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Magic Tricks!

19 Jul

So Smart!

24 Mar

This octopus is brilliant, awesome, and totally hip. ¬†The voice-giving diver is equally as cool ūüôā

6 Scams ESL Teachers Play on Employers

4 Feb

I’ve read a lot of articles recently warning ESL teachers about picking the right schools. In fact for 10-15 years there have been all sorts of posts on the American web telling potential teachers about scams and wannabe thieves that are trolling the ESL sites waiting for potential prey. ¬†And it is definitely true that foreigners are at risk when they go to teach abroad. ¬†Missing pay, illegal work ethics, refused vacation time, sucky housing, NO housing, horrible students, or -the worst-¬†evil watching parents waiting for you to fail.¬†¬†

Life can be tough as a foreign teacher, but I thought maybe it was time to mention the other side.¬†After sitting in several schools and making many online ESL Teaching friends, listening to the teachers talk and gossip, I thought someone should post a warning for the schools instead. ¬†To those ESL teachers that are going to get all huffy, cool it! You have your chance to air your grievances on other posts, and I’m certainly not saying that you don’t have grievances to share. Heck, I’ve got grievances to share! Late pay/NO pay, skimpy travel reimbursements, the list goes on. But schools deserve to get the warnings too, it’s not all sun and roses on their side in many cases either.

Without further adieu, here are 6 scams that ESL teachers often play on their employers.

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1. Abusing Benefits

Many people talk about how schools/agencies in some foreign countries will tend to short-change you your well-earned, usually required benefits. ¬†But they aren’t the only ones abusing this confusing system, ESL Teachers sometimes do so as well. ¬†I’ve heard of at least two teachers who abused the¬†“medical payout” benefit offered at nearby schools, and I know there are more. ¬†Since the medical/reimbursement/receipt systems are a little more rustic in many foreign countries, it is very easy to either bribe or re-arrange everything to come out on top.

Some raise¬†very unnecessary doctor’s costs and charge it to the school as an emergency medical fee. ¬†They pay a doctor to write the prescription or explanation in English. When the school secretary girl doesn’t know what it says, ¬†they tell her it’s for something serious ¬†(one is simply getting a weekly massage and calling it “therapy”- he freely admits he doesn’t need it, but it’s convenient. Costs the school 80rmb a week). ¬†

Others overcharge the school. ¬†The way it works is that you bring your receipt to the school to ask for money. The teacher’ll either pay the doctor’s office/hospital person to charge a higher fee or erase/white it out and write a higher one anyway. They then pocket the difference. ¬†

2. Double Charging the School

This one is really, really cheeky. ¬†Some schools in foreign countries prefer to pay their teachers in cash. ¬†Sometimes this is because it isn’t all on the up-and-up. They either hire a teacher from a different school for 1-2 hours of work a week or they just don’t want to pay the taxes. Other times, they are in a more rural place and that is just how things work. ¬†Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t take the time to get a receipt. You just get handed an envelope of money. ¬†

This has caused several schools a big problem when teacher’s pull the “Double-Trouble” scam. ¬†The teacher will charge them and get the envelope of money. ¬†They then go to the police and claim that they weren’t paid anything. ¬†The school usually doesn’t have a witness beyond the person who handed over the cash, and there isn’t a receipt. ¬†So the school is sometimes forced to pay the teacher twice. ¬†This may also result in them losing their license to hire foreign teachers or put them under investigation. Such an investigation can destroy the school’s reputation and ruin them. ¬†One nearby school was forced to shut down after they ran into this scam, and other’s are starting to demand a signed receipt in the transaction. ¬†

3. Selling Tests/Grades/Quizzes

This is a kind of obvious scam, but it happens constantly. ¬†Teachers complain all the time about how their students in foreign countries cheat on the exams. It is actually a really, really big problem, even here at my institution (I had to report 3 last semester alone from my class). But they don’t often want to admit that teachers themselves are often a HUGE part of the problem. ¬† Continue reading

Seoul Art!

18 Jan

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Life in China: Christmas in Henan

30 Dec

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It’s a little late to be saying this, but Merry Christmas from the beautiful province of Henan, China!

¬†This is my very first Christmas to be traveling abroad, indeed my first to be away from family and friends. Even in college, I always came back home with my mom to stay at my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Illinois. We always went overboard on the shopping so the room was covered in packages, and we had wonderful traditions. Lighting the hope candle, visiting midnight services, baking cookies, and getting up early to visit family nearby. Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, and I was a little concerned about how it would turn out this year. ¬† Continue reading

Build Your Own Virtues

13 Nov

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.‚ÄĚ

**Mother Teresa

Chinese Student Finds Niche Market for Feminine Pads

17 Sep

Wow, as a teacher here in China, I have had a lot of fun watching the cute freshmen run around for training. ¬†But I have to agree, it is a foot problem waiting to happen. ¬†Go Li Yuan! ¬†You deserve a business award for 1. great idea and 2.¬†good business sense. ¬†I’m impressed. **DB

 

Chinese Student Finds Niche Market for Feminine Pads

by Nancy Z via “DramaFever

A college student in China has found a niche market for feminine pads. It is a funny story, but we can also learn some business lessons from a budding young entrepreneur who identified a problem and found a solution.

(photo whxy.swu.edu.cn)

All Chinese college students must endure a type of military boot camp training in their first year in college. It’s like a strenuous PE class where they go through lots of physical activities like trekking and jogging. An effect of such activities is what happens when you put young men’s feet and sweaty socks together. Yes, strong odor.

Lesson #1 – Be observant.

Enter Li Yuan, a third-year student¬†at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China. He figured out that putting a feminine pad in a shoe can absorb moisture and prevent odor. Actually, he didn’t come up with the idea originally. He saw a few male students looking shy while¬†standing near the feminine pads aisle at a supermarket. He was curious and¬†learned from the manager that these students were buying the pads for use at the boot camp sessions.

Lesson 2 – Identify the problem.

The problem is actually two-fold as many new college students don’t even know that they’ll benefit from the feminine pads and that many male students would find it embarrassing to shop for the feminine pads out in the open.

Lesson 3 – Decide on a solution.

Li realized where there is a demand, he can provide the supply. He decided that he would become a personal shopper and sell the feminine pads directly to the students in the comfort and privacy of their dorms.  . . . .

READ MORE

 

Random Fun: Test Your Vocabulary!

8 Jul

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Fun new test, you can access at¬†http://testyourvocab.com/! ¬†I had over 33,000 words ūüôā

Stunning display from a Drone’s POV

5 Jul

Neat Webcam of Lions

9 Jun

Stumbled across this neat webcam of a Lion habitat at the Milwaukee Zoo.  Neat! 

Click the link to go to the webcam.

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