My name is Mark Featherlight and I wish to warn people from accepting jobs at Spotlight International English. The list of crimes and immorality that company commits is atrocious. I wish to rectify the truth by telling my experience at that school. I started working for that school in October 2015, and it was my first time in China. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined that China’s work environment would be different, but in fact it was very very different.
The first problem was the boss who was an old man and a tyrant. He would invite foreigners for meetings every week and make us pay for the trip there. Not only did we have to spend 20$ on getting there, but the taxi trip took over 90 minutes. Once we arrived to the meetings, he would say things that would defy the laws of nature. He would threaten us, talk about his hate for the Japanese and racist comments towards black employees and his love for basketball. He would boast about how he was the greatest teacher in the history of the world and then come back to threats, salary schemes and just a lot of nonsense. The worst is that he couldn’t even speak English, and yet he was running an English school. It was hard to understand the reality of it all. He would insult us, threaten us, blackmail us, tell us stories of how we hurt or would hurt other teachers and then he would start babbling about topics that make no sense. I had to go through this an entire year and half and the reason I stayed was because of my girlfriend and my many plane tickets and trips I had planned.
During that 1 and a half the company lost 10 teachers. If any information or proof is needed, I have the contacts of all my colleagues who possess as much hate for this company as I do.
Secondly, the school introduced an evaluation system which was based on some random people watching your class. For example, someone would come watch your class (in most cases they were 20 year old Chinese student girls) who would then return to the HQ and together with the boss would decide on the marks you would receive. Which means that the company could increase or decrease your salary using their evaluation system. This system did not require proof, those numbers were simply assigned depending in which direction your salary was meant to be.
Objectively, if you made X amount of money, you should receive Y amount of salary. Well at Spotlight, you could have recruited 8 news kids and you would find yourself losing money. The Chinese staff had a broken psychological scheme which they used on us. If you provided them with other teachers and took group pictures with hello kitty clothes on, the staff would see you as a follower and then perhaps raise your salary. It was a see-saw ride which made no sense. Promotions and bonuses were simply random and had nothing to do with anything you would do. The system was so messed up that you would sometimes receive money for doing nothing and sometimes lose a lot of it for doing everything right. It was “as the Chinese say” psychological tricks to keep our moral up. I have a copy of the contract i can send on demand with “Salary Pay Slips” to prove it.
Moreover, the schedules and holidays did not follow the contract. The would give us a holiday just to make us come back for 1 day. Example: if one received a week for new years, the company would schedule a working day in between as to make you come back for that one day. Obviously if you didn’t come back for that one day, they would deduct money from your salary. While everyone following the national holidays had a week straight, this company choose to fill it with holes like a Swiss cheese and force you to come back for 1 day or 2 days spread apart as to ruin any chance of going somewhere far and worthwhile. The schedules were also messed up, the company would sneak extra hours of work and if you demanded extra money, they would say no. I have the official emails from the company to prove this as well.
This company was shady, sneaky and they would take liberties with your contract regardless of what you did.
What else? They would force certain employees to stay longer by keeping their release papers and also blackmailing you with blacklisting, VISA tricks to prevent you from going to another company and a lot of government relationship nonsense which only the Chinese in their own little community can understand. Basically, if you don’t do this, we won’t give you back this paper, we will block you from working and you will be forced to leave China altogether. I have the contact of 2 teachers who were forced to stay beyond their contract date, if necessary I can provide proof and contacts.
And the list goes on, In April 2016 they hired a sex offender and allowed him to work at the school for a few months before one of the foreign teachers had discovered his unfortunate past. The company does VISA tricks and has teachers without degrees and background checks working for them. They put young children in danger. I have the pictures and videos of this man working at that company, so the school cannot deny that he was there working. They claim to have fired him, only after the foreign staff started an uproar.
The list is long, very long and I wish I had more energy to type all of this…
The conclusion is simple: this company is very bad and the things that they do are cleverly tricky and shady. They can get away with anything legally.
I can provide proof, pictures, contacts and videos of every single claim made here. Luckily during my time there, we had many trainings we often forced us to record videos with our phones and i caught glimpses of everything.
We just yesterday sent out a red-flag alert about this very school and they are also blacklisted on our website, at the CFTU, CTA, TEFL.net, ESLwatch, Reddit, and perhaps other places as well. Thank you for sharing Mark. This is exactly the feedback people need to hear when shopping around for a teaching job. Who was the recruiter that sent you to this school?
For anyone else reading this, you can avoid Mark’s mistake by following the advice in this link and asking your recruiter or FAO just 7 very important questions: http://opnlttr.com/letter/china-esl-tefl-teacher-school-recruiter-blacklists-name-389-scam-artists
For current news about China scams you can check the CFTU or CTA blacklists or visit http://reddit.com/r/chinascamcentral. Remember to read thrice and sign once!
I was very disappointed when scrolling through a search of this school to discover that my name (the surname is slightly different but too similar to be a coincidence) has been used for the above post. I know exactly who posted this but I will keep my integrity and not give it out. I will say though that if you want to complain about something have the balls and decency to use your own name.
There are elements of truth to his post but a lot of it has been grossly exaggerated by the individual, perhaps to feed his over active imagination and intense paranoia.
I worked there for nearly 5 years, 4 of those were not that bad or I wouldn’t have stayed, or returned as I did for my last contract. Problems did arise in my last year as the running of the company was handed over to the man he mentioned in the post. A lot of the issues mentioned did happen and is part of the reason I left the company. As far as I am aware that boss is no longer employed by the school. I had a good relationship with the owner of the school but this was soured in the last year, I believe due to the influence of the male boss mentioned earlier.
Anyway make your own decisions when gaining employment in China. Most training schools have their problems but unfortunately this is the nature of the beast.
The real Mark
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