Messages by Anthony

13 topics, 110 messages Feed-icon
General » Back home after more than a decade overseas..
Hi all,

I haven't posted here in awhile. I have returned back to Edmonton after teaching and living in China for almost 13 years. I started with my Global TESOL certificate, back in Dec of 2003, and never turned back. What was supposed to be a 1 year "sabbatical" turned into a new career, family and life. I went from a $500 a month teacher in the countryside, to a highly paid IELTS Examiner for the British government. It has been an amazing ride! Not only did I make friends around the world, meet an amazing Chinese woman and start a family, but I learned to speak Mandarin Chinese and have seen wonders I never dreamed possible.

However, now, back in Edmonton for almost 6 months now, and I am almost regretting coming back. I have come back ahead of my family in order to get set up. Whereas in China I was a highly coveted teacher and had no lack of opportunities, here I am "just another guy". I feel distant from my old friends and family and although I love the weather, the space and the quiet of Alberta, I am not settling in easily. And even with almost 13 years solid and qualified teaching experience, without a piece of paper from the government saying I paid a crap-ton of money to be a teacher, I cannot be a teacher....

I feel stuck. Part of me wants to get back onto a plane to return to my family and friends in China but a bigger part of me wants to stay here and be successful, so when my wife and daughter do arrive, they will have a comfortable home waiting for them....

Reverse culture shock I guess....

Does anyone know of any resources available to Global TESOL Alumni who have returned and are having a tough go?

Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated!

If anyone is looking for any advice or insights on teaching in China, I would be very happy to give you my thoughts.

Have a fantastic day everyone!

Ant
General » Back home after more than a decade overseas..
Hi all,

I haven't posted here in awhile. I have returned back to Edmonton after teaching and living in China for almost 13 years. I started with my Global TESOL certificate, back in Dec of 2003, and never turned back. What was supposed to be a 1 year "sabbatical" turned into a new career, family and life. I went from a $500 a month teacher in the countryside, to a highly paid IELTS Examiner for the British government. It has been an amazing ride! Not only did I make friends around the world, meet an amazing Chinese woman and start a family, but I learned to speak Mandarin Chinese and have seen wonders I never dreamed possible.

However, now, back in Edmonton for almost 6 months now, and I am almost regretting coming back. I have come back ahead of my family in order to get set up. Whereas in China I was a highly coveted teacher and had no lack of opportunities, here I am "just another guy". I feel distant from my old friends and family and although I love the weather, the space and the quiet of Alberta, I am not settling in easily. And even with almost 13 years solid and qualified teaching experience, without a piece of paper from the government saying I paid a crap-ton of money to be a teacher, I cannot be a teacher....

I feel stuck. Part of me wants to get back onto a plane to return to my family and friends in China but a bigger part of me wants to stay here and be successful, so when my wife and daughter do arrive, they will have a comfortable home waiting for them....

Reverse culture shock I guess....

Does anyone know of any resources available to Global TESOL Alumni who have returned and are having a tough go?

Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated!

If anyone is looking for any advice or insights on teaching in China, I would be very happy to give you my thoughts.

Have a fantastic day everyone!

Ant
General » Work easy to find in Changsha?
No, had my last employer gotten me the proper Z visa it is a very easy matter of simply renewing. I would have had to do nothing at all.

The way it works in China now is the company hiring you sends you a contract and if you agree, they then send you an invitation letter. With that invitation letter you can go to a consulate or visa agent and they get you a temporary (usually 1 month) Z (work) visa while in Canada. Once you arrive in China the company can change the 1 month Z visa to a full year Z visa.

With China's economy booming, people from around the world are looking more and more to China for work. This is simply a bureaucratic "hoop" they are making new people coming to the country jump through in order to stem the tide of people showing up here on tourist visas and working illegally.

2 of my new co-workers currently HAVE been arrested and deported once already (Olympics 2008 Visa Purge) due to employers not providing the proper visas. DO it legal the first time and you will have no problems whatsoever.
General » Work easy to find in Changsha?
Warning!!!

Depending where you go looking for a job in China do NOT just come looking on your own! If you come to China on a Tourist or Business visa you will HAVE TO go back to Canada to get a Z visa once you do find an employer!!! This is NOT a joke!! I know this because my last @ss of an employer got me a Business visa instead of a proper work visa, and now that I have scored my dream job here I will have no other choice but to fly back to Edmonton (also an Edmontonian) at MY OWN expense in order to get a stupid 1 month temporary work visa (Z) in order to have them change it into a proper one here!!!! Arggggg!!! Many MANY foreigners having to shell out big bucks for return trips home all over a dumb visa. You "might" be able to get illegal work or work in a small town, but you are severely limiting your options AND working illegally in China by doing so! I am going to have to shell out close to $3000 for this stupid visa run, but as I have a family here, 48 hour deportation is not a possibility, so I am going to have to take my lumps.....

The Hong Kong visa run no longer works..... Home country or nothing....
General » Summer camps 2013
Yep!

Serious teachers will fire you job offers like no tomorrow! I can't believe how many offers I have been getting!! I just found a fantastic new job and had to turn it off because I was getting so many offers a day!!
General » Summer camps 2013
Yep!

Serious teachers will fire you job offers like no tomorrow! I can't believe how many offers I have been getting!! I just found a fantastic new job and had to turn it off because I was getting so many offers a day!!
General » Desperately Seeking Answers
With your qualifications you would be better off working with a high end recruiter for international or foreign language schools. They are MUCH more forgiving when it comes to Native Speaker or Color of Skin issues. They are looking for quality teachers regardless of race, age or nationality. My wife and I both work in these kinds of schools and someone like yourself would be a welcome fit. The key is these higher end schools don't post on typical ESL websites. Contact a professional recruitment agency for teachers and you will increase your odds tremendously!
General » Discriminatory Job Postings
You are correct, it is discriminatory, but not on the part of Global TESOL. They are simply re-printing job postings for the benefit of their students. However in my 10 years as a grad and actively teaching ESL teacher, I can assure you this is a problem not likely to disappear soon. In many countries there is not only discrimination against non-native speakers, but even the color of your skin. For example, a Chinese-Canadian, 3rd or 4th generation, no accent at all (other than Canadian) and likely not even speaking their grandparents language will have a MUCH harder time finding a job in China because they don't "look" like a native speaker. They ARE native speakers, they just don't look it... This is a sad reality of our industry, in the same way women have a hard time finding construction or labour jobs and men have a difficult time finding work as secretaries and nurses. Fair or not, it is a reality. Even in Canada. I was told flat out by MANY employers in Canada "We are only hiring women and visible minorities, period." Even in our "Politically Correct" country we have exactly the same examples of the same type of discrimination, just the other side of the coin.

Were Global TESOL to filter out all ads that stated Native Speakers Only likely 70%-80% of the job postings would simply disappear and grads would be stuck with a VERY tiny pool of jobs to choose from. There is also no guarantee that not having "Native Speakers Only" listed in the advertisement doesn't make it a requirement anyways. It could well be they just didn't think to write it in the ad.

That said, I have been in the ESL game for a decade, as I mentioned (2003 Global TESOL Grad) whereas ads may state "Native Speakers Only" it still doesn't hurt to apply!!! If you can impress them with your skills you still stand a fighting chance! Teachers are always in high demand and when push comes to shove, a non-native speaker with good English and teaching skills is better than none. I know many English teachers here from Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany, Africa, France, etc etc. ALL working in jobs which *required* native speakers only.

Insisting Global TESOL limit the resources listed here, for whatever reason, is a dis-service to all the teachers here looking for honest work. Better to have 1000 ads to choose from and hope for the best than have 10 ads being posted for 1000 teachers.
General » Unique Opportunity in China - Government Jobs for TEACHERS!
On a more positive note, I am half way through my first week in the public school. Here is what going on!

I am teaching grades 1 -5 in a public primary school near my home. That means no bus or taxis. just a 15-20 minute walk!

I start at 8:00 (first class at 8:30) and finish at 4:15 (I don't have any actual classes after 2:30 though)

I have 14 X 40 minute classes a week. That's LESS than 10 hours actual teaching!

I get 2.5 hours for lunch each day. Breakfast and lunch is provided by the school. Lunch is a buffet just for teachers of at least 10 different dishes each day.

My schedule is 3 classes on Mon, Weds, Fri, 4 on Tues, 1 on Thurs (yes, 1 class for the whole day!! Hello Prep Time!!) I have only 2 early starts through the week and no last period classes, so done everyday at 3:10!

Now comes the super bonus!!! As some of you may know, Chinese people nap during their 2-3 hour lunches. This is the rule, not the exception. Because they knew I would not really be into sleeping in a hot room with all the other teachers on cots, they gave me a dorm room at the school!! Cable TV, Internet, refrigerator, balcony and BEST OF ALL my own private WESTERN TOILET!!!!!! WoooHooo!!!!

All this and about 13,500rmb per month after tax. NICE!!

Not a bad gig at all. So far so good. Not every job will be as awesome as this one, but the Shenzhen Government is really pulling out the stops to get qualified teachers into public schools! The schools have the backing AND support they need to make this happen.

I do not yet have a visa, as this process takes time, especially for someone already in the company without a current work visa. But as it is a Government job, no worries, I am safe and secure, no matter how long it takes. It is MUCH easier for new teachers as they can receive the invite letter back home and get a temporary Z visa before they come. Other employers would have rejected me just because of the hassle of the visa alone, but they are really bending over backwards here to help!

So there ya go!! I am Primary School teacher Ant and everything is going awesome so far!! I did my time in the trenches of the private training centers and I will take public school any day!! My last teaching job was for Wall Street English and though the pay was 14,500 after tax, I taught 35 classes a week MANDATORY + endless overtime! I worked every weekend and almost every evening (mandatory 6 day work week). It left me physically exhausted!! Add to that the INSANE pressure to "up-sell the students and push them through their lessons to force faster renewals, and I had had enough!! The only people I know who like the training center hours (aside from hung over weekend mornings) are the party people who would rather sleep till non each day in order to party the whole week. Good on em!

I am going to enjoy this new teaching gig now and like I said, they want 100 more!! I can't promise every school will be as good as this one, but I do know other teachers working for the SZ gov who have even better deals than me!!!!

Teach on people!!!!!

And I have said it numerous times before, but thank you so much Global TESOL for helping me to change my career and my life!! Best thing I ever did was take that course in 2003!
General » Unique Opportunity in China - Government Jobs for TEACHERS!
Actually, Buckland is not a scam. It was my very first job after graduating from Global TESOL almost 10 years ago and I have LITERALLY referred dozens of new prospective teachers there. I have never had a bad experience with them myself nor has even one person I referred. In fact, my latest buddy teaching for them signed on for 3 consecutive contracts afterwards and still works for them to this day.

One reason people are posting about scams (and very few if you really look) is that another organization in Yangshuo ALSO named itself Buckland and did scam people for awhile before the were shut down. It was actually the onwer or Bucklang Groups brother hoping to streal some of his brothers success.

The reason I recommend people go to Buckland is it is a "hand-holder" They DO take care of the visas, provide a fully furnished apartment with all utilities included (often meals) and numerous other perks which make them ideal for a new teacher. They are also one of the few companies in China which CAN provide visa's and bring in teachers without degrees and work visas. This is a HUGE benefit people!!! Myself, I will HAVE TO fly back to Canada next month to get a temporary work visa, because for 99% of the employers in China they do not have the relationship with the Government Owen does.

All in all it is a great place to start, like I said, I and dozens of others did exactly that! One other thing to keep in mind about "Online SCAM Warnings" is for every good foreign teacher in China, there are 20 jerks who are here either to run away from problems back home, looking for sex (yes, that is ABSOLUTELY true) or simply too lazy to hold down a real job backhome. These people not only ruin the reputation of other teachers here, but also when they do get nailed and put on the spot by an employer, they start posting on every wensite possible about how *bad* the schools are. I know soooo many foreign expats who expect to be paid 10 times the starting salary of a local university graduate, yet think 10 hours a week of teachign is unreasonable and that China *owes them*.

But hey, make your own decisions. I have been here almost 10 years now and I have found the scams and the asshole employers, but I have also found them gems. Buckland was one of them. They not only got me started on my teaching career, but theymade it so effortless and pleasant, I am still here now.