"I've enjoyed my time here and a lot of my colleagues are continuing on into their 3rd year here. I've also heard from a few who would like to return. They mentioned the students, the quiet and peaceful living environment and cheaper living costs as the primary attractions. Sure, management isn't perfect but very few workplaces have perfect management (especially in China). All my experiences have taught me some valuable lessons on how to navigate my work life more effectively and I can say assuredly that I'm very happy with where I am right now."
I wonder if you can write your real name here if you are really still there in that program. As far as I know, there is no June who is teaching there now.
Don't do this for the sake of your selfish intention. I think you are trying to keep this program because this is your bread and butter(What a pity!)
You know that when teachers come to this program and leave before their contract ends means their career in China is usually over.
Katherine will not give them the release letter so they "fly by night". I had to play with Katherine's game to get my release letter.
This program has new teachers every year sometimes every semester. Katherine keeps making up stories that a former teacher wants to come back.It is not true!China has many opportunities for foreign teachers. TBH after I left there, I was so relieved and I have been to much better schools.
This is not about the Chinese management or Chinese school system. I am happy working with Chinese people and I respect how things work in schools here. This is an isolated issue with Katherine Poh as the program director.
So my advice to those who are offered for a job there, you'd better consider other schools.
Oh June how much money did Katherine P[edited] pay you to write this quite ridiculous summary? Or maybe it's Katherine herself. She is [edited], [edited] and [edited]. And that's being kind. [edited]. It makes me wonder why she only has 1 son and no longer has a partner in her life. She has the ability to scare anyone away.
Sorry but I don't believe what you have written. I think it's Katherine P[edited] her self and if it is, I have a message for you "please please Katherine, [edited] and [edited] and karma has a way with dealing with you.....
But on the other hand if your not Katherine you have not convinced me of any other opinion
Black list this school
I recommended a position at GXUN’s Sino-Brit College to a friend but after some research, he told me he wasn't keen and mentioned this thread to me.
I'm sorry that you had a bit of a nightmare in Nanning Fatty and from your post, understandably so. This post is not meant to belittle any of your experiences but just to provide a different view for those who are considering a teaching position here (or Nanning). Teaching in China is challenging, no doubt and I had a tough time adjusting to China. So main advice: be prepared. Know a bit of the language (basic terms), how the Chinese work (pragmatic, ad-hoc and non-confrontational) and come armed with a sense of humour 'cause ... you will be needing it. But in all it's craziness, the Chinese culture is fascinating and historically so rich that once you've accustomed yourself to all her craziness, you will begin to love being here. Like I have. Hence, get ready - it's going to be a long one.
1. Nanning as a city
Nanning can be very dusty (as most developing cities are in China), humid and yes, has a very small expat community. But in hindsight, I feel it is also an excellent place to start one's teaching experience in China. It is relatively much cheaper to live in (6 yuan aka 60p for a huge bowl of yummy rice noodles on campus), less crowded and less polluted (blue skies abound outside the mild winter months) than in the north. Granted that Nanning is no Shanghai, Guangzhou or Hangzhou but it is one of the fastest developing cities in the south and as such, has higher living standards (relative to cost) - I watched some pretty high quality classical concerts for as cheap as 8 pounds! - and is more accessible than other cities/large towns. To me, that makes it a pretty good base for travelling in the South – you will be near Guilin (the world famous lime caves in Yangshuo county), Guangzhou (dim sum), Beihai (the beach!), Yunnan (a 1.5 hr direct flight away) and Vietnam (half a day bus travel down south). Nanning has also recently added some new fancy malls (my mates and I get our cheese from the grocery store in MixC Mall – a very upscale mall in the East) and a brand new subway which I’ve just tested and it has proven to be quite tourist friendly (‘English’ option available at ticket machines). Not all lines are fully operational but the station right outside GXUN is said to be open by the end of this year.
You will also find (besides the low living cost and a good travel base) that Nanning folk are really welcoming and keen to connect. I didn’t love Nanning when I first came but after making a few friends and travelling a bit, I have to say – Nanning’s local folk are one of the warmest in China. In other parts of China I’m always on the lookout for scam artists, but in Nanning the local folk tend to feel proud that you’ve selected their city to work in. They will try their best to introduce their culture to you and accommodate you. So yes, Nanning is less developed than some of the cities up north but considering the cost of living, the accessibility and the smaller crowds, it’s quite a good base to begin exploring/understanding Chinese culture.
Do be aware: Guangxi University for Nationalities is most definitely not a first tier university. This means students that enter the Sino-British programme are not those who scored highly on the university entrance exam (‘gaokao’) and that means you start off with a pretty challenging cohort. So I agree with Fatty: you get some entitled rich bratty kids who are expecting to get a degree just based solely on the fact that they paid for one. However, there are also students who did not do well in their gaokao because they feel tired or out of place with the rote memory learning system they grew up with. As such, they are actually looking to find a different avenue to channel their intellectual efforts creatively. These students are the ones that make it worth your while. To see them independently conceptualise a research study in their final years when they weren’t even able to even critically evaluate information in the beginning is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Note: The foundation programme is an intensive English-centred course to prepare the students (language-wise and their soft skills as well e.g. critical reasoning) for the subsequent 3 year undergraduate accounting & finance degree which is completely conducted in English.
GXUN is situated in the Xixiangtang district which is quite a bit away from the city centre but the plus point would be that the air is fresher, the environment quieter and more peaceful. The campus is actually quite beautiful – very green and has a beautiful lake. Great for walks and nearing summer, abundant tropical fruits make their appearance. If you’re lucky, the Ah Yis (female caretakers) will pass you some of their ‘harvest’. As Fatty mentioned, you can opt to stay on campus (everything is free but the actual building is pretty dingy) or with a small allowance, outside. Most of us at this point opt to stay out and my apartment is near the university - clean and comfortable. Perhaps the management has improved since Fatty’s time as I did not have to find the apartment myself – I only needed to be briefed on how to pay for utility fees and setting up the wifi which the staff were helpful in assisting.
Note: Do watch out though for the landlords and/or the building management. I have heard stories from other lecturers that the landlords and/or building management have attempted to collect extra ‘charges’ without the approval of GXUN management. My advice would be to always check with GXUN management before paying anything and if you have to pay anything, demand for a receipt or take a picture or something.
Dealing with the management can be trying at times. They run the place old-school and this means a pretty strict 8 – 5pm office hours rule and old-school Chinese can be quite ad-hoc so anticipate last minute emails without clear explanations at times. Yes, you have to report back to the police station (a staff accompanies you to help with translation) if you have travelled out of China though I don’t think it’s an issue of micro-control with GXUN – this is more of a regulation dictated by the regional immigration department that GXUN has to abide by. However, the reporting bit is explained to you early on and the office hours are clearly stated in your contract so I came into this position with my eyes wide open. I did find the longer you work with her and have proven to be reliable, Katherine actually doesn’t mind you coming in slightly later or leaving earlier when you do not have classes. A lot of it has to do with negotiating with her your responsibilities and coming through on your end when you said you will.
Now, Katherine is no angel - she can be inconsistent with her orders, impulsive, confrontational and extremely blunt at times. But with all these qualities, she has also proven herself to be passionate in her work, protective of the lecturers and compensates you according to the work you have put in. She doesn’t stand for bullshit and lets you know that right away. Couple that will some bull-headedness and impulsivity, will almost certainly rub you the wrong way during the initial adjusting period. However, over the last 2 years I’ve come to appreciate her no-nonsense attitude and directness especially when we had staff who were doing some gas-lighting amongst us or who were gossiping about other lecturers to the students or over-protective parents unhappy with us failing their children. And I do not think it is easy to manage GXUN, students, parents and the UK university academic board all in one go so some inconsistency is bound to happen. She isn’t perfect but I’ve not known her to cheat anyone out of a pay check or fees. She's always abided by my contract and when there are changes, have informed me about it. In fact, she’s a stickler for trying to get our wages in on time and have seen her blow up at GXUN management for nonchalantly being a day late in arranging payment. When our pay wasn’t in on time due to that, she even offered to loan a colleague some money to cover her living expenses. Not to say that there never are issues. When things are run in an ad-hoc manner, there is a lot of potential for some serious miscommunication (refer to my note regarding landlords under ‘3. Accommodation’). I do not think it’s solely one person’s fault – I largely see it as a structural issue due to poorly regulated procedures. It is easy to blame Katherine as she is the most vocal, most unlikeable and is at the frontline of things but she actually has little to do with finances (GXUN handles all of it). So always remember to insist on a receipt after paying and/or send an email to confirm whatever it is you’re paying for as proof. No proof, no reimbursement/deposit (I learnt this the hard way).
I've enjoyed my time here and a lot of my colleagues are continuing on into their 3rd year here. I've also heard from a few who would like to return. They mentioned the students, the quiet and peaceful living environment and cheaper living costs as the primary attractions. Sure, management isn't perfect but very few workplaces have perfect management (especially in China). All my experiences have taught me some valuable lessons on how to navigate my work life more effectively and I can say assuredly that I'm very happy with where I am right now.
It is unfortunate Fatty had such a negative experience but I think management has perhaps realised a lot of what they were doing wrong and made some marked improvements. So I would say to those checking this out to give Sino-British College a chance - who knows, you might stay longer than you thought.
Gee Christine.. Thanks for that. I'm here to reinforce your comments and the rest of the other teachers. She use to we chat me late at night too. One night I got this god awful photo graph of her baring it all with her wrinkly tired saggy breasts and she was blowing a kiss at me. This is the truth!!!! I'm a pretty fit guy but i can tell you I'm not into older women especially tired out maniacs like her. I think she thought she was a bit of a catch. Really she was just lucky I didn't publicly humiliate her. Cause I am a gentleman.
I told her please stop sending messages like that then she turned viciously on me. She stared stalking me when I finished classes and yelling out come to my office I need to see you. I grew tired of her bossy and sneaky ways. She use to make fun of people too. And if there was a in house problem her and her natzy offsider would jump straight in and always take the side of the teachers that would kiss there asses.
I heard her making fun of this teachers weight one time when we had a birthday cake one day. Katherine Poh use to like jumping around and pretending she had spent a fortune on the cake and this stupid cardboardth crown thing that you got with it. As the teacher being a nice lady was cutting the cake Katherine jumped in and said no you won't be eating that cake my dear, we do t like fat teachers. if you want to keep working here. The lady was so embarrassed that she pulled Katherine up later when people had walked away. Katherine was standing over her shaking her fist yelling don't ever speak to me like that again if you know what's good for you. Ill fire you and you will never work in nanning again.
The other strange thing was she use to have this trick of playing the game of how about we have dinner. In normal procedure everyone pays for their own but she was always saying come you rich teachers, pass the hat around and pay for mine. It's the least you can do for the money I pay you!!!!
I lasted only two months. I literally ran away. I had too you could never reason with her. If you value your profession steer clear of this old boys club with the female impersonator running it camp.
You know I'm not one to gossip and spread the word, but I have to agree whole heartedly. My girlfriend was stuck with the same dilemma. She said that Katherine Poh showed symptoms very common of a corporate psycopath. Look it up it sums the woman in one.
My girlfriend said the same. At first she appeared nice and willing to work with her, but as soon as she questioned an item on the contract Poh started to bully her not only on the internet but in the chat site we chat. She would even go as far as placing cryptic messages directed at my girlfriend saying this is for you!!!katherine Poh is the worst kind of snake I have ever heard about. Katherine Poh also apart from verbal bullying she would copy messages from the chat only the part of the message that made my girlfriend look in the wrong and sent it to all faculty members in the university.
Katherine Poh also used to bully her at night after 10 pm via we chat. This is just the beginning I have so much more to tell. So in short everyone here is right Please think twice about this job offer when something seems too easy it's usually crap.
Oh yeah by the way Katherine did the change of agreed salary without consultation to my girlfriend. Katherine posh response was well too bad I can do what I want and you can't stop me......she made my girlfriend pay for air tickets Medicals etc,. And then told her that she did not wish to continue the contract leaving my girlfriend high and dry and short of money.
There's more but I can only spare this time to help others I will return
Can I ask how long you stayed for? I'm curious. Do you know how many foreign teachers are there? And do they all finish before contract expires?
I can corroborate Fatty's information. I, too, worked at GXUN briefly. It is an absolutely atrocious place to work. Katherine Poh is as awful as Fatty describes . Nothing she says can be trusted - she is a compulsive liar and will threaten or bully anyone who will put up with it. You cannot plan anything - educationally or otherwise - because she will constantly change her mind about every aspect of the program (good luck taking a vacation because she can't even figure out when holidays will occur!). The term when I left, EVERY TEACHER BUT TWO also left, and those remaining two left the following term. What kind of place has full staff turnover every year? It shouldn't be difficult to figure out!
GXUN was the most toxic work environment I have ever experienced - avoid it if you value your sanity!
The course is run by the business school with an old soviet style mentality.
You have touched on many things that are wrong in China, with this being one of them. As long as the old apparatchiks still sit in positions of untouchable power at the schools, things will never change.
I was subjected to an anti american and anti semitic lecture by a british professor and when I dared to criticize and disagree with his views my chinese boss, a horrible hag of a woman, told me I should not speak back to a professor in the way I did. No way will I condone anti semitism especially from someone who calls himself an educated man. But such is China, they try and bully you into silence, a paper slip to go on your holidays, what a joke, you did right to expose this crappy school............
Many ads have appeared lately advertising for teachers at Sino British college/ Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning, Guangxi Province.
The positions seem very attractive with good pay and reasonable hours. They have a hard time attracting teachers and in fact the pay has decreased since the I was their but thats another matter. There are many reasons to give this place a wide berth and I will list 5
Know that I worked here briefly so my comments are based on my own experience and the experiences of others and everything I say is fact.
1. The city of Nanning is a dirty, dust blown boring little hovel with very few expats, few bars and little to recommend. It is in the process of having a subway built so
traffic is a nightmare and the air is thick with dust and grime. The weather is very humid too - worse than Bangkok, believe me.
2. The students are low level, gaokao failures, some are spoilt rich kids, others juts lazy and stupid. All will pass your course bc they have paid an outrageous fee for getting a chance to go to uni. In the foundation program they study English subjects but the degree (from a 3rd rate British University) is for accounting - go figure!
3. The accommodation is a disgrace. They have teachers staying in a hostel on campus in 2 rooms. Internet is free but atrocious. The property is rat infested and some teachers had money and property stolen from their rooms. Importantly, guests are not allowed to stay overnight and the front door is locked at 11.00pm - thats right, no lady friends allowed! They may offer you a small allowance to stay off campus but you have to find it yourself. They discourage this because it means a lack of control over you. This control is exemplified in needing to apply for permission to leave the city over your holidays! Yes, ask to go on holidays by filling in a permission slip for the Dean of the business school.
4. Terrible management. The course is run by the business school with an old soviet style mentality. They seriously care little about teachers and think teachers need to stay in the office the whole day regardless of whether they are teaching or not. Your 20 - 24 classes/ 16 hours is really a 7.30 - 4.30 35 hour job where you will be stuck in an office with slow internet, waiting around just in case a students decides they need to ask you a question. These same learned gentlemen banned students from wearing skirts below the knee after I left and sent them back to their dormitory to change clothes - seriously. Its like the 1960's with this bijou swilling, old mans club.
5. Last but not least is the program manager or what ever title she wants to give herself. Katherine Poh is a law unto herself. She is an ageing, spiteful, vindictive, c*nt of a woman from Malaysia. She knows nothing about education and even less about management. She runs the program with a divide and conquer mentality and thinks nothing of backstabbing, lying, manipulating and cheating teachers. She cheated a Canadian gentleman out of his visa fees, cheated a Brit out of his hospital fees and tried to change the contract of a filipino woman to pay her less. Her boss is a two faced conniving used car salesman. Together, these two put the program together and aim to run it until they have drained it for every cent of management fees. They are a shameful twosome that feed like vampires on the weak and quickly fire strong willed, decent teachers.
There is many more things i can go into but I am just glad to be free
Now you have got the low down on this terrible place to work. Go there with your eyes wide open but don't say you weren't warned!