Poly Languages Institute Reviews

Updated October 7, 2014
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  1. The life and trevails of an ESL teacher...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - ESL/TOEFL Teacher in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - ESL/TOEFL Teacher in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at Poly Languages Institute part-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    - Getting paid on time
    - Established syllabi and textbooks (at least for the non-TOEFL class) so you don't have to invent the wheel
    - Establishing friendships and interacting with a variety of students
    - Seeing your students learn and make progress (the reason you're doing this job anyway)

    Cons

    - Dead-end job; same low $16/hour wage forever as you're just a warm body who's replaceable - high teacher turnover rate once people realize how difficult it is to afford living in LA on a part-time (MAYBE 30 hours a week) $16/hour wage without benefits.
    - Parking is awful and if you want it to be free, you've got to fight for local street parking over by Park La Brea which means a lot of walking and sometimes running out on break to change spots (hourly restrictions). If you want to park in the building's lot/garage, you're paying for the monthly pass out of your own pocket. Hence, the boss is cheap. He could easily afford to cover it with the bloated tuition students here pay, but he doesn't.
    - I'd recommend staying away from teaching the TOEFL class - it's the same wage, but pressure is higher and the curriculum isn't very good. They just threw together a bunch of random page assignments from 2-3 different textbooks so it doesn't have any logical flow - and if I remember correctly, there's not enough time to keep up with the pace of the syllabus as well. A lot of extra stress without any extra benefit whatsoever.
    - No real management or support if you have any overly entitled/disrespectful students - that's a rare problem though.
    - I know it's a business and the customers need to be kept happy, but students have too much input into whether they can move up to the higher levels before they're ready - then they'll struggle and get frustrated and look for people to blame probably.
    - It can get pretty boring when you're teaching the same material every 2-3 months - especially from some crappy NorthStar reading book - but supplement with your own stuff if you think it's better for the students - or at least more interesting. They deserve it with the overpriced tuition here.
    - No real organized testing/grading system

    Advice:
    - You're an ESL teacher in Los Angeles - probably one of the most competitive/worst markets to be one in. Unless you have a Master's, you're pretty much a dime a dozen.
    - LSI in Ktown is probably a better place to work - their wage is higher, at least - and students have more fun while paying a cheaper tuition.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The small extra cost to you of increasing teacher wages would go a long way towards boosting morale and retention and increasing the quality of your product.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  2. Poorly run schools

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Office Manager in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Office Manager in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at Poly Languages Institute full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The students are great and there are quite a few excellent teachers.

    Cons

    The owner of the three schools is unstable and treats his employees very poorly. He never gives his teachers raises, even the excellent teachers. I knew a teacher who was working there for over five years and she was barely making above $16 an hour. The owner is the kind of boss who only focuses on negative things and places a lot of blame on his employees. He refuses to take ownership for how he has caused the company to lose money and students. The pay is very low (about $36,000 a year for the Center Manager). My experience there was terrible when I was working in the office. I found that they really only cared about getting tuition money rather than on developing their teachers in order to truly improve the school. A teacher I know was fired from there because they said she stole whiteboard markers. For a school that is covered in cameras I would have demanded evidence. I think it's an ok environment for teachers if they are just there to gain some experience and then move on. No hope of higher pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just because you're the owner doesn't mean you should manage the place. Also, if you don't have a background in TESOL you have to trust that your employees who do know what they're talking about.

    Doesn't Recommend

Poly Languages Institute Photos

A look at the building it's in - from Wilshire Blvd's Miracle Mile area
The front desk view when you walk in - the faces will always change, but not the counter. :)

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