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Author Topic: No1 High School of Jingmen City, also called No1 Middle School of Jingmen City  (Read 4432 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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This is posted here on behalf of a former employee at this school:

On the whole, the school is very accommodating.  Their FAO, Catherine, has lived abroad, understands a little more about what a foreigner feels and goes through and tries her best to help, or find someone to help you out.  She is patient and puts up with a lot from the foreigners who are there.  The downside of this, is Catherine is retiring in a year or so, and has started to train her replacement, Richard, he is not as good, but if you have a confident personality, he will help you out.  Teachers usually teach in the afternoon, so if you are a morning person, let the FAO know and they will help you in changing your schedule.  Pay is pretty good for the city, 20 lessons at 4,500RMB at the time of writing. 

The students at the Junior School (Jinxia Lu campus), they are the sons and daughters of wealthy people.  For the most part.  They are not angels, if you go in there, be strict! do not be nice! Do not be their friend or you will suffer all year.  Their English teacher is requested to be in the classroom as you teach.  Some of them do help, and some of them just tune you and the lesson out and mark papers.  Otherwise, they are like normal junior school students anywhere.  You've a book, Side by Side, and it is optional to use it or your own lessons.  It is requested you use the book for a little each week, as the school insists the students buy a copy. 

The students at the Senior School (Doudao Campus), you have a bus that will take you there and back.  If you take a taxi from one campus to the other you are looking about about 13ish minutes.  If you decide to work at the senior school, INSIST that your classes are smushed together, as the bus only returns to the apartments at lunch time and dinner time.  These students are well behaved, and wanting to learn.  This campus just opened a few years ago, and by jove its HUGE!  The headmaster of the Senior School is an- get this- English Major and loves English.  If you've any problems, his door is always open and will give you his right foot if you need it.  (I was seriously considering accepting a job at this school, when I got accepted to Baotou) 

The English Teachers- I'm friends with most of them.  However, most of the foreign teachers they ignore.  I do as well.  In a city of 18 foreign teachers, I only talk to 1 and chat with 1 other.  They have had a run of pretty bad luck with foreign teachers, will explain this later.  If you show to be willing to be a good teacher, show up to work, on time and not hungover, with a lesson, they will love you.  But if you want to be friends with them you would need to make the first move.  They have been burned a lot. 

Previous Foreign teachers- Most were useless and here to have an extended vacation.  They call their students stupid to their face, pour water on them, bring a whistle to class, flip out and loose their tempers, and more.  They call in sick frequently, leave early, complain.  They didn't read their contracts carefully, expect the school to bend over backwards for them, while not giving an inch.  Some have just shown movies all year or played music.  Not all the teachers mind you, but a high percentage of them.  Some teachers there have been amazing.  The school, is going to crack down a little bit, next year instead of treating the foreign teachers as guests, start to treat them like teachers.  So as long as you only take a sick day when you would in your home country you will be ok. 

The schools- both the Senior and Junior campuses are pretty.  The senior is much more modern and the senior dinning hall, well the food is great!!!! a little on the salty side, but WOW! delicious! The senior school is in the middle of a field and on the outskirts of the city, so you get blue skies every day in the summer. 

The bad part of the school, and the reason I could not take the position.  The apartments.  They are large and spacious, however, there is mold.  Quite a bit.  Vinegar works, bleach works.  It comes back.  Its haunting.  It always comes back.  If you choose to work here, be sure that it is in your contract that the school will paint your apartment with an oil based or latex based paint twice a year.  Otherwise, the apartments are nice.  You can have a two bedroom or a three bedroom apartment. There is no curfew, however; if you come home after 1030, you can no longer use the back gate (about 100m from your house) but rather the front gate, about 700m to your door.  They dance around this topic and hope you take the hint.  They don't mind you living with a significant other at all.  But, if you have a revolving door of people, a) you are not respecting the morals of the Chinese people or b) just go to a hotel.

What more do I need to say? I have spent six, of the best years of my life here at this school.  Like any proper job, have had my ups and downs, but rolled with the punches, picked my battles and most of the time I won.

My biggest problem with my school is the current waiban (FAO), she is as stubborn as a mule, and usually as useless as a tits on a bull.  Unless you threaten to say something to the Headmaster, she won't do squat.  Perfect if yo are the independent type who likes to do things on your own though.  Oh yeah, she is also very lazy.  And if there is nothing in it for her, then she doesn't want to do anything.  Her husband owns the No2 Hospital here in town (maternity, cosmetology are the two major departments), and expects everyone to bow to her.  When she wasn't the FAO, she was a great friend. 

The Headmaster: Cheap.  But usually in a good way.  He is also very strict, and not well liked by many of the teachers, but he has a wicked sense of humour and speaks pretty good English.  He is one of those rare Headmasters who does his best to put the students first, and he has horrible posture.  If you prove yourself to be reliable and responsible, you can pretty much do anything you want (hence the reason I have the nickname Headmistress at school).  I have gone head to head with him on a few occasions, and we usually ended up compromising equally.  He really is a kind and a GREAT Headmaster.  My old Headmaster was a ball.  He gave me a free return ticket ontop of the contract as a bonus.  But he went to prison for accepting bribes.  I've been told that happens a lot. 

The Students: My little monkeys.  You get a messed up range of students. From no English to almost fluent.  You've got the best class for grades, the one that every teacher wants to teach as your worst class, and the class with all the stupid-heads (ok, stupid heads in a GOOD way) that no teacher wants to teach, as your best class.  This year out of 16 classes 14.5 are just great.  Size of the classes we just implanted a new rule, NO MORE THAN 80 students in a classroom.  Next year, the Headmaster wants that number down to 70.  If you are a little on the strict side, they will do all that you want them to do.  Usually, I've only got about 5 kids per class who don't do their homework, and they are rarely the same kids twice.  I want to write lots more, but afraid I might cry. 

The English Teachers: I think I might cry on this one.  I started working with the best English teachers in China and that is why I have stayed here for so long.  We dance int he office during breaks, talk about EVERYTHING under the sun, eat together- they have become my family here.  They usually talk in English while at school unless they have to speak in Chinese.  Their students on the College Exams always do better in English than any other year.  So every three years, the school gets great marks in English.  They are very patient in explaining things- cultural items and history.  If you need help int he classroom, they are there to lend a hand, and if they are unable too, they send the head teacher in their place.  The other English teachers in the school, well, not so fond of them.  They are nice, but very silly.  They are more than happy to ignore the foreign teacher completely and won't help you that much if you ask.  Not all, but some. 

Other Teachers: Just some wild and whacky people.  Every teacher at the school, and I mean EVERY teacher at the school can speak some English.  Especially when it comes to the slang and bad words in English.  They bend over backwards to help out with the class, they are patient and are always open to teach yellow words and bad words in Chinese.  They have gotten into trouble by the Headmaster for this. 

The School Buildings: Oh my.  We just built a new teaching building and labs.  And oh my.  It actually feels as if I am in the west.  We put in a new garden out front and its beautiful. 

Foreigners Apartment: spacious, but a little run down/ old.  But its home.  And very BIG.  Three bedroom apartment, kitchen, bathroom, eating room, TV room, laundry room.  No wonder I have so much stuff!

Neighbours of the Foreigners: Are as fun as hell.  I am a regular guest for dinner and lunches, and this sweet little girl tries to leave her house when she hears me leave in the morning, she brings one kuai with her to buy me breakfast.  My Auntie that lives on the second floor, we visit with each other trying to talk about our plants and our gardens.  KTV night (the last Friday of the month), my neighbours in the other apartment and I have singing contests, they with a mic and me without till our other neighbours join in.  When I do a larger dinner party, I invite the neighbours. 

Cons of the school: FAO.  They can't hire foreign teachers at the moment. 

Pros: if you work hard, you are treated with respect.  It is forbidden to spit anywhere on school grounds.  And, as I said in other posts, if it were possible I would stay for another six years.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Kabbalistic

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Raoul,
       Can u please give me the contact of the person on behalf of whom you've written this post about the Jingmen middle school?
                                   Thanks
                                          bjbjbjbjbj

Raoul F. Duke

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Well, it's been the better part of a year since I posted this...I honestly don't remember who sent it to me. bibibibibi
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Kabbalistic

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OK no problems- I just had some questions which I wanted to ask about working at this school.
           Thanks bjbjbjbjbj