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Author Topic: Arrived in Hefei  (Read 3623 times)

kloke

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Arrived in Hefei
« on: October 01, 2013, 01:27:13 AM »

Hello again.

Just wanted to drop a post telling everyone thanks for the kind and valuable help this community has been in my move to Hefei!

I arrived in Hefei 3 weeks ago, but it´s been a really big experience for me since i landed, i wanted to make a post earlier but it was really impossible due to the nature of the stressed situation i got when i arrived here.
So when i got here basically i had a contract with a vocational school as i told in my previous post, and they welcomed me in very nicely, the fact is that when i got to my first day of teaching in the school i had no program of any sort, and had no material, so i was confronted with a very hard situation, they literally lied to me saying that i would have a program and all the material from the previous years, but very few material and all in Chinese :( So this made me very angry at first, but later saw that it was a good opportunity for me as well, i had total freedom to give the students what i wanted with no restrictions! So i have been very busy preparing the lessons and one down side to this is that i almost have no time for myself, but i think it will get better with time.
Have any of you had similar experience with University or schools?
As for the cultural integration i really like the Chinese culture, aside from the pollution fact and that they throw everything on the floor in the street, very filthy places here :( I cannot understand this behavior?
Some Chinese people are very nice but some of them want tricked me with money, but i am more alert now and been looking them in they eyes when i fell they want to play some trick with money.
Any ideas on what to do on these 8 vacation days? I really want to go out of town for 2 or 3 days but i don´t speak Chinese so it´s complicated.
Any one up for a drink or a walk in the city?
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Aussie Mike

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Re: Arrived in Hefei
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 01:39:27 AM »

Text me to meet up and I'll tell you a few tricks to prevent being ripped off.
Essentially as a guide, if I would pay $20 for something in Australia, it's worth 20rmb here.
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sf2hf

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Re: Arrived in Hefei
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 05:14:37 PM »

Make sure the School pays you for your class material. Don't simply leave it to them as a gift.
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kloke

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Re: Arrived in Hefei
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 12:24:21 AM »

Thank you all  for you replies :)

Mike i will send you a message today, will appreciate all the tips i can get!

大枪 thank you for your advice, i am very alert now with money issues and will not be flexible in money issues anymore!

sf2hf that´s good advice, i had not thought about it yet but i will tell the school if they want the material we have to get to an agreement because i have been working almost without sleeping every day for the past 3 weeks, so i neet to get payed for my extra working hours!
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x0vash0x

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Re: Arrived in Hefei
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 11:52:11 PM »

Your situation is very typical of teaching in China.

They will not pay you for your extra work. They will not pay you for teaching materials. What they want is for you to, as we like to say, be a dancing monkey. Become accustomed quickly to as you said "they literally lied". If you ask for extra pay or teaching materials they are likely to say 'Oh, sure! Buy them yourself and we will reimburse you!' this is most likely a lie. Get them to pay for the materials themselves. Go on Amazon.cn or Taobao and show them where the school can buy the materials directly. Your other option is to require the students themselves to buy materials if it's relatively cheap. A third option is to buy the material yourself, say a textbook, then go to a print shop and make copies of it or buy one book yourself and then get the school to make copies of it. Making copies of textbooks is very, very, common here. You don't have to buy original material for every student, just buy one and then make the school make copies.

As 大枪 said the key is to be forceful and don't role over. Just say 'This is what I need. Do it or else!' You cannot be a nice guy while working in China or nothing will ever get don't. You must be slightly aggressive and upfront. Most Chinese don't like confrontation, so if you make a slight scene showing that you're upset things might change, marginally.

A key decision you have to make is how much effort you want to put into the class. You got to realize, that the school most likely doesn't care about the quality of the course you're teaching, they're more concerned that you show up on time, that you're a foreigner, and you don't make trouble. Spending sleepless nights making sure you're well prepared really wont go far into giving you any leverage with the school. Now, you could view this as a career building opportunity and these sleepless nights can be used to get a more respectable teaching job in China or another place. However, my opinion is that you're taking your job way to seriously for what the Chinese are expecting of you. On one hand, its good if you want to move to a better school but if you're going to be working at training schools and doing ESL or Basic English, you're working too hard... in my opinion.

As for traveling, you don't really need to speak much Chinese to travel. Get a colleague to go with you to buy train tickets, and that's about it. If you want to go it alone just get a basic Chinese phrase book and you'll be set to go. Most places don't mind dealing with a foreigner even if they don't speak Chinese. And you can usually find some innocent bystander who knows basic English to do basic translation. Just buy a travel guide and a Chinese phrase book and you'll be good to go!
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