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Chinese Canadian English teacher, am I just screwed?
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kavuo



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Chinese Canadian English teacher, am I just screwed? Reply with quote

So I'm 26 with BA and Tesol and 2 years experience teaching in Korea one year for public middle school, one in private. And I'm looking to get a job in China.

The catch is however, that I'm a Chinese Canadian born in Shanghai and immigrated to Canada at a young age. Due to my family, I was able to retain a lot of Chinese and I even slowly picked up reading and writing in Chinese. This is disheartening but I believe my time spent relearning Chinese may actually work against me landing a job in China.

I have attempted to look for jobs through recruiters and middlemen via dave's and few other sites. All of them seemed very interested but upon receiving my name or my passport photo, they would cease contact or say that the school doesn't want me.

Its almost time for me to renew contract for my Korean school and I just want to hear everyone's thoughts on Asians seeking employment in China as ESL teacher before I make my decision. I would like to know how realistic is it in 2012/2013 for me to land a job in a tier 1 or tier 2 city that pays a fair rate? and also how many native English teachers have you came across that had Asian background?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks a bunch and happy Canucksgiving everyone Very Happy
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7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5681
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your knowledge of Chinese isn't going to work against you, in fact it'll make your life a lot easier here in China.

The problem could/will be your ethnicity, and if it is then it can be overcome. While this might make finding a job more difficult it won't be impossible. I've worked with two other Chinese born Canadians, and there are others out there. You'll likely need to cast a wider net (smaller cities and schools in places that aren't so popular, but that's the way it goes) when doing the job search, and exercise a bit more patience.

If recruiters are turned off by the way you look then try contacting the schools on your own. Here's one site that allows you to do just that:

China TEFL

You got hired in Korea, China isn't a lot different for the most part.
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JamesD



Joined: 17 Mar 2003
Posts: 741
Location: "As far as I'm concerned bacon comes from a magical happy place."

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree that it will be more difficult but in the end you will probably have a much better experience than most because you will be hired by a school that is more professional, open-minded, and supportive.
Those that make hiring decisions weighted by ethnicity are more likely to be the ones satisfied with dancing monkeys.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder why you would want to do this. Am I mistaken here?

You have family from China. A Korean in Korea has more options with visas and work conditions. A Chinese person would have way more options. A Korean or American for that matter would have to marry a Chinese person or trust a Chinese person to open a business. Yet, it is quite possible if you are Korean and have connections in the northeastern part of China where Korean communities live. I guess for Japan, it might be easier in Shanghai (unless that whole island fiasco is still affecting things).

Maybe you can't run the rat race we European looking faced people have entered into, but you have options to make some real cash.

Your family could hire us, lol, Laughing (Maybe you are too kind and don't want to do that).

Anyway, until I see the root of the problem I might be missing, then I don't have much sympathy for you. I wish I had the connections.
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kavuo



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinatimes wrote:
I wonder why you would want to do this. Am I mistaken here?

You have family from China. A Korean in Korea has more options with visas and work conditions. A Chinese person would have way more options. A Korean or American for that matter would have to marry a Chinese person or trust a Chinese person to open a business. Yet, it is quite possible if you are Korean and have connections in the northeastern part of China where Korean communities live. I guess for Japan, it might be easier in Shanghai (unless that whole island fiasco is still affecting things).

Maybe you can't run the rat race we European looking faced people have entered into, but you have options to make some real cash.

Your family could hire us, lol, Laughing (Maybe you are too kind and don't want to do that).

Anyway, until I see the root of the problem I might be missing, then I don't have much sympathy for you. I wish I had the connections.


I'm not quite sure where that assumption comes from. Its like if an American born white guy who doesn't speak English well grew up China and wants to teach Chinese in the states. Are you also going to assume he should have a lot more options because he has distant relatives there? Most people like me who have moved out of country for 20+ years don't really have a close family to go back to, and since I'm no longer a Chinese citizen, the visa requirement would not differ for any other foreigner seeking employment in China.

My aim is to spend some time in China for a year or so earning some money from teaching and tutoring. While also taking the opportunity to get back to my roots and take my Mandarin to the next level so I can earn a better living there, teaching or otherwise.

Not everyone that immigrated from China have loads of guanxi and disposable sums of cash to invest in business ventures. I'm just trying to make do like everyone else that suffered from bad economy back home and looking to do something I enjoy.

Sorry if I sounded hostile, I just wanted to explain my situation and I'm actually curious to see where your assumption comes from.
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ecubyrd



Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, we hired a Chinese American (American born) at my school (in Shanghai) recently, so it is possible to find teaching positions with your background. We happen to be one of those schools like the first part of what JamesD mentioned. As far as the second part he mentioned, there were many people that applied and came in for demo lessons during our latest hiring period. There were quite a few that demoed in that way. We, on the hiring committee weren't interested in that kind of teaching. We chose the most suitable candidate for our school, ie not the "dancing monkey" type.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not quite sure where that assumption comes from. Its like if an American born white guy who doesn't speak English well grew up China and wants to teach Chinese in the states. Are you also going to assume he should have a lot more options because he has distant relatives there?


If my family is not broken (no domestic problems), then I have connections. I could be black or white with a black/white mother and a Chinese father.

I can't do that because my parents' parents came from European backgrounds. I don't speak the language of America. I speak an imported language from Europe. Canada has another imported language from Europe. Mexico and South America have a third imported language from Europe.

It's sure nice to have ancestors that speak the language and are national citizens. However, I am not really talking about travel, so I'll stick with China.


Quote:
the visa requirement would not differ for any other foreigner seeking employment in China.


I worked for a Korean American, and he was the owner. He married into a Chinese family, and I am sure a lot of what he can do has bearing on the fact he has connections.

Don't believe if you want to. I am only sharing pros to your situation if you have Chinese relatives (= connections).

Quote:
My aim is to spend some time in China for a year or so earning some money from teaching and tutoring. While also taking the opportunity to get back to my roots and take my Mandarin to the next level so I can earn a better living there, teaching or otherwise.


You think you only need 1 year? Hmm...

Ok, well...

Quote:
Not everyone that immigrated from China have loads of guanxi and disposable sums of cash to invest in business ventures.


You sure like to cut off options without looking into them. If I went back to relatives and got connections from others who had money then I could put together enough. A person without the connections would have more difficulty if not impossible.

If it is just not what you want, that's cool. I am merely stating my opinion with envy because I was not born with Asian relatives, and I really enjoy living in Asia (I really hate having to justify living here by getting visas). However, because I am not Asian, I can't get the same treatment.

Quote:
I just wanted to explain my situation and I'm actually curious to see where your assumption comes from.


It comes from living in Japan, Korea, and China for more than 2 years. It comes from seeing people from all three countries welcome people with familial roots.

Again, if you just aren't interested in that, then join the rat race. It might be harder for you because the market is to promote a European language and you don't look European.

Chinese companies actually hire European looking faces to pretend for the day to be working for them. They go to a banquet or dinner and get paid.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/06/29/china.rent.white.people/index.html
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kavuo



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecubyrd wrote:
OP, we hired a Chinese American (American born) at my school (in Shanghai) recently, so it is possible to find teaching positions with your background. We happen to be one of those schools like the first part of what JamesD mentioned. As far as the second part he mentioned, there were many people that applied and came in for demo lessons during our latest hiring period. There were quite a few that demoed in that way. We, on the hiring committee weren't interested in that kind of teaching. We chose the most suitable candidate for our school, ie not the "dancing monkey" type.


Good to hear, I'm glad there are schools like yours out there! I appreciate all helpful inputs so far.
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L00kingforwork



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also a Chinese Canadian born in China. Currently, I'm working at a small language school in Guangzhou. I speak Cantonese fluently and some Mandarin.

Here's my package if you want to compare your future job offers.

-20 teaching hours
-2 hours of English corner
-All statutory holidays off including the one month during Chinese New Year (full paid)
-"Free" 2-bedroom apt. I actually pay 400RMB because my total rent is -2700RMB per month, but the school can only pay up to 2300RMB.
-7200RMB salary (no taxes or maybe they're already taken)
-Travel allowance (I don't remember how much)

There are plenty of jobs available in China. You just have to keep looking. Like the others have said, wait for the better schools to contact you. You should decide on which city you want to work and live in first though.
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El Macho



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, you say that you have already taught for two years. Are you a certified teacher? If you are, I know schools that might be interested in you. Once you get away from the lowest of the "language mills", credentials and ability matter infinitely more than skin color.
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kavuo



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

L00kingforwork wrote:
I'm also a Chinese Canadian born in China. Currently, I'm working at a small language school in Guangzhou. I speak Cantonese fluently and some Mandarin.

Here's my package if you want to compare your future job offers.

-20 teaching hours
-2 hours of English corner
-All statutory holidays off including the one month during Chinese New Year (full paid)
-"Free" 2-bedroom apt. I actually pay 400RMB because my total rent is -2700RMB per month, but the school can only pay up to 2300RMB.
-7200RMB salary (no taxes or maybe they're already taken)
-Travel allowance (I don't remember how much)

There are plenty of jobs available in China. You just have to keep looking. Like the others have said, wait for the better schools to contact you. You should decide on which city you want to work and live in first though.


That sounds pretty good, was the roundtrip air covered? And what channel would you recommend to find a school like yours?

I hope to land a job in Suzhou if possible.

Quote:
OP, you say that you have already taught for two years. Are you a certified teacher? If you are, I know schools that might be interested in you. Once you get away from the lowest of the "language mills", credentials and ability matter infinitely more than skin color.


I am not certified, my BA was not in Education field, but those are encouraging comments, thanks
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L00kingforwork



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kavuo, I sent you a PM. I'm not sure if you can see or reply PM's yet. I believe you need at least 5 posts before you can use the PM functions.
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kavuo



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got, thanks for the follow up. It looks like there are a lot of positions available in Suzhou, I shall give it a try
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mnguy29



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach at a good University in a great south China city and we have about 35 foreign teachers. I have met one of the new teachers who is asian and from Los Angeles. Yes, they will hire you if you are what they want.
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L00kingforwork



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mnguy29 wrote:
I teach at a good University in a great south China city and we have about 35 foreign teachers. I have met one of the new teachers who is asian and from Los Angeles. Yes, they will hire you if you are what they want.


35 foreign teachers? That's a lot. Which city are you in if you don't mind me asking?
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