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Questions about signing contracts before/after arrival

 
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louisely



Joined: 25 May 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:05 am    Post subject: Questions about signing contracts before/after arrival Reply with quote

Hi,

I have several offers of employment in China but the schools/companies will not sign the contracts until I arrive from the US because of the mere fact that we are on different continents.

Does anyone have experience in a situation like this? Do contracts usually fall through before the ESL teacher arrives?

I don't want to buy an air ticket, go all the way over there, and not have a job.

thanks!
Louise
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btownsend



Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 21
Location: France

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Contracts Reply with quote

Hello Louise,

How did you find these jobs? How were you selected? A reputable school should pay for your flight and the contract should be fully agreed before you travel. The protection for both sides is a probation period so that if things don't work out you can part company in an agreed fashion.

I would suggest you contact your nearest Chinese embassy and ask for advice and information about how to find a teaching post. On no account travel to China at your own expense and without a clear understanding of your employment terms.
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Brenda Townsend Hall, Ph.D.
www.esl-school.com


Last edited by btownsend on Sun May 27, 2007 11:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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crueckert



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Louise,

As Brenda suggested, reputable schools who hire you from abroad should pay for your airfare to get to China. However, the fact of the matter is that few schools in China, aside from universities who tend to pay minimally, hire people from abroad. Higher paying positions at private English schools tend to be filled locally.

If you are unsure about a school, ask to speak to another teacher who has or who is working there. You should be able to get, at the very least, a copy of the contract via email. They should also be able to send you documents so that you can get your visa from the US.

If you can't find a job from the US and are stuck on going to China, then you could also look into short-term volunteer positions that would help you get settled so that you could then look for jobs locally once you finish your volunteer work. You might also consider going to China on a student visa for a few months to study Chinese before you begin your teaching career there. (In which case, I'd recommend going to Beijing).

Carol
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Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
www.esl-lesson-plan.com
crueckert@eslemployment.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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crueckert



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clarify: by "they", I meant the school (should be able to get you a copy of your contract and documents for a visa)...

Sorry; it's early...
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Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
www.esl-lesson-plan.com
crueckert@eslemployment.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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louisely



Joined: 25 May 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brenda and Carol,

Thank you both for your input. I will see what I can do about contacting the Chinese Embassy and current teachers at the schools...

I registered as an ESL teacher on abroadchina.org. There are hundreds of postings for jobs throughout China.

I was actually quite surprised that the hiring processes have been so simple. After viewing my resume on abroadchina.org, schools contacted me. They all asked for a copy of my passport, a copy of my diploma, a recent photo, and my resume. After this, a couple of schools said that they would hire me. One school sent me a contract that was filled out with my name and information on it. Another school sent me a "sample contract" which they promised would be the same as the one I would sign upon arrival. However, all schools promised to reimburst me for my airfare. None offered to arrange my flight or pick up.

I've been dubious about my job security should I agree to work for these schools. I figured that maybe they just do things differently in China (than in the US). So, for clarification, I probably shouldn't agree to work for a school without at least a signed contract or prepaid airfare?

Thank you all!

Louise
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crueckert



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Louise,

Yes, things in China are different than things in the US. However, you need to do what will make you feel safe. I'm sure you won't know exactly what that is until you get there, but maybe this will help.

I worked in China for 8 years and never had my airfare pre-paid. or universities, they usually reimburse half of a round trip ticket after the completion of half the contract, and the other half when you complete the whole contract; private schools tend to do the same kind of thing to avoid teachers abusing the system.

I would, however, ask for someone to meet you at the airport and help you arrange for a place to stay, at least for a week or so while you get settled in. For university contracts, they typically provide you with accommodation on campus; for private schools, it's usually up to you to find a place, though reputable schools will generally help you with that process. International schools may even provide a nice apartment for you as an added benefit.

There should be no problem in signing a contract before you go, but then again, do you want to sign your name to something before you even step foot in the country? I would at the very least ask to see a copy of the contract and agree to sign it upon arrival.

What I would definitely ask for are documents that you need to apply for your visa in the US. These probably have changed since I last found a job in China from the US. I can't remember off=hand what exactly was included except for an invitation letter. The reason why getting these documents is because once you apply for a work visa through a school, the school is responsible for you. They are not going to give you these documents if they do not intend to have you work for them. In my opinion, receiving these documents from a school is a good indicator of their professionalism.

Also, contacting a teacher is very important. They should tell you the truth. If teachers are unhappy, they'll gripe. If they like it, they'll try to convince you to join them. Ask about pay, accommodation, working hours, heating/air conditioning, breaks, time off, the boss, meetings, and anything else that might be important to you.

Hope that helps.

Carol
_________________
Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
www.esl-lesson-plan.com
crueckert@eslemployment.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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louisely



Joined: 25 May 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject: Thank you again! Reply with quote

Thanks again Carol for your thoughtful and thorough advice. I feel more comfortable and confident in my dealings with schools with the information I will take with me from this forum. It's quite intimidating but I know there are supportive people who are willing to answer my questions.

THANKS!
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