It was a combination of these three e-mails that led me to make the decision not to take the teaching job at the International Academy of Beijing after all. Who do you believe?
From the Founder of the International Academy of Beijing, 3 weeks after they said they were submitting my worker’s permit information:
Thank you for your information. I am very pleased to hear that you still have a concern for the job at IAB. First of all, IAB HR need your information (Resume, signed contract with Dr. Yang, Photocoty of Certificate of your graduation) for the considerring of your job at IAB. IAB HR did not have any infor about this. Dr. Yang and his daughter already left school(were fired), he made school confused to new teachers. He disguised head of school and communicate with you after dismissal… If you want to come to IAB, please send above mentioned information.
Ben-Hur Lee Founder and Chairman of school board
From the man who claimed to be headmaster:
Dear Ms. Stephanie Tang,
It is with great sadness to let you know that we can no longer invite you to IAB. My family and I invested our money, passion and our expertise in global education to IAB. Unfortunately, the current legal representative of the school, Ben-hur Lee, has failed to fulfill his legal contract with us. Not only did he commit fraud, but he also embezzled a large sum of the school fund, as we found out while we conducted the due diligence on the school. Furthermore, he both verbally and physically threatened me and my family. I filed penal cases against him for his illegal and fraudulent behaviors, and I regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to invest in the school.
My family and I wanted to re-build IAB together with you as a truly global education institute in Beijing. I tried to save the school and persuade Ben-hur Lee to fulfill his legal contract with me; my family and I even went to Beijing almost every week to speak with him and relevant government officials. He, however, physically threatened me and even threatened to kill my daughter and sister, should they ever come back to Beijing. I cannot invite you to join IAB, when I know that your safety might be at risk. The decision to forgo IAB not only damages me financially, but it also brings tremendous damage to me and my family’s reputation. Regardless of our loss, my main concern is your safety and wellbeing. I wish you best of luck in your future endeavors.
From the Assistant Vice President of the Association of Christian Schools International (the organization that granted IAB its accreditation):
The 2011-2012 school year was very difficult for the owner, administration and faculty of the school. It has been reported that most families have left and are enrolling at a new school. It is reported that many if not most of the faculty were fired near the end of the year. It is also reported that most teachers were not paid from May-July, and I have received correspondence accusing the owner of financial malpractice.
ACSI has not been able to verify these accusations as of this time. If the school has not responded to you and done all it claimed it would to assist you in acquiring a visa for China, it might be able to be asserted that the school has breached the contract. The contract is with the school, not the administrator. ACSI will be reviewing the accreditation status of the school in the coming months.
Depending on the adequacy of the school’s response, the school’s accreditation status will come under review. I find it very difficult to recommend this school based upon the many allegations of mis-treatment of faculty and former administrators. Working at this school would be a risky venture based upon our knowledge of the events of this past year. I am not making any definite recommendation, nor am I offering legal advice, but you do need to be aware that last year was a difficult year for the school, and ACSI is monitoring the actions of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in regard to the school’s accreditation. ACSI will follow the lead of WASC in this regard, as they have been able to visit the school in the past few months.
David K. Wilcox, Ph.D. Assistant Vice President - Global
Association of Christian Schools International
For more reading on the school:
Bear in mind that my students are 10-12 years old and these were all directly off their homework:
You Can Learn Lessons From Every Game
Sometimes you face unexpected obstacles that put a kink in your lesson plan for the day. Today was the 1st day of CTD but that doesn’t mean things didn’t go wrong. The books we ordered for our students still didn’t arrive, the copier was backed up, and the kids were getting antsy from being inside when it was a gorgeous day.
So we took them outside and decided on a theme of “communication.” Because it really is true that to become a successful lawyer, you have to communicate to the jury and judge in a courtroom. And have open communication with your clients. Right? Right.
I’d like to think law school will be filled with games of Zip Zap Zop and Human Knot.
Back when I was a student at the CTD summer program, I remember being terrified of my TAs. I thought they were so intimidating and so much older than I was. And now all of the sudden, I’m one of them. I’m one of the scary college graduates who grades papers and tests and holds the fate of their grades in my hands.
As far as stereotypically intimidating statures, I definitely don’t fall under any of the defining characteristics. I’m a short Asian girl with minimal muscle mass. Regardless, even the student I have who is over 6 inches taller than I am (at 12 years old, I should mention), was timid around me today.
But most striking was the way the students and parents latched onto every word I was saying about the class. They took notes on what I said I’d be looking for in papers and what I’d be covering in study sessions. One parent even asked me for weekly progress reports on how their child was doing. I understand that in high school, but it just seems crazy for 4th graders to have to feel that sort of pressure.
In any case, all I could really do was bring my voice to stop wavering and speak as if I had authority on everything. Throughout college, I’ve held leadership positions that have required me to talk in front of hundreds of members of University administration and Northwestern alumni. But for some reason the intense stares of these 10, 11, and 12 year olds were much scarier than any of those moments. Maybe it’s because they see me as a role model and I don’t want to somehow turn them down a dark path towards drug abuse, alcoholism, and general rebellion. I doubt they know I feel just as intimidated by them as they do by me.
First day of class tomorrow!
Center for Talent Development: June 21-July 13
For the first three weeks of the summer, I will be a Teaching Assistant for the Center for Talent Development. The concept for the class: teaching 10-12-year-old students legal concepts through the examination of fairy tales. For instance, does Rumpelstiltskin really deserve gold for a breach of contract? What property laws did the Big Bad Wolf break when he blew the Little Pigs’ houses down? This class will work to simplify the legal process in ways that 4th through 6th graders can understand.
International Academy of Beijing: August 2012-June 2013
I’ll be working as a first grade teacher at the International Academy of Beijing for this upcoming year, teaching a generalized homeroom curriculum and developing my own weekly lesson plans. Going into this, I’ve had my brief teaching experience in Taitung, Taiwan through the Assisting Individuals with Disadvantages program where I’ve had to create my own lessons, but one month is significantly different than a year. Additionally, the school I will be working at is undergoing a huge transition so they aren’t providing us with that much guidance. The freedom is both liberating and terrifying. (But hey, I’ll get to take more cute photos with kids like the one above! And work on my peace signs, of course.)
While I’m in Beijing, one of the biggest challenges I will face is reading simplified Chinese. While I went to Chinese school for 8 years, I learned how to read and write traditional Chinese. While some of the characters are still the same or similar, there are some drastic differences. For example, how would anyone know these two are the same character?
So in addition to documenting my time as a teacher in China, I’ll also use this tumblr for my own language lessons and general lessons about China along the way.