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Working for Disney English

Working for Disney English

Postby michellem415 » Thu May 27, 2010 6:58 am

Hello,

I have just been offered a job with Disney English. My first thought was wow- I am sure Disney would be a great company to work for. I am a little put off by their work schedule- work weekends, get midweek days off (makes it hard to travel, especially with friends working in other locations in Asia)- and the pay is very low (1/2 of what i have been offered by International Schools in China and SE Asia). I have a Master's Degree, experience teaching overseas, experience teaching in both public and private schools in the USA, so have quite a few opportunities for well paid jobs in Asia.

However, I am seriously considering this position, as an opportunity to get into this company. They are expanding rapidly, throughout China, and within a few years throughout other countries, starting in Brazil.

Does, or has, anyone worked as a language trainer for Disney? Would love to hear anyones opinion of the company, and a realistic view of what it would take to move up within the company.

Thanks!
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby rickettyrabbit » Thu May 27, 2010 7:41 am

I've known a few people who worked for Disney in the past, but not in language training, and not in China. Disney is highly regarded in the hospitality industry for its training in customer service. Many North American companies take notice if someone has a front-line customer service job at Disney on their resume. I don't know why these people left Disney, and I don't know whether they valued their time there because it was a good "ticket" to other jobs, or because it was a great place to build a career.

In general, I think it is wise to take jobs like a good billiards player shoots. Don't just think about the job you're considering at the moment. Think about the next job, too, and whether the job you're considering will increase your employability and your value for your next position. Getting the best paying job now is not always the best strategy, although it is generally true that your salary growth is significantly influenced by what you got paid in your previous job.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Stark » Thu May 27, 2010 8:06 am

Are you sure you'd really be working for the Disney corporation?

I find it more likely that they either licensed the name from Disney - which means you won't derive any long-term employment benefits - or that they merely appropriated the name through eminent domain, as companies are wont to do here.

I would work I-school, if you can.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Klick » Thu May 27, 2010 8:16 am

According to Wikipedia, they are owned and operated by Disney Publishing, which is part of the Disney Consumer Products division. ('Disney Retail' in other words, like the Disney Stores in malls and shopping centers and such.) So, same parent company, but entirely separate branch.

I don't imagine that the training there is considered quite as valuable as that received by those who work in the Disney parks. People who work in those frontline CS positions accept that although they work hard and long hours, it is a 'resume building' position. Not sure that working for Disney English would have anywhere near the same value for an experienced teacher with a Master's.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby donkeykong » Thu May 27, 2010 8:40 am

Unless you want to go into language training as a career (as opposed to teaching), take the position with a legit international school. In this case, you deserve higher pay given your credentials.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby haimenteach » Thu May 27, 2010 12:28 pm

I have heard only horrible things about Disney English.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby nrgfink » Thu May 27, 2010 12:41 pm

donkeykong wrote:Unless you want to go into language training as a career (as opposed to teaching), take the position with a legit international school. In this case, you deserve higher pay given your credentials.


100% agree. One looks better on the resume, pays more, and has better work schedule? Sounds like a no brainer to me
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby aoki » Thu May 27, 2010 4:27 pm

I heard it was a mickey-mouse operation...
You'd have to be quackers to work there.

(Sorry, couldn't resist).

Yes they are a serious organization; I believe that expats are running it at the higher levels here in Shanghai. I have no idea about their payscales, but I do know they work you hard....
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby JasUK » Thu May 27, 2010 5:04 pm

there is one across road from me in Xingeng Road. Last weekend there was a despute going on there with customer and the establishmet 2 police bikes turned up to sort it out lasted about 30mins lot of shouting and finger waggling. Always fun to watch.
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DO NOT WORK FOR DISNEY ENGLISH

Postby jefferson » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:39 pm

I've noticed a lot of concerned people on other forums commenting on the dominating cultural influence of Disney. Here's my response: I currently work for Disney English in Shanghai. The fact of the matter is, there's a market for the Disney brand here and we can't quite expect a company like the Walt Disney Corporation to fail to exploit a willing market niche if it will expand their waistlines, cultural homogenization be damned.

The most pernicious thing about the Disney Corporation in China, from my perspective, is the awful manner in which corporate protocol, efficiency, and the profit margins lay waste to any semblance of decency regarding the workers here. Tens of "cast members", including myself, gave up jobs, kissed families goodbye, and uprooted our lives to work for Disney based on blatant lies that recruiters spat regarding vacation allowances (5 paid vacation days per year and you work on Thanksgiving, throughout the Christmas holiday; that was a revelation), compensation, working hours, you name it.

Most of our benefits and compensation (especially time off, overtime, etc.) are below industry standard, from what I gather in the teaching communities here in Asia. Also, Disney will not list benefits for employees in the contract. They don't want to put it in writing; what they will put it writing is "all benefits are subject to the discretion of your direct line manager."

Each new contract that comes out is different from the last, and offers less and less to look forward to. They've just changed the policy from a reasonable 30 days notice; now you have to give them three months' notice in advance of your quitting.

Teachers here have not been reimbursed for funds spent to acquire a health check and other standard procedures that Disney requires. Employees are urged to take precautions to check if promised reimbursements ever make it into our accounts. Make sure to copy your forms, because if Disney loses them (fairly common occurrence, here), they will not take you at your word regarding the money they owe you.

Taking sick days is openly discouraged because it is very difficult to get coverage for people's classes. Disney can't keep on substitute teachers because their full-time stock is so transient, they have no other option but to hire would-be substitutes on full-time. You cannot simply take the requisite time you need to rest. Disney doesn't trust you, and so forces you to seek medical attention for even those child-acquired illnesses that only require bed rest and fluids. Thus, we are expected to pay sometimes outrageous hospital fees out of our meager salary. Three visits to the doctor because you had a nasty cold and didn't want to infect your students? How about you pay the man 6000 RMB, minimum.

Furthermore, Disney English, at least in the Shanghai region, has an uncanny knack of hiring teachers for managerial positions; teachers with no managerial skills, very little people skills, and poor communication practices. Please, if you are at all interested in acquiring a job here or anywhere, get a thorough feel for the type of management system you'll be forced into. My colleagues and I did not get a choice, and this greatly reduced the amount of clear information we could obtain about our working environments before we signed on.

Rest assured, however, that the Disney environment is thoroughly Corporate. Expect your good work to be rewarded with more work and very little thanks. Expect your less-than-stellar work to be met with persistent, distrusting micromanagement, written warnings, and passive aggressiveness. Expect to continually feel vaguely put upon by upper management, to be thoroughly alienated from any job title that carries more weight than yours, and to have your pushes for innovation funneled through an endless bout of (thoroughly inefficient and demoralizing) chains of command, form letters, open-ended presentations, and eventually non-implementation.

The company is desperate to fill its pockets with money and expand as rapidly as possible-- so much so that they are currently running into trouble because people are quitting before they fulfill their contracts.

The Walt Disney Company is renowned for its customer service, and this makes sense when you see the profit incentive in it. What Disney English needs to learn is that honest and responsive human resources are equally good markers to strive for. This isn't a theme park in Anaheim or Orlando with fifty schmucks willing to sign up any day in the week. This is a job in China that requires certified teachers willing to leave kin and kind behind for something completely unknown. Frankly, we deserve better.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Andreas » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:50 pm

I am not surprised actually by your account.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Gay_Chevara » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:01 am

ALL English schools in China are crap. No one likes working for them.

I can't imagine Disney being any better than any of the other crappy held-together-by-sticky-tape ESL institutions dotted around Shanghai.

I work part time for a couple of schools here - just a few hours a week - and it's enough. I listen to the full time staff talking about their jobs and all I hear are complaints about everything stated above.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby ElGatoNegro » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:32 am

Sounds like a match for OP! Sign on up! The world will be your oyster!

Yeah I was freelanced cameraman for Disney/ABC news. They paid when they paid and when they didn't it sucked. Was no better then anywhere else...
But, it did rock to get a check with the Micky Mouse & Disney logo and the job description as something like "Multi fatal school bus crash" or "Prom teen gang rape". The other cameraman and I used to compete to see who could get the most appalling job description on their check with the Mouse logo.

Little piece dark inside the news business tidbit for you all.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Davexuhui » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:52 am

I know people who are management at Disney here and they are upfront, good people. I taught EFL for about seven years (I was drunk for much of the time, so it may have been six years, can't remember). What Andreas said is spot on, all language schools are a bloody sham, so Disney can't really be worse than anywhere else. I was at the BBC for a few years and, like Disney, does no harm to your resume to have them on it.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Shinbone » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:15 pm

Having several family members employed by the Disney theme park, understanding their level of training commitment, and having taught ESL in China, I can safely say that these are 2 entirely different company cultures. From jefferson's description the school sounds typical of local management; ie, the teacher being the product and not actually part of the staff, except for the trotting out part (and sudden, fake, important-sounding titles and "face" for marketing). But hey, in a way it's like putting on a big oversized head and playing goofy. Or is that Mickey Mouse?

What is being sold is more likely not aptitudes development (or else the teacher would at least be a part of the discussion), but a) parental overload, and b) the subjugation of international economy to Chinese ethnonational entitlement. This is why most (if not all) have kept the status of foreign teacher to little more than hand puppet. Is that what a degree is worth these days? To have your schedule controlled by the receptionist? To work for no benefits nor legal recourse? To be little more than an object? To be forbidden to hold teacher's meetings? To be afforded human dignity or not depending on the whim of a national? To work with people who delight in the failings and negative stereotypes of your home country? If you have the stomach for it you can do some good; but you either have to have frontier fortitude or an iron liver. Or - low standards. No, it's not all like that. But the pool isn't all piss either, still want to go swimming?

ESL in China is a job, not a career. The organizing principles are not improvement and stakeholding. No matter the academic costs, nor the costs of alienating your own staff. They are recruitment and budget starvation. Have an exit strategy. 2 years would seem to be a useful period before the international career benefit starts to level off. I'm not saying don't do it, it can be very rewarding. I'm saying, it ain't modern no matter how slick the interior design.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Davexuhui » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:24 pm

Shinbone wrote:Having several family members employed by the Disney theme park, understanding their level of training commitment, and having taught ESL in China, I can safely say that these are 2 entirely different company cultures. From jefferson's description the school sounds typical of local management; ie, the teacher being the product and not actually part of the staff, except for the trotting out part (and sudden, fake, important-sounding titles and "face" for marketing). But hey, in a way it's like putting on a big oversized head and playing goofy. Or is that Mickey Mouse?

What is being sold is more likely not aptitudes development (or else the teacher would at least be a part of the discussion), but a) parental overload, and b) the subjugation of international economy to Chinese ethnonational entitlement. This is why most (if not all) have kept the status of foreign teacher to little more than hand puppet. Is that what a degree is worth these days? To have your schedule controlled by the receptionist? To work for no benefits nor legal recourse? To be little more than an object? To be forbidden to hold teacher's meetings? To be afforded human dignity or not depending on the whim of a national? To work with people who delight in the failings and negative stereotypes of your home country? If you have the stomach for it you can do some good; but you either have to have frontier fortitude or an iron liver. Or - low standards. No, it's not all like that. But the pool isn't all piss either, still want to go swimming?

ESL in China is a job, not a career. The organizing principles are not improvement and stakeholding. No matter the academic costs, nor the costs of alienating your own staff. They are recruitment and budget starvation. Have an exit strategy. 2 years would seem to be a useful period before the international career benefit starts to level off. I'm not saying don't do it, it can be very rewarding. I'm saying, it ain't modern no matter how slick the interior design.


Possibly the most erudite summation of EFL teaching I've ever come across. You should be a journalist matey, you're far more eloquent than I could ever hope to be.... and I'm a journalist.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby nongminbongren » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:02 pm

Bottom line here: Unless you're a masochist: Don't work for as an English teacher in China.
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Re: DO NOT WORK FOR DISNEY ENGLISH

Postby Chavster » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:48 pm

jefferson wrote:I've noticed a lot of concerned people on other forums commenting on the dominating cultural influence of Disney. Here's my response: I currently work for Disney English in Shanghai. The fact of the matter is, there's a market for the Disney brand here and we can't quite expect a company like the Walt Disney Corporation to fail to exploit a willing market niche if it will expand their waistlines, cultural homogenization be damned.

The most pernicious thing about the Disney Corporation in China, from my perspective, is the awful manner in which corporate protocol, efficiency, and the profit margins lay waste to any semblance of decency regarding the workers here. Tens of "cast members", including myself, gave up jobs, kissed families goodbye, and uprooted our lives to work for Disney based on blatant lies that recruiters spat regarding vacation allowances (5 paid vacation days per year and you work on Thanksgiving, throughout the Christmas holiday; that was a revelation), compensation, working hours, you name it.

Most of our benefits and compensation (especially time off, overtime, etc.) are below industry standard, from what I gather in the teaching communities here in Asia. Also, Disney will not list benefits for employees in the contract. They don't want to put it in writing; what they will put it writing is "all benefits are subject to the discretion of your direct line manager."

Each new contract that comes out is different from the last, and offers less and less to look forward to. They've just changed the policy from a reasonable 30 days notice; now you have to give them three months' notice in advance of your quitting.

Teachers here have not been reimbursed for funds spent to acquire a health check and other standard procedures that Disney requires. Employees are urged to take precautions to check if promised reimbursements ever make it into our accounts. Make sure to copy your forms, because if Disney loses them (fairly common occurrence, here), they will not take you at your word regarding the money they owe you.

Taking sick days is openly discouraged because it is very difficult to get coverage for people's classes. Disney can't keep on substitute teachers because their full-time stock is so transient, they have no other option but to hire would-be substitutes on full-time. You cannot simply take the requisite time you need to rest. Disney doesn't trust you, and so forces you to seek medical attention for even those child-acquired illnesses that only require bed rest and fluids. Thus, we are expected to pay sometimes outrageous hospital fees out of our meager salary. Three visits to the doctor because you had a nasty cold and didn't want to infect your students? How about you pay the man 6000 RMB, minimum.

Furthermore, Disney English, at least in the Shanghai region, has an uncanny knack of hiring teachers for managerial positions; teachers with no managerial skills, very little people skills, and poor communication practices. Please, if you are at all interested in acquiring a job here or anywhere, get a thorough feel for the type of management system you'll be forced into. My colleagues and I did not get a choice, and this greatly reduced the amount of clear information we could obtain about our working environments before we signed on.

Rest assured, however, that the Disney environment is thoroughly Corporate. Expect your good work to be rewarded with more work and very little thanks. Expect your less-than-stellar work to be met with persistent, distrusting micromanagement, written warnings, and passive aggressiveness. Expect to continually feel vaguely put upon by upper management, to be thoroughly alienated from any job title that carries more weight than yours, and to have your pushes for innovation funneled through an endless bout of (thoroughly inefficient and demoralizing) chains of command, form letters, open-ended presentations, and eventually non-implementation.

The company is desperate to fill its pockets with money and expand as rapidly as possible-- so much so that they are currently running into trouble because people are quitting before they fulfill their contracts.

The Walt Disney Company is renowned for its customer service, and this makes sense when you see the profit incentive in it. What Disney English needs to learn is that honest and responsive human resources are equally good markers to strive for. This isn't a theme park in Anaheim or Orlando with fifty schmucks willing to sign up any day in the week. This is a job in China that requires certified teachers willing to leave kin and kind behind for something completely unknown. Frankly, we deserve better.


Sounds typical of any big-franchised company. It's exactly what I would have expected.
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Re: DO NOT WORK FOR DISNEY ENGLISH

Postby Klick » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:51 pm

Chavster wrote:Sounds typical of any big-franchised company. It's exactly what I would have expected.


That's what I was thinking too. Although well written, jefferson's post came across to me with a strong whiff of entitlement. As in, "I'm educated and trained! They need good people like me!" But the bottom line is, the teachers are the rank and file, the lowly soldiers. You're doing the grunt work, because you're the grunts, and you can be replaced. I'm not saying that to be unkind or disrespectful, I'm saying it because, well, it's true. And I'm not saying "Shut up and be grateful for what you get" either - I'm just saying, this is the deal. You'll work very very hard with some less than desirable conditions for a set period of time, and at the end you've learned a little something about yourself and about life and you've got a corporate name to put on your CV, and that's just the way it goes. It's all part of paying your dues. Doesn't sound that different to me to the way the Disney Orlando park works either, from what I know of how they work their entertainers and their non-American staff (in Epcot, workers in each international section are recruited from their home countries). What I've gathered from talking with people who have done it is, is basically indentured servitude for a fixed period (usually 2 year contracts), and it is intense, and you work like a beast of burden. And at the end of it, you have that on your CV and other employers recognise that if you could make it through that slog and come out the other end with positive things to say about your experience overall, that you have something going for you that another job candidate may not.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby ToTheMoon » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:00 pm

Before arriving in Shanghai I had the distinct impression that Disney English paid a very good salary for China. Once I arrived, however, I found that if you are a proper teacher and you have the skills/inclination to get a proper teaching job with an international school you can make a much better salary. An international school that cares about teaching and values you as an employee in Shanghai will not pay you less than around 14,000 to 18,000RMB a month while also supplying you with housing. With one day of internet searching and sending out some emails once I got to China I was able to secure several interviews and subsequent job offers. Note that I have some teaching experience but am not super qualified (though I like to think I did well in the interviews with regard to the sample lessons).

Jefferson was totally and absolutely correct with regard to the poor benefits offered through Disney. Not only do international schools offer higher pay, but even if they don't, they still offer much MUCH MUCH better holidays and benefits. Actually, every other two-bit language school in the world I've heard about has better holiday time than Disney, or will at least give employees the option of unpaid time off over the summer or during normal school holidays. Disney employees don't even get the full Chinese holidays off let alone western holidays. A good international school that offers you a proper job should give you summer holidays plus school holidays paid, or offer a salary that is sufficient enough to sustain you over the summer holiday without having to work. It's true that in Asia in general workers receive less holiday than the west, but at Disney workers receive even less days off than many Chinese white collar workers (though to be fair the 40 hour work week which western employees at Disney enjoy is practically unheard of for Chinese workers).

The truth is, teachers don't make a lot of money but the rewards are free time, which Disney doesn't offer, and the opportunity to work in a more noble and selfless capacity as an educator, which Disney doesn't offer either. Disney isn't really focused on education, it's focused on branding. As a "teacher" for Disney your primary job is to get them hooked while they are young and help Disney to dominate the Chinese markets. Even if you are less bothered by the whole brainwashing and cultural domination part of the job, as a teacher it just becomes depressing if you are not actually doing much actual teaching. Even for the most mercenary Disney employees, the feeling of uselessness, putting on the corporate happy mask, and constantly having to justify what you are doing because you need the money usually leads to a professional existential crisis. I believe that this is why Disney has such high turnover with teachers and managers.

As for the benefits, Disney is a huge company with the resources and the will to smash the competition and gobble up the market. So, if you stick with it long enough, given the rapid expansion of Disney English, you will probably be promoted and enjoy a higher salary, benefits, and chances to see the world as a real citizen rather than a broke back-packing perpetual college student. If you are a professional language trainer Disney could be your ticket to moving up out of the dregs. This post may sound cynical overall but given the current economic climate in Europe/the US I think we've all begun to attach greater value to stability. Disney is never going out of business or cutting budgets. They've got enough money to sustain huge losses for years to come while continuing to expand.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby lb51 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:50 pm

Which jobs offer 14-18000rmb/ month? I haven't found any! I'd love to though, I'm qualified enough :-)
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby miss_t » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:59 am

ToTheMoon wrote:The truth is, teachers don't make a lot of money but the rewards are free time, which Disney doesn't offer,


Exactly!

Even back home you ask a teacher what's the great thing about their job and i'm willing to bet 'time off' comes high up on that list if not first!

And yes i know teachers in regular schools back home have to work after hours/holidays too....but not AS much as someone who does get the summer, Christmas and Easter off. And a few half terms/bank holidays too!!

OP, if you're qualifications are truthful, then i wouldn't even consider Disney English.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby johnny_tropicana » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:15 am

You might believe that they would see a long term happy employee/teacher as a great resource
that cannot be easily replicated. Churn and burn...just plain bad management.
When someone is so disgruntled as to leave in the middle of a contract, I would think that upper management would be the first to want an accounting as to the cause.
I can understand losing an employee due to family situations (after all, Shanghai is a long flight
away from "home" for many), but when you lose many employees, at the expense of your end
consumer having a sense of stability in product integrity ....simply shows poorly. The reflection on Disney is tarnished. Prospective employees may want to walk in to the interview with a transcript of this thread, and a set of their expectations written and expected as being part of any final contract. And of course a copy of that contract to show when it is (apparently so) violated. Sad.
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Re: DO NOT WORK FOR DISNEY ENGLISH

Postby superacidjax » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:44 am

jefferson wrote:
1... cultural homogenization be damned. <snip>

2. Tens of "cast members", including myself, gave up jobs, kissed families goodbye, and uprooted our lives to work for Disney based on blatant lies that recruiters spat regarding vacation allowances (5 paid vacation days per year and you work on Thanksgiving, throughout the Christmas holiday; that was a revelation), compensation, working hours, you name it.

3. Most of our benefits and compensation (especially time off, overtime, etc.) are below industry standard, from what I gather in the teaching communities here in Asia. <snip>

4. Three visits to the doctor because you had a nasty cold and didn't want to infect your students? How about you pay the man 6000 RMB, minimum. <snip>

5. Rest assured, however, that the Disney environment is thoroughly Corporate. Expect your good work to be rewarded with more work and very little thanks. Expect your less-than-stellar work to be met with persistent, distrusting micromanagement, written warnings, and passive aggressiveness. <snip>

6. This is a job in China that requires certified teachers willing to leave kin and kind behind for something completely unknown. Frankly, we deserve better.


I wanted to comment on several aspects of the above quote, so the "<snip>" tag is just because I edited the post to the relevant portions on which I want to comment. I'm not trying to take anything out of context.

1. On the first point about cultural homogenization, I find that to be a very incendiary statement about the Chinese because one assumes that Disney is somehow forcing itself into people's homes. There's a demand for Disney in China. Why is it that only Americans are supposed to be allowed to enjoy Disney (or Hollywood, etc.) If China were to send their characters to the US, would China be accused of cultural imperialism? If kids like Disney, should we be opposed to Disney because of some adult idea of cultural purity? US kids loved Nintendo and Pokemon and Speed Racer, yet those were Japanese cultural exports -- perhaps we ought to complain about the homogenization of culture by the Japanese. It's usually leftist, anti-corporate westerners that usually bring up terms such as "cultural homogenization," while ignoring the consumer demand of the local people. If the Chinese don't want Disney, they're free to not buy Disney. Kids love it though and that's really all that's important.

2. Newsflash: Christmas and Thanksgiving aren't Chinese holidays. What expectation does someone have to get those holidays? Businesses in the US don't give Tomb-Sweeping day to Chinese employees. Some places will give Christmas off, but it isn't standard. Thanksgiving? What's that? I remember -- that's a US holiday. How dare a business in China not give that day off! Yet, you do get three days off for Chinese New Year. Stop being a cultural imperialist; expecting the Chinese to conform to your ideas of holidays. It isn't Disney's doing, it's that it's China and they celebrate differently. Complaining about cultural homogenization yet also complaining about no Christmas or Thanksgiving strikes me as intensely hypocritical. As far as corporate protocol causing them to not be decent towards the employees, I can't imagine what you expect. The pre-hiring documents clearly state the working conditions, the pay and other parameters of employment. The whole "kissing families goodbye" aspect doesn't sway me because Disney didn't "shanghai" you into coming. You weren't minding your own businesses at the Magic Kingdom and then suddenly kidnapped by a rowdy gang of Chip and Dale, Donald and Mickey and forced on a Disney Cruiselines ship to Shanghai to work. The ESL/EFL industries in China (and especially Korea) are often cutthroat and many schools are terrible. The Disney experience it seems you're having sounds better than most of the hakwons (private academies) in Korea. It seems like it's your first time living overseas, so I suspect, you have no idea just how bad things could be. Prowling eslcafe.com for a minute would reveal true horror stories. Having no Christmas off and having to follow company procedures is hardly a hardship. If I were Disney (or any school,) I would certainly want my schools standardized -- a consistent product, consistently delivered is far better for the consumer (and company) than a product that varies based on the individual whims of a particular teacher. The Disney curriculum was designed by pros -- it wasn't thrown together by a few teachers who think they're educational experts simply because they've taught in China or Korea for a few years. If I were running a school chain, I wouldn't want my product being dependent upon a specific teacher -- when that teacher leaves, you'd have to rebuild. The Disney system (as well as Chungdahm Institute in Korea) is based on repeatability, consistency and modularity. Which makes it better for kids generally because if a teacher leaves, the kid's experience is still relatively consistent and thus facilitates better learning outcomes. Any school based on one teacher's awesome skills without a strong "corporate" protocol is just a failure waiting to happen. Strong protocols lead to a consistent product, which is what people are paying for. Of course, I can't speak to your management situation. It's possible (and likely) that you are a victim of bad management. I sympathize. However, don't knock the whole system, just like I wouldn't knock the entire film industry for one studio making a 3D Justin Beiber movie.

3. 10K/month +4300/month housing is not "far below industry standards." Other than the international schools, that pay is competitive. Chinese public schools and universities often pay 4-8000RMB/month. I make about 16K/month where I'm teaching, but I pay my own housing and it's at an international school where I teach academic English and Journalism (not ESL.) My pay is fairly low in that context. Last year in Suzhou, I made 6500/month for 19 teaching hours per week. Disney compensation, while "low" in a world sense, isn't "low" in the context of the industry. As far as "across Asia," you can't easily make comparisons unless you do a cost of living analysis.

4. 6000 RMB for 3 doctors visits? That's absurd. You could get surgery in China for less. Disney also provides medical insurance as well, so your out of pocket should have been barely 0-300 RMB total (depending on the insurance. Of course it's possible, you rented a helicopter to take you to Parkway Health.. so I guess 6000 RMB could be possible. Don't blame Disney. Obviously, if it was serious enough that you had to go to the hospital 3 times, then it's possible that you SHOULD have seen a doctor.

5. What does "thoroughly Corporate" have to do with micromanagement, passive-aggressiveness, etc. Nothing. You may be suffering from bad management, but that isn't a characteristic of "corporate." Corporate is a business structure, not a management style.

6. You don't need to be a certified teacher to teach at Disney. As far as leaving kin for something unknown -- welcome to the expat life. Sounds to me like you're suffering culture shock more than Disney shock. Get a hobby (or a drinking habit) or maybe go recycle something.

-b
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby angelfire » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:46 am

I had a friend who worked for Disney here for a few months and decided to go back to her country, she did not like how they where managing Disney. It was unfair for the kids. To sum it all up, the Head of this branch told her to not mind the children, what's important is when the parents are here, the parents should be happy.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Gay_Chevara » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:37 am

Absolutely. The parents are the customers not the kids. If the kids leave the school crying every day, sure that may be a problem, but if all they are doing is whining and telling their parents that they don't want to go - nothing to worry about.

Chinese parents demand that their kids study. From the age of 7 (or younger in many cases) Chinese kids lives revolve around studying and homework. There is nothing else in their lives.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Davexuhui » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:41 pm

@ superacidjax]

You talk a lot of sense mate. I was in the EFL game for a good few years and from what what'sisname has said, there are far worse things that could happen. In his case, would he complain that he didn't get Thanksgiving as a holiday in London? Or Yom Kippur? Bloody nonsense.

By the by, you teach journalism? Why don't you just get into journalism in Shanghai? It's a pretty appalling standard here and I can't wait to get back to Fleet Street (or Hello!, Gamour! This is Soap, anything but here), but it pays better than what you seem to be on.

Just have to deal with the fact that your spirit gets crushed every day and there are masses of talentless media whores churning out crap like City Weekend and all that guff (forgotten the names of the others, unreadable tripe) and thinking they're proper hacks. To be fair, get that in London. Yes, Shortlist, I'm looking at you.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Gay_Chevara » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:43 pm

Bloody hell, Dave, you are rapidly fitting the image of the bitter alcoholic hack abroad!

Hahaha.....
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Davexuhui » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:39 pm

^I tried, but failed, to come up with something to disabuse you of that notion. Maybe alcohol-dependent, rather than a full-blown alco. But I'm working on it.
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Re: Working for Disney English

Postby Gay_Chevara » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:04 pm

Hang on, you live in Shanghai and you are not full-blown?

You're doing something wrong.
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