Saturday, June 12, 2010

BKC-IH Moscow Teachers Blogs

A short time ago, the main page of this blog linked to several blogs by current and former BKC-IH Moscow teachers. We received three messages from the owners of some of these blogs, requesting that their links be deleted.

From a message sent to us by one of the BKC-IH Moscow Teacher blog owners:

You have my blog, ...listed on your blog under blogs by bkc ih teachers. While I appreciate your efforts to inform people about bkc moscow, you do not have my permission to include my blog on your site. Please remove it.

Response from the BKC-IH TEACHER'S BLOG:

Your permission is not required. Any time you publish anything online, it may be linked to - as long as the website uses the home page, and not a deep link. Therefore, we are under no obligation to remove it.

If you do not want people reading your blog, you can attempt to make your blog private or you can make the decision to not publish anything online.

However, if you can give us more details and an explanation on why you want your link removed, we will talk it over with all of our contributors, and we will vote on whether or not we will remove the link.

You got fired from BKC, didn't you? Why do you care if your blog is linked to by our blog?

We Never Heard from This Former BKC Teacher Again

And, Another Message We Received From a Different BKC-IH Moscow Employee

Please remove my blog site from your list, I am the author of ....While it is true that I am currently employed at BKC-IH (and as much as I sympathized your sentiments against BKC-IH) I don't want my blog to be advertised in your site or in any other sites.

Response from the BKC-IH TEACHER'S BLOG:

Advertisement means that we are being paid by you. We are not being paid by you. Therefore, since your blog is in the public domain, we can link to it if we so choose.

The Email From the Former BKC Moscow Teacher That Propelled Us to Remove the List of BKC-IH Moscow Teacher Blogs

There is a former teacher who is in a sensitive position, who is possibly still in danger due to allegations made by this teacher against BKC International House Moscow. Being linked to this site may harm that person.

And so the people involved in this blog took a vote and agreed to remove all the blogs we had linked to, giving preferential treatment to no one, regardless of their situations.

If you want to find the blogs of BKC-IH Moscow teachers, it is not difficult

Go to and type in "bkc ih moscow teachers blogs."

Go to and type in "BKC Moscow."

There are ten pages of links in the Google Blog Search.

While the authors, contributors and "board members" of this blog appreciate the dangerous position some people at BKC-IH Moscow are in, our goal is to tell the truth about BKC-International House Moscow.

Our aim is to expose the illegal wrongdoings as well as warn other teachers about taking a position with BKC-IH Moscow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Work at BKC Moscow - Work Illegally - Get Abused - Speak Up - Get Fired

One of the biggest problems facing teachers at BKC-IH Moscow right now is the lack of legal visa support.

In a new blog by a BKC-IH Moscow teacher called BKC-IH Moscow Sucks: BKC-IH Moscow Should Be Disaffiliated With IHWO (International House), the teacher writes about the following problems that teachers face while working at his school in Podolsk, Moscow.

1. Being forced to illegally work in Russia (a dangerous situation) because BKC Moscow does not have the legal right to currently employ foreigners if their visas expire. BKC IH Moscow instructs its teachers to get "business visas," which are being used by BKC teachers to teach English in Russia, which is strictly against the law - business visas cannot be used to teach. Teachers foot the bill for the visa runs to get these visas, compensated only a fraction of what it costs to leave the country and come back with an illegal visa.

2. Lack of proper ADOS support for the teacher's curriculum.

3. Lies told by the teacher's ADOS.

4. Teachers being told by BKC-IH Moscow to lie to Russian police about where they work. (We will post more about this on an upcoming blog post.)

5. A vindictive director who stopped buying water for the office and shut down internet connections at the school for no reason.

6. Lies told to the teacher by Wayne Rimmer, the director of studies at BKC-IH Moscow.

7. Being forced out of his apartment after being illegally dismissed by BKC-IH Moscow a few weeks ago.

8. Contract violations, emails that were not responded to, and a threat from BKC-IH Moscow's Director of Studies about never being able to work for IH again.

Read the full blog here.

We will update this blog later to explain the illegal visa situation that BKC-IH Moscow is currently subjecting its teachers to, the verbal abuse that teachers are subjected to, and the contract violations and other laws that BKC Moscow is currently breaking.

We wish this gentleman the best of luck in his future pursuits and his new blog about the unethical and illegal practices of BKC-International House Moscow.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Deconstructing a BKC-IH Moscow Job Advert

McDonald's is always hiring and so is BKC-IH Moscow. We shall take the opportunity to dissect the Teach English in Moscow job advertisement running on

"BKC – International House is one of the most respected Language Schools in Russia. Being a member of the International House World Organization our School is regularly inspected by the International House representatives to ensure maintenance of educational and welfare standards".
  • BKC-International House Moscow is not a respected language school. One needs only to look at blogs by both teachers and students to recognize that this is hyperbole and nothing more. 
  • BKC-IH Moscow is not "regularly inspected" by International House. There is no evidence that International House pays Moscow any visits. BKC-IH Moscow pays a yearly fee to International House to use the IH name brand to lend more credibility to an otherwise unsupervised school engaged in unethical and illegal activities. 
Experience: 2 years +  
  • Not factual. Many teachers come to this school with no experience whatsoever.
Main Terms and Conditions of BKC Contract

  • Salary: $ 1040-1160 - The salary has been lowered once again from previous years.
  • Length: 8 months and 3 weeks - Untrue: your contract is actually more like 10 months when your holiday time is counted.
  • Benefits: end of the contract bonus –up to US $ 1000 - The contract states that you will be paid this bonus if they feel like giving it to you. 
  • Visa support - Not exactly. BKC-IH Moscow is having many problems with visas for teachers. Teachers absolutely cannot count on BKC Moscow to tell the truth about the visa situation or fairly reimburse the visa costs.
  • Shared accommodation - True.
  • Local transport paid by the school - True, though it comes in the form of reimbursement
  • Airfare subsidy - True, but the amount changes. You may be told the round-trip airfare reimbursement will be $1,000 and then later in the contract, it will be changed to less than that.
  • Paid holidays - Not always true
  • Health care - True but perhaps not what the average person believes to be "health care".
  • 50% discount for Russian classes - True. After the discount, it is approximately $90 USD monthly.
  • Hourly paid positions are available as well. The rates range from $ 22-31 per academic hour. True, but as an hourly employee you are at the mercy of the Timetable ladies who may not give you enough hours to survive.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Balance, But Still Bad (A Review of BKC Moscow by Current BKC Teacher)

This is a guest post by one of our contributors: The contributor cross-posted this review on Dave's ESL Cafe.
So BKC has to jump through hoops.  Here's how they pass it onto us.

The last two weeks of the contract cannot be taken as holidays because of legal hoops BKC jumps through to accommodate the end of your contract.  In order to make sure the legally-recognized part of your salary and all can be received by you via bank deposit prior to the end of your contract, they have to legally say your employment actually finished two weeks (or so) earlier than on the contract you signed.  There's a form you sign for this when you get the visa manager's signature on your BKC leaving form.

That said, what's the thing about terminating early and having to submit your passport two weeks before your early departure date?  They basically issue you a visa that's good until the day you leave (or very shortly thereafter).  This is blatantly illegal.  They do this so as to insure you don't go and work for any one else because your visa IS NOT tied to an employer.  Withholding pay unless you give them your passport is illegal in so many ways I haven't bothered to count.

Registration is legit and if you stay for more than one contract it may even display the address of the apartment where you actually stay as opposed to the hostel at Tverskaya where most of us have been registered at one time or other, no doubt.

The number of paid vacation days does suck for global EFL standards.  Most of the days are taken up by national holidays.  As for February 23rd, that was a holiday.  Thing is, BKC decided the 22nd would also be a holiday, hence making up for it the Saturday the 27th.

Making up for holidays, yeah, that's just a way for BKC to get you to work more.  Many cultures around the world do this and it's just a matter of the teacher being aware of this and negotiating otherwise.
Policies and contracts are different according to Russian law.  Contracts are set in stone and require both parties to agree to any changes.  Policies must be written and physically given to all employees in a hardcopy form.  The catch?  The company has the legal right to change policies whenever they want unilaterally.  Any extra bonuses like non-standby placement tests that aren't written in the contract are literally at the company's discretion as to whether or not they're paid and that is legal in Russia.

Case: I was stiffed on interviews because BKC decided to switch it to a stand-by session last-second so I wasn't paid anything extra as the standby was part of my base contract hours.

As for contracts, the only valid ones are those written in Russian.  Good luck getting one like that from BKC because the Russian income tax rate is insane, plus there are other bureaucratic concerns (most of which I don't know).  That's why many teachers can't find legal grounds to sue BKC, although BKC is currently in the midst of a legal battle with a former teacher on the concerning the grounds of dismissal.  I'm rooting for the teacher on this one regardless of the grounds of the case just because of the bad things BKC has done (otherwise my view would be really different and this would be a glowing email, although in a non-nuclear way).

As for postal addresses, most teachers send their stuff to central office for various reasons - and it's reliable.  What happens is, the Russian postal system will deliver it to a specified postal mailbox or keep parcel notices on-hand until you go there and ask if anything is there.  So, BKC has a runner who goes there once a week (or so) and collects everything with BKC in the address.  Voila.  That's not BKC, that's just the postal system.  I haven't tried DHL, but that may result in direct - and therefore speedier - delivery.

The airfare re-imbursement totally sucks, even with 2010 increases (which are a bad joke IMO).  I have no idea how this is calculated, but I know tax issues are involved.  That said, BKC can make it what it wants, so....

Medical coverage is actually ok for non-serious stuff.  I've had a house call and I've had to visit the hospital once.  Say what you want about the doctors, but the house call was free and the hospital visit re-imbursed. 

There have been issues with teachers who became seriously ill and needed surgery.  Then BKC did the absolutely disgusting thing of renegging and forcing them for forgo so much just to stay in-country to get it done.  You don't kick someone when they're down, but that's not a Russian axiom.  The Russian one is kick them until they can't get back up.  Seeing bar fights or street fights anywhere will make it clear that it's different in Russia.

What, then, about accommodation?  Dealing with Russians in your building is not something BKC can control, but choosing neighborhoods is.  Loud neighbours is one thing, gangs around the buildings that accost you is another.  Such is life.

While the teacher is responsible for cleanliness as well as anything they break, BKC is responsible for everything else (but not lightbulbs and matches and garbage bags and simple stuff).  That said, I was docked for replacing door knobs, shower knobs, taps/faucets, oven/stove knobs, etc.  It took me and my roommate two weeks to get a bathroom door lock replaced.  This was a particular problem because the door would remain open without it.  I literally had to email the accommodation manager that demanding a change in sexual orientation to save on a door lock was too much to ask.  Only then was a door lock installed.

I honestly don't know if they wait for kicks or if it's just a test of patience.  That said, I know many admin on the 3rd floor are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Bribery, ass-kissing, and gift-giving seem to have worked well for other teachers, but only generally so.

My family builds their own homes.  I never had the heart to tell this to the accommodation manager because then I would have gone on and on at all the shoddy things in the apartment I occupied while at BKC.
Finance on 3rd floor can be rude when they reject any costs that aren't covered under BKC's ever-changing policies.  "What you do with your money is your business."  I hated that.  In all honesty, I wonder if they receive any bonus, commission, or company kickback for shaving off this and that teacher-based expenditure.  I don't know if that happens, but I wouldn't put it past BKC and admin.

As for wanting teachers to stay and cover classes, that's to insure continuity of classes.  That's a little BS considering the attitude Russian students have toward "their teacher" versus others.  Plus, BKC is a company and continued classes mean money is continually coming in.  This is an arguable point, but whatever, covers are a part of TEFL-life.

If there's ever an unresolvable issue between yourself and your mentor/ADOS, then you're passed onto the DOS, Mr. (or is it now Dr.?) Rimmer.  He knows his stuff when it comes to the English language, but he has a nasty tendency to put teachers into one of four categories.  You're either a criminal, sexually deranged, trying to escape something, or are genuinely meant to be a teacher.

Then there's the owner, Mr. Bondarev.  Former scientist who grew his business up from the mean streets of Moscow during the rough `90s.  Drives a nice car, owns BKC country, has property in other countries, and is engaged on a sizeable personal project involving frequent travel to one country in Asia I will not name.  BKC is a cash cow, so I'm truly stumped as to why BKC is engaged in actions that will see the company run into the ground.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Deal With Your BKC Moscow Flatmate From Hell

This blog post comes courtesy of one of our anonymous contributors.

So! You hate your flatmate. Get in line at BKC Accommodation! And prepare for this to happen: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  This is what happens when you complain about your flatmate:

Step 1: You send an e-mail to BKC Accommodation.
Step 2: You get no reply, so you phone BKC Accommodation and e-mail again.
Step 3: BKC Accommodation sends both you and your flatmate a form letter, telling you both that you need to get along.
Step 4: Your flatmate ignores the e-mail and continues whatever it is he or she is doing to annoy you.
Step 5: You send BKC Accommodation another email, and start to get VERY UPSET.
Step 6: BKC Accommodation invites both you and your flatmate in to "discuss the issues." Your flatmate might not even show up.
Step 7: You are given a choice: live with your flatmate and stop bothering BKC Accommodation, or move to a distant flat, far away from your schools. No matter who is to blame, no matter how much evidence you lay at the table of BKC Moscow, unless you are literally or figuratively in bed with BKC Moscow, BOTH OF YOU MUST MOVE OUT OF THE FLAT.
Step 8: Repeat steps indefinitely.

You MIGHT have a chance at getting BKC Accommodation to place you in a flat with a person who is not crazy or disgusting or evil - that is where a little thing called "bribery" comes into play.
  • Ply the BKC Accommodation Manager with the following: chocolates, vodka, and, if you're very desperate: an envelope with 1000 rubles. Make certain that you use the words "gift" when you do this. Enclosing a card may seal the deal. 
  • Compliment the BKC Accommodation Manager on her beauty. If you are a female, then tell her how pretty she looks today, and where on earth did she buy that lovely dress? 
  • If you are a male, imply to the BKC Accommodation Manager that you would like to sleep with her. Make positive references to her body parts, including her breasts and ass.
Final Steps to Take When the Above Actions Fail
  • Fight fire with fire. What exactly is the issue with your flatmate? Does he leave his dirty dishes all over the place? Put them in his room. Does he leave his dirty underwear in the bathroom? Get some plastic gloves, remove the items and place them directly on his bed, with a sign that says, "These are a health hazard, you disgusting moron."
  • Does your flatmate stay up all night and make a lot of noise, making it impossible for you to sleep? Arrange to spend the night at a friend's flat. Set up your clock radio to blast rock music starting at 1 a.m. 
  • Does your flatmate leave the toilet dirty? Get a jar, and pee into it. When your flatmate is out, enter the flatmate's room and spill your urine over all her clothes and bed. This is best done when the flatmate has just left the apartment. When the flatmate returns, she will find that her entire bedroom smells like piss, but the wetness should have dried by then. 
  • Does your flatmate steal your stuff? Carry all your valuables on you at all times. Then enter the flatmate's room when he or she is out, and steal whatever you want. BONUS TIP: Steal things that look important, such as paper with phone numbers on it, directions, phone cards, and so forth. Toss them all in the garbage. 
  • Call the militia and tell them you have an illegal immigrant living at your flat. (This only works if you or one of your friends speaks Russian). TIP: If you do this, make sure you LEAVE the flat after you do this, before the police arrive, otherwise you might end up having to pay a bribe to the militia.)
  • Is your flatmate a truly psychotic person? Do they talk to people who are not there, scream at the walls, or scream at you? If this is the case, THEN YOU ARE TRULY FUCKED. BKC Moscow doesn't care how crazy a teacher is, as long as they show up when they're supposed to. If you or one of your friends speaks Russian, it may be possible to get the authorities involved and have the crazy flatmate carted off to jail or to the mental hospital. 
  • Other possible remedies for a psychotic roommate include 1) attempting to drug him or her with sedatives by dissolving sedatives in his/her beverages 2) screaming along with them when they start to go crazy 3) inviting your friends and students to visit your flat and make fun of your crazy roommate 4) get a video camera or your cell phone, and videotape your roommate as he or she is "acting out." 5) post the video on YouTube with the tags "BKC Moscow" "roommates" "crazy" and your flatmate's real name. 
Good luck to you, BKC Moscow Teacher With the Flatmate From Hell! You are not the only one in your position. Many have come before you, and many will come after you. (Your flatmate might actually really come after you -- think about investing in a lock on your door. At the very least, barricade yourself in at night if you feel that they will become homicidal.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Current BKC Moscow Teacher Proves How Stupid BKC Recruitment Is

We deliberated before deciding to publish the following text from a current BKC Moscow teacher's blog. It reveals once again the type of teacher that BKC Moscow attracts. We ultimately decided to publish this stupid teacher's writings because she wrote and used real names of some people we know. She depicts various teachers as drunks and idiots. We think she's a vacuous bore. Read the blog here.

" teaching position here is precarious, for various reasons including visa technicalities, Russia’s instability and shady dealings (the company that was supposed to extend my work visa has somehow or another “vanished”…) and the fact that I am, in fact, kind of a lousy teacher.  I’m much more interested in getting my students to teach me Russian terms than in actually doing my job ...

So I went back to sleep for three hours, blowing off my class without telling anyone. Fortunately, I don’t think my supervisors found out, and I am still safe.

It kind of sounds like after paying for a new AIDS test, train fare, hostels, and the actual consulate fee, I’ll be the one paying BKC to work for them.  That ain’t cool, and I’m considering leaving. “I don’t have a choice,” [he] told me, and he’s been here for years, so he should know, “But you might want to think about jumping ship.”  And… ehhhn, I’m thinking about it. 

I got an email from my supervisor the other day, the one who failed me on both of my observation lessons, giving a kindly warning that it’s against my contract to go over his head and reschedule classes without getting his permission first, and will I please not do it again? 

So, I ended up sleeping in and missing my class anyway… curses.  Maybe nobody noticed.

So, my supervisor for InCompany, the section where I “missed” all of my classes except for two through all of December, was pretty pissed off at me for turning in an almost blank register.  He took me aside and gave me a very British talking-to, but I could hear the suppressed rage throbbing in his voice.  ”Make sure you fill in your register for all your classes, and let us know if the students don’t show up, ‘kay?” he said with this really tense, I-will-murder-you smile.

BKC has emailed to say that they have a way to get me my passport back by tomorrow, so I can come back to Moscow post-haste to work for them. Rrrrgh, no way, fuck you BKC, you forced me to go on holiday, and on holiday I shall remain!  

We are speechless. We are united in our stand against the evil corporation and yet we are also appalled at this "teacher" and her behavior. Why has she not been fired? We personally know a few teachers who were fired and the sole reason for the firings was that the teachers refused to kiss ass or give bribes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Write for BKC Moscow and Make Big Money!

That is a lie. You will write for BKC Moscow and you will earn no money.

BKC Moscow is currently propositioning teachers to write for their "teacher" website, which has been defunct since oh, about 2002. 

Since BKC Moscow has such bad press from teacher blogs, not to mention the almighty, and even a mainstream magazine, they must be thinking - oh we have to get some good stories up on this Internet thing all the kids are talking about.

As our intrepid team wades through the World Wide Web (as it was known back in the day), we browsed through the old BKC Moscow teacher's site and found this interesting article written by a guy none of us recognizes.

From his musings on the article, we gather that this young man is likely whoring it up in some third world country, or otherwise financing his sex-tours.

This BKC Moscow teacher wrote about - and BKC Moscow published - the following:
  • Threatening stops by the Russian police. One incident in which the Russian police put his hand on his gun to intimidate the teacher. 
  • Boasting about his sexual escapades. "My second visit saw me being chatted up by a young girl who was bi-sexual. Sadly nothing exciting came of this meeting. My third visit (yes, I really like this place!) saw be being invited onto the bar come stage by a beautiful blonde and leggy stripper who undress herself, and then undressed me. Completely. Photographic evidence is available at if your are prepared to pay the fee for viewing."
(We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.)
  • This guy also notes that he was accused of sexual harassment which was of course denied by him and laughed off by the geniuses at BKC Moscow. 
  • Claimed that although the wages from BKC Moscow were "meant" to indicate a middle-class lifestyle, he could not afford a washing machine and thus washed is clothes in the tub. 
Read the entire article here

And then, after you do that, read between the lines. This is what BKC Moscow is using to ENTICE young teachers to come work for their corrupt school.. All the sex you want! Clubs! Discos! Vodka! More sex! Bisexual, trisexual, threesomes, whatever you want! Sightseeing! Look at all the buildings!

This guy didn't write much about what it was like to be an actual teacher. The article was filled with typos and grammatical errors. We are guessing that he was wasted most of the time and couldn't be bothered to do much teaching, not when his main goal seems to be getting into every club in Moscow and fucking as many girls as possible.

Read even further into it and you will see that this teacher was thoroughly convinced, as was BKC Moscow, that this article was appropriate and in fact welcomed by the ex-pat teaching community.

Become a teacher and get lots of sex and booze and police stops and pay a bunch of bribes. Oh yes and teach once in awhile. That basically sums up BKC Moscow's recruiting tools.

God bless those fools.