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Author Topic: Wondering ....  (Read 2784 times)

AMonk

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Wondering ....
« on: August 11, 2008, 06:43:54 AM »
I was reading some reviews about schools and/or recruiters.  It struck me that even though ESL teachers can and do often walk away from bqbqbqbqbq situations, they may well have kind words for their Chinese colleagues.  And I wondered....How does a local teacher get hired? and what happens if they don't like the position(s) they find themsleves in...??...
Moderation....in most things...

BubbaBait

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 07:48:36 AM »
All too often, a 'local' gets their job at a College or University by bribery, and it is very difficult to change schools. Bummer.

Ruth

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 09:11:04 AM »
My only knowledge of this is from the three years I spent in a senior middle school in Liaoning.  It was a small city, with three such schools.  I worked at the number 2 school, and yes, they were numbered by ranking.  All students aspired to attend No. 1 and teachers there were supposedly better. 

a) One of the best teachers in the English department at No. 2 moved to No. 1 at the summer break during my first year there.  She wanted the move and I'm not sure what she did to achieve it. 

b) A good teacher at No. 1 came to No. 2 as a vice principal.  It was allegedly a promotion.  She certainly wasn't second to the principal and in effect had very little power.  She did become a strong ally for English education at No. 2 but no power to implement anything useful.  She was really unhappy in the job because she missed the students and the classroom and felt her abilities were being wasted. 

c) Another teacher left during my first summer there, apparently to try something new, but she was still getting her salary from the school.  I never did understand this situation.  Apparently the 'something new' didn't work out and she showed up in the office with just a month or so of the school year left.  She had to be there every day but had no classes to teach.  The following Sept. she was back in a classroom.

d) The student population grew and more Chinese English teachers than the 22 who were there when I arrived were needed.  Enter a couple of young ones fresh out of uni/teachers college.  This is gossip, but I heard it from two different sources - one gal's parents allegedly paid 30,000 kuai for their daughter to get the position.

My friends at that school stay because the job is secure and the pay is decent for the area.  They work a lot of overtime in extra classes even though the Chinese government says extra classes aren't okay.  (Students paying for them, that is.  But it happens.)  They get 10 kuai an hour for the evening classes and extra lessons.  (Imagine us working for that!)  There is no option to say 'no' to the extra lessons; it's an expectation of the job.  My friend starts school this Friday.  She's teaching senior 3 this year and we all know the pressure those kids (and teachers!) will be under to do well come uni entrance exam time in June.  Real school starts Sept 1st, but these kids need all the cramming they can get between now and next June, so...

The good teachers are 'rewarded' with the better classes and with teaching the grade 3 students (more overtime = more money and more students who do well on uni entrance exams = more bonus money).  Usually a teacher begins with a class at the grade 1 level and teaches the same kids for three years (God help the kids who get a poor teacher), but some teachers always teach grade 3 and some teachers never get good enough to rise to teaching that level.  Guanxi is definitely involved.

One teacher at the junior middle school was caught charging her own students for private lessons.  She was 'demoted' to a primary school in the countryside for three years.

I'm heading there for a visit this week.  Will try to get a more specific answer on the actual hiring process.
If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.

James the Brit

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 09:52:13 AM »
A friend of mine teaches ESL in China. He is Chinese from GuangDong. His English is better than mine and knows a lot more about English grammar than me.

If he is in the  bqbqbqbqbq like he has been before he just walks away from the job. However he knows that he can actually do something about it, if  bqbqbqbqbq hits the fan. He feels sorry for us laowai who teach ESL in China, who get screwed sometimes and don't know the system.

Foscolo

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2008, 11:28:03 PM »
Mrs Foscolo was required to attend interview sessions for Chinese teachers in order to comment on their proficiency in English and awareness of ESL teaching methodology. These were taken into consideration, but "other factors" were also decisive. For example, family status and Party connections. Very China.
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non-dave

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2008, 01:35:29 AM »
AMonk, I was talking to Yolanda about this yesterday. She's a registered teacher and attended a 5 year program at a teachers college in Heilongjiang.

One of her classmates just got married to a guy in Beijing and is now waiting in her hometown in Heilongjiang to get a teaching job, before going back to Beijing. That didn't make any sense to me. Surely she should be looking for a job in Beijing?

Here's how it works...

People who graduated from a Teachers College prior to 2005 are part of a government "guaranteed job for life" program. As long as they graduate the government is required to employ them as teachers in a government school. More recent graduates miss out.

The teachers wait for the government to offer the positions, go to the school and collect their bank card for their pay, and decide whether they actually want to teach there or not. If they do teach there, they turn up for work every day and life goes no. If they decide (then or later) that it's too hard, too boring, or get a better offer elsewhere, they stop going. The government keeps paying money into their bank account each month regardless. Up north it starts at about 1500 per month and is increased each year. It continues on into retirement.

According to Yolanda, most of her classmates completed the course but have very little interest in actually being teachers, just want the salary. This explained to me why, at our wedding with all her English-teacher qualified classmates, none of them could speak English!

Sometimes a small payment may be necessary to the school principal to grease the wheels. Sometimes a position can be "sub-let" to another teacher. Many new graduates (without the guarantee) are desperate for jobs, so the "guaranteed" teachers will give them their own position for a part of the salary, usually 600-800RMB per month. The new teachers take it and are happy with it, because it's a job in an industry with too many qualified people looking for too few positions.

Having the guarantee also means that a teacher can go and try other jobs and businesses and come back to the school anytime they like if things don't go as planned. That's pretty good security!

So Yolanda's recently married classmate is waiting for her salary card and then intends returning to Beijing to be with her husband there, but will also be returning with the a guaranteed "job for life" and 1500RMB per month going into her own bank account from her teaching job in a small village in the middle of Heilongjiang province, that she will never, ever teach at. Unless she wants to and decides one day to turn up there and say, "Hey! I'm a teacher here. Where can I sit and read the paper?" (Read Ruth's (c) above to give this some perspective)

Yolanda hasn't got her job yet, but it's coming... "3 years is a bit long to wait for a job" says I. Apparently, they did "Government entrance" type exams first and offered jobs quickly to the one's who passed. Now they're doling out the jobs to those who didn't pass the exam (but did graduate from the college) - like her classmate.

Also, those who took other jobs after graduation (like Yolanda), and didn't bother to do sit the exam don't mind the wait. They know it will happen eventually and once you've got it, it's yours for life.
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Ruth

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2008, 02:39:19 PM »
Thanks Non-Dave (and Yolanda) for that very clear explanation.  It sure helps me understand some things I didn't understand before. 

I checked with my friend and she said basically the same thing (although not in such clear detail).  She is in her mid-30s so falls well into the 'before 2005' graduating class.  Indeed, all teachers who graduated were assigned jobs by the government.  She was given a job in a junior middle school.  She moved to the senior middle school after a few years, not because it is a better job but because she prefers teaching that age group.  Money changed hands for this to happen.  She told me that money is not the most important thing.  Important people in the Education Bureau make the decisions about who teaches where.  If you don't personally know someone in the Bureau, it's good to have a friend who knows someone in the Bureau and to part with a few kuai.

Does anyone in China have the concept that ability should count for something?
If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.

James the Brit

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 03:11:09 PM »
Does anyone in China have the concept that ability should count for something?

Hmmm... no. Singing at the Olympics is a good example.

Mister Al

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Re: Wondering ....
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2008, 03:28:17 AM »
Does anyone in China have the concept that ability should count for something?

Hmmm... no. Singing at the Olympics is a good example.

Absolutely.........but it's just the way they do things around here. Ability is irrellevant. So be it.

I lived in Chongqing a few years ago and had to go to the local Labour Bureau over a contract dispute. When the guy saw my contract (RMB11k a month + etc etc) he nearly fainted and said it was the highest salary he had ever seen. He said that I shouldn't be bothering him with a claim when I obviously had so much money (not true I may add) and he wasn't to happy to say the least. I did try to explain my salary was related to my 'expertise/ability' but he wasn't having any of that. He said that whoever I had 'guanxi' with to get so high a salary could sort out the problem for me. That was that. I gave up pursuing the case in the end and took a job in Malaysia, before coming back here to the middle kingdom. Anyway, my point is, I still prefer a system where you need to stress your 'ability' when negotiating as opposed to having to go through the system the local Chinese face just to get a job. How awful. So a big thanks from me to our hosts for not allowing me the laowai to be part of their system. Good on ya.
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