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Why are employers in China so awful?
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: China Reply with quote

China is a genuine minefield for teachers, and the apologists do their colleagues no favours by claiming that it is all down to alcoholic misfits who couldn't teach their grannies how to suck eggs, and would complain even if they won the lottery.

There are very real problems for the unwary in the Chinese EFL market, accompanied by the distinct possibility of having a grim experience.

Don't tell me the many thousands of teachers who complain on various boards are all off their rockers!!

Having spent several years working in China, my advice would be to read every contract very carefully and ask potential employers to change/clarify anything that seems unreasonable. If they won't, tell them thanks, but no thanks, and move on to the next offer. There is plenty of work in China, so don't just jump at the first offer you get.

Persevere with your job search, and hopefully you can find some terms and conditions that actually work to the benefit of both the employer and the teacher, and are not all skewed against you as an employee, as so many contracts seem to be these days.

Chinese employers are not unique when it comes to screwing teachers over, but to point at other countries and say well, it happens there too, is not any kind of excuse, and does not make getting screwed over in China any more acceptable.

Look for jobs in China by all means, but take a tough stance when it comes to signing the contract. There is more demand than supply and you should always bear that in mind.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Job #1: uni, standard pay and perks, 16 hours a week and pretty easy work, bosses leave us alone but do take pretty good care of all of us

Job #2: teaching kiddies, I am illegally employed there and underpaid according to others on this board, don't like kids in general but the boss is cool so far and gives me some good feedback, I've learned a lot about teaching in this job but I won't be sorry when June rolls around

Potential Job #3: rural high school a short ways outside of the city, shockingly poor given the "economic miracle" of China, beautiful but way underused expressway goes by it while the school has no heat except in the director's office, waiting to see what their proposal is, technically not allowed to teach here but my uni bosses referred me to the job, did a demo lesson and was treated like royalty

Got bills to pay and I don't like one-on-one tutoring. This all works out for me and I really have no complaints so far. I don't work very hard, my standard of living is far higher than what I left in the States, and I'm saving money for the first time in years. I'm a newbie in China and I think I'm doing OK. I did not take the first job I was offered and the recruiter delivered exactly what she promised. I looked at and interviewed for all the big schools but my warning senses kept popping up. Given the hours you have to work and the high burnout rate of these places, they just didn't appeal to me.

For people who are having a hard time, I would ask why are you still there and have you considered why you got into such a position? Yes, there are some really bad operators in this country but many of us are doing just fine. As long as the unscrupulous operators can get teachers applying to them, they will play their games.

DG
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:
DirtGuy wrote:
Um, I have 2 employers and may take on a 3rd job. I get treated just fine. No complaints so far. Maybe I just got lucky.
Is this about so much free time or freebies to do?

Does it matter? the guy likes his job.
Yes, it matters. Aside his inconsistencies and willingness to work for low pay he says
Quote:
..I am illegally employed there...don't like kids ....but the boss is cool so far and gives me some good feedback...
Not taking this out of context but pointing to the fact that some people are quite unprofessional which may contribute to the industry's problems. Their selfishness and poor assessment of their own qualifications, experiences, skills and talent cater to the unscrupulous local employers' needs.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 269
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:01 am    Post subject: Re: China Reply with quote

the lowlander wrote:


There are very real problems for the unwary in the Chinese EFL market, accompanied by the distinct possibility of having a grim experience.

Don't tell me the many thousands of teachers who complain on various boards are all off their rockers!!


Well, frankly, using this as evidence is pretty weak. Thousands of teacher complaining? This board runs about 4 new posts a week from a country with TENS OF THOUSANDS of English teachers in one of the biggest ESL markets. (and half of the complaints are made by the same guys over and over!) There are a couple more boards online, but actually the complaints are pretty few and far between all things considered.

Even compared to another country ON THIS WEBSITE, teachers in China seem to be enjoying their lives enough and being treated decently enough not to be spending their free time on the keyboard WARNING everybody away from the life they will experience here in China.

I don't want to disregard anyone's bad experience. It does happen and there are some unscrupulous people here. But it is really NOT the norm. I have worked at 3 places in China and never once not gotten paid my salary on time, nor have i met ANYONE in China who had this problem. I'm sure they are out there, but I haven't met anyone! I spent 5 years working in another country in Asia and had problems with pay at EVERY job I worked and almost every teacher I knew had been ripped off by a boss at some time or another.

China is not perfect, for sure. You won't get rich here and it has it's own difficulties, but there are far worse places to work in the ESL world. Good luck finding those "thousands" of teachers complaining about their experience in China online. Massive hyperbole.
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Lancy Bloom



Joined: 23 Nov 2012
Posts: 124
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

China is different. It has a harmonious society where everyone but the lao wai is part of. So even though there are hundreds of recruiters and schools advertising here they all have some connections with the people issuing Z visas. They all know each other. There is a black list because they are all exchanging the same applications and resume's. They know who's naughty and nice. So you better naught pout there are thousand scanning your price.
They are chasing finders fees putting your face on their associates websites to get the best price for you.
They have taught each other the trick of telling a teacher after watching a class they gave that they are great teachers and just before the trial month is up they report that there has been many complaints. You can go or take another posting for less money.
The last Z I got from an infamous Hangzhou H. I was in the Security Bureau for two hours waiting for some young Russian girls in net stockings to get their Z's. Good old Hangzhou H has friends. She is also connected to the thousands of other recruiters in the harmonious ESL industry.
Been in China 8 years and I have yet to meet anyone who has had a contract honored. Everyone loses who comes to China to teach. What are you gonna do if you have no contact other than a computer contact with the person who arranged everythign?
This site is mainly operated by recruiters and head hunters. My writing will vanish in 3 days. People will fight and then it will be locked. Recruiters and headhunters have it down. The only way to stop it is to start putting the names and e-mail addresses of these people up for view. Actually won't stop them but keep them busy. The are just like Hangzhou Hellon
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choudoufu



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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lancy, you're just proving simon correct. who complains the loudest?
mostly it be those who take shortcuts, work on F-visas, come over on
tourist visas hoping to eventually maybe 'convert' to work visas.

"The last 2 years in China have been dreadful for me. The problem is a result
of recruiters. I have paid my way to work at different school (public ) and just
before it is time to finish the paper work and making a Hong Kong run for the
Z visa................."
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: China Reply with quote

Simon in Suzhou wrote:
the lowlander wrote:


There are very real problems for the unwary in the Chinese EFL market, accompanied by the distinct possibility of having a grim experience.

Don't tell me the many thousands of teachers who complain on various boards are all off their rockers!!


Well, frankly, using this as evidence is pretty weak. Thousands of teacher complaining? This board runs about 4 new posts a week from a country with TENS OF THOUSANDS of English teachers in one of the biggest ESL markets. (and half of the complaints are made by the same guys over and over!) There are a couple more boards online, but actually the complaints are pretty few and far between all things considered.

Even compared to another country ON THIS WEBSITE, teachers in China seem to be enjoying their lives enough and being treated decently enough not to be spending their free time on the keyboard WARNING everybody away from the life they will experience here in China.

I don't want to disregard anyone's bad experience. It does happen and there are some unscrupulous people here. But it is really NOT the norm. I have worked at 3 places in China and never once not gotten paid my salary on time, nor have i met ANYONE in China who had this problem. I'm sure they are out there, but I haven't met anyone! I spent 5 years working in another country in Asia and had problems with pay at EVERY job I worked and almost every teacher I knew had been ripped off by a boss at some time or another.

China is not perfect, for sure. You won't get rich here and it has it's own difficulties, but there are far worse places to work in the ESL world. Good luck finding those "thousands" of teachers complaining about their experience in China online. Massive hyperbole.
So, this is the strong "evidence" that proves the mainland Chinese market is to be trusted more. Are there really so few critics around or just on the boards? Is the salary that's paid on time the indicator employers are better or richer?
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My previous post is not massive hyperbole.

If you take the time to look, you will find that quite literally, many thousands of people have written about their bad experiences in China.

As an example, In my last job I was told at the interview stage that my salary would be X and the hours would be X.

After uprooting my wife and travelling to the uni, I was then told that the salary I had been promised was gross, not net, and was now worth considerably less due to tax and other previously unmentioned deductions.

I had asked about this at the interview, and had been assured that the money on offer was net. However, when I turned up ready to go, they had apparently had made a mistake when they explained the money to me.

"Language barrier. Sorry."

I was also informed upon arrival that the salary would be pro-rata. This was the first I'd heard of this crucial piece of information,

This meant no paid holidays, or payment for classes the uni had cancelled due to sports days etc, of which there were many, however they also expected me to do a considerable amount of unpaid work conducting seminars and English corners and anything else that popped into their heads.

A typical case of the school having their cake and eating it. They didn't want to pay me if I wasn't working "officially", but they also expected me to do a lot of unpaid "unofficial" work.

Then there was the class load. I had been categorically told I would teach 14 classes before I arrived. Upon my arrival this changed to 18 classes. Their excuse? "Oh, we meant 14 clock hours which is equal to 18 classes."

"Sorry. Some misunderstanding."

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

The bottom line here is that after some years away from China, I was too trusting upon my return and took my employers word at face value. I was shown a copy of the contract during the interview, but I was too busy talking to read it properly, and I was asked to leave it behind when I left.

This should have rung warning bells, but my guard was down.

As I said in my previous post, check your contracts carefully, and if there's anything you don't like, find something else. Demand is greater than supply.

China is not a total horror show, but neither is it filled with laughing TEFLERS dancing happily under lollipop trees beside rivers of chocolate and candyfloss flowers, as some blinkered members of the "bad things must happen, but I've never met anyone they've happened to" brigade would have you believe.


Last edited by the lowlander on Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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choudoufu



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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the lowlander wrote:
....I was shown a copy of the contract during the interview, but I was too busy talking to read it properly, and I was asked to leave it behind when I left....



Shocked dude, ya made me spit scotch all over ma keyboard!


Last edited by choudoufu on Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the lowlander wrote:
My previous post is not massive hyperbole.

If you take the time to look, you will find that quite literally, many thousands of people have written about their bad experiences in China.

I call BS on this. Dave's is easily the most well known and most visited site for ESL teachers and the number of complaints on here is miniscule compared to the size of the Chinese ESL market. It's already been pointed out that many of the complaints that do appear here are by the same people or posters who get banned and reappear with a new name but same complaints. There are other ESL sites but with less traffic than this one. If you're aware of thousands of unhappy people posting their complaints online where can we find them? Wouldn't they post their stories where they'd get the widest audience? Your previous post was massive hyperbole.

China can be a minefield for newbies but sites like this one, with experienced members ready to pass on helpful advice, can be the mine detector that helps most people avoid most problems.
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BS mate?

I don't think so.

Are you seriously saying that thousands of people haven't complained about working in China, and that all you have to do is look on Dave's to avoid problems?

I mean, are you REALLY serious?

It's all just 3 disgruntled loonies posting under lots of different names, but don't worry, Dave's will see you through?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry!!

I'm not suggesting that thousands of folk are posting every day, as you seem to imply, but I am telling you that there are thousands of complaints out there if you care to look.


Last edited by the lowlander on Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed

Yes.

The whole contract thing wasn't one of my brighter moments.

I mention it to warn people that they really have to be on the ball.

Read the contract properly, at your leisure, and don't make the same mistake that I made.

Verbal understandings aren't worth the paper they're written on!!!
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the lowlander wrote:
BS mate?

I don't think so.

Are you seriously saying that thousands of people haven't complained about working in China, and that all you have to do is look on Dave's to avoid problems?

I mean, are you REALLY serious?

I hear complaints about working in China everyday. The water went out over the weekend, no-one told me beforehand. Internet was spotty for a few days. Salary was a day or a few days late. Students are unresponsive. I had to work Saturday so I could get the Monday holiday off. I was told I had to go to English corner every week. My apartment is next door to a drum school. My FAO doesn't respond to emails within 48 hours of me sending them. This is typical workplace banter that everyone complains about at some point, but it's not the stuff of awful employers.

Do I hear people complain about working for an awful employer who withholds their salary? Provides a shithole for an apartment? Takes away their passports and refuses to return them? Abuses them verbally or physically? No. Because most employers are not doing these things, and if they were this forum would be lit up with the stories.

China can be a minefield for newbies but sites like this one, with experienced members ready to pass on helpful advice, can help most people avoid most problems. What this site cannot do is prevent people from making stupid decisions like coming over on the wrong visa and working illegally, or taking a job with terrible conditions that were spelled out in a contract that someone didn't bother to read. I've been on this forum awhile now and I see the occasional job that went pear shaped for someone but not "many thousands" of them.
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the lowlander



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 171
Location: The Oort Cloud

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry mate, are you living in Disneyland China just outside Orlando?

Perhaps we're talking about two different places.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be kind enough to tell us where we can find the stories posted by many thousands of people who are having horrible experiences, then I'll go away Laughing

(In truth i just can't be bothered to waste more time with this)
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