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What's Wrong With This?

 
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:29 am    Post subject: What's Wrong With This? Reply with quote

The job on offer is with a small private language school (Treville Education) in either of two locations: Guilin or Yulin, Guangxi Province.

The job in Guilin pays "between" 5-7000 yuan / month, and the one in Yulin pays 10,000 yuan per month. (I've already inquired about the very noticable difference in the salaries, and was told that it's because Guilin is a comparatively popular / attractive location, so it's easier to find foreigners who want to go there - which makes enough sense to me. She said that Yulin is "also a beautiful city" (which could be code for "it's a ****hole" - I don't know).

She says the job is to teach 20-24 classes per week in two different kindergardens, kids between 3 and 6, class size 30-40, with Chinese T/A.

In addition to the salary, the school offers (on a ten month contract) 7000 yuan for airfare, 2200 yuan one-time payment for travel allowance, accident insurance, sponsored Z visa and a choice of two housing options**:

1) The school provides free housing on a shared basis with one other teacher.

2) They provide assistance with rental of a furnished apartment, and an additional 500 yuan per month added to salary to partially subsidize the same. (The HR says a typical apt goes for between 500-900 yuan in those parts.)

** I've already given the theoretical nod to the latter, as I'm married and not really into the sharing- and -caring arrangements anyway.

I've been reading a lot of the posts on other threads here from people with considerable experience in China (much, much more than my paltry ten months and one contract's worth) regarding jobs, salaries, etc, and I'm taking them seriously. But it almost seems from some of them that if one sees a posting advertising a high salary, "run away!" and I'm sure in some cases, that is good advice, but...?

Apart from the bit about the 3-6 year-old clientele (and I'm not taking that information lightly), what is, on the face of things, wrong with this offer? Any red flags? the person I'm talking with is the HR of the school, not an agent.
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3233

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not good. Too many hours for the money (ESPECIALLY kindergarten; kindergarten is one of the highest paying teaching positions in China). The housing thing is bad, too.
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lemak



Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

40 kindy kids per class will leave you wishing for cancer. Seriously.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if my recent posts could lead to readers thinking Im suggesting the 'High Salary = RUN!' thing. If it is something I've posted that leads you to think this, its definitely not my intention. I do often suggest people look at things other than salary, and if you take a job purely for the salary, it 'could' be trouble. Let me expand further. If you dont have a particular interest or idea about the location, and dont have much in the way of interest or experience in the age group or type of teaching, but choose the job 'because they pay the most', well, trouble often seems to follow those people IMHO. Added to that is the old saying 'If something looks to be good to be true .....'. That equally (or perhaps more) applies here.

Anyway ... now Ive got that out of the way.

That Guilin job looks like it pays awfully low at the 5k end of things. It doesnt look great at the 7k end either TBH. Guilin isnt that popular with foreigners ... other places close by are, but they arent really to be confused too much with Guilin IMHO. They key thing in that job is working quite a lot of hours, with a rather undesirable class profile, in two different places, with rather large classes. If this also includes weekend work that Id have to say it has nothing worthy of attraction really. The 500 a month for an apartment would be a bit on the low side too I think. You could get a place in Yangshou for that, but it wouldnt be any better than the school accomodation as it would probably be a single room in a shared building. If you want nice digs to share with a wife Id think you could need at least double, excluding bills of course.

If you have a desperate desire to work in Guilin, and a preference for kindergarten over all over types of work, this offer could have merit. But if the you dont, I wouldnt see anything to get excited about.

I dont know anything about Yulin. Looked on wikipedia but there isnt much there. The location looks like it might be OK. Hainan doesnt look too far away, and I guess HK / SZ wouldnt be a long bus ride either?
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lemak wrote:
40 kindy kids per class will leave you wishing for cancer. Seriously.


Ya, mebbe so... between classroom teaching and tutoring I have six years working with kids from 6 to 15 in schools, most of it with primary students, but I confess I've yet to have the dubious honor of teaching preschool RR's. For many people, and I understand this, even elementary kids would be out-of-bounds, but for me they seem to be my niche... it's pretty easy for me to connect on their wavelength and vice versa. I dunno about younger future citizens though. Confused

And if I wind up taking the job, I'll be sure to give due credit to everybody who tried to tell me so.

I'm just interested in hearing any and all opinions about: the job, the school (if anyone's heard of it), the compensation and / or the location... and thanks John, opinion duly noted... WHY is it one of the highest paying jobs? Cos... o yeah... cancer. Laughing
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:
I wonder if my recent posts could lead to readers thinking Im suggesting the 'High Salary = RUN!' thing. If it is something I've posted that leads you to think this, its definitely not my intention. I do often suggest people look at things other than salary, and if you take a job purely for the salary, it 'could' be trouble. Let me expand further. If you dont have a particular interest or idea about the location, and dont have much in the way of interest or experience in the age group or type of teaching, but choose the job 'because they pay the most', well, trouble often seems to follow those people IMHO. Added to that is the old saying 'If something looks to be good to be true .....'. That equally (or perhaps more) applies here.

Thanks for the reply maniac. Good point, and thanks for the clarification. It probably was one of your posts that I refer to, and I think most of the error was not in your expression of your thoughts but my own mis/over-interpretation and oversimplification of them. Sorry for that. Your point actually seems very valid and I agree with it certainly in theory. Money is not and shouldn't be the only or even the most important consideration if the goal is happiness or satisfaction - way too many unhappy, spoiled, out-of-touch, bored and /or boring rich peoples out there to prove that point.

Quote:
They key thing in that job is working quite a lot of hours, with a rather undesirable class profile, in two different places, with rather large classes. If this also includes weekend work that Id have to say it has nothing worthy of attraction really. If you have a desperate desire to work in Guilin, and a preference for kindergarten over all over types of work, this offer could have merit. But if the you dont, I wouldnt see anything to get excited about.

desperate to work /live in Guilin/ Yulin/ Guangxi, not.
prefer to teach preschool RR's, not. Which means I should probably clarify what it is I'm actually looking FOR and why... which I'll try to do in a moment. Smile
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clarke501



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this job posting this morning and did a quick google. First result...http://eslwatch.info/china-2/bad-school-review-in-china/6682-treville-foreign-language-school-scam-guilin-guangxi
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should also say I do recognise the value of earning both a decent and honest living ... Im not a total hippy seeking nothing but inner peace, job satisfaction and good karma. Very Happy

I just think people need to apply the same common sense we'd have at home and look at everything from climate to currency. If we didnt, we'd all be applying for those classified ads that say 'Earn $$$$$$'s from home - just a few hours each week'.

I think you have answered your own question about the Guilin job though. The location and the nature of the job isnt of any real interest, and the salary isnt anything special either, so there would be no reason why you WOULD take this job. Is there? Especially considering the little review posted above.
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant the thread kind of in the vein of "using this as an example, what are the perceived red flags or negatives that people see, and how to spot them in what seems like mostly positive information..." But yes, this is actually a job I find myself considering, and I want to know if that seems reasonable and sane to people or if they think I need a serious cranial inspection...

I prefer teaching primary age kids and prefer working at a "real" school rather than a language training school (that's just my distinction, if you don't agree please don't take offense). I have never worked at the latter type of school but I'm okay with trying it on if other factors are okay. I would prefer to work not more than 32 hours in a week and teach not more than 20 classes, but I'm flexible on that. I'd like a job where I'm not stuck in one building (or generally at work) all day five days or more per week (in my current job in Indonesia, all teachers are basically on lockdown in the school from 8-5 M-F, plus we work roughly every other Saturday between 8 and 12 - that's 49 hours a week, and I teach 29 forty minute classes, for which my prep time is fairly minimal, so I soend a lot fo time... killing it... slowly.) In short, I want a little more flexibility, free time, fewer classes than what I've got here, etc, which seems to be more typical with jobs in China and certainly was the case for me when I taught in Xinjiang (20 classes / week, office hours largely ignored, come to school five minutes before your class starts, leave three minutes after your last class ends kind-of-thing - I'd be happy to settle for something in between those two at this point.

In terms of location I tend to like the more remote, out-of-the-way places like Xinjiang, with cultural interest, and I like (and dream of) cold places like the above, and am looking at jobs in Inner Mongolia and Jilin as well as Ulaanbaatar, which offer both the remote and the cold... problem is that my Indonesian wife 1) has only been out of tropical Indonesia once, on our honeymoon, and that was to Penang, Bangkok and northern Thailand, not quite the Arctic Circle, 2) she is basically "allergic" to really cold temperature, and that's a very low bar for her, so taking her to such a place may be inadvisable and / or cruel, = quandary. So I'm trying to make myself cross those off my list (not quite yet though) and look for jobs in sort of "compromise" climate zones - colder than Sumatra and with at least something appraoching a winter, but not most likely inducing the wife into some sort of frozen coma... that's where Guangxi comes in. Actually the area around Yunnan / Guizhou provinces which I think is a little colder seem appealing for those reasons too, and there's a job in Wuxi which seems like a near perfect compromise on climate, so anywhere around the latitude of Shanghai would be fine, maybe as far north as Beijing although that's getting pretty frosty I think...

I don't mind going to a place without many Westpats, and I suppose I don't mind if it does have either. I like to have a certain measure of creature comforts in the way of Westernish food, but it doesn't have to be on the level of Beijing or Shanghai by any means. On the other hand, if completely deprived of say, something resembling decent cheese or bread, it's a problem, and I won't do well on just draw fan and yak's mi;lk: the liking for remote places and the last creates a bit of an unwanted paradox at times, yes.

My current employer has asked me to extend my contract for another two years (or more) with a 40% raise which would take my salary to about 9000 RMB (equivalent in IDR) after taxes, plus paying my return ticket back to the US this summer and another ticket back to US at end of contract. I have put them off for several weeks already and have promised to give them an answer within the next ten days. It's a hard decision for me because, I love the kids I teach here and the salary offer is good, BUT I don't like living in Medan, don't like the working hours in the school, am bored and want a change of scenery... plus, I want to give China another shot and if I stay in Indonesia two more years I'll be over-the-hill at 50 and may have difficulty getting a legal job there. If I take a job for much less than 9000 RMB, I'll feel like I made a poor choice financially for my family by not staying here.

So, I dunno... those are some of my considerations.


Last edited by Bat_Guano on Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clarke501 wrote:
I saw this job posting this morning and did a quick google. First result...http://eslwatch.info/china-2/bad-school-review-in-china/6682-treville-foreign-language-school-scam-guilin-guangxi

... just in the nick of time... cheers for that clarke.

(as my correspondence with the HR so far seems like leaning very much in that direction... I first emailed her about the job this morning, and she's already asked me to send my passport scan... I can almost anticipate that "no need for interview, just sign the contract and send it back" coming... and... that's pretty much how I got my first gig in China too. Rolling Eyes
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lemak



Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bat_Guano wrote:
... problem is that my Indonesian wife 1) has only been out of tropical Indonesia once, on our honeymoon, and that was to Penang, Bangkok and northern Thailand, not quite the Arctic Circle, 2) she is basically "allergic" to really cold temperature, and that's a very low bar for her, so taking her to such a place may be inadvisable and / or cruel, = quandary. So I'm trying to make myself cross those off my list (not quite yet though) and look for jobs in sort of "compromise" climate zones - colder than Sumatra and with at least something appraoching a winter, but not most likely inducing the wife into some sort of frozen coma... that's where Guangxi comes in. Actually the area around Yunnan / Guizhou provinces which I think is a little colder seem appealing for those reasons too, and there's a job in Wuxi which seems like a near perfect compromise on climate, so anywhere around the latitude of Shanghai would be fine, maybe as far north as Beijing although that's getting pretty frosty I think...


Just shot you a PM. No weird cloak and dagger or webcam panty shots, so the rest of the board need not be jealous, but it's just about some stuff that is likely irrelevant to 99.9% of the site.
One thing to bear in mind about places like Jiangsu is while they *aren't* anywhere near as freezing as Harbin, Baotou and their ilk they still do get miserably cold in winter. I don't think I've shivered as much in my life as I have in the 'su, and I've lived in minus 25 degree crap before. Something about the combination of poorly constructed concrete buildings and no heating means you'd likely be warmer in a cave. Maybe I'm just getting old, I don't know, but you might actually be warmer up on the arctic circle in better insulated, better heated buildings.
Jiangsu *is* good on the other hand in that you can be in a relatively small village (under a million people), and get the full China experience (not sure what that is, but it generally involves bad smells and gross animal parts in food) yet still only 30 or 40 minutes from Shanghai, Suzhou or Nanjing and their meat pies, poutine, carl's jr or whatever other western amenities float your proverbial boat.
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lemak wrote:
Jiangsu *is* good on the other hand in that you can be in a relatively small village (under a million people), and get the full China experience (not sure what that is, but it generally involves bad smells and gross animal parts in food) .

Laughing

Cheers, Black Spy... er, lemak. I'll have a look.

That reminds me, yes. One of my fellow Ft's in Xinjiang had previously worked in Hefei. He said that it is freezing there in the winter because it's just south of the magical invisible "middle line" that runs through China - everything south of it is the South and the buildings are not heated, everything North, the converse applies. Seems this was true, unlike his stories abut a three-eyed leprechaun who took him on a magic flying carpet to... but nevermind. And ironically, I spent most of my time in Dushanzi (Due West from Urumuqi) from November onwards through March (or was it April) sitting around in my apartment in my boxers (yer obligatory panty reference) with one or two windows propped wide open and at times even turned the A/C on (seriously! I'm just remembering this now, I must've repressed it) because it was so damn hot inside and there was no way to turn it down... so, maybe yer right: Hailar, here we come, harhar... the wife won't mind staying indoors for five months now, will she?
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with lemak. My two winters in Yangshuo, Guangxi, have been shockingly cold. I trekked Kilimanjaro in October 2009, and was in Yangshuo two months later with all the same winter gear / fleeces etc. Yangshuo was much much colder than being 20,000 feet up Kilimanjaro was! Well, it certainly felt much colder.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1183

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bat_Guano, I sent you a private message.
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roger_Wilco, How Dare You, Sir.... well, okay.

Answered... Touche. Deja Vu. Au reservoir.
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