Sunday, January 22, 2006

Teachers in China as well as locals will enjoy the worlds largest wild natural animal park. The Manchurian Tiger is the star performer here in Harbin on the northern bank of the Songhua River. Special cars will take you through the park for viewing this spledid animal. Here is a site put up by HIT, or Gong Da, Harbin Institute of Technology, which will show you all of the major attractions in the city. HIT is the best university in Harbin. What I mean is that HIT is the highest rated University in the province. I believe I had heard that it had made the top ten at one point in time. Some of my peers at Sunshine International Language Center in Harbin were working there as part of their contract with Sunshine. As stated before, some private language schools will contract their teachers to the local schools. It may be a middleschool, a university, a private high school. There are all kinds of variations. The bottomline is it brings in money to the private schools. Some teachers don't mind this, as they have a certain amount of hours to be filled, whereas others see this as inconvenient, or perhaps even feel that they are being "used". Each situation could be different. Just remember you are a bit of a commodity, and the more control you have over your work conditions the happier you will be. I didn't like being farmed out much but it was a business decision that I understood. I was always treated well by Sunshine. It also gave me more contacts which helped me to gain a position which was much better. So it can be exploited from the teachers side as well. Chinese culture values relationships and these relationships ultimately may determine your success in China. Cooperation is highly valued and exploilted.

If you want to see some horror stories, you can find them regarding many different countries. China schools are no exception. I have been lucky, or perhaps as some say, luck is being prepared when opportunity knocks. I always checked out the jobs and talked to people, or in my current job had worked there, during my contract with the private school. If you were interested in Harbin as a possible teaching city, you may like HIT. Generally the ads I have seen for HIT are among the lower salaries, but you have a higher level of students there. It is also in a good area. You could do a lot worse than HIT. Here's one tip that will save you lots of grief. When you are going through your process be sure to do some searches on the schools for negative posts from former teachers. You may find different opinions posted about the same school. Almost all of the ESL jobsites have forums that have comments from teachers. You may be able to find a former teacher's email and get some first hand knowledge about the school. Due Diligence!

For anyone who would like to chat about teaching in China or any of my friends, family or peers who might be checking this out, please download this messenger. It's one of the ways I make extra money while I'm on the road. It's free to use so check it out. It will save you lot's of money on phone calls, with the audio and video chat. You can also save some cash when you shop online. Your mother will thank you.


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