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Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect

 
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:53 am    Post subject: Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect Reply with quote

I've worked at a Public Primary School and a Private Primary School in Shanghai. This is from both my personal experience and research carried out over the past five years.

Working hours:
Most will be full time positions 8am to 4pm (many positions allow the FT to leave early on Fridays).

Teaching hours:
Can vary, I've worked a one year position with as little as 7 x 35min periods per week which was a breeze.
This year I've taught 19 x 35min periods per week which was doable but tiring (even though I taught Science only, rarely gave homework and had very minimal admin duties).

Subjects:
There are FTs employed to teach Science, Drama, PE (and possibly others) in addition to ESL.

Classroom dynamics:
Large class sizes at the public school but managable (~40).
Smaller class sizes at the private school (~25)
Chinese TA or the homeroom teacher will normally be present.

Students:
Wonderful overall from my experiences (but you reap what you sow).
At the public school there was a huge gulf between the weak and very strong students.

School year and hols (not counting the numerous long weekends):
National Day Hol - 7 days holiday (first week in October)
Christmas - a week to 10 days at Private school (zero at public school)
CNY - 4 weeks
Summer - 8 weeks

Package & perks to look out for:
Base salary can vary but expect 12 - 20k depending on quals/experience.
Flight allowance (8k seems pretty standard)
Housing allowance (can vary, 3-5k on average)
Fully Paid Hols (normally upon re-signing you will receive your salary for the Summer months in addition to CNY)
Sick days (can vary 5-10 days)
Health Insurance

Once in China - All Visa processing, FEC & Residence Permit costs should be covered by the school.


Last edited by getbehindthemule on Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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eternalw



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though Primary School is not my cup of tea, I have to admire a teacher who takes his/her time to give a thorough insight of what to expect on this particular area of teaching, without other intention than just offering some information.
If only more teachers were like you, it would be great!
Thanks for taking time to help others!
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cormac



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 754
Location: Xi'an (XTU)

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know. I'd only done short periods at that level filling in for friends, and found it wasn't for me.

Still... all the teachers I know working at that level have dark shadows under their eyes, and are generally wrecked. Nice to see what benefits tend to be available though.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies that my post was well over 300 words. I've edited it now. Thanks Mr. K.
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rioux



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 773

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect Reply with quote

getbehindthemule wrote:
Chinese TA or the homeroom teacher will normally be present.



Would you consider this a positive or a negative?
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eternalw wrote:
Though Primary School is not my cup of tea, I have to admire a teacher who takes his/her time to give a thorough insight of what to expect on this particular area of teaching, without other intention than just offering some information.
If only more teachers were like you, it would be great!
Thanks for taking time to help others!


Appreciate that, if this was just a board to rant on it would be a very sad place Wink
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:55 am    Post subject: Re: Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect Reply with quote

rioux wrote:
getbehindthemule wrote:
Chinese TA or the homeroom teacher will normally be present.



Would you consider this a positive or a negative?


It was a definite positive in my first year when I knew little about Chinese classroom dynamics. They are still a comfort to have if I ever need them for seriously disruptive behaviour (which hasnt happened tbf) or for translation purposes.
Though in recent years they just sit at the back of the class marking papers as I rarely involve them at all.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cormac wrote:
Good to know. I'd only done short periods at that level filling in for friends, and found it wasn't for me.

Still... all the teachers I know working at that level have dark shadows under their eyes, and are generally wrecked. Nice to see what benefits tend to be available though.


It's definitely not for everybody but it's very rewarding especially if you enjoy it for the most part.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 660

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good information and well summarised. The mods should make this a sticky.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jmbf wrote:
Good information and well summarised. The mods should make this a sticky.


From being deleted to making it a sticky would be an extreme haha! Thanks Jmbf, just thought I'd share as there is little info on here on positions other than Uni ones and private tutoring.
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kev20



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll add in my experience having worked only in public schools at primary and middle schools.

Office hours were not really a requirement for me so most days in primary school I arrived at 9 and left at 3. In Suzhou I was teaching 21 classes a week over three grades. It was tiring and kind of lonely because the Chinese English teachers were not very good at speaking and were quite shy. In middle school they're a lot better in my experience, as they'd have to to be I suppose.

Another downside to primary school is that they don't have a lot of exams, activities or day trips so you may be teaching right up until the end of the semester while other foreigners you know at middle/high schools might get an extra week or two of holidays in winter and summer. At my middle school they also have a week of military training in October and they have monthly exams where I get a day off. It all adds up and a few extra days off can really refresh the batteries.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 660

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect Reply with quote

getbehindthemule wrote:

Teaching hours:
Can vary, I've worked a one year position with as little as 7 x 35min periods per week which was a breeze.

Base salary can vary but expect 12 - 20k depending on quals/experience.
Flight allowance (8k seems pretty standard)
Housing allowance (can vary, 3-5k on average)


It strikes me that if you can get that salary range for that amount of working hours then such a position would trump most university work.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@kev20

Interesting points. I would agree that most of the teachers can be very shy at first (even the ones that have really good English), but I always seem to come across a couple of out there teachers who are only delighted to befriend the FT Wink
It does takes time, but if you keep on being yourself it's amazing how close of bonds you can make work colleague wise here I've been lucky to have found out.
At my current school, my lessons finish up with around two weeks to go! I cant just take off though but go in for the morning (drink coffee, go online, watch a movie, chat with some of the students) and leave after lunch.
Office hours seem to be a thing at most Primary/Middle schools here in Shanghai though. I really don't mind them though as it's not a strict requirement to say the least as I'm free to roam, rest in the library or computer room if free, leave campus for coffee, a walk, chill at nearby park for an hour, etc.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 649
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Primary School Teaching Positions - What to expect Reply with quote

Jmbf wrote:
getbehindthemule wrote:

Teaching hours:
Can vary, I've worked a one year position with as little as 7 x 35min periods per week which was a breeze.

Base salary can vary but expect 12 - 20k depending on quals/experience.
Flight allowance (8k seems pretty standard)
Housing allowance (can vary, 3-5k on average)


It strikes me that if you can get that salary range for that amount of working hours then such a position would trump most university work.


Yes, but perhaps these types of salaries that I'm talking about are really only available in the big cities (I'm not sure). But I do believe that it does trump a Uni position. The way I look at is: If I wanted loads of free time to do private work, whether it be tutoring, small business venture, etc, then a Uni job would be the way to go! But I don't, horses for courses and all that Wink
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