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I need more info re: NET schools and Disney English in China

I need more info re: NET schools and Disney English in China

Postby season4greatness » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:49 pm

I have received only two responses to my request about Honk Kong NET schools. Can anyone give me more insight into what to be wary of before I sign my contract? One of the responders to this question stated that NET contracts are vague and unenforceable.

I plan to have an attorney review any contract or written offer I receive before I sign it.


I had a phone interview with Disney English (DE) and the recruiter stressed that DE is a business rather than a school and teachers are expected to be flexible. The pay is low $1,500 to start with potential for increases after a positive six month review. Housing is 4,350 RMB (about $671).

The recruiter stated that its ELL teachers are hired to sell Disney's product - Disney English.

The recruiter cautioned that if I am hired, I should carefully consider the environment of DE:

- fast-paced

- deadline oriented environment

- adaptable to change

- think creatively

- developed curriculum for ELL that uses "best practices" techniques that incorporate A LOT of entertainment, art, music, and technology

(I understand that these attributes are common to many schools.)

My concern about Disney English is that it is a for-profit ELL program (not a school) and I am there to sell Disney English's ELL product (curriculum).


Could anyone give me some constructive feedback about either of these two institutions?
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Postby durianfan » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:50 am

What are your qualifications/experience? I have not worked for either but I have heard/read a bit about both of these.

Disney English - I think the name says it all. Very low salary and it's a business. They were at the SEARCH fair in Bangkok this past March - no one was talking to them. Any qualified teacher can do a lot better than them. You'd be better off going to Korea and working at a hagwon - you'd make more money too.


HK NET Scheme - I think this scheme is very similar to the GEPIK/EPIK public school scheme in South Korea, except that you must be a certified teacher. I think they pay pretty well but you have no choice in where you end up. You could be at a very good school, or you could be teaching numbskulls in a very poor environment with no resources. It's a crapshoot.
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Postby ExpatGuy » Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:37 am

Disney English really comes down to what you make of it and your goals and reasons for pursuing it


[b]Pros[/b]
One of the most influential companies in the world establishing its brand to the most populous market in the world

Would look good on any CV in terms of experience and learning som Disney "best practices" (subliminal imagery)

Opportunity to get some experience, get your feet wet, and network while you have your boots on the ground in China

Livable salarly if your cautious. The local population lives off a miniscule percentage of that so if your willing to learn to live a little like the locals it would be a great chance to learn Chinese culture, food, language, etc

[b]Cons[/b]

Its Disney in China - meaning expect to be treated like crap. They will have a million applicants so the best thing would be to accept it for what it is (stepping stone into China) go with a great attitude, dont complain, and play the game. Try to surround yourself with peers that also have a positive attitude and don't get stuck in a group that always complains about management, policy, etc because it will become a nightmare.

Low Salary. There will be plenty of western pricing to cater to rich chinese and well paid expats. Avoid those things. Learn Chinese, find some local eateries that are both cheap and authentic and try to live a little like a local. The salary is more than enough to do that.

Marketing to children. Your job will be to teach English by establishing Disney Brand Recognition to 3+ year olds. The whole point of the program is to turn children into Disney brand consumers. Its the parents that have the responsibility to understand this and decide whether it is appropriate to market for their child, so just understand both sides (English and Branding) and there would probably be ample opportunities to move up in ranks.

[b]Advice[/b]

I would heavily advise learning some Chinese during the program and networking with other teachers and students to find a better position.
Disney is heavy into subconscious imagery so it would be pretty interesting to see some of their "best practices." The agenda probably promotes English secondary to establishing the Disney brand in the largest developing population in the world. Basically - your marketing to children in the guise of teaching English but if they learn the language and then become Disney consumers I guess that was the choice the parents made when they enrolled their child.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Postby powderfinger » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:54 pm

I will chime in here.

I would stay away from Disney. I do not have any experience with Disney, but I can tell you that I have worked ESL jobs before, and the international schools that I have worked for since generally do not look highly on that sort of experience, even though it is teaching.

I can also say that from my experience, teaching ESL in a private company like Disney is in fact nothing like teaching in an international school.

That being said, I have also worked in NET schemes such as the one in Hong Kong. Basically, neither job is much good for preparing you for your next job, however, pay with NET will be substantially higher than with Disney. Also, in terms of networking while on-the-ground, there are far more international schools (and local schools that will hire you) in HK than in any city in China.

In terms of your worries about contracts with NET. I suppose it may depend if you get hired via a recruiter or not, though I am not sure about this. There is lots of info online, including a site made by NET teachers. My impression is that while each school has its issues, the program itself is a good one.

I also think it depends on what kind of lifestyle you want. China with Disney will be much as ExpatGuy describes. HK with NET will allow you a very decent standard of living with international vacations and at least most of the expat lifestyle choices.

Just my thoughts.
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