This post is merely to state the facts about Foshan University, as I have experienced them, and to alert others that might be interested in working here. I must stress that this place is secondary employment, I work full time in a neighbouring city and was asked by a friend if I could do a few days a week there for 1 term or a full year if it worked out. Are you sitting comfortably? then I will begin.
There are many villains in this play, I won't name them as I am not sure if the post would be deleted, but if interested I can always put them in an email to anybody interested, but I think for now the name of the place should suffice.
My friend and I decided to do this as a favour to another friend of ours. We are both employed in Uni's in Guangzhou, and work only 2 days per week, so, picking up extra work is easy and convenient. It all began back in December with an initial informal meeting between ourselves and the Head of the International department at Foshan University...who we will call Mr. X and his assistant, Miss Y. This meeting was positive and full of hope, as we felt that they were different to the employers we have in Guangzhou. 6 months later we know this isn't the case.
We negotiated a decent salary for a University in a lower tier city, and a few other small details that are insignificant to mention here. Accommodation was offered and when we were shown this, I walked out....it isn't fit enough for the dead cockroaches that were there...pics available of what they showed us if needed. We detailed what was needed to be done, I suggested firebombing it....but that didn't seem to raise the wit level of our hosts. Fair enough, they came through...new Toilet unit, TV, WIFI and Fridge ...even a decent gas range for cooking, and of course a major deep clean. As an apartment it is big, poorly maintained and is ( if you know China ) a design form the 1960's with no elevator and dangerous stairwells with little or no lighting. in addition, they also bought new Air Conditioners and fixed any niggling issues that arose...can't really fault them for this....but it gets worse.
Foshan University has two campuses, management conveniently hide out in the new campus and "try"to manage from afar...this simply doesn't work. We have about 5 contact names for different things, from accommodation issues, to salary payment ( get to that issue later ) to schedules with no real idea as to who is doing what ...or being passed off to others to solve. This leads to constant headaches with malfunctioning hardware in classrooms, locked rooms and no access to keys or where to find someone to open the rooms...quite often told " get a student to do it" students have no idea who or where to get these things fixed. As I write this ( teaching week 10 ) my classroom that I have been allocated for Oral English and an English Culture class is in fact a lab of some kind with bottles of chemicals laying around everywhere and no working audio system..voice is wrecked.
Payment...10th of the month according to the contract unless that falls during a holiday or weekend then it will be the first working day after...1 week late last month, excuses being thrown around, and it wasn't until I had to give them the "You are in brach of contract regs" chat that they decided to cough up, but even then, they blamed myself and my friend for the error....( the woman that assisted us in opening a bank of China account took photos of the account details ) that simply p****d us off, and alarm bells began to ring loudly.....payday is 2 days away, lets see what happens.
Classes are awful. We knew that the students English level would be lower than what we are used to, that is no problem, a challenge in life is often needed to keep you on your toes! no, awful because students simply don't bother to show up, and if they do, its play on the phone time or whatever else they can find. I am not the kind of person that gets angry over that, as far as I am concerned its their loss. Students not showing up, or not even bothering to respond to social networking messages so that I may plan my time accordingly is just downright arrogant, selfish and above all else, disrespectful. I love what I do and I put 110% into my class prep and class management, but when its thrown back in my face as it is, its hard to not feel some anger or frustration. At the end of the day, nobody shows up, especially the evening classes, I get paid either way, I just don't like having to wait around to find out nobody is coming. This DOES NOT happen at my Guangzhou employment...they wouldn't dare.
I drive to Foshan University, takes around 1hr or so...the drive is quite nice to be fair, and I factored the fuel bills and toll fees into the salary negotiation...but, check this for my Wednesday schedule and it puts into perspective the paragraph above....8am - 9:30am then nothing until 6:30pm a wait of 9 hours between classes....sure, I have access to the dump...I mean apartment, but there is nothing to do, nothing even around the campus...so I drive home ( my choice ) to be comfortable so to speak, but the last 3 Wednesday evening classes have been cancelled...this is after I have driven back there....before you say anything, yes, I do send a message to the class via WeChat asking for attendance confirmation, with many saying they will come...only for that to turn out to be a different story when I walk into the classroom. I have complained to the students ( professional adults, Teachers, Doctors, dentists etc ) about their communication skills, and to the college to ask for these classes to be suspended or even cancelled....of course being china, that isn't going to happen.
I pride myself on being professional, or as professional as I can be, environment permitting usually....Foshan University has dried this from me in all fairness. So many lies, so many fake promises, stuff that we both knew is very possible in China, and that is their "skill" to lead you on and simply not deliver, quite typical of many Chinese employers that I have read about on here. I want to switch off my professionalism for the remainder of the contract ( 6 weeks ) but it goes against my every fibre I have as committed person....but I think I have to try, they simply do not care, so why on earth should I? its not even like the students will complain or miss out, they don't care anyway.
We pushed them into discussing next term ( I told them directly that I am not interested even if they proposed a better contract ) but my friend, although somewhat angry about his classes etc, sees it as easy money ..which is true, but they are demanding we sign a "permanent" full time contract with them, which is something we cannot do...( will explain this later ) this wasn't what was originally discussed in December or what we were led to believe at any time during the past 10 weeks.
My friend and I have working visas for Guangzhou, we got the deal with Foshan as it meant they didn't have to go through the whole recruitment process and visa applications etc....seemed the logical and convenient way for both sides to win....they were happy for the risk, we knew that the risk might be high if caught, but very doubtful.I have an email from the head of the college "wishing and hoping for a long partnership and that the situation is a total win- win for all parties" lying git.
I am sure there will be those that will say "WTF are you complain about?" 10k a month for classes that never happen and accommodation better than most would ever get....true, but the way it has all come to fruition now and the way our professionalism has been used and abused is what is wrong here. They even asked me to use my "Charm" to encourage students ( the professional adults ) to attend class....that was met with a rather sarcastic " yeah sure".
They have another Foreign victim...employee from Canada, we have met recently...and found that we definitely have the sweeter deal, virtually double the salary, equipped apartment etc....he didn't and doesnt. He was told what we got from them, not as an act of spite, but as an act of ammunition for him to use come contract renewal or, just us being honest to a colleague we feel is doing more than us and being treated like sh**e.
This is Foshan University, I have probably missed many points, but I think from this novel you get the point.