Last article I wrote about what is China like. “Do you like the job?” is the second most frequent question I’ve heard from the people in my life, as well as my fellow colleagues.
Education is a BIG DEAL in China
While I’ve only been here a month, I can tell you that “Yes, I like the job”. It’s nothing like I expected. Well to be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I think I expected the South African school system in China, which is ridiculous, but that’s the frame of reference I was equipped with. However, when it comes to Education in China, it’s something they take incredibly seriously.
Just tonight I discovered a little 24-hour Self-Service Library. I was beyond stunned. Talk about education being available to everyone!
Just like any job, it has its perks and cons. In China, the perks are really good. Perks should include housing allowance and assistance, flight reimbursement, assistance in setting yourself up with a bank account, taking you for medical checks, applying for the resident permit, and also covering the costs thereof. You can check this page for more information about my job packages and visa process. I also received internationally recognized insurance as part of my package.
Cons might differ depending on where you are placed, but if you use a reputable recruiting agency, such as On the Mark for example, they will most likely link you up with a school or language institute that has a good reputation and a solid, well-rounded foreign teacher program. The company I work for has a track record of more than 50 years and in my book, that means they are trustworthy, dependable, on time with the payment of salaries, and most importantly, they have the experience needed in dealing with foreign teachers.
Having a good experience teaching in China depends on various factors. From a good Director of Studies, to well-trained Chinese Teaching Assistants, helpful colleagues and HR Staff and most importantly, good teaching materials, it will all influence how well prepared you will be to start teaching in China.
You Need to Work in a Professional School
Being able to work for such a great company, I have so many resources at my disposal when planning and conducting lessons. Higher level students and teachers use iPad Minis to conduct and complete exams. Using Interactive touch screen “White Boards” engages students and helps them learn in a time-efficient and modern manner. Of course, not everything will always be sunshine and daisies. Sometimes technology will let you down, and then you need to think on your own two feet and come up with exciting activities that doesn’t involve the usage of technology and whip out the old black whiteboard marker! Using Flashcards is a staple resource for any teacher and works like a bomb when teaching little ones.
Speak to fellow teachers and hear which types of games they like to implement. When the Touch Screen TV doesn’t work you need to have a backup plan! This is where good school resources come in handy. Be sure to ask a potential employer what kind of resources they have available so that you can be prepared and know what you might need for any lesson planning.
If you work through a good recruiter, you won’t sit with any of the so-called horror stories you’ve been reading about while surfing the web for information on teaching abroad. Stories of not being paid on time or receiving a housing allowance shouldn’t be one of your worries. I was offered a company loan upon arrival if costs became too great for me to cover, which I thought was super helpful and kind.
Looking at the broad picture in order to answer the question on whether or not I like my job, I would answer it as “Yes, Yes and a thousand times over again, Yes!”