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Mianyang Foreign Languages School - any insight?
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Izzy215



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:04 am    Post subject: Mianyang Foreign Languages School - any insight? Reply with quote

Hello,

So, my husband and I have both been offered a job through Sunny's English Club for the Mianyang Foreign Langauges School in Sichuan province. We know that Mianyang was hit rather hard by the earthquake back in May so we're looking to find out about the school and the city itself as it is now. Has anyone heard about this school? About the city? Or about Sunny's English Club? Any insight would be great.

Thanks.

P.S - I tried to the search engine but it didn't work for some reason on my computer so if there are other topics on this I wasn't able to access them.
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North China Laowei



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:50 am    Post subject: Far Question Reply with quote

Dear Izzy,

First the city-in-question was at the epicenter of the earthquake last spring -- the very epicenter and destruction was very widespread. I cannot imagine, even in China with all the resources and people that the federal government is throwing into the rebuilding project, that the city has been rebuilt in such a short time. Additionally after the earthquake it suffered serious flooding as an after-effect.

It was, in the old days, a rather grimy high tech area. It is also one of the main centers of the Chinese defense industries and as such if you work in this city you need to exercise more discretion than in other places in terms of what you say and what you do. If you were to wander into certain manufacturing areas of the city, you might be surprised to know that they are closed to non-authorized persons, particularly foreigners. The Chinese Academy of Science has a major output there for research into nuclear energy and fusion.

Unless you have an extremely strong stomach for human suffering (remember that a good amount of the children that perished in the earthquake under improperly-built schools perished in this very city) and for a citizenry that is just eeking by, why oh why would you choose this city?
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vikuk



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 1842

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not just ordinary defense industry - but also work related to nuclear defense. Mao moved much of the countries defense infrastructure into the mountains of Sichuan in preparation for WWIII - some other "defense" areas notably the fantastic Dadu Gorge at Jinkou - are closed to foreigners. When the quake struck there was a lot of panic about possible nuclear contamination - but of course we have no real answers with regard to whether that panic was well-founded or not!!!!!
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Izzy215



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello North China Laowei,

Thanks for the input. I wrote a paper on the Sichuan earthquake so I have an idea as to what we might be facing. The other information about discretion I was already aware of as well as the areas that might be closed to non-authorized people - why should we expect otherwise? It's not as if non-authorized people can wander around high security areas in the West!

As to a reason why we would consider choosing this school, if we did, would be to help those who have been affected, especially the children who have survived.

I should point out we have NOT made our decision yet and even when we have we will not be moving to China until the summer of 2009. I want to get some insight now so as to help me, and my husband, decide if we want to move to Mianyang or to accept another school's offer.

Anyone else have any thoughts? Thanks.
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North China Laowei



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:14 am    Post subject: See Below Reply with quote

Izzy215 wrote:
Hello North China Laowei,

Thanks for the input. I wrote a paper on the Sichuan earthquake so I have an idea as to what we might be facing. The other information about discretion I was already aware of as well as the areas that might be closed to non-authorized people - why should we expect otherwise? It's not as if non-authorized people can wander around high security areas in the West!

As to a reason why we would consider choosing this school, if we did, would be to help those who have been affected, especially the children who have survived.

I should point out we have NOT made our decision yet and even when we have we will not be moving to China until the summer of 2009. I want to get some insight now so as to help me, and my husband, decide if we want to move to Mianyang or to accept another school's offer.

Anyone else have any thoughts? Thanks.


Dear Izzy,

Thank you for a well-written reply. You should consider, however, the limits on disposable income in the region. Most families were rendered homeless, in one way or another. Many jobs disappeared into thin air. I was pondering the question as how to anyone in the area would have enough disposable income left to send their children to a private language training school, particularly in the current situation. Education is indeed important to Chinese parents but even the educational infrastructure of the area has been rendered asunder. Many children have been sent to live with relatives of friends in Chengdu where the local school systems are reeling from the influx from the countryside.

By summer, 2009 the very worst of the disaster should have been removed but it will take years and years to repair and rebuild the housing infrastructure, etc., which leads to the question of if you take the job, where will you live? What condition of accommodation will you be offered? Nearly everything suffered damage so I can only wonder how spartan your living conditions will be.

NCL
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Izzy215



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again NCL,

Thank you again for your input. You have brought up some very important points about the education infrastructure and the difficulty of parents being able to provide the funds to pay for their children to go to school, especially a private school, along with how the housing infrastructure has been affected.

I was sent a little blip about the school and how many students it has, though I do not know how recent that information is. I have seen pictures of the school and the school looks very nice, but I can not say whether or not these are recent pictures or not.

I have also been given information about the housing that would be provided for my husband and myself. It is basic, but has everything we would need.

I could always ask for pictures of the housing and whether or not there are teachers at the school I could talk with - would this be advisable though?
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brsmith15



Joined: 12 May 2003
Posts: 1142
Location: New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not certain of this, but you mght be inundated with beggars. Many women wrap fake-blood towels arounds their kids' heads and beseech you unmercifully. The other bothersome bunch are little old ladies who hang onto your clothes and just won't let go or leave you alone. You give to one and a hoard of these furies descend on you.

Like I say, I'm not sure, but given the aftermath, I can't expect you'd be free from panhandlers.

I certainly admire your purpose. The world needs more like you!
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Izzy215



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you the compliment, brsmith15! We are merely trying to do what we feel is the right thing to do while being cautious at the same time.

I would expect beggars, especially those who go to the extreme. I should mention, if I haven't already, I have lived in China before. I lived in Guangzhou, Nanning and Shanghai. I have run into beggars before and while it is difficult it is something that has to be dealt with. My concern is more for my husband who hasn't been to China ever. Hasn't even been out of the country yet. And yet, he is more then willing to accept this job offer if we are not offered any other ones.
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vikuk



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 1842

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Izzy - I live in Sichuan - we can see earthquake damage on the mountains from the windows of our home. You can see my posts about the earthquake in the sticky on the China non-job forum.

If you think you're going to city like Mianyang - teaching in one of the elite schools for the cities wealthier population to help poor children overcome the quake - then Im afraid you could be rather disappointed.
It was the poor who suffered enormously during the quake - corrupt officials allowing corrupt construction firms to offer bribes in order to build schools for the poor that collapsed like sand during the quake. And what do these corrupt folk do with their money - well of course - one thing is to send their kids to the best schools - the type that didn't fall down, and can afford to hire a foreign teacher Idea

And those poor kids who really did suffer they still cant get into any elite schools.

If you really do want to help Chinese children - you don't do through recruiters like Sunny's English Club!!!! Try looking up NGO's that have on-going projects in the quake area.
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North China Laowei



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: See Below Reply with quote

Izzy215 wrote:
Hello again NCL,

Thank you again for your input. You have brought up some very important points about the education infrastructure and the difficulty of parents being able to provide the funds to pay for their children to go to school, especially a private school, along with how the housing infrastructure has been affected.

I was sent a little blip about the school and how many students it has, though I do not know how recent that information is. I have seen pictures of the school and the school looks very nice, but I can not say whether or not these are recent pictures or not.

I have also been given information about the housing that would be provided for my husband and myself. It is basic, but has everything we would need.

I could always ask for pictures of the housing and whether or not there are teachers at the school I could talk with - would this be advisable though?


We have many members of this Board who live in Chengdu but few if any who live in the city in which you are interested. I interviewed two summers ago for a job a the local university. Even then the housing was so, so substandard and the city was indeed high tech but grimy as I write.

All of the foreigners that I met then (and there were not that many) have either left or were evacuated under direct orders from their Consulates in Chengdu.

I wouldn't trust any pictures that they sent you. Try to "google" pictures of the city today and see what you come with. I do remember all of the pictures for days-and-days that they showed on Chinese television -- quite uncensored -- and then the pictures of the city indudated by the flood.

Your lifestyle would be so cramped. I have one friend left in the city but he is a policeman and I would not feel free to ask him all of these questions for the reasons that Vikuk mentioned above.

The city was linked to Chengdu by superhighway but that link was really severed in the quake. Even if it has been rebuilt, it surely is still undergoing major reconstruction. Much of the reconstruction is under the direct control of the People's Army making your movements even more restricted.

Again, for me at least personally, it comes back to the question of disposable income of potential parents and suitable housing.

Does the school, as a private training center, even have permission to hire foreign nationals as teachers? Would they even be able to secure you a FEC and proper resident permit or are they suggesting other less correct forms of visa?

Brian Smith is correct about the hordes of beggars -- remember so much of the city's population is now living from day-to-day. Food supplies are still trucked in to a certain extent and distributed.

And I want to ask you very, very politely, because I see from your posts that you are quite polite and well-informed, if you have ever lived in the middle of a true natural disaster area? Are you and your husband just strong enough to witness all of this suffering of your fellow human beings? I am afraid that at least I and I believe myself to be a compassionate person, I would not be strong enough to live in the middle of a totally devastated area....
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vikuk



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 1842

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The destruction in Mianyang city - was slight compaired to that in nearby rural areas - just like Dujiangyan, Deyang and other large quake hit towns on the edge of the shock area - it's now up and running, I suspect almost as normal. Where the wealthy live - things always seem to get mended quicker!!!!
By the way that motorway connection - no probs - tourists are now using it to get to Jiuzhaigou and Songpan - the old route that went via Dujiangyan - still totally down.
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lionheartuk



Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 169
Location: Guangdong

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked at the school you have been offered a job at. I bought out of the contract after one semester. My advice is to refuse. Sunny's is not in my opinion, a reliable agency and they took over the contract for the school from another agency in Chengdu.

Not many foreign teachers stay there for a full year because of the attitude of the school's leaders. One teacher did a full year but only to get his bonuses. I was made to feel that I was a bad teacher because the feedback was negative and always a month late.

The Chinese teachers were only available when it suited them so I could not discuss any lesson planning with them. then they had the nerve to say I didn't try to speak to them. That meant I could be doing a lesson that was too difficult for the students but I would not be informed until the next monthly meeting.

Resources consisted of a blackboard and photocopied work. Class sizes averaged 40 students.

My apartment was off campus 10 minutes walk away. Noisy, cold in winter, concrete floor and roaches. I had to pay all utilitity bills including internet and television all from less than 4000 a month.

The shopping centre is a 20 minute bus ride away then a 15 minute walk from the bus stop at journey end.

I had always wanted to teach in Mianyang but the experience disappointed me. I have since worked in two schools. The first one want me to go back next year and my current school want me to stay another year.
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vikuk

Quote:
If you really do want to help Chinese children - you don't do through recruiters like Sunny's English Club!!!! Try looking up NGO's that have on-going projects in the quake area


Excellent words. Not that therer is anything wrong teaching such kids.

I am teaching at a CAG school, 9 month tuition close to 50,000 RMB. This past summer they had volunteers working at their school, to help the poor and needy children of course.

Izzy, if you are totally self-dufficient, that is have no need of the salary, there are other places you can teach, though these places usually can not offer a z-visa. If you are going to work there, in the hope of helping, then make sure you have a contract for the fewest hours possioble. Always has to talk to the current FTs
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Izzy215



Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you to everyone for replying. I will take what has been said into consideration. I am going to answer a few questions placed before me.

First, I have not lived in a real natural disaster zone do I know if I could handle living in a real natural disaster zone. I would like to think I could. Nnot because I am coldhearted or what not but because I think I would bee more compelled to try to help then shy away, but who knows for sure unless they have experienced it? Furthermore, I would want to bring my husband to the country I considered my second home by exposing him to an area for badly hit.

Secondly, thank you lionheartuk. Your information is very useful to me in helping me - and my husband - decide our course of action.

Thirdly, as much as I would love to volunteer my time and services to an NGO or other such organization. Nor could my husband. Not all of our time least ways. The reason being we are not able to move to China without earning a salary. We are moving to China to live, work and eventually to study (for myself). One day, once we have saved enough money and are settled enough, perhaps we will volunteer all our time. For now, we are looking for jobs.

Thank you very much again, if any of you have any suggestions as to where a young couple might be able to find work please feel free to contact me.

Izzy
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cfocpamba



Joined: 18 Sep 2010
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:51 pm    Post subject: Payment Reply with quote

I worked at this school. I was not paid any salary or reimbursed any travel expense.
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