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What Do You Think Of This School?(Thoughtful Replies Please)
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JRJohn



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:55 pm    Post subject: What Do You Think Of This School?(Thoughtful Replies Please) Reply with quote

I have been offered a job from a college in Kaifeng. I like the city, having visited it many times, and enjoyed it. I felt a really special connection with the place, The college may be okay, but then again, it may not.
A couple of years ago, I applied to a job in a university in Zhengzhou. I asked to contact a western teacher there. I was quickly put in touch with someone, and he gave a balanced picture, including the negative stuff. But it was basically fine so I went and had good classes. The students were happy. Recently I got a telephone interview from Kaifeng. The school reminded me that if the students didn't like me I could be fired at the end of the semester, each semester. I elicited that the school had had roblems with some teachers, but I can't say if it was the teacher's fault or not.
When I asked to be put in touch with a western teacher at the school, they gave me an e-mail. I sent a message. No reply. I waited a week. I e-mailed him again, and found it was a non-existent bogus e-mail! So it looks like WON'T get feedback from him. I was told there are only 2 or 3 western teachers there at most. I need more information, and will ask.
Generally when I feel uncomfortable it's a bad sign. I accepted a job in spite of such feelings and itr went bad.
The crunch issue might be the cost of the overseas medical check. The college wants me to see a doctor in the U.K. I have to pay 500 pounds because it can only be done privately. The school will not pay for it. I will then have to pay for my flight and my visa, which will take almost all my savings at this point.
I am going to e-mail the school again. Any suggestions?
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

then you'll just have to get the medical done again once you touch down in China.

Quote:
The school reminded me that if the students didn't like me I could be fired at the end of the semester, each semester.


You should be going there to teach them, not to win their approval. Empowering the students in this manner is ridiculous, and ominous. Avoid.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2422
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should have 2 or 3 job applications on the go at once.
Don't wait until you've made a 'No' decision on one before launching another.
Is this a state school or college you're in touch with?
Summary severance such as is being suggested should have them providing a package ie pro rata airfare and any other stuff you can wangle.
The one you describe sounds dodgy. I agree - Avoid.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you really want to work in this city, and you're letting that cloud your judgement.

The school has had 2-3 foreign teachers every year but they can't put you in contact with one of them who'll say something good about the place!! Is that a problem with the teachers or the school?

Also, why does the medical cost so much, I'm sure other Brits have done it a lot cheaper than that.
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NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You should be going there to teach them, not to win their approval. Empowering the students in this manner is ridiculous, and ominous. Avoid.


Leading educators are now basing some opinions/pay raises/evaluations as to a teacher's ability on student surveys.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoBillyNO wrote:
Quote:
You should be going there to teach them, not to win their approval. Empowering the students in this manner is ridiculous, and ominous. Avoid.


Leading educators are now basing some opinions/pay raises/evaluations as to a teacher's ability on student surveys.


Which leading educators?

Thee'll only be dancing monkeys left in the classrooms if that's the case.
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Javelin of Radiance



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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
then you'll just have to get the medical done again once you touch down in China.

Quote:
The school reminded me that if the students didn't like me I could be fired at the end of the semester, each semester.


You should be going there to teach them, not to win their approval. Empowering the students in this manner is ridiculous, and ominous. Avoid.

This concept is widely misunderstood in China. If the students "like" you it usually means they reported to school admin at the end of the term that they saw you as responsible, friendly, respectful, and knowledgeable on whatever topic you were teaching them. If it's reported that they "didn't like" you then that means you were often late for class, poorly prepared, boring, and probably shot your mouth off about how much you hate everything in China. The latter are the people who usually get fired, or more likely don't get offered a second contract. But if you just show up and do your job as expected chances are everyone's happy and you'll be asked to come back.
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chinadad



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 291
Location: chengdu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The school will not pay for it. I will then have to pay for my flight and my visa, which will take almost all my savings at this point

Recipe for total disaster - if, early on in the contract, the brown stuff does hit the fan, you're on a Z, school won't give you a release letter, won't pay you owed wages - what are you going to do???????????
Since this crap happens all the time - most posters here think that just having enough to cover initial airfare isn't a good way of starting a China job - especially when seeing ominous signs like no contact with other FT's and the school not being prepared to pay for visa.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
zactherat wrote:
then you'll just have to get the medical done again once you touch down in China.

Quote:
The school reminded me that if the students didn't like me I could be fired at the end of the semester, each semester.


You should be going there to teach them, not to win their approval. Empowering the students in this manner is ridiculous, and ominous. Avoid.

This concept is widely misunderstood in China. If the students "like" you it usually means they reported to school admin at the end of the term that they saw you as responsible, friendly, respectful, and knowledgeable on whatever topic you were teaching them. If it's reported that they "didn't like" you then that means you were often late for class, poorly prepared, boring, and probably shot your mouth off about how much you hate everything in China. The latter are the people who usually get fired, or more likely don't get offered a second contract. But if you just show up and do your job as expected chances are everyone's happy and you'll be asked to come back.


What we really need is a proper curriculum to follow and someone to give us some objective observation. Such as a well qualified and experienced teacher trainer. I can dream.
The two years I've been in China, I haven't been observed once by anyone with any credibility.
Student feedback is important but it shouldn't all be based purely on that.



Hi-jacking the OPs thread!
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Javelin of Radiance



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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it'snotmyfault wrote:
What we really need is a proper curriculum to follow and someone to give us some objective observation. Such as a well qualified and experienced teacher trainer. I can dream.

I agree with you but if this were the case a large number of those teaching ESL right now would be fired immediately after failing their evals. Since this isn't happening, most people just need to show up, put in a half decent effort that gets some results, doesn't piss people off, and you'll be fine.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
it'snotmyfault wrote:
What we really need is a proper curriculum to follow and someone to give us some objective observation. Such as a well qualified and experienced teacher trainer. I can dream.

I agree with you but if this were the case a large number of those teaching ESL right now would be fired immediately after failing their evals. Since this isn't happening, most people just need to show up, put in a half decent effort that gets some results, doesn't piss people off, and you'll be fine.

Yep, like has been mentioned in other threads "play the game"
But it does annoy me.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1222

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On topic: Avoid. If they have as many foreign teachers as you think, at least one of them would be willing to speak to you. Even if it's to say something less than satisfactory. Like it'snotmyfault said, it sounds as if your love for the location is affecting your decision about the job. If this job was in another city, would you still feel this way?

Off topic: Lack of professionalism in China is one of the things that annoys me. I realise that the majority of foreign teachers here are only here for a short break/gap-year experience and as such don't regard this as especially important. By the same regard, the majority of employers view teachers as 'dancing monkeys' or marketing tools. However, for those that want to make TEFL a career (like me) it's annoying to some extent.

I'm into my second year at my first and only employer in China. As much as I like it there (and I really do), I've realised that this will be my last semester there. Firstly, there's no career development, I could be doing the same job for the next 10 years and have nothing more to show for it. Secondly, I wish to do an M.A. in TEFL or related field, to improve my options and hopefully turn a job I really like doing into a career with prospects.
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NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Which leading educators?

Thee'll only be dancing monkeys left in the classrooms if that's the case.




Michelle Rhee for one, it'snotmyfault, and you can likely find more if you really look....perhaps your taking the word "like" to literately.

Quote:
If this job was in another city, would you still feel this way?

Location, location location is also the most important aspect of your living situation and how you perceive advantage as to how you will spend your off time. I took my job and even though it is good wages, I could make more.. the difference is (1) Beijing, I really enjoy the life here .... and (2) I work 2.5 days a week have 6 weeks off in the middle of the year and a long paid summer vacation as well as the other Chinese holidays.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thnks for the reply NoBillyNo, just had a quick look on her Wikipedia entry, she sounds like quite a controversial character.
And you did say "educators", implying you had more than one name to offer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Rhee


Last edited by it'snotmyfault on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive also had concerns in the past about the medical check. And Im also from the UK so I can understand the problems faced in getting it done. I took a copy of the checklist to my GP and she said she could do 'some' of it, but not the X-Ray and ECG (and maybe not the HIV test ... cant remember 100%). Her surgery basically offers a health check which would cover most of the points on the checklist and the cost was about 80 for that.

However ... as someone else has pointed out, it will need to be done again in China, so I was very reluctant to pay anything in the UK. When you see adverts that say the employer will pay for medical check, its normally referring to the check done in China. If you roll up with a 500 pukka medical check done at home ... it will be disregarded and done again anyway.

What you can do is get a HIV test done. I visited a sexual health clinic and made sure they knew I had an interesting sex life ... if you tell them you are straight, few partners etc they probably wont test. They kindly put the results in writing for me too. I sent that test result, plus a letter from my GP stating 'to whom it may concern, Denim-Maniac is in a good state of health and as such would be able to work freely and without restriction' etc. My GP charges 15 for a letter like that.

That was enough for my employer to get my visa invitation issued in 2011. No medical check has to be included when you apply for the visa in the UK.

However ... Im in the UK again now ... and I will be soon returning back to my previous employer. At the time of writing I have all my visa invitation paperwork intact, and it was all sent through to me without me having to provide any health check or GP letter at all. As a result, I dont believe a completed health check is actually required for a visa invitation to be issued.

Employers may push for it because it covers them somewhat, but Im convinced it isnt essential. I wouldnt be willing to pay 500 for one, and wouldnt take a job if they insisted upon it. Talk to them, see if there is a possibility that a negative HIV test and GP letter would suffice.
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