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It seems ALL trainingcenters ask you to come on tourist visa
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Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 434
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:17 am    Post subject: Re: advice Reply with quote

creeper1 wrote:
I think a white face and a pulse are still all that is required to secure a teaching job. Maybe not the best teaching job in the world but a job at least.

Coming over on a tourist visa does have certain advantages. I don't want to overstate them but they are a chance to check out your employer, speak to teachers and most of all - be available to work immediately. It seems employers need someone to have started yesterday

But the huge disadvantage is that you have to fork out money for a trip to Hong Kong. And that trip to HK is not a valid way for someone who works in Guangdong province to get a Z-visa.

Anyone thinking of going the tourist visa route ought to be comfortably financially. Start up costs here are huge anyway. Typically 3 months rent upfront for your apartment + agent fee plus other expenses.

When you add in transport to HK and accomodation in HK you are looking at a lot of money.

If you consider the tourist visa option come with plenty of money. I'd say like $3000

It costs that much to go to Hong Kong? Or does that include paying the three months rent and everything too? Dont the schools pay for the trip sometimes? And, how do you like Beijing?
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Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "probation" and "demo lesson" part would definitely put me way off a job, despite the fact that I'm well-qualified and experienced. I once auditioned with a school in another country (where I was already living), everything went fine, but 3 of the students (all friends) didn't like me, complained about the lesson to the DOS, and then the DOS couldn't (or wouldn't) touch me with a 10-foot pole. So I'm saying, even a qualified teacher can get a bad evaluation from students, from unqualified administrators who don't know what good teaching is, or from qualified administrators who don't like your style or you personally. I worked at 4 other schools in that city, tons of classes all over, never a single complaint that I ever heard about. But I teach one class at that other school, and they treated me like I was an incompetent leper. To travel thousands of miles and possibly spend thousands of dollars for the chance of a "demo lesson" is, to me, a very bad proposition. In my opinion, you should never ever do this unless you are absolutely new to teaching and just have to get your foot in the door anyway you can. Even then you should think LONG and HARD about this decision, and I recommend a financial buffer in case it doesn't work out.

I'm not saying we should all be in a union, but for example, in the USA public teachers are generally unionized, and it's in the union contracts that you cannot be fired without the employer proving incompetence or misconduct, EVEN as a probationary teacher they need some level of proof. You obviously won't have this level of protection in China, but in this case you are actually signing a contract (or not even signing a contract!) that you can be fired at whim, for any reason.

Similarly, if they've invested in a visa for you and so on, they're much more likely to look at your positive qualities, since they're sort of stuck with you. Think of it like dating. If you do or say something stupid within the first five minutes of meeting someone, it's probably not going to go well. If you've known them for a while, they'll accept your mistakes and imperfections, doubly so if they are "invested" in you somehow. After a school has spent some dough getting you in-country, you are already dating, and don't have to go through the first-date or even first-approach bullshit.
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Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the same token, if you are actually new to teaching, then your first lessons might not actually go well. You want to be in a situation where the school has a vested interest in developing you, in helping you improve professionally. If you screw up, but they need you, and the DOS is any good, they'll give you some tips and help you along. Maybe they'll help you plan your next lessons until you get the hang of it, or just be generally forgiving, or have you monitor the lessons of more experienced teachers. Much better that than getting thrown out on your ear for not making the grade.

Similarly, teaching students from a new culture can be different. If you've taught 5 years in USA or Poland or wherever, that doesn't mean you know how to control a Chinese classroom or how to engage students from that cultural background.

And even good teachers can have an off day. It's a difficult subject, a difficult group of students, or you're just tired or out of sorts... you make a couple errors in classroom management, or your plan isn't working and the improvisation doesn't go well, maybe you get a bit flustered by a tough question or a super demanding student... all of this can happen even to a very experienced teacher, and it can all look bad, even if the lesson overall was good. What happens in the classroom always has an element of chaos to it.
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Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hint to new teachers... don't come expecting to be groomed or assisted or helped in the classroom. At least at the universities where I've worked, you have to be ready to jump in and swim on your first day... without a lifeguard.
Sure, other FTs will usually be happy to give you hints and ideas but you probably won't even know the other FTs when you first start.

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