My teaching English in Owen Interational Education School, Tianjin story, so far! I came to this school just having taught high school in Guizhou province. Luckily, I stumbled upon this placement as I was looking for low teaching hours (15 hours a week, no office hours) but high salary with all the benefits included, such as full Z visa, accomodation, return flight tickets, insurances etc. Originally, they sent me the job contract and I wasn't too happy. Therefore, I turned them down. However, they contacted me again via email asking why? So I told them the reasons and luckily for me they made contractual changes. I then agreed to this placement provided they would let me move their during the summer vacation (Which they also agreed too and it was free).
When I arrived at the airport they picked me up, but unfortunately they had no accomodation for me during this night, as they lost the apartment key. After 16 hours of travelling, I was very tired and this kind of sucked having to sleep in a boilding hot kindergarten. The next day they helped me settle into temporary accomodation during the summer holidays. Later that week they also showed me around Tianjin and helped me setup my new mobile phone number. If I arrived a couple of weeks earlier, they would of took me out with all the other teachers to beidaihe as a mini weekend vacation funded by the school. I then stayed in the temporary apartment until 2 weeks before I was supposed to start teaching. Later, I was given my own apartment for that teaching year (Which I picked out). My accomodation is self contained and my own apartment (non shared). The school then put on a trip to the themepark to welcome back all the teachers (foreign teachers social) before the new school term.
I then began teaching at two schools. During the morning I would teach Kindergarten grades middle and big and in the afternoon primary school grades 1. Before the term started, I had the choice to choose which schools and grades I wanted to work in. Of course, I picked my favourite age groups of students and the schools located close to my apartment. My teaching timetable was basically mondays, wednesday, thursday and fridays. First lessons started at 9, latest lessons 4:30. I have a massive lunch break between 11:30 until 2:30 each teaching day. The actual classrooms and students are very good. Kindergarten classes have no more than 35 children with teaching assistants, whereas the primary school classrooms had around 45 children maximum in a room, with an assistant (Part of my contract agreement I wanted to change was, I wanted an assistant every class). All rooms are kitted out with projectors, sound systems etc. The teaching materials are ok to use. They use whiteboard software and flashcards for kindergarten and books for primary school. However, this company don't mind if you bring your own materials. Luckily for me, I have an abundance of songs, games and additional softwares to compliment the curriculum they have provided, so teaching has been a fun experience here. As these schools saw me teaching and know I take the responsbility of teaching seriously, they gave me a pay rise within just 3 months. 6 months later, they generously gave me another.
As I wasn't to impressed with their teaching materials though and having better resources myself, I then suggested to Owen, to buy better teaching resources and spoke about revamping the educational curriculum. After this meeting, I was then put in charge of redesigning the new curriculum for next year (Which is hard work), promoted to head teacher trainer and moved to a more prestigous kindergarten (where i now teach 12 hours a week but with an even higher salary package). I now just work 3 days a week, albeit 8 classes in one day. I teach soley kindergarten, grades small, middle and big. Within 6 months of teaching at this new school, I know most of the students names and the children really respond well to English, they find it super enjoyable and we have great teacher student relationship.
My contract in this school comes to completion this July. I am now debating whether to stay or change jobs. One thing I miss in my life is the sea and cycling, living in Tianjin your basically living in a city (4th biggest infact) which is quite busy. Mind you, living in a city you have everything here (Massive modern shopping malls, plenty of resturants ((all styles)) and Tianjin is also an amazing transport hub) except a more greener lifestyle. However, my job is probably the best teaching job I have had in China so far, life is very comfortable here and my salary is very competitive to the hours I work, which I haven't been able to beat yet (Searching around). So do I risk and try to find something by the sea which could be worse or do I renew my contract and stay. I will most likely do the latter. I must stress though, Tianjin is just a 1 hour 30 subway ride away from the sea I am writing this article to inform people teaching in China can be a rewarding and safe experience. I also recommend my school.
They currently have job opennings and are looking for serious teachers to work with super cute kids (You have to be a native English speaker from such countries as USA, Canada, UK, Australia though). If you think your up for the challenge check out their website and maybe I will see you next year.
Visit this website for more details: http://ouwenschool.drupalgardens.com/