Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

They want me to work, well ... all the time

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only)
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
NLuchs



Joined: 05 May 2012
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: They want me to work, well ... all the time Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

First: thanks for reading this, I'm hoping to get some good advice from you guys. Second: please allow me to introduce myself. I'm 22 years old,recently obtained my bachelor and am now working in China in a kindergarten teaching English and 'international culture' (yes, to 2-5 year olds). The kindergarten is beautiful and my colleagues are very nice (though only one person speaks English, unfortunately) and the kids are cute. Oh, and I work for this kindergarten via an agency, i.e. my contract is with the agency.

My problem: after the first week of relatively normal hours they wanted me to work a Saturday-morning. Then the second week they wanted me to work late and last week, my third in China, they wanted me to work late three days and Saturday. The last evening and Saturday I already had plans and told them so, but now they expect me to work six days next week even though it's the start of the holidays. Basically: I feel my hours (from 7.30 to 17.30 with a 2 hour lunch break) are long enough and I want to spend my holiday with my friends.
So I'm about as green as they get when it comes to ESL teaching, but my friend, who's lived in China and worked for the same agency for about a year now, told me that I should just say no. I have to admit, I'm not particularly comfortable with saying 'no', especially when all these Chinese teachers (who make half what I make) have no choice but to work. I don't think this will improve my relationship with them..

I have contacted my agency just now and told them I don't want to work late or weekends. I'll let you know what they say. Anyway, I'm looking for advice I guess. What would you do if you were in my shoes? How do you think I should handle the situation?

Thanks so much in advance! You'll be helping me out a lot (also maintaining my sanity..) by reading and replying!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
7969



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

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: They want me to work, well ... all the time Reply with quote

NLuchs wrote:
I'm not particularly comfortable with saying 'no', especially when all these Chinese teachers (who make half what I make) have no choice but to work. I don't think this will improve my relationship with them..

You're not Chinese and you have a different contract from those other teachers. Your friend is right - start learning to say no or be prepared to be at the beck and call of your boss 24/7. It's your choice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

step one would be to read your contract. what are the contractual
working hours.

btw, what are they paying you for 40 hours/week?

and what type of visa do you have?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5813
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto and ditto.

You should have a set, contracted amount of hours. Granted, they can be spread over a long day as you've described, but unless it was already agreed to by you that your hours would include weekends and holidays, then you have absolutely no obligation to work those hours, regardless of your Chinese colleagues. If they want you to work overtime and pay you for it, that's a whole 'nother can of worms you'll have to figure out.

Also, this coming week is a 6-day work week for many teachers as the week-long holiday is coming up (well, actually 8-day holiday for most) and many of us are obliged to trade out Saturday, 9/29 for one of the days midway through the "golden week".
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1188

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many agencies and schools specifically seek out fresh graduates because they know that it is much easier to intimidate and abuse them.
What does your contract say ?

Also, on paper your salary may be more than the Chinese teachers. But, after you have been in China for a while you will see that the Chinese teachers have access to many benefits and perks that you will never have.
In the end, their total benefits and salary might be much higher than yours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kungfuman



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 1510
Location: In My Own Private Idaho

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kev7161 wrote:


Also, this coming week is a 6-day work week for many teachers as the week-long holiday is coming up (well, actually 8-day holiday for most) and many of us are obliged to trade out Saturday, 9/29 for one of the days midway through the "golden week".


My question to my department head was " hey boss, you want me to work Saturday, which day of the week schedule should I use for the 29th?"

His answer was " I don't know, just pick one.."

I picked the Tuesday schedule, as I have only one class...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So I'm about as green as they get when it comes to ESL teaching, but my friend, who's lived in China and worked for the same agency for about a year now


First, my school is asking for an extra because all next week is a holiday. If they offer something like this don't fight it and don't use it against them later. Take the exchange.

I am sure you aren't specifically talking about this kind of request, but I wanted you to know there are 2 kinds.

The other kind I deal with by giving the school 2 blocks a day, each block is 3 or 4 classes. Sometimes, there is a block to finish off the total hours needed with only 2 classes. However, I don't allow this every day or even 3 days. They must group the classes together.

If they need to extend my availability, I give them one break anywhere within that 4 class range (ex: class 1, class 2, 1 hour break, class 3, class 4)

They get 10 hours a week to play with. In China, schools like to make teachers work 6 days. This part may be an issue for you, and my personal opinion is that you should discuss this before signing a contract. I never sign a contract with 6 days mentioned. I always make sure Saturday and Sunday or 2 consecutive days are off. Then, if working on the weekend helps both of us out (giving me more time off the following week), then we can break that agreement on a case by case scenario.

It seems like your classes are being spread out too much. The first thing I would do is request them to put the classes together, back to back. This will start to create blocks. Work on this 3 different times to get a mutually agreed schedule. After that, pick away at any remaining classes which are not part of a block of classes. I refused to show up for them at one school, and they eventually rescheduled a few classes.

Put your foot down gradually. Get small changes week by week. Don't go in with 100% or nothing demands. You won't last long if you expect a quick fix. Over time, your schedule can change, but you have keep a leash on your school and watch them at all times.

Then, the occasional request to do an extra class like this Saturday for holidays will not only be minor but it will give you more time off.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1544
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I generally agree with the above. As far as working with them, it DOES pay to be flexible. But you shouldn't be a contortionist when the school doesn't budge. They probably want you there mostly when parents of students or of prospective students will be around to see the foreigner interacting with the little darlings. You should work with them to some extent or at least understand that it is a business and they are trying to sell the international aspect through you. But be prepared to put your foot down and even to leave if necessary. Again, what does the contract say about hours? Overtime? etc.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
NLuchs



Joined: 05 May 2012
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for all the great advice! So my contracted working hours are 35 per week, 7 hours a day, and my agency has called the kindergarten to remind them of this. Today they also called me and told me about the same most of you guys are saying: If they ask you again, just say no. They also explained what kev7161 said about the upcoming holiday: that I'll have eight straight days of if I work this Saturday, so I'm not complaining about that anymore, haha. I think my days may become a little bit less long and a little more structured, because I had a good talk with them today.
As far as my classes are concerned: this is a new kindergarten and so far there are five (yes, five) kids! Two of which are 2 years old, one is 3 and the other two are 4. So my 'class' is really just interacting in English and trying to hold their attention.. (any tips in that department?)
So thanks again for all your help! I feel a little better about everything. Of course, if you have any further questions for me you can always pm me!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1188

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7 hours a day with 5 very young kids ?
My new definition of Hell........ Smile

Is it ok to ask ask how much you are earning ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4934
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more you work, the more the school and agency will make. The agency will not go to bat for you on this. Recheck your contract and enjoy being paid peanuts for your labour.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5813
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As far as my classes are concerned: this is a new kindergarten and so far there are five (yes, five) kids! Two of which are 2 years old, one is 3 and the other two are 4. So my 'class' is really just interacting in English and trying to hold their attention..


Sounds like babysitting to me. But then again, I have a class full of 26 first-graders, which is sometimes a nightmare. I think a nice round number such as 15 would be ideal (for me).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
basbas



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

every teacher in china with chinese boses has to strike a balance between being accommodating to the company you work for and being a door mat.

my experience is that chinese bosses and owners are ALWAYS trying to get something for free, i guess they feel that they pay you so much gosh darn it they are going to get their money's worth from you.

It's good to be helpful to your co workers, emergencies do arise, but when emergencies seem to arise every time your days off roll around it's time to assert yourself a little. Remember your not responsible for their poor planning and lack of organization.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only) All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC