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Author Topic: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)  (Read 11055 times)


  • Barfly
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    • My view of China
Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2007, 07:58:55 PM »
work 16-24
The higher they fly, the fewer!    http://neilson.aminus3.com/


  • Limboid
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2007, 11:36:20 PM »
Um. Eyes are failing me - wasnt clear with age and hours  agagagagag


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 04:47:03 AM »
My eyes (as well as my psyche) are always playing tricks on me in China!
"I wish my first spoken word was 'Quote' so I could make my last word 'Unquote'."
— Stephen Wright.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 03:13:19 PM »
Didn't really see much weaselly in this ad at first, but it got there.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm always leery of programs with cutesy-poo names/acronyms like "CHEER". Not a biggie though. And I do like the name "SUC" a lot. ahahahahah

I don't know all the details so some things are hard to judge. If they were simply suggesting that you find a local company to move you, that's reasonable. If they were back-pedalling on a promise to PAY FOR the moving, then that is indeed a very bad sign.

I don't like the fact that this program claims a UK tie or partner, but never talks about who or what that tie is. Gosh, you'd think that would be prominent in the ad...

The real kicker is the new ad...and I do agree that it's probably the same employer. We've seen other schools welch on 5-figure salaries before...remember Dr. Paul's in Qingdao? Offering the same job at a lower salary (especially when you know the school to be hard up for teachers even at the higher salary...) is IMHO a sign of extremely cheap and/or stupid management.

And reluctance to provide contacts to former teachers kinda speaks for itself.

This isn't a dodgy job ad. It was the transactions that followed that were dodgy.
"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)


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2007, 06:28:44 AM »
The ad is posted again today (below) -- very slightly altered, as usual -- but what seems to be the trouble with filling a position that supposedly pays 10,000RMB a month in Wenzhou??? I've never been to Wenzhou, but it's my understanding that it's a decent place to live. As was my experience, there must always be some sort of breakdown during the telephone interview phase of the hiring process. Otherwise, it's puzzling that job at that salary level, in that location, is always in search of a teacher.

Wenzhou city ,Zhejiang province,China - English job offered

Posted By 10000RMB for Wenzhou high school position <zhejiang0812@yahoo.com.cn>
Date 22 August 2007

Wenzhou city ,Zhejiang province, China
Wenzhou public high school is looking for Native Esl teacher for September .Here is the inforation of our offers:

1)one year contract;
2) 10000RMB for 22class periods;
3) free fully furnished accommodation ;

and so on...

"I wish my first spoken word was 'Quote' so I could make my last word 'Unquote'."
— Stephen Wright.


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2007, 12:51:51 AM »
Can someone start a thread listing what a job ad should contain in your experienced opinions?  That would be great for us newbs to this gig. 

The things we touch have no permanence.


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2007, 02:35:00 AM »
Hello, limubai2000!

I'm not trying to be flip, but in my opinion, it's hard to say what should  be in an ad. Hopefully other saloonites will offer something substantial to you. I think it's more useful to talk about "red flags" in ads, such as when they say things like "students age range from 5 to adults" -- BAD sign -- or "must be flexible" which indicates the place is wholly disorganized and unprofessionally managed (which a great majority of schools -- of all kinds in China -- usually are).

You DO want to read that THEY will arrange and pay for ALL medical exams, fees etc., related to your working Z visa.

NEVER allow let them to convince you that an L visa is OK upon arrival and will converted later -- it's guaranteed trouble. Don't accept shared housing. Don't accept "probation" period salary (which can be as much as 2000RMB a month less than the actuall month salary).

Many job ads are posted by agents/recruiters. If they seem genuinely interested, make them put you in touch with the actual employer very quickly. If they refuse, that's another bad sign because the recruiter will often tell blantant lies in order to place you in the position and collect their "finder's fee" -- after that, you are completely forgotten and the agent moves on to the next sucker.

If you get generic and vague replies to probing, but reasonable questions like "Oh, you needn't worry about that," or "No problem" (but no further clarification), avoid the position. This is telling you that truth is not forthcoming, but problems are!

Always request photos of living accomodations and contacts of foreign teachers previously or presently working there. Everything can pose a potential problem. Sometimes, when I have talked by phone with a foreign teacher, the phone conversation was held in the office, with the school's "leader/administrator" sitting next to the teacher.

All sorts of tricks and traps lie in wait... Remain alert and skeptical, and keep asking questions until you are satisfied.

I've made LOTS of mistakes in the past by being too trusting.

If you find a job that you are interested in pursuing more but you are not getting enough information to make you feel comfortable, post your situation here in Saloon.

Raoul and so many other folks here are smart, caring, and generous (and quite witty)!

Also, read lots of the threads here, such as "Things I Just Wont Do for Work" found in the "Teacher's Tip" section of the Saloon. LOTS of useful information posted here now.

Good luck to you!

« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 02:37:26 AM by birddog »
"I wish my first spoken word was 'Quote' so I could make my last word 'Unquote'."
— Stephen Wright.


  • Ain't Said Much Yet
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2007, 05:21:08 AM »
I got an email from CHEERS today offering the same deal for Ulan Hot in Inner Mongolia...thanks to you guys, I could just ignore it and not waste my time responding. This place is a goldmine of helpful hints and ideas, especially for us newbies.  Thanks guys and gals.
Robert Ellis


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2007, 06:25:58 AM »
That's great, df!

I hope our posts can save lots of people from likely frustration and disaster.

My two Foundation Program experiences were not arranged by CHEER Foundation, but oh how they tried to persuade me!

ALL of my previous students have my email address (about 2000 students at this point -- I know, most of you think I'm insane!), and recently some of my students in HeFei wrote to me. That place was my first foundation program experience -- horrible school, but basically wonderful stduents (unlike the second Foundations Program in Nanjing).

Anyway, a group of them wrote and begged me to come back. They told me the new, Canadian teacher (named "Brown") was always yelling at them It seems she told them that Hefei and the school were the "ugliest places she'd ever seen." Clearly, she won't be there long.

I feel bad though... As much as I was disgusted with the greedy, self-serving, deceitful owner, and the Aussie org which "runs" the program, etc., I never took my wrath out on the students. I'm sure they feel quite embarrassed and helpless regarding this new teacher's observations and comments (as if they don't know the school is bad!). As much I'd like to return to teaching them -- thanks to the crooked owner and the Aussie arm - as the Chinese often say: "I DARE NOT!"

« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 09:20:00 AM by birddog »
"I wish my first spoken word was 'Quote' so I could make my last word 'Unquote'."
— Stephen Wright.

Mr Nobody

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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2007, 02:41:53 PM »
I have also encountered programs that rent Uni space and call themselves programs of the Uni involved.

I haven't fallen for one - although the first one, I nearly did, tried to fall for it in fact, but in the end my wife didn't want to move. Later, I became suspicious of other programs and in retrospect, realized I had dodged a bullet by sheer luck.

China is full of scams that appear legit. I came to China originally on a tourist visa with 3-4 months of high living cash to look for a job and holiday a little. However, one college was trying to employ me before I left Oz. They offered me 60 rmb per lesson, visa, but no accommodation (I already had bought an apartment here, they argued)and 2500 rmb for airfare since I was already here.However, I was fairly sure from talking to people at Raoul's that this was just not on. I kept agreeing with them, but I could see that they didn't know what they were doing, but I sort of vaguely hoped they would get it together. Meanwhile, I looked for other jobs. Sure enough, they weren't legit, couldn't get the visa, and the poor money they offered actually went down.

I lucked out elsewhere, the rest is geography (like history, only spread wider).
Just another roadkill on the information superhighway.


  • Barfly
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2008, 11:38:03 AM »
Having been working for foundation programs since arriving in china I thought I would put in my 2 cents worth here. While I do agree with you on the majority of foundation programs here I must say that not all are as bad as this.
I worked in Beijing for a UK program and found that while the facilities were modern and classrooms were ok - the students were often deplorable. All they knew how to do was complain - if you made them work, they bitched to the office. If you made them study your material in class and not do the homework for the other classes they bitched. At the end of the semester, we gave the final exams to the students. It turns out that the office had already given them the exams so they could study for the test. Amazingly enough the students we caught cheating and failed, the ones that could not answer the questions and failed etc... all seemed to miraculously pass the course and had the nerve to ask for reference letters for their graduate studies in the UK. This was one of those joke programs.
Now I work for the Australian partner in one of these programs that has schools across china. This progam is actually quite good in the fact that all the testing etc is done by the Australian school with us doing the marking etc so there is no pressure to pass the students from the Chinese side. While they like to see us pass more they cannot do anything when we dont - I, personally, have been known to fail over 50% of a class and the marks dont get changed. While the schools themselves sometimes have really shitty facilities we are continualy putting pressure on them to upgrade and improve them. We are seeing changes being made slowly but surely. In some of the schools I will agree that they look at these programs as supplements to the regular schools budget, and they syphon of the majority of the tuition to supplement the income of the administration and provide nice big shiny black cars for the bosses, which drives me up the wall. We also have some very good schools which see that there is a long term advantage to these programs and work hard to keep a good name so that they can continue to recruit students. Many of our students have actually passed the Gao Kao and are entered into our program from the regular student body of the university. Unfortunately this does not always hold true though and we get some real dickheads, hence the 50% failure rate.
Unfortunately for the english teachers working in the program though they are under the control of the Chinese masters and this can be quite a headache for them. At least the pressure is off of them though for the testing as that is done by the ozzie partner.

So please bear in mind that not all foundation programs suck, and sometimes you can get lucky and find a good one. But by all means do your research before entering into one as too many of them are bad.


  • Barfly Dude
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Re: Foundation programs (my two nightmares)
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2008, 03:08:58 PM »
I've also worked almost exclusively on foundation programmes since coming to China five years ago.  Many of these programmes are indeed extremely shady and/or poorly organised, but if, as the previous poster suggested, you do your research, there are some genuine ones out there too.

The best are where the foreign partner has a say in the hiring of FTs and keeps tight grip on the examination side of things.

EAP is also a good area to get into if you are looking to develop a career in teaching - e.g. I am now doing a distance MA in Applied Linguistics at a reduced price through the foreign partner of my school.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 03:14:13 PM by MK »