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A general package thread

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by norwichred, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I see frequent posts on here about “is this a good package for X country” and they come back with a salary that someone else says is terrible.

    And I look at it with envy.

    So, my question is this.

    Of course cost of living in a particular place is important - and other people’s advice is important too and always appreciated. But one thing I don’t often see factored in is the salary the person is earning back home and what kind of job they are in.

    For example, I’m quite high up working for a training provider. I take home, including expenses, around £2K a month but have to drive over 1000 miles a month to achieve that. Three days a week I dont see my young children because I leave the house before they get up and get back after they go to bed. On the fourth day I have to haul them out of bed, protesting, at 6 in the morning to take them for a 12 hour stint with the childminder as my partner does a 13 hour shift on the wards of the local hospital.

    So to me, when people talk packages, and schools, and what’s on offer - people say it’s horrible and maybe wrongly I would jump at it. But the present situation of the poster doesn’t seem to take this into account.

    Maybe I’m being naive? When I taught abroad before, I worked in Doha. I had shared accomadation, I had no medical insurance, but I loved every minute of it and had amazing experiences.

    But are people like me, who are setting their sights lower, spoiling it by accepting lower offers?

    All I’m saying is that there’s so much more than money. There’s quality of life, location, travel opportunities. Of course, I’m not that carefree young man any more. I have to think of my kids and saving money. But some of the packages that people are saying are rubbish seem pretty good to me.

    Does the international teacher have too high expectations? Or are mine too low? Or is the truth somewhere in between? Or am I making no sense whatsoever?
  2. percy topliss

    percy topliss Occasional commenter

    Some of what you talk about comes with age and experience. I am now at my 8th International school, it is by no means the most I have earned but it by far the best school that I have worked at. Yet I have seen over the past few years younger, greener teachers come to my school and have their heads turned by the promise of more money, more equipment yadda yadda yadda only to hear of them leaving their new nirvana in a short space of time. What they lack is the perspective to understand that more money does not necessarily a more happy working environment make. They do not take into account happiness to be blunt, they are thinking with their wallets and the age old adage that the grass is always greener. As a family we also travel to the UK regularly and see the drudge that is life there, the fact that when I get home for the Christmas break UK teachers are still at work and they go back before I even pack to leave always assuages my feelings of leaving aging family there in the cold, knife ridden, brexit heading streets. One of my favourite lines which I heard used in a very tier one school staffroom here in Bangkok when a particularly odious Welshman was again bemoaning his lot in life, was a newly arrived DT teacher saying "well why don't you f### off home then and stop spoiling my life" he didn't leave the school with any alacrity but he did shut up and leave the staffroom which was a minor victory. I honestly think that people get spoiled, forget where they came from or listen to fairy stories and this raises their expectations to silly levels. When most of us sit back and count our blessings, even the innumerates in Shanghai must realise that we are better off in all ways where we are, why else would we be here?


    mermy, Leonardo1983 and 576 like this.
  3. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    That’s kind of what I’m getting at.

    I’m a teacher, my partner a nurse. Over Christmas I had a week and two days holiday. Because of her shifts we got two days together as a family the four of us. And one of those WASN’T Christmas Day.

    She’s Hungarian and feels unwanted because of Brexit. When I left the house at 5:30am this morning I couldn’t help think of what else is out there....
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    @norwichred, sent you a conversation. I sent some links to middle level agents that provide better jobs then the ones in UAE.

    But I would look to Shanghai as your wife can easily find work in one of the many private doctor/hospitals we have here.
  5. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I will respond to you mate, and I appreciate your input. Unfortunately there’s one country in the world that my partner has absolutely ruled out.

    And that’s China
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    norwichred, Mrs Hippopotamus often used to say, "I am NEVER going to China. Do not even think of applying for any teaching jobs there!"

    It seems to me that you would enjoy teaching overseas and I would be glad to help you, if I possibly can. I have sent you one of those TES Conversation thingies.
  7. percy topliss

    percy topliss Occasional commenter

    I must say that after four years in Shanghai, where we earned enough to buy ourselves a house back in Blighty, Mrs T said never again. Did you know that the pollution index in Bangkok today was over 200, putting it in the worlds top ten. The (unofficial) index in Beijing was over 500 putting it in the area of melting your face.

    I have refrained from sending you a massage. No it's not a misspelling....

    Tongue in cheekily,

    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  8. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    Total thread highjack because I really do agree it's about more than the money. To me my health and the health of my partner will always be more important than the cold hard cash. So where has good air? I currently know of teachers in:
    Manila (terrible air)
    Bangkok (getting worse than terrible)
    Shanghai (often terrible)
    Mexico city ( terrible air)
    HCMC (terrible air)
    London (not great air)

    Where actually has breathable air? Or is this just the state of our planet now?
  9. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    It's very much down to individuals as to what they are prepared to accept, ignore or turn a blind eye to when choosing where to live.

    Do you value clean air? Rules out a lot of the world...
    Press freedom and democracy? Whoosh, there goes a huge chunk of places...
    Fair treatment of local staff...

    I knew a couple who moved on from the KSA citing concerns about the regime, only to go to the Land of Fire and then the Middle Kingdom....all those places had two things in common: very shady humanitarian records, and high salaries.

    Now, I'm not knocking people who live, have lived, or will live in these countries as I have been and will likely be one again. But to get all high horsey about such a place and then move to another similar one...not for me, Clive.
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Well if you want to draw up a list of countries that have a fair government, democracy, high salary, low cost of living, treats women as equals, regards all religious beliefs and has good air quality its going to look like the one below.

    1 Nowhere
    2 Neverland
    3 Iceland
  11. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    The question shouldn't really be "is this a good package?" but instead "is this a good package for me?" What works for someone whose kids have flown the nest and are a few years out from retirement might not be so good for someone whose kids are still in school. You have to take into account what sort of accommodation you can live with, what your general living expenses are, how much you want / need to save and what for, etc.

    I guess my wife and me are quite lucky in that we're happy with our packages in good schools in China. They allow us to live comfortably here, travel a bit, and buy a house in the country we want to retire to. My wife wasn't keen on China for a number of reasons before we got jobs here, but now we're here she's probably keener than me to stay!

    Of course there are places I won't want to go. I'm not keen on a return to the Middle East, for example, mainly because of the behavior of the kids I encountered when in Egypt (and my wife can't get a visa for UAE anyway as her degree doesn't match her subject.) I'd be picky about the schools if I was staying in China, knowing a bit more about them now, and sub-Saharan Africa doesn't attract me either. However, Central / South America does, as does SE Asia and the Stans.
  12. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    I think our industry is a victim of its own success. A lot of people particularly recruitment agencies, schools, their name sake and teachers have gotten rich (or mortgage free very quickly), and therefore are used to the lifestyle international teaching presents. Hence, the word 'package' is a buzz you will find often in our world. Let us be honest here, $$$$ is the real reason why schools are popping up left, right and centre. I had a very interesting conversation from a teacher, applying their craft in Europe, teaching for the flagship school branch of the IB. Let's just say sizable and extremely large donations go via the school but never actually park itself. Will end it there. Having worked in a questionable group in Asia. This didn't surprise me. With many $$$$ profit driven, one will be naive to think that dodgyness doesn't occur in schools where the clients are as young as 3.

    As the previous posters have stated, the "promised" and glorified salaries schools ploy as a tactic is a downfall in creating, I guess greed amongst inexperienced younglings who are looking for 2500GBP minimum take home pay. With this, it is also true that your experience will dictate your expectations and preferred set of conditions.

    For me, despite 13 years in teaching, I will be honest that financial goals will dictate my next 3 - 4 years. After that, I am fine with less pay in a country I would prefer to live in. Do that until I'm 50 and go back home working in a library or what has become popular in the UK, exam invigilators for 12GBP an hour. The exchange of course is going home, going back to familiarity.
  13. Ms_Love_

    Ms_Love_ Occasional commenter

    The pollution thing gets me down as well. The air in Guangzhou recently has been terrible BUT when I look at my bank balance and think about the behaviour of the kids back in the UK I happily put my face mask on and carry on!
    percy topliss likes this.
  14. Atom007008

    Atom007008 New commenter

  15. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Should we just quote the minimum package you would expect for a city like Shanghai, eg

    26000rmb/month after tax
    12000rmb/month housing
    15000rmb/year flight(8800rmb flight London to Shanghai return)
    World Health Insurance (excluding US)

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