I started the job application process many months before the actual visit took place.
Over that initial time period I endured some personal travel expenses, many late nights of gathering and sending information, and a bit of a long wait that would have seen most teachers turn tail and run.
During that rough time Teaching Nomad stayed in touch and stoked my ego a bit through the long process (I've been in the game for a long time- but Asia is it's own beast that requires extensive patience right).
In the beginning of the initial process the school informed us (Teaching Nomad & myself) that they were changing their previously posted job request and looking for someone to fill an even bigger set of shoes. Luckily, I had big feet!
Brett (Teaching Nomad) and his staff kept in touch with me and informed me of what I would be getting into ahead of time. Because of Brett's upfront honesty about the school and the post I knew I could trust him not to sugar-coat the details.
It is for that exact reason that I chose to follow this thing through and get up here.
Now, sitting in the drivers seat of the entire International Department (where my skills are most needed) I am grateful for the opportunity Brett and my school have provided me-
I truly believe that thousands of students will benefit from what I bring to the school (as well as myself- as their student)
Thank you Dr. Lin & Brett Isis.
How can this program be improved?
Love your program.
This is surely one of the most stand-up teacher recruitment/provider companies ever in China.
Your system is smooth and useful.
I have worked with several HUNDRED Chinese and western agencies to find good teachers and eventually seek my next job post- ALL have failed me (or my school) in one way or the other.
The only other thing I would really like to have provided from your service is Agent management. I would love to have someone from your team representing me. This means first day on the job introductions, bi-monthly follow-up reports between Teaching Nomad, the school, and myself (in report form), and most importantly- Pay negotiation services.
Most of us take the lower pay with schools to get into the job after being told that the pay will be reviewed in 6 to 12 months only to find out that the increase is usually 3.5 percent or less than the Chinese market rate would pay for our skills.
The schools then turn around and raise their recruited teachers salary rates and benefits when hiring abroad from the west which ends up rivaling our salaries of teacher who have faithfully served for 5 or more years. This is a phenomenon that recruiters don't often catch, and the result is the quality teachers leave the school.
In fact, most of the quality teachers that are not married to Chinese citizens leave China all together. You know the ones I'm talking about right? The teachers who bring their family to China, work here for five years in hope of advancing and making enough to live a better life and afford more only to see some newly hired teacher get the promotion they wanted, worked hard for and deserved because of their relationship to bringing other teachers or recruiting from universities- I speak about this because my last Chinese school did this to many people. And after talking with westerners in my network of over 7,000 teachers I find that it is common practice with most mid-level tier schools.
In China, Education is a business! At the end of the day this is what it is.
The schools are beginning to compete for elite students and teachers. The problem is when you already move over here and then try to change jobs schools always try to low-ball you on you salaries and benefits. If you are a foreigner that has worked for the same school since you came to China you are surely subject to getting low-balled (even if you don't know it).
The business end is like this:
Come work for us with a promise of potentially great benefits, salary, and most importantly- lifestyle.
We will work with you and give you a lot of responsibilities and dangle the carrot in front of you for a long time. After a while our long-stayed talent will become expensive to keep so we will downsize or start hiring teachers at much higher salaries and say we do so to keep competitive. In turn we will keep your raises small so that we can afford these incoming teachers we are overpaying with less experience and no knowledge of teaching abroad. Our plan is simple: Get you to train the new guys and make something out of them- we will promote them over you knowing we could loose you (which is really the eventual plan). The great teachers will be offended eventually enough that they pack it up. After about three years the new hires will train others and they will leave for the better paying jobs in other countries and the students (not the school) will loose out on the losses of both experienced teachers and the 3 years turnarounds.
I am a teacher with a long work history- so when I tell you this its because its happening everywhere. I do consider myself an expert in what I do- not because I've done it for a long time, but because I am always passionate, curious, and I thrive at doing things to the BEST of my ability. To that extent I consider myself the greatest student to my students and this art we call Education.
At the end of the day it would be nice to have someone in my corner during salary negotiations and reviews.
If the representative knows the school and can keep in good standing with them (simple and professional) then that representative would surely be welcomed by my side when it comes time to talk salaries at time of hire and within the first review period.
First review periods in China usually set the standard for your whole career's salary for the life of the job at that location. By not having representation, you may loose precious benefits and pay percentages. Also, if you are paid far under what the job SHOULD pay you then you are going to need some hard facts to show the school your job title value with your skill-set and experience included.
At the end of the day I wouldn't mind paying for that kind of representation out of pocket expense.