The English Teacher Training College
The English Teacher Training College Programs
Spring/Summer Program: 24th August to 22nd December 2018 Teach and travel in beautiful Austria with a non-profit organization while earning an internationally recognized...
Spring/Summer Program: 24th August to 22nd December 2018 Teach and travel in beautiful Austria with a non-profit organization while earning an internationally recognized...
The English Teacher Training College Reviews
Tough but worth the hard work
Submitted by Peter | September 24, 2017
I wanted to get hands-on experience of teaching. I had heard from friends that their online TEFL certificate didn't really help them in the classroom and lots of employers kept asking them if they had taught in a classroom. When I saw this opportunity, the number of teaching practice hours really caught my attention. Leading up to the start I was not 100% it was going to be for me, we got some good information prior but it arrived a little late. The first week was a little crazy (as it often is with anything) and again more information where we were going and when would've have settled our nerves...but it all worked. All in all, I had a great time traveling to different Austrian schools each week and learnt so much teaching and also myself. I am definitely a different person for the experience and in terms of teaching, I developed so so much. It was hard work but very much worth it.
Submitted by Neil N - Canada Canada | July 26, 2017
Sink or swim?
When researching the course there wasn't very much information I could find aside from a few different websites and reviews. Recently the company has done a re-haul on their website and social media. There is quite a bit of good information provided now. When ing the admissions the staff was very quick at responded and if selected very helpful with the entire process. There are 2 initial interviews that need to be completed and a few tasks.
The company sets up a group chat with all of the students via Facebook. This is great for figuring out how to get places, where to stay and splitting accommodation. Arriving at the course was an absolute mess. The company was very disorganized. It was the complete opposite of how the company conducted itself via email and Skype. Be prepared for a rough first day.
Throughout the course some staff have been very helpful and other staff members have been utterly useless. This will all depend on which campus you go to. Certain campuses are very well run and organized and others are a complete mess and headache. Several of the input sessions are a waste of time. Other times you are made to wait around for 3 hours just to be told you can leave and there will be no input. The staff that actually do their jobs are lovely. Very supportive and informative no matter how many questions you ask. I do know that the company is re-training most of the staff and changing the way things are run. While being on the course I would say 50% of the staff have quit. Many things went wrong; however, the company is putting serious effort into improving.
The course itself is easy. Don't get me wrong it's very tedious and you will answer a similar question 10 times. This will take a large chunk of time to complete but once you brush up on English itself the assignments are straight forward.
The teaching days are very long. The drives to the schools can be close by but usually there are at least an hour and a half away. Sometimes across the country or in other countries. Plus full days of teaching on top the drives and then course inputs after you get back. In addition to the homework you will be doing or should be doing each night. I would say an average day is a minimum of 10hours. Towards the end of the course it gets much easier to balance as you get more free time. Travelling on work days isn't really possibly but on weekends and over holidays it is. Things are relatively close and cheap enough to travel to. Work during the week and party on the weekends if that's your style.
Communication overall has been awful across the main campus. Certain aspects that are in place to help such as welfare are just a mess. It has to do with so many staff members leaving and everyone having to do more work. My experience with the course has been very bumpy. Several of my colleagues have quit the course and if my group hadn't switched campuses most of us would have quit as well. All this being said the company is working on improving this for the next course to avoid these things from happening.
The accommodation videos are misleading. Some info from admissions will be wrong as well. The course has recently expanded on how many people are allowed to enter the course. This means bunk beds for everyone and very close living quarters. Vorchdorf is the best accommodation; however, it is the worst run campus. Pressbaum is very nice if you are a female. If you are a male the accommodation is dirty and really poor as there is 0 communal space. The kitchen is awful. The company yet again is working on this, at least adding in another kitchen. Don't expect welfare to help when you message them either. You can send emails for weeks and never get a response back. This is one of those things you just need to deal with. I was never on the Wolfsberg campus but I hear it's not the best but it's not awful either.
Overall the course really preps you and sets you apart for jobs in the future. The CT's you've bonded with provide very good references. All of the teaching experience you gain from working with many different students and in many different schools really sets you apart when it comes to Behavioral Management. The Lesson Plans you have to create for Trinity are really thorough. The communicative work that one gets a vast amount of practise in looks very good to employers. This sets you apart because it introduces fun, and practical forms of teaching.
Additional comments on living expenses and money while living abroad - Austria overall is a medium as far as expenses go. It's not expensive but it's not pennies either. I'm not sure how many people can fun not being paid for 5.5 months; however, the 3.5 month course was more reasonable.
This is a good company just be prepared for poor communication skills depending where you are.
I hope this helps.
ABCi - An absolute joke
Submitted by Kate - Washington United States | July 08, 2017
I'll try to touch on just the main points because I could go on for pages on the concerning/disturbing things that this program does.
In my intake (Jan 2016) our entire group was lied to and told we would be receiving accredited certifications upon completion of the course. It came to light in the first week that this was false. At the end of the program they claimed the testing facility made a mistake and no one was able to take the exam. ABCi promised to pay for trainees to take the exam in their home countries however more than half of my fellow teachers have yet to receive this. ABCi is famous for never returning emails, something you will learn quickly upon signing up.
Within the first 2 weeks a quarter of the trainees jumped ship. The continuous lies you're told and the fact that your day starts at 5am and usually goes until 5pm is a good reason behind this. They claim they are a volunteer based non profit when in reality it's simply slave labor that you're agreeing to.
Accommodation: How awesome that this is provided! Yea... right. In Gmunden my group had the 'nicer' of the two flats. Our shower broke the second week and wasn't fixed until the following. When we asked how we were expected to shower we were told to walk down to the other flat to do so.. in the middle of 3ft of snow.. in January.. with wet hair. GREAT idea! In the flat in Vienna there were disturbing cracks along all the walls and ceilings. After googling, we discovered part of the building had actually crumbled away a few years prior. Our first week we had no working radiators (so no heat or hot water). We were told to use lots of blankets and 'shower at the gym across the street for a charge' if we wanted to shower. This was while they took their sweet time having various instructors come and poke and the units to see if they could save money by having staff fix them.
While going 90+mph on the Autobahn our acting 'senior teacher' whom was one of the very upper level staff, fell asleep at the wheel. We nearly collided with the barricades but the front passenger woke in time to yell and wake him up. This same man often got drunk with and shared drugs with trainees. Very charming, ABCi. (Photos available to anyone interested!)
Most of the staff are 20 somethings from the UK who are looking for an escape for a bit. Most recognize how ridiculous the program is as far as functionality. ABCi has looped a few 'alumni' to work for them, most of which whom had never taught prior to this program.
The male trainees are held to a much different standard than the women. We were told we absolutely could not wear jeans. The male trainees did constantly. Some male roommates often would not shower, wore no antiperspirant, did not brush their teeth, and hardly ever washed their clothes. ABCi felt this was completely acceptable and took no corrective action despite being told numerous times by the house managers.
One of the most absurd things ABCi spews is just 'how many thousands of people are applying for this very RARE opportunity'.... Uh huh. They would also threaten that if you leave that would be fine because there were plenty of people on a waiting list. Only one of these supposed 'waiting list' people ever showed up and he took off within 2 days. Has this changed since I was there? NOPE! A woman from the current intake group has said she was one of 14 that has already left the original 60. On top of this they threaten that if you are to take any time off for being sick that it will be noted on your certifications. This resulted in me working an entire day with a high fever and horrible cough.
While I was there they brought on an intern to handle social media and things (if you've done any research on reviews you'll have noticed that they are now being responded to by ABCi staff and explained away). I eagerly look forward to whatever response will come to my own review. Especially since the upper administration said wanted to make sure we all wrote HONEST reviews. Yes of course, nothing less.
I will note that the curriculum for this program is great. Ben Stone was amazing the few times I met him. His heart in genuinely behind the program which is the only positive thing I can say for this 'college'.
I left with one month remaining to spend my last 4 weeks exploring Europe instead of remaining slave to a faulty program. While the organization has expanded they are not properly run. Please do EXTENSIVE research before signing on. And please do take the negative reviews seriously, I wish I had. I came away with some incredible friends and learned that next time I'll sign on with a REPUTABLE program.
The English Teacher Training College responded to this review July 19, 2017 at 10:36 AM
Thank you for leaving feedback, 18 months after joining the program. I am glad we are still in your thoughts.
I was not with ABCi in January 2016 but by all accounts things are different around here nowadays. I would like to take your concerns point by point, and attempt to give some clarity or updates for you and anyone else reading.
I am sorry that there was a mistake made with the testing of your intake at the end. I can understand that it is more than frustrating to go through a course expecting an accreditation exam at the end and then there being problems with that. You say “half” of your fellow trainees have “yet to receive this”. However, since you chose of your own free will to leave the program well before the end, I can only assume this actually didn’t affect you. Of course I am sure you appreciate we cannot pass out world-renowned TEFL qualifications moderated by Trinity College London or Cambridge University to people who leave after less than ¾ of the course.
From the records I can see on our system, 6 people besides you out of a total of 31 dropped out of the course you were a part of, with two of these trainees not arriving until the third week, meaning that your assertion that “within the first 2 weeks a quarter of the trainees jumped ship” would seem not to be the case, as 4/29 is around 14%. Obviously, we don’t wish anyone to come and not complete the course but this is not a high number of non-completers.
Maybe it was not made clear to you that your days would start early (many schools in Austria begin at 07:30 – there is nothing we can do this) and would end around 5pm, in which case I apologize. It is now made very clear to anyone interested in our program that these lengths of days will be possible and they should prepare themselves to work hard.
Again, I can only retroactively apologize for the condition of your accommodation when you were on the course. We have since moved to a different town (Vorchdorf) with better accommodation and are currently (this is hot off the press) negotiating to rent an even nicer, better built, more spacious building for our Student Teachers in Vorchdorf. We have a new campus in Wolfsberg which to be honest still needs some TLC but is nowhere near “crumbling away” and is again spacious and has a great outdoor space for BBQing and chilling out.
If you had a staff member act as inappropriately as you claim, then I hope you followed the proper procedures and had the authorities involved. Getting drunk with student teachers is absolutely not policy, sharing (or even using) illegal drugs is obviously a matter for the police and any staff member proved to be doing this would be dismissed immediately, and reported to the police. We work with 100,000s of children every year and we will not tolerate this kind of person in our organisation: we simply can’t afford to even if we wanted to “turn a blind eye”.
Since your time here, we have professionalised quite a bit Kate. Blue jeans, ripped jeans etc are not acceptable for either gender to wear in school. Our dress code, which we do strive to enforce, is business casual or smart casual which means a polo shirt/blouse/shirt and “proper” trousers/skirt e.g. chinos, dark trousers, knee length skirt. Male and female student teachers should not be treated any differently in any regard and if any student teacher feels this is the case, they are encouraged to put his in writing and bring it to our Welfare or HR specialists.
The laws in Austria are very clear as regards “sick leave”, and actually very in favour of the employee/worker (as most things are here). We appreciate that our Student Teachers are not employees, but they are holding positions of responsibility both to their Austrian pupils in class and to their peers on the program. If one is sick, one informs the College as early as one can and visits the local doctor to receive a signed piece of paper saying they are sick and cannot work. Depending on the severity of the sickness, this might be one day, one week or whatever. Once this is handed in to the College, that is the end of the story. If anyone is “threatened” with their legitimately documented sick leave being noted as a negative on their certificate then that is unacceptable, obviously.
We have definitely expanded, we have opened a new campus and will welcome our biggest ever cohort of student teachers in August. We have expanded because the Austrian schools love working with us (we are now an official partner of the Austrian Education Ministry); and we attract more and more student teachers who wish to work hard and make some sacrifices to help others while looking to the future benefits for themselves. With expansion comes growing pains and we have absolutely not got the magic formula – far from it. We hold our hands up to mistakes made previously and we do encourage, even mandate immediate, honest feedback from all of our Student Teachers now. I do apologize that your experience here was not what you hoped for and you feel let down. Like you, I encourage potential applicants to read as much information and as many reviews as they can before they commit to applying here. It’s not for everyone, but those who it is for will come out the other end great teachers, with a wealth of new skills in and out of the classroom and friends for life.
An overall negative experience
Submitted by Stevii | June 07, 2017
Let me start our with what was good: the CertTESOL. It is extremely helpful and well-respected, and great for getting a job later. Therefore what you get in the input sessions is very useful material.
The reason I stayed for the whole program is because I'm a fairly stable person, because I made some really great friends there (adversity bonds people very well), and because I had the opportunity to continue improving my German. I didn't realise until just over two months in that I should have quit earlier, but by then I was too close to finishing to quit.
However, there are many ways to get a CertTESOL. This program advertises itself as a scholarship program, but if you take into account 4 months' living costs (reasonable living costs, not the 25 euros a week that they recommend), you will end up spending at least as much money on this course as you would on a normal intensive course that you have to pay for. In addition, you will have a much lower quality of life.
Let's start with the hours. They advertise that a benefit of the longer program is more class hours than a traditional TEFL course. This is true. They advertise that you will get at least 200 hours of teaching experience. I got 350. However, it was 100% not worth it. 200 hours of teaching would have made this program so much more reasonable. Teaching a full school day with no lessons free is not something that normal Austrian teachers do, and they were shocked that we had to do it. Having to plan and implement lessons for students that you've never met before is not something that any CertTESOL program is supposed to do, and Trinity College was shocked that we had to do it. Waking up as early as 4am (the average was around 5 or 5:30, contrary to what they tell you) to get in the car and not finishing input sessions until after 5pm, sometimes without even time for lunch is just ridiculous.
If you are applying for this program, I'm sure you already know the long hours. The real issue comes in with the complete lack of understanding from staff. They expected us to be fully present and participating in these input sessions as if we weren't completely exhausted, and some of the staff led these input sessions in such a condescending way that it was completely unbearable and I had to leave the room. They also consistently refused to acknowledge the fact that we were teachers. We did all of the teaching for them, and they present us as teachers to the Austrian schools (most of whom are under the impression that we are being paid, mind you, apart from one teacher I met who actually knew the director and made sure that we were treated extra well at her school to try and make up for our experience at the office), but outside of the schools, we were treated as useless, replaceable volunteers.
The place where you are treated the worst is undoubtedly Vorchdorf, so if you do end up deciding to go here, avoid it at all costs. My group was there at the beginning and the end of the program, and I burst out crying and had a breakdown during the input session the day before we had to go back because I just could not handle the staff there (most of it was due to a staff's horrible treatment of us that week - he works at the Vorchdorf campus but had come to Pressbaum for a few days).
The standard of living on this program is miserable. The accomodation is crowded, dirty, and completely neglected by staff. When the refrigerator and oven broke, it took them weeks to replace the refrigerator and the oven was never replaced. When the toilet was overflowing, they refused to hire a plumber and instead forced one of the course tutors to take care of it after a very long period of complaining.
A lot of what you see this program online is false advertising. You will have almost no time for traveling, because you will be too exhausted to do anything other than sleep and eat during your free time on weekdays. There are no bicycles, you will only see most of Austria through a car window (and you might even sleep through it, if you're lucky), you will 100% be spending much more than 25 euros a week even if you're thrifty.
Towards the end of my experience there, I had the pleasure of seeing one of the emails that was sent to the admissions staff, stating regulations for specific phrases they need to use in order to make this program seem more appealing, because they were having a lot of problems with recruitment due to bad reviews, a lot of staff quitting, etc. This is really representative of the organisation as a whole. All they want is for the Austrian government, schools, and potential staff and student teachers to see them as a great organisation, when on the inside it is one of the most miserable places that I have ever had the displeasure of working at (SORRY, I meant "student teaching practice").
Please be aware that A LOT (not all, but a lot) of the positive reviews here were forcibly written by staff because ABCi is extremely concerned the negative reviews it gets from student teachers. I am still in with people who have been staff there until recently, and nothing discernable has changed.
How did I survive 4 months here? Friends and wine. One of the ways we expressed our frustration was through song, and I think this is a good way to end the review:
5 to 5 chorus (to the tune of 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton)
Workin' 5 to 5
What a way to make no money
Bein' treated like
We don't know s**t, it ain't funny
We just lose our minds
And they never give us credit
It's enough to make you crazy if you let it!
The English Teacher Training College responded to this review July 12, 2017 at 7:32 AM
We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience during your time here. We can assure you that the staff here care the Student Teachers’ well-being. The Student Teachers on your intake had quite a full teaching schedule due to the large number of Austrian schools who had booked English projects with our Bilingual Classroom Initiative. It is completely understandable to find the full days of teaching to be very taxing. The schedule has been amended so that Student Teachers are spending less time in the classroom and are given free periods and Professional Development Days in order to prepare lesson plans and catch up on assignments.
The College is apologetic concerning course staff who were perceived as condescending. Of course this was never the intention of any staff member. The course staff model classroom teaching in the input sessions in order to give the Student Teachers additional practical teaching examples. We understand that there were also negative feedback regarding a second name policy that was enforced during the particular course. This was enforced due to feedback from a previous course, but has also been amended due to more recent feedback. The College is always willing to take on input from Student Teachers, and we encourage Student Teachers to let us know if they are feeling uneasy with any aspect of the program.
As for the accommodation, they are rented properties and we apologize if issues were not responded to immediately by the landlord. The College has ameliorated this by employing our own Facility Coordinators who are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Student Teacher accommodation. We have supplied bikes to the Wolfsberg campus, while the other campuses are in short walking distance from train and bus stations. Other equipment such as grills and benches have been delivered to all campuses. Evenings, weekends and public holidays are free. It is possible that a heavy teaching schedule and a lack of public holidays during the duration of your program could have led to less time to travel. Regarding the amount of additional funds is reasonable to budget for in addition to the food allowance, we will definitely be collecting input from our Student Teachers and amending our recommendations accordingly.
We know it will be of little comfort to you now, but we are always trying to improve the experience our Student Teacher have and we appreciate the time you took to provide us with the critical feedback. We will be taking it on board. We apologize for any aspect of the program which was not to the standard you expected and we hope you can understand that as a non-profit, the staff are doing their best to provide the best experience for Student Teachers. There would be no point working for a non-profit, 1000s of miles away from most of our homes, if we did not.