can't be concerned with everyone, all of the time\".....

Yeah! Sure! You know what? NEWSFLASH!!!!!! That's the friggin' job! If you're a lifeguard, a doctor, a traffic warden, a cab driver, a pilot, a delivery man, a factory worker, even a teacher. You are responsible for your work. Plus, should your duties relate to people, then you're responsible for them too. Too tired? Lost the passion? well, you know where the door is...and I'll have my €1500 back too!

I seem to remember my TEFL tutor lecturing me that if I explain something to the class and should only one of my students fail to understand, then I have failed in my task because the buck stops with me and it's my job to explain it correctly....to all. Well, I decree that I have the option to turn that right around and say that should one TEFL student fail in his TP, Langauge Analysis etc (like that guy on my course) that it was in fact HIS (the tutor's) responsibility too, no?

I feel the standards of teacher training (in my humble opinion) are left wonting in many teacher training academies....

There, I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest.... :lol:  
Que la fuerza te acompañe, siempre........

RebeccaG

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2005, 12:52:30 PM »
Quote
Yeah! Sure! You know what? NEWSFLASH!!!!!! That's the friggin' job! If you're a lifeguard, a doctor, a traffic warden, a cab driver, a pilot, a delivery man, a factory worker, even a teacher. You are responsible for your work. Plus, should your duties relate to people, then you're responsible for them too. Too tired? Lost the passion? well, you know where the door is...

Touché Iano, touché!  :)  
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Expat_teacher

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2005, 10:12:20 AM »
Hiya folks!

Well, my opinion(s) on the TEFL/CELTA/TESOL programs ... if you really want it!

1. The quality ranges from \"school\" to \"school\". Many are merely businesses and not \"educational institutions\" propiamente dicho.

2. You get what you pay for. But, the cheapest aren't always the worst and the most expensive aren't always the best.

3. I think the ones that are directly associated with a university or college (of higher education) are the most trustworthy for my money.

4. If you want a good program, you have to do your research. Not just surfing the net to see what the chattering classes on ESL forums are saying (no offense to the Expatriate Cafe Tony and Rebecca!  :o )), but talking to others who have \"graduated\" from the program. I think places like the Expatriate Cafe forum (and others) are great to get an inital read on a place, but for my money, I would do more than just depend on the anonymity of forums.

Iano was your experience a good one or a bad one overall? What kind of research did you do before deciding upon your program?


 

Megan

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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 07:57:15 PM »
I agree that there are many shabby TEFL schools that are only interested in making money and not in helping people become better teachers.  However, I still think it's a good idea for people who have never taught before to get certified.  At least it gives you some experience in front of the class, and you get an idea of what it's like to teach.  I did a CELTA course when I arrived in Madrid, and I don't really have any complaints about the program; however, I don't feel like I really learned much in the course that I didn't already know. I have a degree in Spanish and secondary education and had some teaching experience before coming to Madrid, so I already knew about teaching methodology and techniques.  I basically decided to do the CELTA because I thought it would help me get a job.  Since I was coming as an illegal worker I thought that at least I would have an advantage in the job market over someone with no certification and no experience, even though I didn't have the proper work permit.  If you're thinking of getting certified, I agree with what Expat teacher wrote--you need to do your research and talk to the schools and other students to find out exactly what you'll be doing in the course.  Personally, I'd be suspicous of any place that \"guarantees\" you a job after completing the course--how anyone can guarantee a job, especially to an illegal worker, is beyond me.

Iano

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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2005, 01:01:07 AM »
Quote
If you want a good program, you have to do your research. Not just surfing the net to see what the chattering classes on ESL forums are saying (no offense to the Expatriate Cafe Tony and Rebecca!  :o )), but talking to others who have "graduated" from the program. I think places like the Expatriate Cafe forum (and others) are great to get an inital read on a place, but for my money, I would do more than just depend on the anonymity of forums.

 
That's a good idea but unfortunately it can be quite hard to actually meet people that have graduated from various academies. Due to the fact that they're overseas, it's quite hard to meet anyone that may have, say...completed their CELTA at the ****...and also happens to live in your State or Town.

Ideally, to accurately ascertain which academy is worth attending and gauge the general mood and feeling toward the EFL scene, you would have to be in Madrid with a clipboard and a smile, waiting outside language academies equiped with a questionnaire in hand to interrogate the teachers as they leave after a hard days work  :lol: or scour the many bars, perking up your ears when every 'Ingles' is spoken and perform a MacCarthy-style inquisition on every unsuspecting potetial TEFL teacher whilst they're waiting to get served at the bar :)

This is the problem. Where do you meet TEFL teachers that have graduated before you actually get there.??? Nigh' on impossible, unless you happen to be lucky and meet someone in your town. Then, you run the risk of coming to a conclusion as to an academy's effectiveness based soley on one former student's interpretation of their experiences.

I went to the BLC in the Plaza Castilla and I found it via the Cactus Teachers website which was an intermediary body which liased with the school and set-up everything. I knew no-one who had attended prior to me going over. It was a chance that I took. It has a good reputation (possibly an inaccurate and outdated one, in my humble opinion) but luckily, the BLC name on your CV seems to impress a lot of hiring Directors of Studies.

Some of the others seem to focus on a North American studentship with fanciful guarentees of no-hassle employment post graduation which sounds just fine-and-dandy to most US citizens who are burdened by their nationality with regard to finding legal employment. Some academies play on this...and exploit it.

I knew no-one who had done a CELTA course in Madrid before I went I hadn't a clue as to where to find someone. Forums such as these, although handicapped by it's anonymity at times, is about as good a place as any to read first hand accounts by former students. I could tell you hundreds of horror stories that I've been privy to about various academies but I would be walking a tightrope and could be potentially kicked off this forum by the aforementioned Tony and Rebecca, who have been excellent sources of info and advice :) \"Best not annoy the landlords, they own the keys, the fridge light AND the toilet paper in this here website\"  :lol:  
Que la fuerza te acompañe, siempre........

spanishsueños

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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2005, 06:28:42 PM »
Just so there is no confusion, I work for a TESOL Certification course in my home country.

I fully support students researching their certification options and if a potential student of mine wanted to correspond with some of our students (abroad or back) I think that thats fair, and I would supply them with email addresses ect.

Hope this info helps for people who are thinking about taking a course!

Ps. Iano, sorry to hear about your bad experience. :(  

SRedw

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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2005, 09:44:09 PM »
TRUE. the TEFL may be good for people who have never taught before, but it's still WORTHLESS and not worth the paper it's written on in many countries.   It doesn't mater if it comesfrom a university.  it still carries no weight.

The CELTA and RSA Diploma or Certificate are more recognized worldwide.  

Shawn

 

Lrl82

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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2006, 02:36:44 PM »
i know its out of topic but do any of you know how long is it to complete a tesol certfication course?

Senicko

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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2006, 06:28:55 PM »
Quote
i know its out of topic but do any of you know how long is it to complete a tesol certfication course?
Mine is 4 weeks with 3 extra days for the Young Learners Extention.

SRedw

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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2006, 02:01:58 PM »
Now, let's turn this topic around, while still staying on topic.  What are you expecting to learn by taking a Teacher Training course?  What are your goals and expectations?  After having taken a course, were you satisfied?  What could've been improved?  Have you expressed these concerns to the academy or school where you took your course?

Thanks,

Shawn

rob in madrid

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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2009, 08:58:34 PM »
What is the difference between TEFL and CELTA anyone know?

On the point of teaching English I do tend to agree that in Madrid doesn't require much more than a warm body. As to teacher burn out it really depends on the class. But teaching kids will really burn you out fast.

Beckett

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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2009, 12:41:58 AM »
@Rob in Madrid:

TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) and CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults). CELTA is for people with little to no experience teaching English.

Click here for more detailed info: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/celta.html

SRedw

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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 11:26:28 AM »
TEFL and CELTA are just marketing ploys used by many academies to attract potential students.  When I read the advertisements looking for teachers, they almost always say "TEFL or CELTA CERTFIED ONLY and YEARS OF EXPERIENCE NEEDED" and when you look at the pay, you just laugh and shake your head in disbelief.

I say that it's marketing because many academies love to say that all of their teachers are certified and it makes the students seem like they are getting a good teacher, but in the end, the student has no clue what either a TEFL or CELTA is.

Hey, is someone wants to do take these courses and if they feel that it'll help them in the English teaching field in Spain, so be it.

Shawn

MadridTeacher

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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2009, 11:08:19 AM »
Hi Megan,

I agree mostly with what you're saying. I think you've got to have a certification of some kind.

RE: Personally, I'd be suspicous of any place that \"guarantees\" you a job after completing the course--how anyone can guarantee a job, especially to an illegal worker, is beyond me.
I have to laugh when they say something like that. Of course, they can guarantee that because there's no mention of a guaranteed "salary".

There's another thing I've seen them do too is to say they've got a "Certified" course. Certified by what institution?! Check out the certifying institution. In one case I've seen, it's only got a few members.

I really feel sorry for a lot of new teachers coming over here. They really take advantage of them, but that's the price they have to pay for a gap year in Madrid, Spain.

I don't think there's such a thing as "problem free." Take anything at all and put it up for evaluation and you won't ever get 100% approval: textbooks vs. no-textbooks, TEFL course vs. no TEFL course, a particular teacher, a particular academy, etc. etc.

My opinion is this regarding academies, I won't work for them myself if I can help it because of the money issue, but I think they have a place in the system and many a young teacher will be grateful for getting a job or training from them.

MadridTeacher

dava

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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2011, 10:58:50 AM »
Can't you get experience being a teacher's assistant though. Like volunteer time.

I forgot to say one thing.  TEFL is good if you've never taught before and you want just a little teaching practice to get you started in the field of English language teaching.

So, in otherwords, it's worth something.  What that worth is, I don't have a clue.

Shawn

SRedw

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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2011, 08:48:56 AM »
Can't you get experience being a teacher's assistant though. Like volunteer time.


Dava,

Yes, you can get experience this way as well, bu tmany academies here in Spain are still crying for a TEFL because it makes their academy look good when they say to their potential clients that all of their teachers are TEFL qualified.

I don't have a TEFL and I am doing just fine. I have been teaching and tutoring languages for more than 17 years now.

Suerte,

Shawn

mll22

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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2012, 12:54:28 AM »
My question is a little off the beaten path for this thread.


I have recently seen an offer for a TESOL online course for $69 through Groupon. (hard to explain it, if you're not from the U.S. or midwest even maybe? i'm not sure how far Groupon stretches... Basically it's a coupon site that coordinates with businesses, restaurants, etc. that offer a deal through their sight in order to get exposure to new clients, often offering pretty good deals for their product. for a example, i paid $20 for a groupon to my salon for a haircut that would normally charge $35.  so it was a $15 discount.--don't judge me for my vain example, haha).  ANYways, I'd be saving about $530 through this offer.  My question is if it's worth it.  Not so much the money factor, because, welll, compared to any academy at all, $70 really is nothing. The academy in my town in the U.S. charges $2000 for it's TEFL cert.) But it is 150 hours.  Would it be worth it to have it to just add to my CV?  I've seen ads for jobs throughout Spain that ask for TEFL/TESOL/CELTA cert.  I have 3 years experience as an auxiliar de conversacion in Spain, 1 year experience in a language academy, and 3 years experience working in schools in the U.S.  So, experience I've got.  But, I do know that when I went for an interview at a private international school in Spain, the director said if I had had some kind of TESOL/TEFL she could've at least hired me part time. But since I had neither my degrees homologados or a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA, she couldn't offer me the job. 


I'm just wondering if putting in the 150 hours of work, with no actual in class requirements for student teaching as I can see, would have any grain of salt in any country.  I just don't want schools to just write me off because I don't have that little line on my CV that states TEFL/TESOL certified......


Shawn, I think I already know your response, but I still value your input as well....haha

hpoliq01

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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2012, 01:37:01 PM »
I feel like I´m just reiterating what has already been said, but I´m posting anyways because too many people are ignorant/naive about this topic and end up wasting their time and money.

In terms of an online course I would normally say NO NO NOOOO!!! You might save money, but a lot of schools wont value a course that didn´t include any actual teaching time. In the case of someone who already has several years of experience, it´s your judgement call....many academies would probably make an exception. If you know where you´d like to teach it might be worth it to get in touch with some schools in the area. Establish some contacts and ask for their advice. You can probably ask a lot of schools flat out "Would you hire me?"...in my experience they are usually really helpful and willing to offer advice.

As far as teaching courses here in Spain go, I´ve heard pretty terrible things. False expectations, overworked students, false promises of jobs. Once again, how the hell can you expect a job offer if you don´t have the right to work!?!? It blows my mind how many people seem to think "Hmmm, maybe I´ll move to Spain! I´ll just google ´teaching in Madrid´and choose the first thing that pops up!" without doing any research. I hope I don´t offend anyone, but that´s my rant.

That being said, I don´t want to discourage people. I decided I wanted to move to Seville, with no teaching experience or certification, and I made it happen and I make good money. It´s totally possible, you just have to be patient and do your research. I took my CELTA course in Boston before I left the U.S., as I was finishing up my degree, and it was fantastic. Caring instructors, I learned a lot, and I got a job my second day in Spain. The truth is, teaching isn´t something I want to do forever, but I think the CELTA course was worth it. I was able to not only get a job, but a well paying job (that I know I couldn´t get without the CELTA or Trinity)...the CELTA course will have paid for itself in about a month and a half.