Teaching Conditions in China
View from my apartment.
Is money everything?
I am an ESL teacher in China. Quite by good fortune I was first appointed at this university in 2008 - and though life was not without its challenges I eventually settled in well and have been back to the same school for a total of three semesters now.
Well meaning friends and colleagues are forever finding new jobs for me. "This college pays more. This one is in Beijing or Shanghai. You could do better." It seems at times it is never ending, but I've yet to find one of them that really has a good deal. Overall I mean.
Most of the places (schools, colleges) pay higher for longer hours. At some schools, teachers must be on the premises for long hours even though there is nothing to do. I get emails or Skype messages from them saying they are bored. Have been there for 6 hours and nothing to do. But the money is good!!! Sorry, that would dement me quickly. Money isn't everything.
When I say long hours many often don't start until midday or later and work up until 9 pm. Now I'm not one to hit the night clubs or in need of a "night out" - I'm pretty laid back and am happy to spend most evenings in my apartment, reading, listening to music. It is not about nocturnal entertainment - it is simply that I prefer to work in daylight hours. (As an ex-nurse and a once full time night duty person I'm happier working during daylight - this I know.)
Here at the this place I work less than 16 hours a week in class - in fact a total of 16 lessons of 45 minutes each. One day a week I have one class, another day I have two, and only one day do I work in the afternoon. All my classes are in the morning. I have afternoons "free."
This I like. I can go downtown, read, sleep, visit an interesting historical place, etc, I can do what I like.
I have been able to accept some extra work - and have picked up two interesting jobs. I do volunteer work - I have now about 6 students who have extra lessons with me on Monday afternoons. They don't have a foreign teacher and want to improve their speaking skills.
I also have a
new class for boys about to start. Boys are disadvantaged in a language
school - they learn differently and we are going to experiment with
another style of teaching.
But it is all about the money for some.
The reality is I can save more (note I said "can") than many others.
My accommodation is free. (In the colleges that pay higher salary you have to find and fund your own apartment.)
accommodation is on campus. Many of the classes are a short walking
(almost spitting) distance from the apartments) I do teach in a block
that is still on campus but 1 km from my door. If I choose to have
extra exercise I can walk - but my e-bike gets me there in no time!!! Other teachers complain that there is a one hour bus ride to and from classrooms. Ouch.
Campus facilities are all around me. I don't have to walk far for the school canteens, the school supermarkets, the bakery, the office of Foreign Affairs, etc.
A short bus ride to downtown. There are little shops and alleyways for shopping all around the campus and it is only a short distance to bigger supermarkets or we can catch a bus into the city. The bus stop is in front of the college.
I look out over mountains. Yes, on the road opposite the 170 acre campus is a mountain range and two wonderful resorts. We can see the mountains and the temple and other buildings at the top. We do not look out over high rise buildings or polluting factories.
It is peaceful. Our foreign teachers accommodation is tucked away and off the main route of the campus so it is quiet and peaceful. We hear little traffic noise despite the ring road being in front of the college, and mostly it is quiet and peaceful. Restful.
Company - With so many foreign teachers and they come from US, Canada, Africa, Korea, Japan, Russia, France, Australia, and other parts of the world so it is never lonely. I hear of teachers who are in an apartment well away from friends and colleagues. We have them all around us, but we can shut the door of our apartment and choose to be alone. Easy.
of Teachers. Wow. This is one place that takes care of us. We
have a good department to tend our needs, and we have regular outings
(some at no cost) to amazing places. To lakes, mountains, resorts,
fabulous scenery, fabulous food,
Security. We have guards on campus that do regular checks. I feel safer here than in Australia.
School Conditions. Class rooms are pretty basic - but the students are fabulous. This is an area that is in need of improvement and it is happening.
Money? Package? For all the well meaning folk that suggest that other places are better I don't believe you. The cost of living here is low - so having a few less pesos in my pay packet is not a problem. It doesn't cost me time and money to get to my apartment. I can earn extra money if I choose.
I'd choose a lot of things over money. Money isn't everything
good job teaching English in China? Have a degree and some teaching
experience? TESOL? CELTA? Let me know.