American English Center Reviews

Updated April 28, 2015
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  1. English Teacher

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teach Abroad Team Assistant in Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Teach Abroad Team Assistant in Portland, ME
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    paid on time, felt like a big community after a couple months, structured if somewhat dry curriculum, flexibility to spice up classes, flexibility to work more or less if you want

    Cons

    A little chaotic and scheduling was last minute, not much help if you want to get a visa (I chose not to get one for the 9 months I was there),


  2. Here's a few things to think about when you consider AEC.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Zaporizhzhya (Ukraine)
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Zaporizhzhya (Ukraine)
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at American English Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    there are no pros from a teachers point of view

    Cons

    The rent they charge you is often equal to the rent they pay for the apartment. So, when they charge ONE teacher 1600 UAH for a flat, it's usually the cost of the flat. But when they have 2 teachers in the flat, they are making 1600 UAH. Much of your "salary" is based on bonuses. The bonus system has been changed a number of times, and they look for every excuse NOT to pay your bonuses. "Oh, the moon was blue on Tuesday, No bonuses this month" Wink They do not have permission from the Ukraine Job Center, or any other branch of the government to hire foreign workers. Each and every Native English Teacher working for AEC in Ukraine is illegal. With the exception of those who are permanent residents. The "letter" they will give you to take to a Ukraine consulate in another country to get a visa isn't worth the paper it's printed on. In every case, the latter has been rejected. Why? Because it's not the correct format of letter and they don't have permission to hire you in the first place. In the end you will have to get a standard tourist visa or private invitation visa. Which means you will still have to make more than 1 trip out of the country during your 1 year contract with AEC. In addition to working illegally, you are also living illegally. Under Ukraine law it is the responsibility of the company to register you with OVIR. But, in order for them to do this they have to have legal permission to hire you in the first place. They will tell you it is your own responsibility to register with OVIR. you cannot register with OVIR unless you have a valid employment contract from a company with legal permission to hire foreign workers. Some of us were promised a "contract completion bonus" when we were interviewed, that was supposed to be equal to the cost of a plane ticket home. Upon successful completion of the contract AEC's comment was "What contract completion bonus? We don't know what you're talking about" While they do have a good program, from the students point of view, most of it is ripped off from other teaching books, and their treatment of Native English Teachers leaves a LOT to be desired. I was once told by the recruiter they are scrapping the bottom of the barrel and was having a hard time finding teachers. But the attitude in the Kiev office is that Native English Teachers are a dime a dozen. An easily replaced commodity. And their turn over of staff tends to prove this. Oh, and one other thing.After leaving AEC and three times they tried to have me deported because I was competition

    Advice to Management

    proper visa support for teachers


  3. No opportunities.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at American English Center full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The work schedule is good, evening hours between 3pm and 10pm, Mon-Thurs., 12pm-6pm on Sunday.

    Cons

    Curriculum is not very engaging and is strictly regulated by the administrators causing a lack of creativity and flexibility for the teacher. Student often get bored from the activities you are forced to do, and the teacher takes the blame... The 8th week off is not paid and interferes with any plans you may have, lack of income can be an issue if you do not manage your money with prejudice.

    Advice to Management

    More flexibility in the curriculum would be more beneficial, having an exact outline that all teachers MUST follow is a BIG negative. The lessons were built for one person and are specifically aimed to that persons strengths, modification required.


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  5. Good

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Former Employee - Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at American English Center full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - No TEFL needed, one of the few places where its easy to find work not in Asia without a TEFL - Almost always delivers promised hours - Its hard to mess up the system is simple - Free accommodation during 10 day training period - Quality of branches vary SIGNIFICANTLY you could get a good school with excellent students and management.. or not.. - Bonuses are possible - Ongoing training but once again this varies by city and school.. managers decide what they want to do with this - Great starter position to get your foot in the door for finding a better job in Ukraine or somewhere else teaching ESL - You can get extra hours teaching business clients in the morning if you are good.

    Cons

    - No VISA support although during the interview they do say its possible, that is a lie. However you can get in and out of the country with paying a fine every 3 months - Materials are irrelevant and boring - Few resources although at my school they had more books, games, magazines etc than other schools. - Students who never showed up for your class not even once but didn't drop are kept on your roll and included in your retention bonus statistics!! That isn't fair! - Apartment quality varies.. i've seen some overpriced crappy apartments - If you work at a school with not enough students they may send you across town to make up for the hours. There is no pay for commuting. - Low pay compared to other English teaching gigs. - 8 hour sundays!! (with small breaks) unless you have a great manager that will give you more during the week

    Advice to Management

    Get some VISA support! They keep raising the prices, but last time I checked if you leave the country after overstaying your VISA past three months you have to pay 112 USD. A guy I know did this 3 times and on the 3rd time they told him to stay out for a while. The told another guy this but he begged and they let him stay. Also get more resources to your teachers! It also helps to get some quality control on those apartments. People with 3 bedrooms shouldn't have to pay as much as people with 2. That 8 hour Sunday has to go!


  6. Helpful (1)

    A good last option

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher
    Current Employee - English Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at American English Center full-time

    Pros

    CELTA or TEFL certificate not necessary, many hours given, good bonus

    Cons

    low hourly rate, no cohesion within company, unmotivated students, boring and repetitive lessons, no Visa support (which other companies DO give), no next step/career opportunities

    Advice to Management

    Visa support is very important- almost all of your employees are working illegally. Invest a little bit in your American teachers.


  7. Helpful (2)

    Bare bone facilities....and books

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Zaporizhzhya (Ukraine)
    Current Employee - Teacher in Zaporizhzhya (Ukraine)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at American English Center full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You are picked up at the airport, have help at the local school. basic and simple system to learn. A ten day training program. A non paid break between semesters along with a bonus if your students come back (more then 60%) paypal friendly.

    Cons

    No visa offered at this time. You are FORCED to play games in your class, along with no extra books unless you are at the main office in Kiev. Meetings on days off sometimes were forced, along with poor books. Working all day on Sunday (8 hours)

    Advice to Management

    It would be nice for management to update the books, along with peer evaluation. I would also suggest to stop copying other books, (American streamline) The head trainer should be more organized along with do a little bit more for the school, as in more creative ideas and extra supplies for the school and teachers.


  8. You'll get by.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher
    Current Employee - English Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at American English Center full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - it's easy to get hired. - 10 days of training before you start teaching. No pay during this period but free (shared) housing. - the company has branches throughout the country so you can choose from several cities - the material is rather repetitive. This means less prep time outside of class. - management is usually accomodating about schedule requests (at least at my branch) - the students are awesome! Respectful and enthusiastic - vacation time: every 7 weeks there is an (unpaid) week off. - the school offers to help you find housing. - decent salary. You can live on it. Not live big, but definitely stay alive :p - you get paid on time.

    Cons

    - as of June 2012, no work visa. - lack of advancement opportunity. - last-minute notice about everything (what classes you'll teach each semester, covering for another teacher's class, mid-terms, moving to a new apartment, etc.) Meanwhile, if you want to change something (quit, change apartments, switch to PT) you need to give the school one - two months notice or they may penalize you financially (withhold a paycheck). - no feedback from the school. The students fill out a satisfaction survey every semester but teachers rarely see the results. - the school operates out of elementary schools after the students have gone home for the day. Be prepared for ancient, cracked blackboards and for less than stellar bathrooms (holes in the floor, but of course it's the same all over Ukraine). You usually need to carry your supplies to and from work daily. - if the students find you boring, you'll get fired.

    Advice to Management

    - figure out a way to give teachers a legal work status. - give new teachers more advance notice about things. For example, a schedule with the dates of the midterm and picture day. I saw one guy quit over this issue.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Standard Ukrainian workplace = draconian in America

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Kiev (Ukraine)

    Pros

    Students are great, you don't need experience, dynamic and social workplace, you learn how to teach on the job, you can travel and still live up (relatively speaking)

    Cons

    management is not sympathetic to teachers' needs, you sign a contract that allows them to cancel penalty free while you must fulfill your end or lose 2 paychecks, material in the curriculum is incredibly boring

    Advice to Management

    Be more American in terms of workplace respect, be more flexible with sick time, begin to transition into legal salaries and visas rather than trying to fly under the radar.



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