Currently I teach at Nanjing University of Finance and Economics. This is my third year at the school. I teach basic writing to first and second-year English majors, twelve periods of 45 minutes each per week. (Fourteen hours is a usual load, but writing gets a premium.) Each of my classes has about thirty students, mostly girls (which I don’t mind). The normal foreign teacher salary is 5,500 RMB per month, subject to negotiation, of course. Discretionary overtime is paid at the rate of 100 RMB per period, 120 for writing. This is a third-tier school, so the students level is relatively low, but they do try.
In my opinion, the city of Nanjing has many positive attributes. It offers the advantages of size, namely shopping and nightlife. The city has served as China’s capital off and on for hundreds of years, so the history is rich. Transportation is convenient and inexpensive, with two subway lines and more under construction. I can be in Shanghai in one hour and nineteen minutes from Nanjing on the high-speed train from Nanjing Station. On the negative side, summers are steamy, winters no picnic.
Nanjing University of Finance and Economics has three campuses: the old one in the heart of Nanjing, a larger new one in the university city of Xianlin, and a satellite in Qiaotou. There are foreign teachers residing in each place. I live and teach in Xianlin, where the teachers occupy their own building. (I do spend one day each week in Qiaotou, requiring a 30-minute bus ride each way.) One quirk is that the school does not allow bicycles on its campuses, so everyone walks. I really don’t mind, because I always lose weight. Speaking of weight, the Xianlin campus has four canteens of varying quality, but the one nearest our residence is quite good, and inexpensive. I do happen to enjoy Chinese food.
My apartment has two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bath. The apartment has all the amenities, including air-conditioning (a must) and Internet. All utilities are paid, except for the telephone. Most teachers do not opt for a landline. Our building has a guard on duty 24/7 and entry is nominally restricted after 10 p.m., but late hours, in reality, are never a problem. In the same way, guests are not a problem, but a prudent person realizes that the guards report back to the administration and behaves accordingly. Most of us are on very good terms with the two guards.
I give the Foreign Affairs Office at Nanjing University of Finance and Economics high marks. I have taught at four different schools in China, and the administration here seems the most efficient to me. Normally, the school employs about twenty foreign teachers, though this year we are down to eighteen. None of these are new teachers, all having taught here before. One teacher who left last year for medical reasons had been here for eight years. I have always considered the number of veteran teachers at a school a barometer of an administration’s effectiveness. Emy (Bao Suqin) has led the office for several years, assisted by Carrie (Zhang Qi, email: email@example.com
) as the main foreign teacher liaison. Carrie was overworked last year, so a new hire will assist her this year.
I have tried to write a balanced appraisal. I confess that I am motivated to help the school attract a few more qualified teachers. I also confess the school offers a bounty of 1,000 RMB for successfully doing so, but I hereby forswear that in favor of any teacher I should happen to attract.