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Author Topic: Dahongying University, Ningbo  (Read 4909 times)

Just Like Mr Benn

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Dahongying University, Ningbo
« on: April 27, 2012, 03:00:06 AM »
May 2014 update

I originally wrote a review of the University in April 2012. Some things have changed in the last two years. Then I recommended it as a good place to work, but now I'd regard it more as a you could do a lot worse, but you could do a lot better as well.

Of course this is just my opinion. Thanks perhaps to my initial recommendation, at least half, possibly more, of the foreign teachers are members of the saloon with at least two Barflies, so you don't have to just take my word for things.

I think there are two main problems that have emerged over the last two years.

One is that the curriculum used to be controlled centrally; by me essentially, but now each of the three departments that we deliver classes to has their own co-teacher, who is essentially a mini foreign affairs officer, and they all have their own ideas about what the curriculum should involve, paperwork, exams etc. Thus there's no longer any consistency, and increasingly there's confusion about what should be done and who should be doing it. It doesn't help that the main English department co-teacher can barely communicate in English, at least not in writing.

The second problem, and this might be the main problem as far as anyone wanting to work here, is the travel to the other campus. Until a year ago, first year teachers had to travel to the other campus once a week. It was like a rite of passage. Now though there are more and more classes there, so it seems as though most teachers will need to go there once or twice a week for as long as they work here. Lots of Unis have this kind of thing, but the other campus is more than an hour away on the bus, which leaves at 7am in the morning. One of the two buses / coaches is extremely uncomfortable because of inadequate leg space; and this would be true for anybody regardless of height. Classes are sometimes split, so you may be stuck at the other campus for several hours in between classes, and there is absolutely nothing to do there. it's in the middle of nowhere.


The pay is low, 5k, but so are the hours, and it is possible to acquire part-time students in Ningbo who could ensure that you earn a decent amount of money. With one exception we have been paid on time each month. I think that the Uni understand the importance of not paying us a couple of days late again. The apartments are quite good. There's actually 2 different sets of buildings that teachers live in. One is slightly nicer, but noisier. Ideally new teachers are offered a choice, but not always. Having lived in both now, I'm not sure there's much of a difference anyway.


Dahongying is not the most prestigious Uni. In fact, we tend to get the students that score lowest on their school entry exams.  This actually has 2 good consequences though. Often the reason they scored lower is because they come from the countryside. There’s all kinds of reasons for this phenomena, but what it mean in practice is that our students are not spoiled city brats. They’re grateful to be here. They’re committed and they work hard; for the most part too hard. I love teaching here. The Uni  isn’t perfect, but I find it hard to imagine leaving when the core part of my job, the teaching, is so cool. It is rewarding to see the distance travelled by the students. However, if you want to teach high-level students, you may be frustrated here.

The academic standards and practices of the University as a whole may not be fantastic, but the department that oversees the Foreign teachers is ok. The problem is that as mentioned above, much of the oversight and management has now been delegated on to the different university departments. They have mostly been less than impressive for the 4 years I've worked here, but that didn't use to be a problem until they introduced co-teachers. Now it is. Of course there have been some good co-teachers. In fact one was fantastic, but that is far from typical.

Teachers are treated with respect and trusted to be professional and deliver good classes. On the other hand you could interpret this as teachers are given insufficient support and development.  Clases are supposed to be observed, both by Chinese academic staff and the Foreign Teacher Director of Studies, but this doesn't happen very much. There is a creeping problem that teacher performance is judged on student feedback, both formal (which has never provided any meaningful data or results) and informal student feedback, which obviously could be unfair, and I think it's fair to say has been. A lot of my disillusionment with the University comes from a teacher not having his contract renewed (for not being a good enough teacher) purely on the basis of student feedback. He wasn't observed once. To be fair, we have been observed this semester. At least I have; twice, but I think this owes more to an impending government inspection than any recognition of their failings as an organisation.

So the plusses;
-Close to the city centre (or at least closer than the other Unis)
-Good accommodation
-We’re in the south east, so the weather is ok. (Too cold for me in winter, but about as good as you’re going to get in China without going to the south which may be too hot).
-Ningbo is a nice medium sized city. Not Beijing or Shanghai, but there are plenty of other foreigners in the city and a couple of foreign bar and restaurant areas.
-Teachers are paid 80% of their salary over the holidays, including the summer holiday for those who are retained.
-The teachers who are here are very nice people and nice to work with.
-Although you could be teaching a maximum of 8 classes a week (16 teaching hours or 12 actual hours) the chances are you won't be doing anywhere near that much.

The cons
There is a curriculum, but teachers may have to make up their own assignments and exams when different departments change the goalposts about what they want, often at the last minute. For example last semester, about three days before the exams were supposed to start, and several weeks after they'd been submitted, one department insisted that it be completely re-done due to a decision that had been made months before but no-one had bothered to tell us about.

-There's only 5-6 foreign teachers here, so there's not a ready made social life on campus unless you befriend students. If the 5 teachers got on well and socialised, that would be different, but it's always more likely that you'll have 5 or 6 people of different ages, backgrounds and personality. However the old hands have been here a few years and can probably point you in the direction of any type of social activities you want, as long as its not too depraved, (in which case we may be relying on you to point us in the right direction). As said above, the current teachers (probably with the exception of me) are very nice, but all but two of our contracts end this summer, and I don't know if the others are coming back.

-The students are quite low ability. (As I've pointed out, they're motivated and for me that's one of the nice things about the job)

-You will almost certainly have to go to the other campus once or twice a week. You typically catch the 7am bus and get back in the evening about 4.30 or 5, teaching for four and a half hours in between, so it's a long day). In fact one of the things that has changed is that about half of our undergraduate classes are on the other campus, and nearly all the teachers now have to go to the other campus once a week. The other campus is in the middle of nowhere, so I'm not sure it would be fair to have someone based there, or to do the trip 2 days. It's a big problem, with no obvious solution. The bus to the other campus leaves at 7, and most days you'll have classes starting at 8am, so you really need to live on campus, or get the Uni to give you your own apartment on campus from day 1, even if you're not going to use it. Having so many classes on the other campus makes it impossible to give off-campus teachers mostly afternoon and consecutive classes.
 
-It's always been important to treat all the teachers equally fairly. This year it's felt more like we're treating all the teachers equally unfairly, which isn't desirable.

-The computers in the apartments are basically pieces of junk. Bring your own.

-All foreign teacher affairs used to be organised by the Foreign Affairs department, including data inputting. The department acted as a conduit between the foreign teachers and the different academic schools and departments that we provide classes for. This was great for the foreign teachers who only had to liaise with 1 person. it wasn't so great for the Foreign affairs officer who had an impossible workload. Now we have a co-teacher in each department, and it's a bit confusing and problematic. Each school or department maybe has 2 or 3 foreign teachers doing a fairly small number of classes.

-Most of us have to do an English corner (called a Happy Hour), but no-one really seems to know what the point of these things are. The students are of course happy to spend time chatting or doing activities with foreign teachers, and it's counted as part of our allocation of teaching hours. It's just annoying for me because I could be doing much more useful things to help students.

-Although I think teachers are respected as people, we're not respected as teachers or as professionals. The Uni as a whole knows next to nothing about ELT or ESL qualifications, and the Language department is a complete joke. A few of us went to observe some classes last year, and it was embarrassing because the classes were so terrible. If you regard yourself as a professional ESL teacher, you won't get much validation from the Uni.

-We have minimal contact with the Chinese teachers, unless you meet them on the bus. We're not invited to take part in events such as sports day or any other social functions, though you may be asked to judge competitions.

I think to enjoy working somewhere, you need to have a pleasant and friendly working environment.  If you're the kind of person who has always been lucky enough to work with a pleasant group of people; you're probably not actually lucky. You're probably the kind of person who makes their own good fortune in this regard, and I hope you'll consider coming to Dahongying.

Again, Dahongying Uni isn't terrible. However, I really think things are getting worse. Maybe things will turn around, but to be honest, I'm pretty certain at this point that they're not going to. The ship is sinking.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 12:55:26 AM by Just Like Mr Benn »

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 06:34:54 PM »
Well done, Mr. B! Thanks for the review!
"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)

Refdesk

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 01:45:34 AM »
Yes. Very good.
Can you tell us how you applied to work there? The google-translated site would not give me so much as an email address to write.
Thanks,
Ref
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AnthonyInChina

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 05:42:31 AM »
Ref, you can try this: dhyzhaopin08@163.com

Please refer to Mr Benn's post below for the job ad with the correct email address.  bfbfbfbfbf

Cheers!  agagagagag
« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 08:15:58 AM by anthonyinchina »

Just Like Mr Benn

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 10:10:25 PM »
There's a separate job advert on the site for the Uni with details of how to apply, and of course theemail addresses can change. I'd hoped if people typed in the name on a search engine it would at the very least come up with the Chinatefl site advert.

Anyway, sorry to duplicate but here's the ad on the Uni's site, which has all the relevant details.
http://www.dhyedu.com/ied/show.htm?id=1934

anthonyinchina, I think that's who the Chinese teachers need to apply to. Any applications from foreign teachers would probably disappear down a black hole somewhere, so could you amend or delete the post? Thanks for trying to help though. I missed ref's post.
Thanks

« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 10:23:08 PM by Just Like Mr Benn »

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2012, 04:43:05 AM »
I removed the last post in this thread. Please do not directly promote specific jobs on the Saloon. If you want to advertise a job, please send it to me for vetting and placement on our Jobs board. bjbjbjbjbj
"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)

Mixal

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 08:11:50 AM »
I just finished my contract with Dahongying University. In short, I would NOT recommend working here.

Refdesk

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 03:12:36 AM »
I, for one, wish you had not been "in short" about DHY. I would sincerely like to know what leads you to give such advice. I did a 2 year stint there about 6 years ago. Details from you might help me decide that the place has indeed changed for the worse. (I have sometimes thought of returning.) Others would appreciate more dope too. Cheers. Ref
"We have met the enema and ...."

Mixal

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Re: Dahongying University, Ningbo
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2018, 05:24:16 AM »
I, for one, wish you had not been "in short" about DHY. I would sincerely like to know what leads you to give such advice. I did a 2 year stint there about 6 years ago. Details from you might help me decide that the place has indeed changed for the worse. (I have sometimes thought of returning.) Others would appreciate more dope too. Cheers. Ref

I sent you a PM. It would be difficult to write any criticism without pointing fingers, and I simply don't want to do it publicly at this point.