How to Avoid Scams in China When Looking for a Legitimate English Teaching Job
It’s true what they say; the world is now a global village. You can easily connect and work with any organization anywhere around the world. China is one of the most populated countries nowadays. It is highly diversified, rich in culture, different living conditions, and highly intelligent people. Visiting various places in China will feel like traveling through different countries. The diversity is something else. This is what makes the business world in China complicated but it has its ups. Jobs are created daily for anyone interested around the globe and there’s sufficient market for it. However, it’s a big country and looking for a job might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. That is if you don’t know what and where to look for.
Whether you want to spice up your professional life or just want to get a taste of China, teaching is the best kick in the right direction. Additionally, you need neither a university degree nor experience in teaching English in Asian countries. All you need to do is to be fluent in English and have lesson plans. Fortunately, most Chinese, like everyone else in the world, see the importance of having the skill to speak English in their resume crucial. Therefore, it shouldn’t be difficult coming up with something. But with a country that big, you will soon realize you need all the help you can get. No one wants their time wasted or resources scammed. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about hunting for a teaching job in China without losing a dim in the process.
Why Should You Start a Teaching Career in China?
Unlike Internet hearsay, China is a pretty decent country with excellent working conditions. The cost of living is moderate while the level of technology is high. These conditions get work done much easier than in other parts of the world. For a person who wants to experience different a world in its full glory and diversity, China is a go. Furthermore, some great opportunities and benefits come with starting your career in China. The salary for teaching English full time is stable enough to live, travel and even make some savings. The beauty of it all, unlike other developed countries, China’s living cost is moderate. Life in this country is fulfilling and no one is in a hurry to get that American Dream, most just want a peaceful, happy life. With this, you’ll realize there’s minimum pressure in outdoing yourself and more appreciation for your achievements. But don’t get it twisted; people are very hardworking in China. Regardless, there’s that appreciation of the little things in life that lacks in most parts of the world. This value could be attributed to their culture. While the ultimate Western civilization has spread well into Asian countries, the Chinese still uphold their culture earnestly. China is large, and while you might not be in too deep into appreciating life, China still has a lot to offer. You can live in this country for years and manage to learn something new, get surprised by interesting traditions and scenery in every location.
What Does It Take?
Honestly, you don’t need much for you to teach English in China. Essentially, you need to be fluent in English and find a way to get to China or your client. But that is as simple as it can get and definitely, not applicable with a serious institution in search of a teacher. Schools in China provide high-quality education and as much is expected from their employees. This is why teaching English is quite lucrative and good-paying. In such a situation, you’ll need more than just your tongue to have a competitive advantage over fellow applicants. For starters, you need a graduate’s degree, which is a qualification that will open you many doors. It needs to be related to education to assist in finding educational jobs. Another good option is doing a TEFL course which will automatically enable you to teach in a classroom.
After your papers, another major qualification is an experience. Compared to a fresher, it is way easier for someone with experience to get a teaching job. While you’re at it, it is advised not to include voluntary jobs in your resume since they are not considered experienced by the Chinese government. Therefore, before applying for this job, get experience help in easily open doors. Lastly, you should be able to speak English like a native. You should be fluent in both speaking and writing English. That is how you’ll be evaluated to determine whether you are eligible for the job. Plus have a personality that matches your profession. Children need a fun teacher who they can easily interact with while learning at the same time.
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Types of English Teaching Job Scams
Most schools in China offer high pay and a good working environment. Teaching English in China is highly demanded, which results in thousands of working opportunities. However, on the flip side, you might end up as statistics of many who have fallen victim of China scam. The scammers will promise to take care of your accommodation, amazing workplace and remuneration. All you’ll have to take care of is your Visa expenses and all this while, they might not even be in China. Some go as far as opening schools and training centers that are a scam. Expansive regulations and requirements in obtaining license have been put in place, but somehow scammers manage to bypass them. You don’t have to sweat anymore although; this article will take you through what you need to know to avoid being scammed. More research on the issue will, of course, be in order, but here are the basic things you ought to know.
#1 Visa Scam
If you get a school that is ready to employ you without a working visa, that’s a major scam red flag. In the absence of a working visa, you will lack the power to put in for claims against remuneration discrepancies. You will also have no working rights, which is not a position you want to be in working abroad. Additionally, there are regular check-ins for teachers working illegally or with a tourist visa. When caught, at a minimum, you’ll be required to pay a huge fine and at maximum, face deportation. On that account, ensure you have a working visa before applying for the job. Alternatively, the school could offer the working visa, most do. Otherwise, stay clear of any institution that will offer work on tourist or business visa. If you do, be assured of being scammed or mistreated and you will have no choice but to stay silent as you swallow the big ‘L’ since speaking about it will only land you in bigger trouble.
#2 Working Contract in Chinese
While there’s no scam in writing a contract in Chinese, the problem comes if it’s not proficient to you. And of course, most foreigners know no Chinese. Therefore, scam schools take advantage of this and add some terrible clauses written in Chinese. Once you sign the contract, you are bound to work as per the agreement. This will expose you to severe abuses that might not be illegal to report but will oppress you.
Furthermore, apart from scamming you, if the job contract is in Chinese, it might have more duties that you wouldn’t have agreed to or at least require more payment for. It is never a good idea to sign a contract you have not read or understood. Therefore, upon arrival at the school, insist that the copy is in English. Then go through the contract word by word as it should be. Afterward, ensure it is stamped, signed and you get to keep the original copy.
#3 Scam Recruiters
False recruiters might be the major way people get scammed. Good news is, they are quite easy to spot but with time, they’ve sharpened their skills. To unsuspecting job hunters, they might not be so obvious. For starters, the company will reach out to you through social media even without you seeking them out first. Then they will act too desperate to hire you even without a sign of qualification from you. The deal will, of course, be ridiculously good—great salary with few or lack of teaching qualification. You’ll then have to pay a ridiculous sum of money to cover for unstipulated costs. That’s as simple as it gets though and it’s quite easy to prevent. Simply research and reach out to reputable firms to help you with the process.
#4 Prolonged Probation
If you are good at something, professionally, it is a bad idea to give it for free. Some schools take advantage of the probation period to oppress teachers. They will extend the time, paying sub-standard pay while getting quality service. Thumb rule, ensure you check the probation period before you sign the contract. You are protected by Chinese law against extended probation time. China protects teachers by limiting probation time to one month for a one year contract, and two months for a 1-2 year contract. You should get concerned when a school wants to extend this period longer than provided in the law. Similarly, you should look out for schools that insist on providing the work visa after the probation period or prolong the time claiming you failed the first month.
#5 Lesson Plan Scam
Most schools in China will require teachers to prepare a lesson plan within the probation period. A lesson plan is a structure that helps in providing a standard teaching pattern. It is a vital part of ensuring quality classes and interaction with your students. Being so important, some sick Chinese schools hire foreign teachers just to exploit them of this lesson plan. Most teachers deliver amazing lesson plan in the aim to secure the job, only for their contracts to get terminated after probation. The schools adjust the lesson plans produced by the teachers then give them to their local staff. This is because it costs higher to pay a foreigner than a local. Therefore, a scam school will look for ways to milk these teachers while reducing cost at the same time. Therefore, produce the lesson plan but ensure the school doesn’t keep copies unless you’ve signed the contract. Alternatively, you can trend softly and don’t let out your master plan until you’ve signed the contract.
#6 Salary Scam
The salary part is quite easy. Simply ensure the terms of your salary are indicated in your contract. The payment clause should specify how much, when and how conflicts on payment will be resolved. You should also do your research on the appropriate wage to be paid depending on your qualifications. Naturally, a native English speaker is more eligible and attracts better pay compared to a local.
Additionally, avoid schools that hire and fire teachers by the end of the probation period. This is because during the probation period, less salary is paid and dishonest employers want to get value while keeping operational cost low. Therefore, it is also important to find out more about the school.
#7 Changes in Schedule
Most times trouble comes properly disguised and you may be caught unaware. The school might pass all the necessary check, but once you start working, the conditions change. Your five days schedule becomes six days one and eight hours become nine, all without extra pay. This might be painfully overwhelming and might end up being frustrated at work or resigning without pay. Then you have to now beg for a reference letter which you might not get. However, there’s a way to avoid such issues. Do your research on the working conditions of the institution. Additionally, ensure your contract is very clear on the terms of working conditions. A good employer will honor the contract and if not, the law will protect you.
#8 Worst Case Scenario
Many schools prey on inexperienced teachers, which is sad, but you might fall in the trap. Frankly, there isn’t enough information on how exactly the scam might happen. However, in the process of job hunting, you can choose one of two evils. This means, risk getting scammed but while you’ve weighed your options. For instance, your time can be wasted, but you avoided money transactions, which saved you the loss. If it is too good to be true and you still want to give it a try, then trend wisely and put your intelligence at heart. If it feels wrong, then there’s something wrong.
While looking for a sought after a job like teaching, especially in China, the last thing you want is to be desperate. It makes you make stupid decisions that will make you vulnerable to scammers. China’s economy is booming and living cost moderate. It is a desirable place to work and this is free knowledge that dishonest people will take advantage of. But you don’t have to go through hell to get what you need. If you incorporate the things stated above and back it with a bit of research, you’ll do just fine.
Special thanks to Cheryl Hearts to provide us with this great article and tips how to avoid scams in China.
Cheryl is a talented journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. From an early age, she was into writing so she decided to make it her career. Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Journalism has boosted her desire to grow as a journalist and currently she contributors to major media publications. Cheryl also runs her blog CherylHearts.com where she shares her opinion on topics trending in modern society.