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So you were offered a teaching job in China? Congratulations! Moving to another country to teach is a big step and not something you should be taking lightly. It is important that you don’t just jump right in, say yes and then find yourself in a strange country feeling depressed and lonely.
But how can you know what to expect? How can you prepare yourself for what lies ahead? Well, by asking a few simple questions.
And what should you ask? In this post, we will cover 9 questions that can provide you with the information you need to know before you head off to your teaching job in China.
1) What is expected of me on a daily basis?
Start by asking what your office hours are to help understand how long your day will be.
You may also not be teaching all the time. Many schools will expect you to be available to chat to prospective students and their parents during these times.
Find out if this is indeed part of your contract and take into account that this might even include weekends.
Finally, ask if the institution has more than one branch. Will you be expected to travel between them during the day?
2) How much will I be paid?
You should have a good idea from the job application about how much you will be paid.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to find out exactly what your payment package is, though. Make sure you are clear on whether you will be paid overtime for any extra hours that you are required to put in.
Confirming when you will be paid is also important.
3) Is accommodation included?
Sorting out your accommodation before you travel is simply a must! Find out if you will be expected to pay for your own place, or if it is part of the package from the institution hiring you.
Many will provide accommodation for you. If this is the case, make sure you find out if you will be sharing. Also ask how far you will commute each day.
4) If accommodation is not included, can I find somewhere to live?
Finding your own accommodation can be very difficult in a foreign country.
If none is provided, you will need to ask if you are able to source a place to live on your own. Bear in mind, even smaller Chinese towns are jam packed and you may be unsure of any tenancy laws.
In this situation, ask the institution to help you find accommodation.
5) Should I apply through a visa service or will the employer take care of my visa?
Making sure your visa is in order before you travel is critical! Find out what visa you will need. A tourist visa is not good enough if you will be working.
Will the institution organize a visa for you? In some cases, they might. It’s easier to use a visa service to ensure you have the right documents even before you step off the airplane.
If you intend to travel the country after your contract ends, make sure that your visa allows for it.
6) Does the school stipulate a probationary period and, if so, what is the duration?
A probation period is certainly a good thing.
If things are not going as you imagined it gives you the opportunity to get out of the contract and move on.
7) Does the school have multiple branches and are teachers required to work split-shifts, especially across these multiple branches?
Many institutions do have other branches and will expect you to work split shifts.
8) How many days off per week do you have and are they contiguous?
Unfortunately, some institutions only allow for one day off per week. This is often the case when working split shifts are. Find out exactly where you stand.
9) Total number of paid vacation (non-rescheduled) days off per year?
Make sure you find out how much paid vacation you have each year. This should form part of your contract.
So before you accept that teaching job in China, make sure you have all your bases covered. By asking these questions, you can find out exactly what is expected of you. This means no nasty surprises once you begin your contract.
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