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On the fence. USA vs China
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 422
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely agree with many of the positive things which have been posted here so far. I taught at the middle school, high school and university level in the United States for 12 years. Coming to China was a big step for me. When the economy tanked in 2008 I was making just South of $60,000 a year teaching high school in California.

As a teacher, coming to China meant two things immediately: I could take the two biggest problems I had teaching in the California public schools and throw them out the window!: 1) discipline and 2) motivation. I no longer had to be a policeman, a bouncer. a babysitter, a psychologist, a life-coach AND an English teacher. Nowadays, I can focus mostly on the last one.

Yes! ... it's true that many Chinese students have motivational (and confidence) problems, especially when it comes to learning (and speaking) English. But after three years and two jobs in China, I've finally found an International School where the students are pretty good. The salary here is above-average and the benefits that go with teaching here are great. As someone else said, there are good days and bad days. I plan to stay onfor the next few years unless something appreciably better comes along.

It's easy for me to live comfortably in China, although that was not true of my first two years. I make roughly 1/3 of what I made teaching in Cali., but I spend much less too. I don't party very much. I don't eat out very often (usually only once or twice on weekends). I don't eat KFC, MacDonald's, or go to Starbucks very often at all. I rarely go to bars.

Frankly, teaching keeps me busy (and out of "Trouble") all week long. It also allows me some great paid vacation time so that I can travel, splurge occasionally and spend a bit of money at my leisure. In 2013, I hope to travel to Australia, Malaysia and perhaps Thailand.

The job can definitely be frustrating, especially the Communication (or lack thereof) issues and the Academic issues with regard to "How Things Are Done Here" versus how they're done in the West. I'm still learning to adjust and cope with some of that and --again-- some days are better than others. It takes patience and understanding ... sometimes it means pushing back and getting upset. But that's true of teaching ANYWHERE!

No matter whether you stay in America or come to China ... life is mostly what you make of it. Personally, I believe that Happiness is generally something you choose (or don't choose), and not something that happens to you.

No matter your decision ... Good Luck and Enjoy!

--GA
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Javelin of Radiance wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Javelin of Radiance wrote:
twilothunder wrote:
thatsforsure wrote:
How old are you? China is the road to nowhere, career-wise.


Not true at all.

Many people here just don't see the opportunities.

Dead on. It's easy to be cynical but there are some among us who have made a decent career out of ESL. It aint gonna fall into your lap, it actually requires a bit of initiative and effort to achieve.
I am interested to know what honorable choices do FTs move on to, how they begin the drive, and how they acquire their success.

Those people with the drive, the motivation, the skills, combined with some ideas or a plan, along with a bit of luck, good timing and knowledge of the lay of the land, will know what to do. So seize the initiative. Don't wait for others to tell you how to do it because it doesn't work that way.
Nothing tangible out of there. Not that I expect a confession but at least a sense of direction. A more concrete feedback with some examples of success would probably be more helpful.

Quote:
kev7161 wrote:
One suggestion: If you find a good school/job, STAY with it! Come into work on time, every day you are scheduled. Do your job and do it well. Be flexible and cooperative (within reason - - don't let them walk all over you of course). You will be able to more easily negotiate pay increases and other benefits the longer you stay at the same job. You like them, they like you - - a match made in heaven, yes? (well, maybe) There are certainly going to be some things you have to grit your teeth over or scratch your head about, but if you are mostly content, don't sweat the small stuff.

This is my eighth year at this school. It's not always a bed of roses and I have my good days and bad days, but I easily take home now more than I took home teaching in the states. My net salary here equals just about my gross salary there (10 years ago of course!). Throw in free apartment and utilities, bonuses, travel reimbursements, medical, etc. and it's great. Now if only I liked living in China more . . . . !!! Laughing
Perhaps the response is following the original post but what has just been said...?

Some foreign teachers have been here for ages but have not been able to move up the ladder. Their qualifications, talent, skills, knowledge or experiences are to little use as the country's system seems to favor, or even mandate, locals before any outsiders. Few give opportunities to foreign pros although some truly international schools are an exception (for a good reason). So, here's where you'll most likely end up after 10 or 20 years...being managed by some local drone in a school that offers pics of you to rich parents. Now, this is how parents/students are ripped off and how your "ideas" or "plans" work out. Maybe, this is what mentally drives some FTs that in my short time I have got to know here.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Joe, you're a quick study. Within a few months of arriving you're already so well versed on the intricacies of the Chinese education and labor system. Well done !
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you and I dont really mind being addressed personally

If I were here for a few years Id probably know more about other fields..hell Id share it with other too
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tin man



Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read some of the horror stories and also heard from those that sincerely seem happy. As it turns out, I am probably going to stay in the USA after all.
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tin man



Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, I cannot believe one of the contract offers I received actually made mention of sticky-rice dumplings. LOL
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tin man and anyone else in his position:

My .02 is go to China and don't look back. The jobs you described in the States will always be there so it's not like you will miss out on some great opportunity to sell c**p on commissions.

China so far, has been one incredibly liberating and flat out fun experience. Sure I've had some down days and the country will present some mind boggling challenges but that's all part of the deal. The job and country are going to be whatever you make of them and I intend to make the most of my time as possible. You can have the time, money, and opportunity to experience people and places that most Americans can only dream about. At 6,000Y per month plus all the other free perks of a uni job, you'll do just fine. If you want to make more, the opportunities are always there. Want to double your salary and save some bank? I'm doing it now and it's a piece of cake.

As for the horror stories posters just love to paste here for all to see, well, neither I nor the other 3 FTs at this uni have experienced anything remotely close to a "horror" story. We are treated well, allowed a ton of freedom to experiment with teaching techniques, and generally left alone. This can be good or bad depending on your outlook but that's how things work here.

You can make a difference in the lives of your students despite the difficulties you will face You're dealing with young people just on the cusp of adulthood and sometimes just giving them a little encouragement or direction can open their eyes to new worlds. And despite the negativity that bellows from this site, you can do real teaching. It ain't rocket science, just about anyone is better than their Chinese teachers, and you will reach some, if not all, of your students.

Some other things to consider: I have 6 weeks of paid vacation coming up. Will you get anything remotely close to that while selling c**p on commissions? After the break, I have some new work lined up and I fully expect to be sending back over $1,000 - $1,200 per month (tax free) to the States. At 55 years old, the likelihood of doing that in the US is somewhere between slim and none.

Good luck in whatever you do.

DirtGuy
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DirtGuy wrote:
tin man and anyone else in his position:

My .02 is go to China and don't look back. The jobs you described in the States will always be there so it's not like you will miss out on some great opportunity to sell c**p on commissions.

China so far, has been one incredibly liberating and flat out fun experience. Sure I've had some down days and the country will present some mind boggling challenges but that's all part of the deal. The job and country are going to be whatever you make of them and I intend to make the most of my time as possible. You can have the time, money, and opportunity to experience people and places that most Americans can only dream about. At 6,000Y per month plus all the other free perks of a uni job, you'll do just fine. If you want to make more, the opportunities are always there. Want to double your salary and save some bank? I'm doing it now and it's a piece of cake.

As for the horror stories posters just love to paste here for all to see, well, neither I nor the other 3 FTs at this uni have experienced anything remotely close to a "horror" story. We are treated well, allowed a ton of freedom to experiment with teaching techniques, and generally left alone. This can be good or bad depending on your outlook but that's how things work here.

You can make a difference in the lives of your students despite the difficulties you will face You're dealing with young people just on the cusp of adulthood and sometimes just giving them a little encouragement or direction can open their eyes to new worlds. And despite the negativity that bellows from this site, you can do real teaching. It ain't rocket science, just about anyone is better than their Chinese teachers, and you will reach some, if not all, of your students.

Some other things to consider: I have 6 weeks of paid vacation coming up. Will you get anything remotely close to that while selling c**p on commissions? After the break, I have some new work lined up and I fully expect to be sending back over $1,000 - $1,200 per month (tax free) to the States. At 55 years old, the likelihood of doing that in the US is somewhere between slim and none.

Good luck in whatever you do.

DirtGuy


Some of the best advice I have seen. If you are an adventurous type then is is for you. If not, don't bother. I save more money here then I could have ever saved at home. After a couple of years of teaching moved on work at the 3rd largest drug company in the world here in China. Opportunities abound over here. At home I really wouldn't have a hard time finding a job but where is the adventure in that? Dirt is right, I have seen and done things my friends will dream about their whole lives doing. It's weird now being sick of trips to the Great Wall and The Forbidden City. I have been so many times that now when friends come to visit me in China I take them to the entrance and meet them on the other side. Five years ago I would have never thought that.

Good luck!
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banner41 wrote:
DirtGuy wrote:
tin man and anyone else in his position:

My .02 is go to China and don't look back. The jobs you described in the States will always be there so it's not like you will miss out on some great opportunity to sell c**p on commissions.

China so far, has been one incredibly liberating and flat out fun experience. Sure I've had some down days and the country will present some mind boggling challenges but that's all part of the deal. The job and country are going to be whatever you make of them and I intend to make the most of my time as possible. You can have the time, money, and opportunity to experience people and places that most Americans can only dream about. At 6,000Y per month plus all the other free perks of a uni job, you'll do just fine. If you want to make more, the opportunities are always there. Want to double your salary and save some bank? I'm doing it now and it's a piece of cake.

As for the horror stories posters just love to paste here for all to see, well, neither I nor the other 3 FTs at this uni have experienced anything remotely close to a "horror" story. We are treated well, allowed a ton of freedom to experiment with teaching techniques, and generally left alone. This can be good or bad depending on your outlook but that's how things work here.

You can make a difference in the lives of your students despite the difficulties you will face You're dealing with young people just on the cusp of adulthood and sometimes just giving them a little encouragement or direction can open their eyes to new worlds. And despite the negativity that bellows from this site, you can do real teaching. It ain't rocket science, just about anyone is better than their Chinese teachers, and you will reach some, if not all, of your students.

Some other things to consider: I have 6 weeks of paid vacation coming up. Will you get anything remotely close to that while selling c**p on commissions? After the break, I have some new work lined up and I fully expect to be sending back over $1,000 - $1,200 per month (tax free) to the States. At 55 years old, the likelihood of doing that in the US is somewhere between slim and none.

Good luck in whatever you do.

DirtGuy


Some of the best advice I have seen. If you are an adventurous type then is is for you. If not, don't bother. I save more money here then I could have ever saved at home. After a couple of years of teaching moved on work at the 3rd largest drug company in the world here in China. Opportunities abound over here. At home I really wouldn't have a hard time finding a job but where is the adventure in that? Dirt is right, I have seen and done things my friends will dream about their whole lives doing. It's weird now being sick of trips to the Great Wall and The Forbidden City. I have been so many times that now when friends come to visit me in China I take them to the entrance and meet them on the other side. Five years ago I would have never thought that.

Good luck!
One thing I have to agree with the echo is that the advice is audacious. From 6,000 Yuan job to tax free 1,200 US Dollars monthly savings, not job, is a full success story. Drugs are a good hint. I hope everything goes well for the poster after that break.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to clarify my savings as I may not have been clear.

Right now, I get 5,000Y from the uni job. I also have a job teaching kiddies that earns me 3,500Y plus commissions and those commissions will start based on the students who are paid up and committed to start after the break. Lastly, I am IELTS approved (a rarity in these parts) and I will be tutoring for the test starting after the break. Hoping also to start grading tests as that is quick and easy money.

From my current earnings, I am sending back a net of $915 per month (tax free) to the US. With the expected increase in income after the break I believe I can send back another $200 to $300. I'm building up a nice little nest egg that I plan to use to buy rental property when I finally return to the States.

As long as we're talking about money, there is another consideration and that's the exchange rate. The Chinese currency is going up against the dollar contrary to what the politicians tell people in the US and it's been going on for a while. I get paid in local currency which I then convert to dollars. Think about the implications of that arrangement. Every time the dollar drops against the yuan, I get an automatic raise. So, to the the OP, are you getting a deal like that?

I am something of a workaholic and thrifty by nature but I in no way feel deprived. I still get to take trips to BJ and the surrounding mountains where I to hiking. Super cheap and fun. I'll go by train to Xi'an during the break as well as BJ. Tianjin and the surrounding area is on my list. Trains and busses are cheap in this country as is the food unless you insist on eating Western food all the time.

As I said before, this ain't rocket science and that approach applies to all sorts of things.

DG
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tin man



Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I consider sales a profession and not selling crap on commission, thus my handle does not really apply. However, it is good to read the positive on teaching in China

As a single man in the USA with no kids, going expat is eventually a calling. Happy sticky rice dumplings Smile
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
DirtGuy:
tin man and anyone else in his position:

My .02 is go to China and don't look back. The jobs you described in the States will always be there so it's not like you will miss out on some great opportunity to sell c**p on commissions.

China so far, has been one incredibly liberating and flat out fun experience. Sure I've had some down days and the country will present some mind boggling challenges but that's all part of the deal. The job and country are going to be whatever you make of them and I intend to make the most of my time as possible. You can have the time, money, and opportunity to experience people and places that most Americans can only dream about. At 6,000Y per month plus all the other free perks of a uni job, you'll do just fine. If you want to make more, the opportunities are always there. Want to double your salary and save some bank? I'm doing it now and it's a piece of cake.

As for the horror stories posters just love to paste here for all to see, well, neither I nor the other 3 FTs at this uni have experienced anything remotely close to a "horror" story. We are treated well, allowed a ton of freedom to experiment with teaching techniques, and generally left alone. This can be good or bad depending on your outlook but that's how things work here.

You can make a difference in the lives of your students despite the difficulties you will face You're dealing with young people just on the cusp of adulthood and sometimes just giving them a little encouragement or direction can open their eyes to new worlds. And despite the negativity that bellows from this site, you can do real teaching. It ain't rocket science, just about anyone is better than their Chinese teachers, and you will reach some, if not all, of your students.

Some other things to consider: I have 6 weeks of paid vacation coming up. Will you get anything remotely close to that while selling c**p on commissions? After the break, I have some new work lined up and I fully expect to be sending back over $1,000 - $1,200 per month (tax free) to the States. At 55 years old, the likelihood of doing that in the US is somewhere between slim and none.

Good luck in whatever you do.

DirtGuy

Half day later
Quote:
DirtGuy:
I want to clarify my savings as I may not have been clear.

Right now, I get 5,000Y from the uni job. I also have a job teaching kiddies that earns me 3,500Y plus commissions and those commissions will start based on the students who are paid up and committed to start after the break. Lastly, I am IELTS approved (a rarity in these parts) and I will be tutoring for the test starting after the break. Hoping also to start grading tests as that is quick and easy money.

From my current earnings, I am sending back a net of $915 per month (tax free) to the US. With the expected increase in income after the break I believe I can send back another $200 to $300. I'm building up a nice little nest egg that I plan to use to buy rental property when I finally return to the States.

As long as we're talking about money, there is another consideration and that's the exchange rate. The Chinese currency is going up against the dollar contrary to what the politicians tell people in the US and it's been going on for a while. I get paid in local currency which I then convert to dollars. Think about the implications of that arrangement. Every time the dollar drops against the yuan, I get an automatic raise. So, to the the OP, are you getting a deal like that?

I am something of a workaholic and thrifty by nature but I in no way feel deprived. I still get to take trips to BJ and the surrounding mountains where I to hiking. Super cheap and fun. I'll go by train to Xi'an during the break as well as BJ. Tianjin and the surrounding area is on my list. Trains and busses are cheap in this country as is the food unless you insist on eating Western food all the time.

As I said before, this ain't rocket science and that approach applies to all sorts of things.

DG
A compelling although somewhat unparalleled clarification. Like it's been said, "this ain't rocket science" Smile
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Beyond1984



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 453

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject: Special agent with Chinese characteristics... Reply with quote

"if you truly have the ability and personality to make it as a straight-commission salesperson, that might not be an issue, because that kind of person will always make a living." Cool -thatsforsure

It's never too late to (re)-read Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," 1949. Miller came to Beijing at the invitation of the government to direct the play in Chinese translation (at that time I believe he was no longer married to Marilyn Monroe). Sad

The play is a double-barreled attack on US-style cuthroat capitalism, where the unfit (or those not "well-liked") don't survive. Twisted Evil

I once left Concord to work at the John Hancock Life Insurance Co. in Boston, with the best title I ever had: "Special Agent." I was special because I was not paid - commission only. After a few weeks my job was still there ... but someone else was doing it:)

-HDT

ps: I love teaching the play, and always tell the Chinese guys to improve their writing if they want to get the sexiest girl in the world:) I get to ask the girls how to say "Marilyn Monroe" in Chinese:)
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