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Re: WARNING!! Alifa Sushan English Language Centre
I wish I'd seen this article sooner! I went to work at this school earlier this year. After only a month I realized that Suzanne Scruggs simply was not "on the up-and-up." The school is poorly run, has no a.c., the supplies are all rundown, and the people are unorganized. She's completely unprofessional as is her Chinese staff. The Chinese manager spoke no English and the Chinese teachers were cliquish and hard to work with. Several teachers complained of her not paying travel compensations and being irregular in delivering salaries. She also did nothing to help me acclimate to the city. Her cell phone often didn't work due to running out of credit and she would sometimes be out of touch all day.
The "American English" school had only two American teachers, me and her. In total there were 4 or 5 school branches and only 3 full time teachers and 3 part-timers. We were constantly being asked to pick up new classes, makeup classes previous teachers had missed, and schedules were often changed at the last minute. I've heard that she has been taking 'deposits' from Chinese teachers' salaries as well and firing them at random.
When I decided to leave, change cities, and make a fresh start she made it as difficult as possible. I gave her the 4 weeks notice required in the contract (after she threatened to make sure I'd never be able to work in the province otherwise). She tried to get me to change my mind through crying and guilt trips, telling me I would ruin her school if I left, then through threats. She lied about my Foreign Experts certificate at first, saying that Liaoning Province didn't require them, then that it hadn't finished processing yet, and finally giving me a copy. Then she didn't want to give me the letter of release. Even after I'd started work at my new school she presented difficulties. All of China changed policies to use a new form at exactly the time that I left (of course). She refused to sign the new form saying that I hadn't fulfilled my contract! Thank goodness my new school had enough guanxi to get it taken care of.
This is not the way a business should be run and teachers do not have to put up with it! The demand for English speakers is so high in China that no one has to take a job at a school like this!