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Cushy jobs for a teacher with a new secondary license
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SledgeCleaver



Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:17 am    Post subject: Cushy jobs for a teacher with a new secondary license Reply with quote

Hello all,

I was active on Dave's back towards the spring, thinking about going to China and teaching English. I had a few offers, including a decent 7,000 uni offer in Zhanjiang and an 11,000 offer in Yantai teaching economics, however in the end I decided to stay in USA and get a master's in teaching. I probably wouldn't have even done this, however I had some family stuff to deal with and an annoying health issue, nothing serious but serious enough that I wanted to finish some things up here at home before adventuring abroad again. So, I pulled the trigger on that master's...

Anyway, some of the people here were really friendly with me, gave me good advice, so I'm coming back for a second helping. As of this coming June, I will have a US teaching license in two areas, business and social studies. My undergraduate degrees are economics and political science. I taught mathematics for a year in NYC public schools, did a 2-year ESL stint at a language mill in Russia, and also did LSAT tutoring for Kaplan for about a year. So, some teaching experience, but only a year of it in public schools, and not in my current license area.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure I don't want to teach in America. I could explain why but I'm sure most are familiar ... low salary to cost-of-living ratio, massive workload, bureaucracy, and of course, just boredom.

The situation is that I want to make a decent salary, but not work terribly hard. Same old story, but my situation might be a bit more specific - I write novels, which is stressful and time-consuming, so I actually don't necessarily want to work at a prestigious international school where I have to do tons of tutoring or extracurriculars - I'd like 4 periods a day, a decent salary, and that's basically it. I would rather give up hours and get paid less, all things being equal, as long as my housing is decent, healthcare is available, and enough money to travel sometimes and service a bit of student loan debt. I'm working as a teacher because I'm old and wise enough to know that literature doesn't pay, not because I love being a teacher per se. It's not a bad job, but it's not my dream you could say -- it pays the bills.

So yeah, anyone with any advice about international school situations where the workload is decent, stress is low, and money not bad either, I would love to hear about it. I know this board is mostly for TESOL but I figure someone out there has to know about teaching economics or history.

Thanks for reading!
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mambawamba



Joined: 12 Jun 2012
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see your handsome self back.

Mamba
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Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 832

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...I write novels..."

Okay. Cool. Have you read much of William Burroughs' work?

My recommendation is that you head toward the hinterlands and get a job in a two-year vocational school that has no English language program. Judging by what you've revealed to us, that might be your best bet. Low pay, low class contact, room, board, and no distractions.
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NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1478

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Have you read much of William Burroughs' work?


Junkie
is my favorite book.. there is a movie coming out that addresses a murder in which Ginsburg and Burroughs were somehow involved...

Quote:
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
104 min - Biography | Drama | Romance - 19 September 2013


A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
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Mikeylikesit114



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see you back here. What's your definition of a decent salary? How much would your monthly student loan payment be? How much would you like to save each month.

With your qualifications, you can easily find a job paying more than 20,000 rmb a month, with about 10 weeks total paid leave a year. Since you're an American, you won't pay taxes in China for 3 years. This would be for a 40 hr week, with 15-20 teaching hours.

If your not looking for a 9-5, schools in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen will pay higher than 250 rmb per class hour for AP economics teachers.

Otherwise, you might be able to find a university lecturer position around 9-13 k a month.

PM me and I can send you listings.
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SledgeCleaver



Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mambawamba wrote:
Good to see your handsome self back.


Thanks for the greetz, Mamba. I'll have you know I haven't deflowered any objectified in fact nigh-on dehumanized Confucian girls since we last argued (:

Bud Powell wrote:
[b] Have you read much of William Burroughs' work?

My recommendation is that you head toward the hinterlands and get a job in a two-year vocational school that has no English language program.


I've read all of his major works and a few non-major ones too. Excellent author, I read him so much when I was younger that it was almost hard not to copy his style and sometimes even his themes. You should read Celine, who was a major stylistic influence on him. Look for the books "Journey to the End of the Night" or "Death on the Installment Plan."

Your advice sounds interesting, but I'm wondering if it wasn't the advice I might have wanted 9 months ago. I paid almost $20,000 for the master's degree and I want to do something that uses that USA teaching license, probably an international school of some kind, or at least that's where I imagine I'm going to find the right combination of teaching a subject (history or economics) and making a good salary. I just don't want to get caught up in the wrong school, with "wrong" for me meaning a brutal schedule.

Like I said, back around April I found a uni in Zhanjiang that offered 6800r with only like 14 or 16 contact hours, I was really THIS close to taking it (I chatted with choudoufu about it), but something held me back. Going to Zhanjiang would not have been a bad decision, it's just not the decision I felt I should make at the time. Once I found the one-year master's program and realized the demand there was for economics teachers, not only in China but worldwide, I realized that no matter whether I ever make money from writing or not, I could have a good life traveling from country to country and teaching, or settling down somewhere with a comfy sinecure. I also realized that I would much rather teach economics or history than teach ESL. I did the 2 years of ESL in Russia, and in the end, I realized it wasn't for me, not long-term. Maybe I'll go back into it someday, but for now I want to experiment with teaching an academic subject outside of TESOL.

Mikeylikesit114 wrote:
Glad to see you back here. What's your definition of a decent salary? How much would your monthly student loan payment be? How much would you like to save each month.

With your qualifications, you can easily find a job paying more than 20,000 rmb a month, with about 10 weeks total paid leave a year. Since you're an American, you won't pay taxes in China for 3 years. This would be for a 40 hr week, with 15-20 teaching hours.

If your not looking for a 9-5, schools in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen will pay higher than 250 rmb per class hour for AP economics teachers.

Otherwise, you might be able to find a university lecturer position around 9-13 k a month.

PM me and I can send you listings.


These are very good questions. I'd like to make $1,000US a month that I could theoretically send back and save an extra $1,000 on top of that, if it's feasible. I'm not a big spender, so even on 15,000r + room it could be possible. I remember interviewing with some educational contracting company which had 28-class-hour positions and claimed they paid over 25,000r; but of course I don't want that schedule. In any case, I'm thinking I'd want to make about 18,000r plus accommodation and insurance. That will be more than enough to pay back the loans, set up a nest egg, and have a good lifestyle with travel possibilities. I would take less if it was an awesome situation (ie. tropical paradise school on the beach with low living-cost) or truly low-stress (ie. 3 class periods a day rather than 4). But yeah, I'd say my salary floor is about 15,000r and I'd feel more comfortable making about 20,000. Now that I know how lucrative economics can be, I feel I should go into it, so long as I can find something that's 20 contact hours or even a bit less. I'd also possibly take a bit less to teach history than economics, but I'm aware that those positions are hard to find.

As to 10 weeks of leave, I've seen some schedules that looked more like 14 weeks of leave. I should definitely keep that in my calculations, because that amount of leave, especially with money to set myself up in cheap hotels in the mountains or on a beach or something with basic room service would allow a metric shit-ton of writing to get done - no distractions, not money, not cooking, nothing. As far as vacation time, I should say I won't take any job that has less than 10 weeks a year, and I'd like to be paid for vacations. From what I've seen, that's actually not a big ask at the international-school level.

As to "not looking for a 9-5," well, that's a very interesting idea in theory. I don't really like mornings. But again, I need a position with long paid vacations, and I'm not sure if evening work tends to work like that. I don't think I want to spend 50 weeks a year in Shanghai with no breaks, if you take my meaning. Anyway, just throwing that out there. As I said, the work schedule is the most important thing; for something ridiculously cushy, I'd work for relatively cheap I'd say, at least compared to some peers who don't have a sideline and prioritize pay over time off or cushiness. I'd be interested to hear about the possibilities, and will definitely PM you.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2314
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So basically you want an international school pay rate with a public school timetable?
I don't think there is a spectrum of jobs where you can find a niche. You're either a certificated teacher in an international school OR an FT working 16-20 for 5500RMB in a uni.
However I don't think Dave's even pretends to be a forum for certificated types and you are better off getting into conversation with an international and seeing what comes of it.
PM me if you want a specific suggestion, but do get all sorts of input before making decisions.
Best
NS
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Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 832

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your post is a bit fuzzy.

I decided to stay in USA and get a master's in teaching

What is a master's degree in teaching?

"...back towards the spring...I pulled the trigger on that master's... "

Wait. You're losing me here. In the spring you began a masters degree program and now, you've finished it? (Yes, I know that I have compressed the text, but it sounds like you completed a master's degree in "teaching" in less than a year's time. If you studied in the U.S., it's highly unlikely that you could have completed a master's program in less than a year. In Canada, yes, but not in the U.S., especially if one has an MA in Education. MA programs require no less than 36 hours of intensive study plus a thesis, especially if one studies for a master's degree in any area of education. In addition, you'd be required to do some student teaching).

"...As of this coming June, I will have a US teaching license in two areas, business and social studies. ..."

This is in addition to your certification in Math, right? NYC public schools require certification in your teaching area.

"...I'm working as a teacher because I'm old and wise enough to know that literature doesn't pay, not because I love being a teacher per se. It's not a bad job, but it's not my dream you could say -- it pays the bills...."


Huh? Literature? I though that you were a math teacher who will be certified in Business and sociology.

"...I write novels..."

How's your Chinese?
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D-M



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
So basically you want an international school pay rate with a public school timetable?


This.

Not experienced in that sector, but I believe they pay real salaries in return for real work. Im not convinved the 20k salary is really out there for part time hours, especially for a China newbie ... hope you can find what you want but I feel you might need to re-evaluate a little. Few hours ... sure. High salary is also possible ... but both together might be tricky. (thats kinda what we all want eh?)
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mambawamba



Joined: 12 Jun 2012
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheesh sweets so good to have you back.

In terms of life/writing balance you're the only one who's in position to know what time you need but yeah fitting in in around other commitments is a daily challenge.

In terms of work? That's quite a lot of I want. If you want the salary then you have to do the hours and the workload. If you want the time you have to give up the salary.

Which is more important to you?

Mamba
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SledgeCleaver



Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
So basically you want an international school pay rate with a public school timetable?


Yes, I do, however I don't think that's a fair characterization of what I said. There are a lot of misunderstandings here, and that's basically my fault, however lots of factors would take a long time to explain: for example, 15,000r-20,000r would be nice as TOTAL income, which could include 1-2 days of tutoring a week. To write effectively, I need blocks of several hours, so I'd rather supplement a couple days a week (and work extra hard on those days) than have a more regular schedule. This is the sort of thing I'm talking about, but it takes a long time to explain and if I don't explain it, people see it the wrong way. To me, there's a difference between teaching 4 hours/day vs. teaching 3 hours a day and supplementing a bit more. This way I could tailor my work a bit more depending on the amount of writing I'm doing at any one time. I think there's a guy named "Fat Chris" on here who claims to make 30,000 a month just teaching English with a strong tutoring schedule. With economics, the theoretical ceiling should be even higher, and if I'm willing to forgo some of that income in exchange for writing time, I can hardly see how 15,000-20,000 is unreasonable. Even 3 hours/day is 15 hours a week.

I'm aware that such hours are more common in the public sector, but does that mean they're impossible in the private sector? I strongly doubt it. I'd bet a lot of money there's a provincial school somewhere that would pay 15,000r or even more to a good economics teacher for 3 solid hours of high-level econ classwork a day. That's 250r per hour of contact, which probably works out to closer to 120-150r per hour of prep plus teaching; I wouldn't say it's low pay, but I wouldn't say it's outrageous either. If that job exists, and I think it does, THAT'S the job I'm looking for. All the time you have people coming on here saying "I want to live in that city or this city, it has to be first-tier" etc. Notice I have no geographical requirements whatsoever, I don't stipulate how big my apartment has to be, none of that - my only preference is in terms of conditions that will allow me to follow my passion without starving or defaulting on loans.

I did say 4 class periods a day was acceptable, that's approximately a 9-5 as prepping and grading economics tends to take longer than ESL, and because 4 class periods a day means several periods prepping/grading/tutoring. From what I've seen, this is a bog-standard international school pay-level and workload. I'm aware that many schools require you to stay on campus for 8 hours to make sure you're prepping and answering student questions, which might be acceptable or just something I'll have to live with. Everything I'm saying is a question of ideality and preferences, not absolutes.

Maybe I'm coming off the wrong way, as most of the responses seem to insinuate that I'm being a prima donna, but objectively, I don't think anything I've said is unreasonable. I've seen jobs for 15,000r that don't require a master's degree or teaching license. I've also seen postings that claim to pay 30,000r or 35,000r for teachers with a STEM or econ skillset. I'm not saying I would get that job, it would probably go to someone more experienced, but such jobs are out there. I'm looking for the happy medium; a good workload and good pay, but not doing anything punishing for a way higher salary. All I really said is I'm willing to sacrifice some pay for more free time. Even 15,000r is NOT my absolute pay floor; it's more like the lowest I would accept for full-time work plus a small amount of tutoring yet to be contracted for.

I apologize if all this was unclear, but it's hard to explain every little factor. All I'm saying is I'd like to trade salary for free time, while still paying off an expensive education and saving a bit of dough. I'm a hard-working and ambitious person, which is precisely WHY I need a less punishing schedule; otherwise I overwork myself with salary-work plus writing work, burn the candle at both ends, and end up a wreck. It has happened before. I understand my situation is not normal, but the reality is that if anything, I'm a bit of a workaholic, so it's weird for people to imagine that I'm a lazy *beep*. Consider it more like I'd like to work two 3/4-time jobs; maybe that will make things more clear. I would imagine that there are some 3/4-time jobs out there that pay insurance and vacation; maybe they're hard to find, but if they exist, that's what I want to chase. If I don't get it, then I'll get a bog-standard job. At the end of the day, that's all I'm saying.

There's another thing, which is whether I'm teaching the same section every day. Teaching 4 hours/day of the exact same econ section might be easier than teaching 3 hours/day if I had to teach econ, SAT prep, and algebra II in the same schedule, or whatever. So the size of the school could make a big difference - a big school might allow me to specialize more. Yet another example of how I could maximize my free time while still working a job that anyone would consider full-time.

D-M wrote:

Not experienced in that sector, but I believe they pay real salaries in return for real work. Im not convinved the 20k salary is really out there for part time hours, especially for a China newbie ... hope you can find what you want but I feel you might need to re-evaluate a little. Few hours ... sure. High salary is also possible ... but both together might be tricky. (thats kinda what we all want eh?)


Yes, they pay real salaries for real work, however the definitions of "real salary" and "real work" vary widely from region to region and sector to sector. Suppose that there were jobs for 20,000r for 4 periods a day with a full vacation schedule; might there also be 14,000r jobs for 3 periods a day? It's just a question as to whether that "happy medium" exists. As to "re-evaluating a little," I'm going to take an international school job (I have to, to pay back the loans), the question is where and under what conditions. If the only conditions I find are the usual conditions, obviously I'm going to take that job.

Bud Powell wrote:
Your post is a bit fuzzy.

Why is it fuzzy? I started studying last May, meaning I studied all summer, will study all fall and all spring including student teaching - that's 3 semesters, long enough to get a teaching license. It's a full-time accelerated program, and in June, I will have a teaching license. I won't have the master's yet, as I will be ABT (all but thesis); that's another way they manage to compress the program. y=You write the thesis once you have the license and the job, in fact you should integrate your job with your thesis if possible.

I was a NYC Teaching Fellow, which means I had a provisional license. I didn't complete that master's, so I did not receive a permanent license. I said "I taught math," not that "I have a math license."

Just because I studied economics and political science in school doesn't mean I can't have a hobby or passion outside of that. I spent much of my 20s studying literature on an autodidactic basis while teaching myself how to write. I guess you think my skillset is weird, but it's no weirder to have an economics teacher who writes novels than a professor of engineering who knows how to play the piano, or an accountant who skydives and does triathlons.

Bud Powell wrote:
How's your Chinese?


Aha! At the buzzer, you found my real weakness: no speaky Chinese.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 226
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sledge,

I think your assumption that there are well-paying jobs out there for high level subject teaching in economics IN ENGLISH is off, especially for someone with a masters with the ink still wet and not so many years of teaching experience. The fact is such subjects are very rarely studied in English in China. There is no reason high level econ classes can’t be taught in Chinese by Chinese PHD’s. Now business English prep in the private sector for those going abroad or doing business abroad is another matter.

However, anyone making 30,000 a month in China is generally working hard for that money. For MOST that is true if they are making 20,000.They aren’t doing it 3 or 4 days a week. They also aren’t doing it in the first 6 months off the plane. It takes time to build up connections and find good private students (who are rarely reliable in any long term sense). You will have to scramble to get (and keep) your supplemental income, and it will take more time and energy than you think in terms of commuting, etc.

Just because someone on the internet says it is easy peasy to do supplemental work doesn’t mean it is so. As well, when people talk about their salaries online a good practical step would be to figure their real salary is 50-75% of what they claiming. And again, what someone is making in their 5th or 10th year in China is not reflective of what should be expected in one’s first year. Oh, and forget making plans based on seeing job ads online...the salaries actually offered may be far less than what is posted, if they are actually real jobs at all.

Just writing this hoping to bring your expectations down to reality a bit. Maybe you will get lucky and find that dream job, but generally in China you get paid for the work you put in. The easy jobs don’t pay much, and the one’s that pay well are at least full-time. Everyone I know who makes good money doing side work invests a great amount of time and energy doing so.
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Big Worm



Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jobs similar to that are out there, but 8-5 deskwarming is getting to be the norm. Best if you figure out how to write under those conditions. Look for dodgy Chinese high schools that send kids overseas.
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SledgeCleaver



Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon in Suzhou wrote:
Sledge,

I think your assumption that there are well-paying jobs out there for high level subject teaching in economics IN ENGLISH is off, especially for someone with a masters with the ink still wet and not so many years of teaching experience. The fact is such subjects are very rarely studied in English in China. There is no reason high level econ classes can’t be taught in Chinese by Chinese PHD’s. Now business English prep in the private sector for those going abroad or doing business abroad is another matter.

However, anyone making 30,000 a month in China is generally working hard for that money. For MOST that is true if they are making 20,000.They aren’t doing it 3 or 4 days a week. They also aren’t doing it in the first 6 months off the plane. It takes time to build up connections and find good private students (who are rarely reliable in any long term sense). You will have to scramble to get (and keep) your supplemental income, and it will take more time and energy than you think in terms of commuting, etc.

Just because someone on the internet says it is easy peasy to do supplemental work doesn’t mean it is so. As well, when people talk about their salaries online a good practical step would be to figure their real salary is 50-75% of what they claiming. And again, what someone is making in their 5th or 10th year in China is not reflective of what should be expected in one’s first year. Oh, and forget making plans based on seeing job ads online...the salaries actually offered may be far less than what is posted, if they are actually real jobs at all.

Just writing this hoping to bring your expectations down to reality a bit. Maybe you will get lucky and find that dream job, but generally in China you get paid for the work you put in. The easy jobs don’t pay much, and the one’s that pay well are at least full-time. Everyone I know who makes good money doing side work invests a great amount of time and energy doing so.


Good post and sounds like good advice. With everything I've said, I'm talking more about ideality than exactly what will happen - a question of trade-offs, as with all things. I'm trying to be ambitious about what I could reasonably achieve, but it's true that I'm not going to find anything 100% perfect and I should keep my head on my shoulders. Thanks for posting.
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SledgeCleaver



Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Worm wrote:
Best if you figure out how to write under those conditions.


Haha, actually you read my mind with that one. I've already started thinking about how I could edit manuscripts without anyone knowing, depending on the layout of the office and all that. Identical-looking 3-ring binders, one with manuscripts and the other with econ stuff, prose paragraphs disguised as student essay responses... all sorts of shady dealings.
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