To give you a better understanding of what you are getting yourself into by signing a contract with “Yong Xing Middle/Primary School” or their new school “Yinhu” in Fuyang (Zhejiang Province), I will list all the negatives and (the few) positives as I had the displeasure of working in both.
Firstly, let me start with the allocated apartments which are part of your salary.
They can only be described in one word, which is in my opinion disgraceful! they smell of damp, are moldy, have water leaks, cockroaches and in some cases even rats! it will get freezing cold in winter, as there is no heating and only a small air conditioning unit in the bedroom.
The only positive thing about the apartments is that they are right next to the school.
Secondly, let me tell you about the school itself.
Whatever they tell you in the beginning it’s likely to be the opposite. For example, if they tell you you will teach Middle school grade 7 you are likely to be transferred to Primary School without any warnings or explanations and vice versa.. At times you will also turn up to class and find it cancelled without prior notice.
Trying to plan a holiday is also almost impossible, as they will tell you school finishes on day X, once you’ve booked your ticket you find out it’s 2 weeks earlier.
You will either be given a crappy book to teach from or nothing at all and will be told to make up a curriculum yourself. If the “leaders” are not happy with what you are doing, even though they have never seen one of your classes or given you any advice, expect to be demoted to a lower position or exchanged with someone else.
In some cases, you will be forced to do office hours and sit in the office doing absolutely nothing, even though you might only have 1 class or none at all that day.
Also, don’t be surprised if every teacher is on a different salary and teaching schedule. In some cases doing a lot less work for a lot more money. The pay scale is not transparent at all and makes no sense.
For example,one teacher with 2 years experience was being paid 8000/month teaching 21 lessons a week whereas teachers with 0 experience were paid a lot more and had to teach less lessons.
So negotiate your contract and ensure you get everything in writing!
If you are teaching middle school, expect to do the same lesson up to 20 times a week, as you will have different classes with different kids every lesson. Don’t even bother learning the names as they switch classes every few weeks. Also, don’t expect the kids to be interested as they are not being graded and marked and don’t expect them to take you seriously as a teacher. They won’t respect you as they do their Chinese teachers.
In case you have any problems regarding teaching or apartments, don’t even bother trying to contact the foreign teacher’s management. If you do, don’t expect to get a reply, you will most likely be ignored.
To sum it up, the school is disorganised and won’t respect you as a teacher.
On the plus side, if you get lucky with your teaching hours you won’t have to work very hard and none really cares about what you are doing as long as you show up to class.
In case you are working for Yinhu, expect explaining your lesson plans to your Co teacher and sometimes being observed during class by the Vice principal.
If you are unsure whether to go for a job here or not, I would only recommend it if you don’t care about teaching and children’s education and just want to see a bit of China and have an experience.