That's clearly a leadership problem. You will find such problems with schools more than once, not only in Hainan, if it is a school does not do too well.
I worked there before. It will be interesting if any of the foreign teachers of year 2014 write something here...what happened to them back then ?! Why all of them left? 100%!
The guy in charge of hiring (the one contacting you) seems to be very treacherous and always manipulating contract signed. This is especially so if you are there to teach any other languages than English, yet you are conversant in English. When an English teacher suddenly ran away after much forbearance (which happens all the time), he will come to you for you speak English and order you to cover classes that are doing without English oral teacher now, even though you signed the contract as a German Oral teacher.
The contract you signed is 16 periods German a week and because they are having only small intake each year (brilliant students shun this college), you will have less than 16 periods to teach, just like other smaller languages apart from English which is always full to the brim. Since now that you're having only , say 12 periods per week, he will demand you to take up English classes to make it up to 16 periods !Totally ignoring you signed for a German teacher,not English! He will say 16periods is what stipulated in the contract and you must comply...Thus, you'll be a dumb arse in front of other teachers who are still idling their time with < 12 periods. You perform extra donkey job without extra pay.
Out of 19 of us, if i'm not mistaken 13 discarded that college either prematurely or by the end of the contract. Four Americans left prematurely because of health issues. A Czech guy performed a major surgery which required general anesthesia and a lady from Europe contracted Cancer after one year of working there. However i'm unsure of whether those cases have anything to do with the environment there or not.
Generally in this college, other small languages like Indonesian,Vietnam, Thai...etc, foreign teachers there are having rather peaceful life, spared by the management.
However, if you're teaching English, which every year they required minimum 9-10 foreigners, prepare to embrace for the 'excitement'. The turn around rate is > 70%, meaning English teachers normally opt to leave....some by the end of their contract, some a month or even a week after coming here.
If you're from USA , the school has special perks and privileges for you. They will arrange you for English classes off campus where you'll have a tea session with kids sent by their parents to see you performing. They pay Yuan 180 per head to see you for 2 hours with 40+ other kids. Well, you get this off record money in your pocket tax free...because you are from the States and you have that accent the whole China yearned for. Sadly, if you do not belong to USA, they'll put you in plenty extra classes, trainnings....even if you've exceeded 16 periods. They do pay you, but not monthly for your extra, when they pay it's in a bulk of 2-3 months. This spurs your tax rate to 20-25% because you're receiving them in a grand sum. Really dejecting , despite numerous attempts raising the issues. As always, they will say, " we paid you!"
There is this guy in charge for hiring foreigner. My humble opinion is, from what i observed so far, almost all who left prematurely had fight with him. Some cried, some shouted, some just adopt ' i fxxk care now, i'll leave ASAP'. For those who had dispute with him and left before fulfilling the contract, he will report you to the immigration and you will be banned from entering China, for likely 5 years. Even though it may be the case that you left because the school bleached the contract (e.g. pay you a few days late or put you to teach classes not your major yet not paying you), as long as you leave without paying the USD2k penalty and given them 2months notice ahead, he will make sure you can't enter China for years to come. Cunning and treacherous...he doesn't seem to pay any heed to your dissatisfaction, as long as the leader is ok with him, what you feel is of no importance at all.
However, if you are here to teach any other languages but English, life here is rather peaceful. Some new languages have only 3-4 students and you teach for 4-6 periods a week ! Mind that Spanish, Russian, French, Portugese ,Japanese and Korean are having about 20 students in a class. English classes are averagely 30-40 students.
There is only 1 KFC here. Starbucks/ MacD are 65km away in Haikou..cheese could be hard to come by here.
Students are of the lowest level...this is a vocational college wholly owned by goverment (main reason why they're so bureaucratic here). Diploma offered here, not Bachelor degress..
I've shared what i reckon useful for people who might be considering coming here. Good luck!
I taught at this school for a number of years, and, for the most part, it was a pleasant experience. Our housing was quite nice, the Chinese admin and fellow teachers were kind and considerate, the students were lovely - not highly motivated academically, but very friendly and ready to be of assistance. What I noticed is the foreign teachers that developed friendly relationships with the waiban and admin (for instance, going out to tea occasionally, visiting when encountering on campus, etc.) had a smooth experience. Some foreign teachers had more adversarial experiences, or only bothered the foreign affairs officer or admin when they needed something, and their experience was less satisfactory. The work load was reasonable and not heavy - compared to what is expected at other institutions (I taught for several years at 2 Chinese universities in addition to this school). For the most part we were paid on time, and the pay was comparable to other colleges in Hainan; a bit lower than some unis on the mainland, but not when you consider the light workload. For instance, you might have 16 hours to teach, but at least half of those would be the same class, same book, just with different students, so not much time in prep time each week. That being said, at the time that we left, there were some changes in administration that seemed a bit ominous to me, and, in fact, when coming back to visit, the former Dean told me we were correct to be concerned. However, since that time there's been another change in admin which I believe is for the positive (I still keep in touch with admin, Chinese teachers and former students).
Foreign teachers were mostly housed in new apartments that were suitable. It's important to understand that Wenchang is not a large city, so Western type food and restaurants are not as plentiful as might be found in the larger cities. The people of Wenchang are very sweet and polite (for instance, they don't stare at you as might be the case in other parts of Chinese). The city is safe -- I never heard of a foreign teacher meeting harm except one young fellow who got involved in some sort of pub fight. The favorite activities of the Chinese teachers and locals are afternoon tea and playing volleyball (or pretty much any sports). It is close to the sea -- about a 40 min. walk and bus ride. In my years of teaching there, it seemed that the best fit for this location were people in their 30's and older (ages 40 to 65 seemed to be best fit), and married couples and especially families with children (there were several families with children who were there for a long time). Young single people seemed to find the location too boring, as it has more of a leisurely pace and is somewhat remote in location.
I am planning to work in this college next term. Is really so bad? What about salary payment? Is it fair? Do they cheat teachers?
Thanks in advance!
Agree. I saw your post too late I guess.
If anyone from the school is reading this, they know who I am. Not so many incidences in my case, but a very childish and inconsiderate behaviour by the foreign teachers´dept manager. A rude little guy more concerned in saving face than actually helping teachers out. He lied in a few occasions, even after helping him with teaching modules that were not going to be taught.
Certainly it is an easy job, the level is very low (to the point of being frustrating how little students believe in what they are doing. The organisation is nonexistent, the require you to be reachable all day long, and they are very intrusive in your personal life.
They pay a considerable sum of money regarding the level expected, but even so, people move away without hesitation. Unconveniently, they always have problems with the finances dept and the numbers always change, they try to modify contracts half way the year, they change shifts and classes without any kind of notification, and eventually teachers end asking students about the functioning of the school.
This is not a personal matter, there are amazing Chinese teachers there, and most of my students loved my classes.
Good luck if anyone wants to teach there. Good for a year, save money, explore the island, and go away with as much money as they want to pay you.
How long did you stay at the school? When were you there? Their website advertises 14 openings right now, but it seems it hasn't been updated for years. What is the quality of the campus, apartment, area of the city? How many hours per week? Students per class?
In the interest of helping all those considering teaching at Hainan College of Foreign Studies (previously known as Hainan Foreign Language College of Professional Education), I thought I’d share a bit of my experience. I was part of a group of foreign teachers employed by the school and spent one year teaching there. Having taught extensively over the years in China in the past, I knew a lot of what to expect; however, I was not prepared for what transpired.
Our group of foreign teachers was completely new as all 17 of the previous teachers quit. I heard rumors of them banding together and electing not to return as a message to the administration, however, that story would probably be better heard first-hand from one of them. All I can say is that if that was their decision, I understand.
Collectively as foreign teachers, our experience was rough. We had teachers from all over the world and we would regularly discuss the problems we were individually having with the administration. Many of the administration members were unhelpful at best and hostile at worst. Having taught in China previously I am familiar with the norm, let me say this school is far from normal.
Without going into too many details I will share a few stories to illustrate the schools mentality: One teacher called the administration from his apartment too sick to even make it to the hospital. His calls were disregarded and he was left to fend for himself and figure out his own transportation to the hospital. Another teacher was given specifics about what occurred in her bedroom by a faculty member who simply said “he was watching her”. No video camera was found, but the specifics made it very likely that somehow this was true. Others were caused to stand and lose face in regional meetings with other schools present due to not being fluent in Chinese. A shouting match took place at the PSB after the foreign teacher’s liaison failed to inform the teachers about some documents they needed and instead made them cry with his insistence that this was somehow their fault even though it was his job.
Additionally four of the teachers left the school early due to the health concerns they were facing seemingly because of the environment. So, while there are many great things about Hainan (warm weather, less pollution, 40 minutes from the beach, etc…). I cannot recommend this school to anyone considering teaching there. Having taught other places I can certainly recommend pursuing a job in China, I would just steer clear of Hainan College of Foreign Studies.