Off work, this list is a lot shorter.
I've been interviewing a lot lately- going from freelancing back to a steadier full-time gig I hope- and am freshly stunned by the litany of unreasonable and unconscionable things schools here try to slip past us. It got me to thinking, and I came up with the following list. Add to it if ya got one!
Things I Won't Do For A School
1. Allow my passport/residence permit/work permit/etc. to be held hostage by the school or recruiter.
These docs stay in my possession at all times except as needed for necessary legal processes, such as renewing a residence permit. If they're not released to me in a timely manner, I stop teaching and immediately call my Consulate. This passport-holding practice is The Big One...probably the single stupidest thing you can possibly allow to happen in a job here. Never, ever let anyone do this.
2. Accept a probation period at lower pay.
I understand that a new job is conditional and may be terminated if the employer isn't happy. If you don't like me, FIRE me...but don't steal from me for 3 months in the process.
3. Change grades, unless clear evidence of error or very special circumstance can be shown.
I calls 'em the way I sees 'em. If the school wants to change my grades, I probably can't stop them. However, I will not legitimize this process by doing it for them.
4. Knuckle under when presented with an attempt to force a contract change, or blatant failure to perform the contract by the employer.
I'm a reasonable guy. I'll work with you. I understand that things are a little late sometimes. I at least try to not sweat the small stuff too much...I won't punt a job just because I never get the free Chinese lessons in my contract. But I will not allow anyone to outright give me the ol' switcheroo on any significant part of our agreement...pay, allowances, and major benefits. I'm no one's bitch, and I'm not gonna let myself get slapped like one. If I'm still working there, I will quit. There's a zillion other jobs out there. If the contract is ending, I will raise all kinds of hell. I will always do everything in my reach to make it easier to abide by our agreement, than to break it.
5. Allow my home, telephone number, or free time to be unreasonably opened up to students or school activities without my consent.
Some schools simply assume that you'll be delighted to be on 24/7 duty to teach emergency classes, promote the school, hang out with the kids, field all manner of calls to your home or mobile phones...you name it. When it happens, this nonsense needs to be brought to an immediate screeching halt. My space and my phone money and my free time are MINE, dammit. I am intensely jealous of them. I understand that some presence at school events, with proper notice, just comes with the territory. I don't mind, if it's reasonable. Some allowance for making yourself available to students is DEFINITELY reasonable. Sometimes I genuinely enjoy socializing with students...but this will be MY choice, not the school's. However, when presented with a surprise I find intrusive, I'm as blunt as I have to be about saying 'No'. And a couple of schools have released my phone numbers to masses of students without my consent (which I would never give anyway); when this happens I turn so ugly that the school quickly backs down and tells students not to call me. If I want you to have my phone number, I'll give it to you myself. A number of students I genuinely consider friends DO have my phone numbers.
The Chinese inability to understand the concepts of "privacy" and "personal space" is simply not my responsibility.
6. Teach weekend mornings.
Everyone has their personal quirks; this one is mine. If you aren't naked, female, and friendly, I don't want to know about you before at least noon on the weekends. I KNOW
some students want weekend morning classes. People in Hell want ice water, too.
7. Let a private school farm me out to public school classes, or other classes that don't fit my basic job description.
Another personal choice. If I want to teach upper middle school, I'll go work at an upper middle school...without another entity taking a cut of my salary for it. However, I don't want to teach upper middle school; at that age I'd rather shoot 'em than look at 'em.
If I go to work for a school, I want to work for that school
...not a recruiter in school's clothing. I know one poor devil at a school that got farmed out to a...horrors!...KIDS CASTLE
8. Let a school withdraw and hold various "deposits" from my salary.
One school I just interviewed with- and ran away from screaming- tries this. So do others. If you read the fine print you'll realize that they will be keeping out several thousand RMB of your salary over the first few months. No. I'll pay housing and utility deposits, within reason, just as I would anywhere else, but I won't work for a place that withholds my money from me as a means of control and/or stealing. No can do.
OK, all I can think of for now. I'm sure others will come up...