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5 Tips To Avoid Shitty Situations As An ESL Teacher


This is slightly off the topic of language learning but it’s in response to a few questions that have been thrown at me now and again regarding ESL teaching as a means to fund immersion stays abroad.

It’s also been on my mind a lot lately as I’m currently in the process of organizing my transition over to South Korea to work as a teacher.

 

ESL teaching is in my opinion a better option than freelance writing or translation

Many people are eager to live overseas in an immersion context (whether it be for the purpose of learning a language, employment or humanitarian work) and in my opinion ESL teaching is a far better option for native English speakers than translation work or freelance writing/blogging.

One of the reasons why I say this is that in order to be successful in either translation or freelance writing you need to spend a lot of time (too much time) in isolation, working in front of a computer screen rather than spending it with people.

It’s a lonely and at times financially unpredictable way to live (UPDATE: I recently put together a list of great job alternatives for travel and languages here).

With ESL teaching on the other hand your job requires you to interact with students and colleagues on a daily basis, and despite the fact that teaching is done through the medium of English you still have plenty of time in between classes to chat with people in your target language as well as increased opportunities to build friendships that extend outside of the workplace.

It’s financially consistent (as long as you don’t work for a bad employer – see below), very sociable and you get to maintain routine.

This is not to say that the things I’ve listed here are the only three options for anyone wanting to travel and earn a living at the same time.

In my travels I’ve met doctors, engineers, and other professionals working abroad but these are the more common and easily achievable avenues for globetrotters.

NOTE: I highly recommend starting a blog and earning from that if you plan to travel. Even if you’re teaching in a place like Turkey where wages are relatively low, the extra income made through your blog will help a LOT.

I explain how to do this here.

 

ESL teaching does carry risks

I worked for three employers last year as an ESL teacher: the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (the country not the state), and a private language school in Eastern Turkey.

Despite the tolerable, mild incompetence of the TLG program in Georgia they were actually very good to us foreign teachers (even the scumbag teachers who deserved to be sacked were treated well) and consistently paid on time. For a country still healing from fresh wounds of poverty and war they’re doing a fantastic job for which I’m really thankful for.

My experience in Turkey was a bit different.

I already briefly mentioned in a previous post what happened there toward the end of last year. We’d finished up in Georgia, spent a nice relaxing holiday catching up with friends in Italy and driving up the coast of Portugal, and then headed over to Malatya, Turkey to start work at a privately owned school where we were initially quite satisfied with the working conditions.

I started learning Turkish, made friends through work and began to settle in.

Shortly after we’d started working at the school however I got a sudden phone call from my family in Australia saying that my grandmother had been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and I had about 8 weeks to get home and say goodbye to her. It was one of the hardest emotional challenges I’ve ever had to go through.

I told my new Turkish employer the story, told him how sorry I was for my need to leave quickly and that I’d try to return soon after, left my girlfriend there and went home.

Without going into too much more detail there were a series of major issues that made it impossible for me to go back to Turkey so I had the dilemma of telling my Turkish employer that I wasn’t coming back and then trying to get my Canadian girlfriend over to Australia.

 

It was at this stage that my ESL employer turned nasty

Well actually it was always known how much of a douche this guy is but now it was on full display.

Our employer claimed that he’d spent money on a recruiter to hire me (including paying for the residency visa) which he was unable to get back after my departure. Since I wasn’t there he started threatening my girlfriend to reimburse him.

He gave her an ultimatum to either work for him for free (be a slave basically to pay off what he considered to be a debt) or he’d get law enforcement involved, and as he’d previously boasted about his connections in the police headquarters this worried me a lot because I didn’t know what he was capable of.

Keep in mind too that here’s a young female living in one of the most conservative areas of the country only a couple of hours north of a Syrian civil war and I was on the other side of the planet unable to do anything.

I had some piece of mind in that there was another expat from the UK (a good friend of ours who was mistreated and screwed over as well) working at the school so she wasn’t completely alone but it was still a hard thing to do leaving her.

The only thing I was capable of doing was booking her a flight out of the country and back to neighbouring Georgia.

After increasing hostility at work from the employer we decided it was safest for her to pack all her belongings over night and get the first flight out of the country the following morning being careful not to be seen on the way to the airport.

It all sounds very dramatic I know but as far as I’m concerned it’s better not to take chances especially in parts of the world where corruption, abuse and neglect of fundamental human rights are more prevalent.

After spending a few weeks back in Georgia waiting for her Australian visa approval she headed over here.

We’ve recently been in contact with our English friend who left in the same manner after the employer reneged on conditions laid out in his contract including his flight home.

 

Name and shame: Bil Çağ Kurs Merkezi (Bil Cag Course Center), Malatya, Turkey

I’ve decided to be a little bit vindictive and name this school publicly because I’ve noticed that TEFL.com is still advertising positions there and by mentioning the name here it’s guaranteed to show up on the first page of any Google search query in future by people considering working there.

Bil Çağ Course Center advertises itself as Oxford Language School but hear me when I say that this school has absolutely nothing to do with Oxford University.

They use Oxford textbooks and think that this justifies hijacking that name for their advertising.

It’s not just foreign staff who are abused either. Some of the lovely Turkish people we befriended there are subjected to despicable mistreatment as well.

UPDATE: I later had an even worse experience in Russia teaching English. Read about that here.

 

So… 5 tips to avoid being in a shitty situation like this as an ESL teacher

Firstly be aware that what happened to us isn’t overly remarkable in terms of bad schools mistreating ESL teachers.

I’ve heard some nightmare stories from friends and others that make my story sound like a fun holiday.

However, this is not intended to frighten anybody away from ESL work as a means to support immersion living and I still believe that teaching is the best option for any native English speakers wanting to travel to learn languages.

1. Make sure to scour the major ESL forums and Google for any teacher feedback on the school

Before you even bother firing off an email to a school or recruiter about an ESL job make sure you check forums like those on Dave’s ESL Cafe and TEFL.net, along with simple Google searches to see what people have said about the employer.

Sometimes you won’t find anything on a particular school but if it’s a chain you might get an idea by reading reviews on other cities (how they treat their staff, pay, etc.).

In our case there was absolutely nothing written anywhere about our school or the city so we took an idiotic gamble.

 

2. If the school accepts you hastily without putting you through a proper interview process then forget it

I had to go through a very thorough process to get accepted onto the TLG program in Georgia but my Turkish employer was different.

I was never interviewed by phone or Skype.

If an employer anywhere is desperate enough to hire you without seeing your face or hearing your voice it speaks volumes about their quality (I should have thought about this before accepting the job).

 

3. Try as much as possible to avoid small private schools and stick with government schools and universities

It’s tempting even now for me to apply to small, privately owned places because they’re generally easier to get into.

However this time around I’ll be applying for university work or at the very least entry into the public school system. Perks are usually better and you have no worries about getting paid on time or not receiving severance, flights home, and so on.

 

4. If there’s anything dodgy or unacceptable in the contract ask to have it changed

We made a stupid mistake accepting our contract in the first place as we were advised not to agree to the amount of hours they wanted us to work but we were in a hurry at the time to finalize our arrangements.

If an employer puts unreasonable requests in a contract or is a bit vague on certain points then refuse to sign it until it’s fixed or forget about it.

 

5. If a recruiter found you the job, try to keep in regular contact with him/her and form a professional relationship

I’ve learned this from talking to a few friends and especially our friend from the UK who was also teaching at our school in Malatya.

Remember that recruiters have a business themselves and in many places there’s a probation period for new teachers so that a recruiter gets paid after the few months of a new teacher’s employment. This isn’t always the case but in any event it matters to the recruiter how well or badly the new employee is being treated by the school, so call them and give them feedback if things are shit.

My friend did this and the recruiter assisted him in finding another position elsewhere.

UPDATE: After a horror experience of mine in Russia teaching a billionaire family’s kids, I kept in touch with my agent and was offered other jobs.

Hope you found this useful! If so, please share it! 🙂

 

 

Comments

House Rules: I love comments and feedback (positive and negative) but I have my limits. You're in my home here so act accordingly. No advertising. Links will be automatically flagged for moderation.

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  1. I'd just like to thank you for writing this. I just had a skype interview with this school and then I found your article. It probably goes without saying that it has made me think twice about taking the job.
    Thanks again!

    1. No problem, David.

      There's a lot more I could have said but didn't want to go into too much detail. Keep looking and you'll find plenty of better and safer options in Turkey.

  2. Good on you for naming and shaming!! I see so many posts or comments about people getting screwed over by someone and you know what they do? They go and screw over a bunch of other people by refusing to divulge the name of the person or company that burned them–this screws over everyone who will end up dealing with and getting burned by that person or company in the future who wouldn’t have had the aforementioned person named them.

    From what I’ve heard about Turkey I doubt that you or your girlfriend were in any real danger, but “better safe than sorry” was probably the correct way of dealing with it regardless. I seriously, seriously doubt the guy had any sort of real power or connections, he just sounds like a lying dirtball is all.

    I never thought of what you mentioned about how doing ESL gets you a lot more one-on-one interaction with natives and is therefore better than a lot of other things if learning the native language is a main concern of yours, good point.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  3. Hey Donovan, very important info you posted. I'm both an alumni of the JET program in Japan and have taught in several private schools. For me the government associated JET program was light years ahead of the private schools I've taught at, but even within the same government sponsored program, I hear a whole range of stories, from those who had the most amazing experience ever imaginable, to the worst of the worst of nightmare ESL situations. Luckily I had a great time, but I can't say enough for doing the proper research into the place you are applying for, especially talking to people who've worked there before. Here's a link from TESOL for more of those university oriented jobs: http://careers.tesol.org/jobs

  4. Hello Donovan. I was recently hired by Bil Cag, and after only a couple of weeks, I am not entirely happy with the way the school is organized and I constantly feel confused. I told my employer that I found a prospective new job and would like to leave. Here is what he told me:

    He would have to contact the police who would then contact the airport.
    That I could be fined up to 10,000TL for breaking the contract.

    I now feel intimidated into staying and I'm not entirely certain how much of his information is true. I would be grateful for your thoughts and suggestions.

  5. In the spirit of "name and shame", I am an ESL teacher in Prague, Czech Republic. There are very many BAD ESL schools here, so be forewarned! Two notorious schools that come to mind are: Caledonian School (massive fraud lawsuit going on now between former teachers and owners of school); and Spevacek, which is a factory and treats teachers like shit generally (the new owner, Jiri Spevacek bought St James and immediately lowered pay rate by 40 Kc—a huge amount!. Spevacek treats teachers like scum: pecking order is this: owner is king, secretary and support staff middle, and teachers are treated like shit, at the bottom. Even the secretaries can boot you around.

    In truth, DO NOT become an ESL teacher. Maybe do it as a way to see the world for a year or two. The problem is very low pay and NO job security. You will be used and discarded, easily replaced by another hungry teacher ready to steal your hours, your classes. Look at it this way: you will never make any money doing this, its more accurate to call ESL teaching abroad a 'working holiday'. Basically the ESL schools are set up to pay you as little as possible and keep most of the money for the owner of the school. They are all the same this way. You have been warned!

  6. Zam
    I think it depends on where you are, I'm currently living in Vietnam working in a private. I am treated and paid extremely well.
    I suppose the point is, don't become a tefl teacher in less you really care about teaching.

  7. I'm currently working at a chain private school in Turkey and I am not happy. I've been here 3 weeks now and it is so disorganized, the students don't pay attention at all and are not disciplined, and my one co-expat teacher is an insecure, competitive, unprofessional sabotager, not supportive at all. Horrible situation. Care about teaching? How can you care about teaching when the schools don't care about your teaching?
    I never signed a contract, as of yet. The recruiting company didn't tell me I would have to pay a finders fee for my apartment and am made to share with nutty co-expat-worker who likes to threaten she will have me thrown out.

  8. Tip 1 about finding a good school is SUPER important. The school itself can make or break your time teaching English abroad. It's good to remember that while you may like the country you are in, if you don't like the place where you spend most of your time (your job), it's going to be a rough go.

  9. Zam: Spevacek is a bad ESL program? Are you high or did you just try to play your bad attitude on the job, got deservedly canned, and can't take the responsibility? Pecking orders are a regular part of having a job. Every job has them. Grow up and get used to it. They've been nothing but great to me and my friends but then again we have no problems with being good employees. Hell, Caledonian is helping me out with my immigration process because I'm following the rules and not giving anyone a hard time. It's not hard, dude.

  10. Hi Donovan

    Wow, how my eyes have skimmed my way through google and somehow got glued to the word "Shitty". I have subsequently been attaining quite a few interviews and low-and-behold I have a fully fledged contract in my Inbox from a one, OXFORD AS ACADEMY in Bursah. I was startled and rather taken aback by how long i was waiting on answers from interviewers i had already been shortlisted by. Suddenly i have a job without an interview. i just Google'd Bursah and the school, and stumbled upon your article.

    I just want to say, thank you for snapping me back to reality, as i was temporarily lost in the euphoria of my sudden false success.

    Should you like to contact me, do so on [email protected], as i would love to have a conversation with you as well as build my international network channels.

    Where are my manners, I am Roscoe Ratangee, from sunny South Africa. I am a 24 year old male attempting to embark on TEFL Teaching abroad.

    By the way, the guy who sent me the Email containing the contract, replied as fast as a live chat…to and fro…between us. once i asked him for a Skype Meet-and-Greet, all of a sudden i am 4 days later awaiting a reply on when he is available to do so. I feel so silly right now.

    Hope you are doing fantastic wherever you are and hope your girlfriend escaped the ordeal unscathed emotionally.

    Yours Thankfully
    Roscoe

    1. Hello,,thats me from oxford Academy that contacted you,,yes first we tried to hire you for our schools but later we have decided that you will not be the right candidate for us since our school decided to work with female teachers thats why we didnt reply you back,,There are many candaidates applying to work with us thats why we can only reply for the teachers who will be suitable for the right position. We are the only company that is required to work with because of paying on time and protecting the rights of our teachers and keeping our words as we promised. There are many companies like that in Turkey that make the foreigners dissapointed ,,thats why as a company in Turkey We advise you to be careful about that.,, whenever anyone wants to contact us please email us [email protected]

  11. Hello I just stumbled across this whilst googling the Oxford as Academy School in Turkey. Is this the same school you are talking about or is Oxford language School different?

    1. I came across the open position in the Oxford Academy as well and I was wondering the same thing

    2. Hello S.E, were you looking at the Summer Program?
      I chatted to the guy on Skype and he sent me a contract. I noticed the logo on the contract and web site were different. That was when I decided to do a bit of a google around. I also asked if Bil Çağ still worked there and they said no. So now i'm all confused.

    3. I have my appointment tomorrow. It seems very sketchy, therefore i decided to google it as well. Thanks

    4. Hi, Kaitie00, I'm considering the Summer Program, too. Are you going to do it? Mine was not for Bursa though. I can't find any reviews of this company.

    5. Hi ,
      I am completely amazed. I got the same "contract" by the same Academy, they were even asking me to submit the signed papers and a copy of my passport and University Diploma. I am so happy I decided to google about teh school before going ahead with everything. The guy, who identified himself with another name and this other lady who usually is e-mailing me insisting constantly, did not even bother to turn on the camera during the very short interview we had via skype, they would keep answering my questions with more questions and were not clear eenough , that is why I decided to investigate.

    6. So would y'all not recommend Oxford as Academy? Is it a scam… my friend just agreed to go there and she's having doubts…

    7. yeah i'm wondering if its the same language school cos I got an offer from Oxford Academy with the contract and the dude wanted a skype interview too. so i'm quite confused.

    8. Hello,, ı think there is misuderstanding,,the guy and the name that emailing you which you thaught a lady name is same person , thats me.
      İf you need more information, you can contact me again ,, that wil be the easiest way for you,, at least easier than writing and wondering the answers from here.
      Whenever you want , you can contact me by skype or email.
      My email tı[email protected]
      My skype oxfordasacademy

    9. If the person is named or affiliated with anyone named Armagan Burcu… Long story short forget it they are total BS Google search Independent TELF Reviews Oxford as academy to get the full story.

  12. Does anyone know of a good place to teach in Istanbul?

  13. Thanks loads for being straightforward… There is nothing that makes hearing horror stories about ESL scarier than not knowing where it really happened. As long as we’re on the topic of saving others from a lot of unnecessary problems, anyone being offered work or a volunteer stint with a certain Samaritan Residential Schools in Elagiri Hills, Tamil Nadu should know that it is no place to stay longer than a couple of weeks, and the owners are not to be trusted for anything to do with legal/visa issues. They made a mess of my paperwork despite my best efforts, and I almost wasn’t able to get the documents i needed to leave India. Immensely stressful. But Elagiri Hills are nice to visit as a tourist. Just avoid the ‘petty dictators’ who will try to use you to improve their own image and power. Truly disturbing.

  14. I have a Skype appt with a Mr. M.Armagan Burcu, from the Oxford as Academy Language Courses company. Has anyone had any experience with this particular man/company?

    1. Hi Tonja, are you able to share how your appointment went and whether you accepted a contract with this school? I, too, have been contacted by them.l

    2. Look right below this post. The guy answered. He said the negative comments were about another institution with a similar name. In any case, the salary is Waaaay below the amount needed to live there. Other teachers have said that they had to have money wired from home just to make it month to month. I passed.

  15. Hello,,thats me from oxford Academy that contacted you,,There are many candaidates applying to work with us thats why we can only reply for the teachers who will be suitable for the right position. We are the only company that isthe most required to work with because of paying on time and protecting the rights of our teachers and keeping our words as we promised. There are many companies like that in Turkey that make the foreigners dissapointed ,,thats why as a company in Turkey We advise you to be careful about that.,, whenever anyone wants to contact us please email us [email protected]

  16. Seems like there is more than one Oxford Academy in Turkey. One is really bad, and should be avoided, and the other is legit. Perhaps a name change is in order.

  17. There is only one Oxford as Academy in Turkey.
    Oxford as Academy and Oxford Language Schools are completely different companies. Oxford as Academy , private schools located in Bursa city, working legally and successfully,,the other one is only using Oxford name and language course located in Malatya city,,,
    We want everybody to be aware of that.

    1. I worked for one week and did not have a bed to sleep on or even a blanket. I needed to buy a blanket. When I complained to the school you let me go. You house teachers far from the school> Once I arrived I was told you did not provide a visa and was told to cross the border and return. You rarely employ native speakers at your school and usually second language teachers that can speak English

  18. Hi. My name is Barbara and I am also a very long time ESL teacher who has loads of experience teaching abroad. I read most of the blogs here and don't get what the problem is. Every contract which I have ever signed has two major conditions. 1: Non Competition Clause. You cannot take on as private students any student, business organization etc, that is under contract with the same school or facility you are working for. Period. If you do there will be a substancial fine if you get caught. 2: If your employer agrees to assume the cost of your working visa, residence permit, move or any other governmental paperwork on your behalf, this costs him, the business or whomever, a great deal of money. For us it might not be considered much of an expense compared to our native currency, but to them it could be an exhorbatant amount, especially if they hired head-hunters to recruit you. Therefore the employer has the right to expect you to fulfill certain working terms in exchange for this initial expense to hire you, (which anyway is good indication that you have found a pretty decent employer), and this is no different in any other country, including your own. Just try to jilt your employer in the US and see what happens. Sorry to burst any bubbles here but think about it guys. Shit happens to all of us, but we still have to deal with the consequenses.

  19. I'm a 30 year old Australian female with ESL teaching experience in Japan. I really want to teach in Turkey but the idea of finding a private teaching job is scary to me because you never know what the school will be like once you arrive there. ESL teachers are vulnerable when we accept a job and move overseas without truly knowing what the conditions are like until we arrive there. The idea of being a lone female in a country where I can't speak the main language scares me because if my employer turns out to be dodgy I'll be all alone without any support. Are there any government programs or exchange programs ESL teachers can apply for to avoid the risks associated with going in cold? Or are there any established and highly reputable private schools that have been operating for a long time and are known to treat foreigners well? Thank you!

  20. Do not work for Oxford as Academy, Bursa, Turkey!

    While this agency is not a complete scam and that they actually send their teachers to work in schools, they lie to their teachers about being able to work legally in the country in order to get the teachers there, only to put them at a disadvantaged position when problems arise.

    The company would tell potential teachers that they would receive a residency permit which would allow them to work. That's a lie. Residency permits DO NOT allow foreigners to work in Turkey. You need a separate work permit.

    One reason the company lies is so they can save money while still getting teachers to go work for them. Teachers will only realize that they have been tricked if one of the following situation arises: 1. When they read the Turkish words in their residency permit, clearly stating that the holder is not permitted to work. 2. When a Turkish friend or colleague inform them that. 3. When they go to the police for help and get told/caught by the police.

    Some other problems with this agency is that they put money over their teachers' well-being and interests.
    They pay lower than average wage and never on time (you can get much higher wage and better benefits with many other companies). Their apartments are extremely small and they never fix your apartment when there is a problem.

    Additionally, if you ever quit work with Oxford as Academy, they will threaten you for money (I have proof if you'd like me to show you and I have no reason to slander this company). They will say that they have connection with the police and they are going to catch you unless you pay them a lot of money. They will also turn you out of your apartment, cut off your phone and internet, and steal your things. And you will have no one to turn to because you are an illegal worker.

    Do not work for Oxford as Academy. They are not honest people.

    1. Dear Jen,
      I am sorry to hear about your bad experience in Bursa and I am really surprised to read so many complaints about Oxford as Academy and its stuff.

      I am an English teacher from Italy and in 2013 I have worked in Bursa with Mr. Burcu for more than one year.
      The salary was much more than adequate for a comfortable life (even for savings) and the payment always on time. Mr. Burcu cares about teachers’ wellbeing and is always ready to listen to them.
      The last paragraph you wrote just contains defamatory and contradictory lies (amongst the others….they don’t provide a sim card to the teachers and why would they call the police if you are working illegally?)

      You also demonstrated not to be very informed about Turkish immigration laws….Schools are responsible for the working permits and in the last years Mr. Burcu has fought a lot to guarantee that all the schools provided it.
      For this reason he finally reduced the number of schools he used to cooperate with, and for the academic year 2014-2015 I can personally assure that all the teachers had a regular working permit.
      Concerning short teaching experiences (summer/winter camps) it is common to work without working permit; in fact, IF a police inspection occurs, the employer (school) will get an enormous fine to pay, whereas the irregular worker (teacher) who is caught for the first time is just warned and informed about the conditions for legally residing and working in Turkey.

      Lastly, some advice to all the interested teachers:
      – If you have any question, please directly e-mail Mr. Burcu ([email protected]) and ask him the contact of a teacher currently working for him.
      – If you are not open-minded, flexible and easy-going, just go to Turkey on holiday…it will be awesome anyway.

      A former teacher

  21. Hi, Donavan!
    Thanks for your entry. I really appreciate your comments on TLG, Teaching and Learning in Georgia. I actually tried to apply with them. My hubby is Georgian and we go there often, own a house there, etc…But they are such sticklers for a true native, that they turned me down. I am French by birth, and lived in the US for 30 years, taught English and other languages, as well as ESL. It wasn't enough for them. Good for them! Too bad for me. Georgia is a beautiful country, with a population of such quality, and I am proud to be accepted by them. I would invite anyone to visit and know Georgia.
    On the subject of Turkey….yeah…I haven't taught there, but my personal experience as a woman is that you are …well..invisible…I have traveled enough from France to Georgia to get the feeling that I would never want to involve myself with them there..HOWEVER, in France, I had the privilege of teaching FLE (French as a Foreign Lang) to them, and they were always absolutely charming.. Go figure!

    1. Maybe not clear…as I re-read myself..
      I taught FLE to Turks..

  22. The Person Jen.H ,,I know who he is,, as you know there are some people who are blaming always because they were told that we wouldnt continue work with them since they were not successful and problematic people but whne you quit working with them, they always try to take revenge from you and tell lies about the company , as he is doing now. First of all ı must say that we have no relation with other comapnies like the same name Oxford,,we are Oxford as Academy not language center etc. And we are only located in Bursa but our teachers work in our schools in Istanbul-Izmir-Antalya . but Not in Adana and We have been working with our teachers happily for a long time,,My advise is not to believe these liar people who think small and try to get their revenge of losing their job just because of not being a successfull teacher,, You cannot make everybody happy in this world,,but we know ourselves and our teachers know us also,, My advice for you , if you want to get any idea about me and my company , please talk to my 54 current teachers , most of them have already decided to continue working with me next year too,,, you can get the best ideas from our current teachers ,,,if you email me then I can give you all of them , not some of them,,all of them email and you can contact them and learn that we are the only and only company in Turkey paying on time and well and one nonsense sentence from his lies, he mentions about resident permits etc. You can learn from my teachers that everybody has worked legally with their work permit with us. I dont know what kind of things they are gaining by being a bad intension person but God knows and see everything. You can contact my teachers ,, I just wanted to answer this just because ı couldnt stand these lies ,, And also please before contacting the real persons , do not believe these small minded liar people…No need to say extra word.. my email is [email protected] M.Armagan Burcu ( I dont use nicknames since we are real people not fakes or the people who are hiding themselves behind their big lies.. Good Day to everybody..

    1. Oh, shut up. You people in İstanbul are terrible and don’t even know how to run your education system properly. Seriously, you can’t even write an English properly, how could you be associated with Oxford? I have never had a worse experience in a country than in Turkey. Some people are nice, but the majority of you fucks are close-minded, ignorant, jealous, and spiteful people. As an American that currently lives in İstanbul and works at a Turkish school, all I have to do is read this to know it’s the truth.

  23. Hi!
    I’ve just received a job offer by M.Armaga Burcu. Is that someone to do with this Bil Cag?
    Thanks for your tips!

  24. Hello! My name is Sarah and I have been a teacher for Oxford as Academy for two years. I think that there has recently been a lot of misunderstandings as the same person has commented upon numerous sites with the same negative story of the company. I can’t talk about the individual case as I don’t know the girl but I can tell you for me and the people that I know here everything has been more than fine. If you are feeling concerned I genuinely understand and I know that I would have been apprehensive coming here if I had read such things. Please feel free to email me at any time on [email protected] and we can chat on skype or whatever.

  25. Thanks for writing this I will never work for them!!. Im also from Australia and Im working in Turkey now for a big private school. I have a contract with TNT (teachers in turkey) who have broken the contract and failed to pay on time for a couple months now. They have also changed who pays- contract states that TNT pays however now, the school pays part and teachers in turkey pays part. However both pay late recently!! Leaving the TNT contract is very hard, I tried leaving once and go threatened with paying them a debt as they paid for my work visa and insurance. I gave leave I would quit but was told to stay and keep trying this job to see if things got easier.
    I would not recommend working for teachers in turkey as their contract is 13 pages long- which you strictly cannot break, but they can without reason or apology.

  26. pls delete sarahs comment about the private school as the school is ok now and apologises

    1. Hi Sara,

      I’m from Canada and I noticed your comment above about Teachers in Turkey. Did you find your job through them (or the HR company they work with, TeachToTravel.com?). I’m currently working with them to find a job, can you give me some reassurance that they’re not a scam? It just all seems too easy!

      Thank you 🙂

  27. Hi, I would just like to say that I have been working for bil cag in malatya now for almost a year and I have not had any major problems. We have been treated well, provided with lovely accommodation and made some good friends. I don't know the details about what happened here a few years ago, but I know that for the last few years the teachers have enjoyed their time here.

  28. Hello everyone,
    I wanted to provide so insight into my working experience in turkey and for OXFORD AS ACADEMY. I can see there is some confusion between the company names. I have been working for Oxford as academy and Armagan for going on three years. I was literally shocked to see the two very negative reviews on this site. I have never had any of the issues or concerns these comments outline. Oxford has always been and continues to be a very professional company. Everything outlined in my contract has been followed. Everyone who works for this company has always been provided with a legal working permit. My work permit was arranged for me from by my school, like all permits. I have always been supported and assisted in every area of my working life in turkey. In many cases Armagan has gone above and beyond to assist me in whatever was needed. I am so happy with my decision to move to turkey to teach English. Especially with my decision to work with Oxford. Armagan and Oxford have always provided support to me with work related issue and also outside of work for any issues that arise from living abroad. I will continue working next year. I cannot speak about anyone else’s experience, but I felt I needed to post this review to show how different my experience has been and continues to be. I’m hoping this review will help provide another side, and give a better understanding into working with this company.

    1. Hi Jacqueline,

      Do you still for them?

  29. Sorry to hear about your problems. There is trick to avoiding most bad schools. I worked for a lot of different schools including public schools and small private schools.

    I personally didn’t have much of a problem with small schools in Korea, China and Taiwan. The biggest problem I had with a school was with a public school and a recruiter in Korea.

    But even that could have been avoided had I followed this advice.

    You got to talk to the other foreign teachers there. Skype or email or in-person is best to get the lowdown.

  30. Oh my, this situation you and your girlfriend got into is so shit! Good that you managed to get out quickly. I am currently in Turkey, looking for a teaching (or other) job and I am really glad that I know who not to work with at least.
    I had a shitty situation with a language school in Colombia which made me vary of working with institutions who only give private classes (vs. schools where you work full time) but nothing as bad as this – I just did all the visa paperwork and then never got paid as the company went bankrupt and the representatives disappeared. Ironically, the guy who hired me didn´t get paid for about a half a year prior to that. Makes me wonder how could he tell other people thex´ll get a great job without ever batting an eyelid.

  31. Luckely i read this article ….I have a interview with them soon!

  32. Schools in Turkey are actually THE WORST. And the Private schools are breeding grounds of corruption, lies and general missmanagement. I am finishing a stint in a school in Konya and I feel like I should have done better researching the school and its reputation. I found a reddit post from a teacher who left the school just before me and I feel like I really should have done better.

    Here’s the thing, the Turkish ESL culture is the same across, you can almost sense it even when you go through the interview stages. NYS in Istanbul and even recruiters like Oxford As Academy.

    For Anyone out there considering Turkey…DON’T…especially Konya. You are BETTER off freezing you **&* if Siberia teaching a bunch of people who are sooo cold it forces them to behave, be nice and be professional.

    **sidenote…I’ll be teaching in Siberia in September.

    Link to REDDIT Shit List:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/tefl_blacklist/comments/6fukzb/hasdil_ise_school_in_konya_turkey/

    I feel like most EFL teachers are decent people…let’s look out for one another. Save yourself some hassle and drama and passover Turkey like it’s dry and not even Thanksgiving.

    1. Thanks Amanda.

      Sorry you had such a crappy experience too. If you don’t mind me asking, where in Siberia? I was offered a position there after Turkey too way up in the Arctic Rim teaching children of gas field workers. Kinda wish I tried it.

      I ended up in a small Russian town teaching a billionaire’s kids:

      https://www.mezzoguild.com/russia/

  33. Where can I warn others about a bad experience in Indonesia whereby the owners of a small school reneged on the contract and forced the teachers to pay for all wireless services though that was not what they advertized? With no WiFi at home, I spent nearly every dime I earned on wireless for my phone and laptop, both of which were to be provided as per the contract. I recently left Indonesia to return to Prague, but wanted to warn others to stay away from this school.

  34. Hello. My name is Forough and I have received a contract from Oxford as Academy, M. Armagan Burcu. Now I’m totally confused! Could someone tell me more about them? I’m googling them and so far things do NOT look good!

  35. Does anyone know in which country or countries I might find a job with health insurance and most of the student vacations off?

  36. Nicky

    Thanks for posting this info & naming this employer. As ESL teachers, it’s good to be aware of the laws, practices, and cultures of other places & not assume justice works the same way as it does in say the U.S. The truth is in such countries, corruption is huge and an ordinary citizen can bribe the police. Also historically, Turkey has a nasty reputation attacking, destroying, and stealing from other cultures (Greeks) hijacking their practices, art, and music and then calling them their own. I’m not surprised they hijacked the name “Oxford.” Even worse, they have a reputation of having stolen women (raping Armenian women), so I understand why you were concerned about your girlfriend. For a government that’s known for aggression, rape, and stealing, you did the right thing having her leave & calling out its minnion institutions. Please do lots of research everyone before you go to these corrupt places lacking an awareness of human rights. Thanks again.

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