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Questions about China

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by nineartgocurlecheile, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Hi there,

    I am an Irish qualified primary teacher considering applying to work in China. I have read a lot of the posts in this forum and just have a few questions if anyone with experience of working in China would be able to answer.

    1. How can you tell the difference between the good schools and the bad schools people refer to on the forum? The ads don't seem to have any obvious tells.

    2. Does anyone have a blog/website/Youtube channel they would recommend to do some more research on working over there.

    3. What is the working day/year like over in China?

    4. I am in my mid 30s. Would this affect my chances of getting work over there? I would be planning to go over alone so am wondering are there a variety of age groups teaching over there or would it be mainly younger teachers in their 20s?

    4. I would be aiming to maximise my savings potential while over there, what are peoples' experiences of saving while over there, I am particularly interested in people who were saving on their own while over there?

    5. What factors affected what part of China you chose to teach in?

    Thanks a million for any feedback.
     
  2. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    Ok then. A lot to say, and there are plenty of others who could weigh in on these many questions.

    1. How can you tell the difference between the good schools and the bad schools people refer to on the forum? The ads don't seem to have any obvious tells.
    Look up how old they are, keep track over time to see schools that are advertising year after year (takes some time to do this, of course), look at the *** reviews if it has been around for a while, ask on here in code and see if people know anything, and ask your recruiter or new principal to put you in touch with a current member of staff.
    2. Does anyone have a blog/website/Youtube channel they would recommend to do some more research on working over there.
    Just general China stuff. The ones that I used to watch like ADV china and the related personal channels are getting annoying now, but will give you lots of background.
    3. What is the working day/year like over in China?
    Mine is longer than a school for international students only, and is similar, or even a bit longer than the school year in the UK. Holidays are spaced differently, though. The school day is quite long too, from 730-1630. Will vary by school, but expect to be doing some extra curricular stuff.
    4. I am in my mid 30s. Would this affect my chances of getting work over there? I would be planning to go over alone so am wondering are there a variety of age groups teaching over there or would it be mainly younger teachers in their 20s?
    There is a variety. Have never noticed a bias towards younger teachers. Quite the opposite, in fact. You will fit in fine.
    4. I would be aiming to maximise my savings potential while over there, what are peoples' experiences of saving while over there, I am particularly interested in people who were saving on their own while over there?
    You can save a great deal here, depending on the salary you achieve, the lifestyle you choose to lead, and the part of China you are in.
    5. What factors affected what part of China you chose to teach in?
    There are more international schools in Beijing and Shanghai than anywhere else, with the big expat populations and lots of money washing around. Cities around China are becoming pretty similar, in my opinion, but the amount of foreign goods, entertainment, bars etc will vary a lot by city, and will drop off considerably outside the bigger cities.
     
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, nineartgocurlecheile, since you have asked if anyone has written a blog about teaching in China, I can tell you that it just so happens that a smelly old hippotatmus has written a blog called bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com In fact, my blog has now clocked up more than 50,000 "hits".

    I would agree with a lot of what RoadToRags has written. There has been a lot on this TES forum about how accurate, reliable, trustworthy and up-to-date the *** is (or isn't). On the whole, I think that the ISC does a more factual and helpful job.

    I had some excellent Irish colleagues when I was teaching in Shenzhen. The best of luck to you!
     
  4. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Feel free to send me a conversation to ask any specific questions. But RoadtoRags has summed a lot of it up.
    Happy to share my experiences as a male teacher coming on his own.
     
  5. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If you are not in Shanghai its a hardship posting. Check to see if its a new Bilingual school as I haven't heard a good word said about them. Just read the Recent Posts on the *** for reference on these new Bilingual schools and ask yourself do you really want to work in one of these establishments, no normal or reasonable intelegent person would.

    The new schools all seemed to be built in new areas of a city. In Suzhou all the new schools are been built in New Suzhou Scientific Industrial Area which is about 35Km from the old Suzhou city. Nobody lives in these new areas so the property developers hope schools will attract families to live and rent in these deserted areas. The best entertainment for foreigners in New Suzhou will be the restaurant at Ikea. Currently teachers working in New Suzhou Area prefer the 3 hour daily commute to avoid the absolute boredom of living near the schools.
     
    kpjf likes this.
  6. mtcien20

    mtcien20 New commenter

    Hi, I have thoroughly been researching TES forum for months and I wanted to make a move to international teaching to find a better work-life balance (currently work in UK, average 11 hours a day) but also a new experience. I know the situation in China is far from favorable but i wanted to get the opinion of those with experience before i apply. It seems the covid-19 is affecting most countries and so no where is a sanctuary these days. I have seen a vacancy at an 'international college' in shenzhen near the border to HK. Is this a good school to work in or should I be looking elsewhere in CHN or perhaps other countries? the school says it is moving to new campus in aug 2020
     
  7. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    I am sure the 'legendary one' will be along in a bit with his usual sage advice. :)
     
    TeacherMan19 likes this.
  8. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Sent you a conversation
     
  9. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    The idea that anywhere apart from Shanghai is a hardship posting is b*******. Disregard.
     
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The majority of new bilingual schools opening up in China are in the 3rd or 4th tier cities and as a result have a zero expat population. There will be no established expat community and in some cases the city will not even see any tourists.

    Unless the city has an Ikea you will have no western restaurants or bar to visit for a solid meal. The next meaningful level of entertainment will be a 7to11 for an instant noodle and a can of Snow beer.

    Some of these lower tier cities have no meaningful grocery shops like Carrefour or Lotus and for fresh meat you visit the wet markets to pluck your own chicken.

    I will wish you luck in finding a Doctor that speaks English at a local clinic or a plumber to fix your leaky toilet.

    Don't be surprised if locals walk up to you and ask if they can take a picture of themselves standing next to you.
     
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I think that february31st is being just a little bit negative. I would have thought that not seeing any western tourists would be a positive reason for going to China asap. It is a bit strange that febbers sees an IKEA store as a guarantee of culinary excellence.

    Mrs Hippo and her overweight husband were in China for five years and we were happy there. Yes, one has to take thr ough with the smooth and a certain degree of flexibility and adaptability is needed, as is often the case when you are teaching overseas.

    We miss our Chinese friends, but we hope to see them one day in Bulgaria!
     
  12. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    This may be true but that’s a bit different to saying all cities except Shanghai are hardship postings.

    There are other Tier 1 and 2 cities that offer all the those expat comforts you mention. Perhaps not on the same scale as Shanghai, but certainly enough to keep you out of ‘hardship’.
     
  13. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Established commenter

    Is a lasagne in shanghai a lasagne like Italy then? Can you even get a lasagne in Shanghai?
     
  14. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    I can’t speak for Shanghai but there are some amazing Italian restaurants in Beijing, run by Italians using Italian ingredients. Not cheap though! Although that’s only compared to the local restaurants - it’s about the same price as a good restaurant in the UK.
     
  15. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Well you can get tired of eating chicken feet and duck head soup every night. Sometimes you just want egg&chips like your mother use to make.
     
    Laughing Gravy likes this.
  16. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Established commenter

    I had a lasagne at a 4 star hotel in Chengdu for the reason Febbers gave above (fed up of local stuff and mcdonalds) and it was quite nice but it cost an arm and a leg (about £14 I think). It was well worth it at the time though. The italian restaurants would only be able to buy in what the supermarkets sell which means Dolmio tomato and garlic sauce!
     
  17. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Taobao! You can get all the different varieties on Taobao. It's not particularly expensive either. The only thing that can be expensive compared to the west is cheese. But even then, it can be found at reasonable prices if you know how to look on Taobao.
     
  18. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If you order cheese on Taobao it will probably be yellow wax of some sort.

    If the city you live in doesn't have an IKEA or Carrefour its makes life more complicated.
     
  19. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Depends if you order yellow wax.

    I've bought soft cheese and mozzarella this last week and it's been good.

    There's plenty of supermarkets to choose from. Some stocking some western brands and others not. I can think of at least 3 other supermarkets in my city to get some western products. Then there's all the apps and online shops people use for imported meat and homemade pies and lasagnes. Quite happy to share a few of the contacts if it's something you're after. They deliver pretty much all over at least Eastern China as far as I'm aware. If a delivery truck goes there, they'll deliver there.

    I understand if you're in a much smaller city West which is Tier 3 but tier 2 cities are pretty bustling and well developed now.
     
  20. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If the city doesn't have an IKEA and a Carrefour its definitely a 3rd tier living environment.

    To give you some idea I know cities with a 5 million plus population with only 1 KFC, 1 Pizza Hut and no Starbucks. Only one bar has Heineken in bottles and only the Hilton has an espresso machine. A bilingual school with a rent-a-name is opening up there in September.
     

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