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Is this teaching job in China legit?

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Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Chrissays » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:14 am

Fellow HAers, I need your help!!

So I recently sent out a bunch of emails and and resumes from job boards on Daves ESL cafe.. and I got a response and a skype chat with a recruiter from EXPERTISE E D UCATIO N.

Heres the thing.. Iv read reviews on the internet and this place has gotten a bunch of bad reviews. More bad than good.

Here's what the recruiter said through skype
Keep in mind, I told her already i DO NOT have a degree or TEFL.

- I will be provided a TEFL certification after I finish a year contract
-They will help me with a visa,
A. I need to apply for a first-temp entry visa to arrive in beijing, then provide a non criminal background check upon arrival, AND THEN they will help me get a work visa (WHICH TAKES 2 MONTHS)
-2 contract options, 1 with accomodations and 2 without accomodations
-WITHOUT a BA degree they offer 7,000 yaunes per month, plus 1000 USD airfare bonus blah blah

Anyone heard or have any experience with this company? It sounds kind of fishy because I dont have a degree or tefl and she sounded like she more than modestly wanted to recruit me.

Note** It makes me even more suspicous because I did not hear back from any of the other places I sent out a resume to. What makes me so different to this companies eyes?
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby MrMan » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:57 am

If you don't have a degree, you'll probably get bottom-of-the-barrel type jobs. There are risks when you take a job like this, and it's best to have some cash or at least a credit card to get out if things go wrong. The big problems are that you may not get what you are promised. You might be promised a shared apartment with another teacher and end up in a home stay with a local teacher's family or two or four in an apartment. I've never been to China though. As about the specific schedule. Korean institutes often have split shifts, early morning and late night hours, where there aren't 8 hours between night classes and day classes. Add to that your nights being day and days being nights and you can feel literally sick from the lack of sleep at times. I don't know if the Chinese do 7AM classes before work and school like Koreans do.

Here's what I recommend. Ask the recruiter for a phone number of an expat teacher at the school and call with lots of questions. Ask if they are paid on time, any extra obligations not in the contract, how easy it is to get along with people, the age you'd teach, the hours, and where you live. I remember nearly 20 years ago a teacher posting about a special foreigner apartment for an English teacher at a university. It was special because it actually had it's own toilet-- right in the kitchen. But my guess is the quality of life has improved in China, or at least there is more available on the higher end than there used to be.

The recruiter work for a company that recruits expatriate teachers for the schools. That's usually how it works. So if you get hired, that person gets paid. They may get paid if you stay there a while or get paid more if you stay a while. So bringing in teachers may be the priority. Or they could work for the school and the school is desperate for a teacher. Sometimes schools have high turn over due to poor conditions.

People in the ESL field will know that if you have a certificate from somewhere they never heard of, that it's a certificate from somewhere they never heard of. If the certificate is a joke, and you have to answer interview questions about it in the future, that' s not going to be fun. You might omit it from your resume. A degree plus experience will land a teacher a job at institutes.

In Korea institutes work like this. The owner of the school has an office building with classrooms. People come in before work or school or after work or school to study. Asians are so gung ho about education, that some of these schools can be pretty busy. There are also schools for math and Chinese characters and things like that in Korea. I'm assuming these institutes are similar in China.

I've never been to China, but based on what I know of it, if you are making over $1000 a month with a place to live and it's just you and you don't have any really large debt obligations back home on a monthly basis, you will probably be doing rather well locally.

I've got a friend whose really smart but has ADD and he kept taking courses at an expensive private university and dropping them and ended up with too much loan debt to borrow any more and no degree. He was thinking of trying to find a deal where he could earn a living by teaching English in China while getting a degree from a university there. That actually might not be a bad situation for the future if someone got a degree in China and was fluent in Chinese. Just the fluency in Chinese might help one get certain jobs in the US.

I'm not sure about Chinese universities, but when I was in Indonesia, they put students in cohorts with classes all at the same time, kind of like some MBA programs. So undergraduates have to be in class during certain hours during the day to get the credits. It is unlike large state universities in the US where undergrads just select from a buffet of courses offered at different times to meet requirements for a degree. But it would be interesting if you could find a program with English language classes and get a degree, teaching in the AM and or PM before school. If you taught at night, which is possible, you might be able to pull it off if that were your goal. There are some Chinese schools that have international accreditation in certain programs. Some of the business schools have Equis or AACSB accreditation.

Btw, I'd probably try to negotiate with them to pay for the ticket rather than pay for the bonus. It may be more money, but having them pay for that would decrease your risk. They might have a problem with backpackers stealing tickets, or at least the fear of it. Skyping someone at the actual school might help.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Cornfed » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:36 am

The risky thing as I see it is that you are arriving with non-work visa and therefore would technically be teaching illegally. This is not as much of a deal-breaker in China as it is in Korea as the authorities may allow more latitude, but combined with the fact that you are an unqualified Asian it would make one rather suspicious that they were planning to stiff you in some way and save money.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Chrissays » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:44 am

Well, if the school is paying me 7,000 yuan a month, that's about 1000usd.. I can definitely live off of that. Even if I were to rent my own 1 br apartment (probably with a roommate) in the city, I could still live a pretty cool life style and save a bit of money.

The only thing I'm worried about is.. if they (like what you said, Mrman), keep their promises or not. Or if i even get paid on time, or paid at all for that matter. This isn't like America where the authorities will come and bust your a** for shady practices, its a small school all the way in China and I can easily get screwed over once I'm there.

Iv asked the recruiter about school programs where I can transfer over my American university credits to Chinese University and finish off my degree (i don't know how that's going to work.. because I was academically disqualified and I still need to reapply into the American University AFTER I take 9-12 with a 3.0 GPA.. ughh).

I didn't ask about paying for my plane ticket, I'm afraid I'm going to disqualify myself before I even get my foot in the door.

Gosh, I really am stuck. Even if I stayed in America for another year to finish my degree, I don't even know if I can graduate!! because my low grades and reapplication. Plus its freaking expensive, I would need to take out at least 10 grand in student loans.

But If i can make this job work, and hopefully they don't f**k me over, and I can go to a Chinese University, I am staying the hell in China, or somewhere in Asia. This place is not my home.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Chrissays » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:51 am

@cornfed:

So.. it is suspicious.. and it seems like they are trying to scam me?

Also, what kind of VISA would they be talking about, "once I get there"? I don't know much about traveling or visas, but what kind of VISA could I get without a degree, once I land in China?

I'm really trying to give this company the benefit of the doubt but I must bring it to the attention of HA forum to get all the air bubbles out, for my own safety.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Cornfed » Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:33 am

My info is half-remembered and out of date. Basically, they seem to be saying you should arrive on a 90 day tourist visa. Then if you work out you should get a one year Z-series working visa. To do this you used to have to do a visa run (i.e. travel to another country or separate territory of China such as Hong Kong). Technically this should not be granted without a degree, but with the right sponsorship the authorities might still do so. AFAIK, any visa to China must be gained prior to entry.

However, this may all be nonsense now. Hopefully recent China teachers can clarify the situation.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Chrissays » Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:15 am

Cornfed wrote:My info is half-remembered and out of date. Basically, they seem to be saying you should arrive on a 90 day tourist visa. Then if you work out you should get a one year Z-series working visa. To do this you used to have to do a visa run (i.e. travel to another country or separate territory of China such as Hong Kong). Technically this should not be granted without a degree, but with the right sponsorship the authorities might still do so. AFAIK, any visa to China must be gained prior to entry.

However, this may all be nonsense now. Hopefully recent China teachers can clarify the situation.


If I got my work visa, and I was teaching English, would it still be considered illegal?
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Cornfed » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:09 am

Chrissays wrote:
Cornfed wrote:My info is half-remembered and out of date. Basically, they seem to be saying you should arrive on a 90 day tourist visa. Then if you work out you should get a one year Z-series working visa. To do this you used to have to do a visa run (i.e. travel to another country or separate territory of China such as Hong Kong). Technically this should not be granted without a degree, but with the right sponsorship the authorities might still do so. AFAIK, any visa to China must be gained prior to entry.

However, this may all be nonsense now. Hopefully recent China teachers can clarify the situation.


If I got my work visa, and I was teaching English, would it still be considered illegal?

You generally get specific visas to do specific work.

*BTW, I wouldn't do this, but since I am an imbittered loser, what would I know?*
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby MrMan » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:32 am

There are a lot of questions you are asking that you probably could better answers for elsewhere.

About transferring credits to a Chinese school. My guess is you have very little hope of doing that, but that's just a guess based on knowing just a little about colleges in Indonesia. In the US, there is a very simple and transparent system for transferring credits between schools. I don't know that any school in Indonesia does that. That's a practice that has to be invented and developed in a particular country. You can ask Chinese college students whether they have heard of such a thing.

If it were me, I might just borrow the money to finish the degree. Maybe there is a cheaper state school where you could go for less money. If you want to teach English overseas, having a degree is gold, or really maybe more like tin, since English teachers don't make THAT much money. Still if your comparison is working a part-time job at McDonalds or Walmart in the US, $1000 in China may be a lot better. If you can save $300 to $400 a month, you may be putting away more than you would making $30,000 in a big city in the US. It seems like its hard for inexperienced people to get jobs in the US.

Btw, your English teaching experience abroad is good general life experience, but it doesn't seem to transfer into much in terms of useful job experience in the US. If you actually get certified as a school teacher, you can stay in the same field. If you get a PhD in some sort of language field, that is another way to stay in the same general field of study. Otherwise, if you want to earn enough to have a family, you could do private lessons and save money to start your own school someday or some sort of side business (a burger stall in China, etc.), or just teach English at institutes forever.

As time goes on, it will probably be harder to get or keep an English teacher job in China without a degree.

As far as the visa stuff goes, you may be facing a situation where you work illegally until the visa comes through, which puts you in a vulnerable situation. I'm thinking about your risk versus theirs. You have no degree so your ability to run out and get another job if they treat you poorly is limited. But if they pay for your ticket, they've put down a big chunk of change compared to the average Chinaman's income. That's a pretty huge expense. So I think you should try to get a situation where they put some money into you staying. That way, they know if they really treat you bad so much so that you bail on them, that they are out that money.

One way to do it may be to interview with them a lot and have them spend a lot of time on you and talk about how interested you are in getting on a plane, but toward the end, let them know that you just need help with the ticket or insist on them buying. You need them to pay for it, etc. Make sure to get the frequent flier miles. For long trips like that, they really add up.

I have paid for tickets overseas before for questionable jobs. I ended up just eating it in order not to work with one place that would have paid for the ticket. That was a one-man operation. I preferred to work for a more established place where the owner didn't call me every day when I was in the bathroom to make sure I'd prepared my lesson.

A friend of mine said Asians don't believe in sunk costs. If the ship is sinking, they keep trying to get passengers onboard to hopefully sell enough to fix the ship. (That's mixed metaphors.) Sunk costs in business means that if you have an investment to make, you don't pay attention at all to the money you have invested. You only look at what will bring you the most profit in the future, ignoring how much you invested in the past. Like if you invested $10 M in a business. You can either invest another $1M in it to keep it running or else shut it down and invest nothing, you choose the latter option. I suppose you could apply sunk costs to your degree, too. But still I think $10k for a college degree is not a bad deal. I don't recommend borrowing in general. But unless there is a major economic meltdown or shift, based on past trends, it may not be a bad deal. If you were to die, you don't have to pay it back and neither does your family for US loans, so it's kind of like inverse life insurance in a way. Make sure it's a marketable degree if you can. Any degree will do for teaching English overseas.

Back in 1995, I taught English in Korea and made about $1600 a month. I came back with $6000, paid off the student loans in my name and I bought a used car. I'd taken out some PLUS loans in my parents name I was obligated to pay off, and gave them the car in exchange for those when they wanted it, so that one trip paid all my loans. Loans are bigger nowadays.

I didn't do private lessons in Korea. Back then, some teachers were making $40 an hour doing those.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby MrMan » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:40 am

Chrissays wrote:So.. it is suspicious.. and it seems like they are trying to scam me?


If they aren't asking for money directly, they probably aren't trying to directly scam you. There are shady owners and owners who are lazy about paying. But if they really want a teacher to work for them and make them money, they have to wait for the 2 months, too. Making them invest something in you to get you there gives them more incentive to treat you better. They may not realize it, though.

Keep in mind that managers and business owners in Asia have way different boundaries than in the US. Like they might ask you to come in on your day off, on Saturday, to take a few pictures and spend all day doing something. I did the solidarity thing with other workers when they asked for that and didn't show. I probably should have. One Korean school I worked for didn't have enough tape players and things like that. Sometimes it's best to bite the bullet and buy your own to keep the students coming and the money coming in.

I'd also look up the name of the school plus the word 'forum' on google and actually try to email people who worked there or complained about it. If it's the same brand but a different branch, complaints may not be all that applicable. But if someone worked for the same management that is there now in the same school, you should really pay attention.

Some people are complainers. Some English teachers who go abroad aren't flexible enough to deal with the fact that people in other countries have different expectations and do things differently, too. Some people just get bitter. There is a time period, probably about a month in until 6 months, were people can go through culture shock and hate everything about a country and want to leave. If you wait it out, it goes away. I had culture shock in Korea, but didn't feel that way about Indonesia, which was a lot dirtier, but more laid back.

Also, what kind of VISA would they be talking about, "once I get there"? I don't know much about traveling or visas, but what kind of VISA could I get without a degree, once I land in China?


I think ESL cafe's China forum would be a good place for these questions. My guess is it depends on which province of China and the relationship of the school with immigration. S. Korea seems to have nationwide regulations that require a degree.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Ghost » Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:10 pm

Don't walk away from this "offer," RUN. I have quals and a acceptable appearance (i.e. I'm white) for teaching EFL, and I would NEVER go illegally although I could almost certainly get away with it in China. Remember, if you go illegally and the school f***s you over and doesn't pay you, you have NO rights.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Chrissays » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:59 am

Guys,

I'm going to set up an appointment with my counseler, set up a plan to enroll back into university, and graduate with a degree. (And get my TEFL).

I'm doing this right.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Cornfed » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:09 am

Chrissays wrote:Guys,

I'm going to set up an appointment with my counseler, set up a plan to enroll back into university, and graduate with a degree. (And get my TEFL).

I'm doing this right.

If you are serious about wanting to teach English overseas, that is a good idea. Whether you should do that (i.e. teach English overseas) at this point is of course another matter.
Last edited by Cornfed on Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this teaching job in China legit?

Postby Ghost » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:02 am

Cornfed wrote:
Chrissays wrote:Guys,

I'm going to set up an appointment with my counseler, set up a plan to enroll back into university, and graduate with a degree. (And get my TEFL).

I'm doing this right.

If you are serious about wanting to teach English overseas, that is a good idea. Whether you should do that at this point is of course another matter.


And to this, I would add that in China, nothing is set in stone, except perhaps for things in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and other huge cities. Next, second tier cities, like provincial capitals, will likely not be too stringent on requirements. However, they have a wider selection of teachers, so a better resume helps a lot. Finally, third tier cities are unknown to foreigners outside China and no one wants to go there even if they do know about them. Requirements in these third tier cities are basically having a white face and a pulse.

So keep this in mind as well. That said, having more quals can't hurt and are likely to help over time.
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