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China in Asia (School): Suzhou North America High School (SNA) - Private School - ChinaSuzhou North America High School (SNA) is a private school located in Suzhou, China.

 

Address: #1338, Wuzhong Ave, Wuzhong District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China.

Website: Suzhou North America High School (SNA)

3.2/5 from 10 ratings.
  • Experience
  • Professionalism
  • Work location
  • Living situation
  • Pay & benefits
  • Support & facilities
  • Health & safety
Summary rating
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
1 comment(s).
L Visa Peeps
17 days ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
The school exists to make money, the chinese teachers are treated poorly.
Pay is alright, but overtime doesn't meet Chinese labor regulations.
Contract terms are horrible.
Company employs quite a few L Visa teachers, until very late.
Unhappy teachers have shared information in this way.
The pros
Good pay and benefits, mostly....
The cons
Quite a few problems with things as of late. A number of Chinese teachers quit much earlier.
The school is apparently employing large numbers of L Visas locally, and then tries to convert
the visa in Hong Kong.
According to sources that are having to go back to China, there are 4 - 6 teachers that are being
sent back to their home countries due to being on L Visas.
Advice to Management
Try just doing things the legal way.
Institution Location
Wuzhong, Suzhou
Relationship
Was a teacher, now an informer.
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
4 helpful voted.
Getting to the point
4 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
It seems there are quite a few aggressive reviews already, so I'm going to avoid contributing to what seems to be an ongoing war between staff, teachers and HR here.

One thing that goes for China, it's illegal to work on a tourist visa. If you decide to come work illegally here or elsewhere and things go wrong, the harshest consequences will be for the person working illegally. I'm not going to make personal attacks on anyone that worked here on a tourist visa (or that worked legally and left) but things didn't end well for everyone. Don't add to the list, there's a fair balance of positive and negative reasons to work (or not) here, so make sure you give yourself the best chance and come on a legal work visa if you choose to take a chance here.
The pros
Good salary usually on time
Good facilities
New location
Recently finished dorms with common areas
The cons
Low paid overtime, sometimes things aren't paid
Some very low level students
Remote area
Strict rules for living on campus (compared to other schools in China)
Advice to Management
I think it's obvious from the review, start following Chinese labor law and have everyone working legally. Maybe stop the rampant fighting that appears to be happening with everyone?
Institution Location
Wuzhong, suzhou
Relationship
Teacher
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
6 helpful voted.
thanks for reading my block!
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
I have been working at SNA for over a year now and am quite satisfied with this school. Most kids and colleagues are nice and fun to work with.
I have worked overtime and always have been paid. Dunno what happened to some people. Once there's a problem but I just went to ask, they checked and got back to me the following day. It turned out somebody's made a mistake. It's been corrected straight away. A bit of communication goes a long way sometimes. My salary has always been paid on time (sometimes even ahead of time) and the school has stuck to its words.

It seems backpackers are slowly realizing that getting an FEC isn't as easy as it used to be. The school had a meeting with us at the beginning of the semester to address visa issues. It gave some extra time to certain teachers but some may have been stalling it for a wee bit too long. I reckon they were eventually asked to leave to avoid problems.

Some guys got fired as a someone points out. One had an uninvited stranger living with him on campus and a few others would take days off whenever they liked, missing classes and messing up timetables (and incidentally somewhat forcing their colleagues to cover for them.). That's not random dismissal. I'm glad management put a stop to it and got rid of them. they won't be missed!

To be honest we've had a few annoying teachers this year and management did a pretty good job at dealing with them. One just couldn't help ranting, making mountains out of molehills. I remember this teacher even said the weather was "abnormal" in China. As a review puts it some people should stop their navel gazing and try to make things better, or realize they aren't made to live abroad. Another was seemingly caught dumping his clothes in the middle of the hallway and sneaking in with some girls. He later made a big fuss about how the school was monitoring the buildings...seriously!....It's a boarding school, kids live on campus 24/7, so you bet the school will go the extra mile to make sure nothing "fancy" happens. Lots of colleagues had their families and friends over, they've had no problems. Also, nobody questions being in office from 8 to 5 in the US, so why does it become an issue in China?!  These few examples speak volumes about the attitude of certain self-righteous westerners trying to make a living on this side of the planet. Anyway there's got to be a few squeaky cogs at every school, it's unavoidable.

I'll be my lovely self and must say a review posted here c*a*ks me up. Yes, traffic in China IS dangerous, it's not only around this school, it's the whole country! it's no secret China's got loads of casualties every year. That must have been posted by someone very very new to China. I rarely had any accident but I'm cautious (no earphones, not too fast, let Chinese go first!) we also had a meeting to clear up a misunderstanding about our insurance coverage. It does cover traffic accidents, but again certain teachers had better things to do than attending and being informed. a police report is necessary unless you crash on your own. It seems that's the way insurance companies work here, so let's just do it by the rules to make sure that we get our money back.

I heard a lot of new teachers have been recruited for next year and that there were many called but few chosen. Hopefully this will help build a solid teaching team. I'll find out next year. Meanwhile I'll enjoy my holiday and my hefty and well deserved bonus!
The pros
Nice place
good pay
pro development
The cons
departments supervising students need to pull it together.
Advice to Management
Good job so far, but kids need more activities on campus. Teenagers cant remain seated all day and study (even if it's what their parents want).
Institution Location
in Wuzhong, 5 min from small town called yuexi
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
6 helpful voted.
It what you make out of it
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
SNA is a school where teachers can grow and become pioneers. If you take self-leadership over your life and your career the you are welcome at this school. This school is for pioneers with a “can do” attitude that want to make things happen and not make excuses. Unfortunately in every school in china we have westerners that can’t adjust to the local culture and do nothing but complain and blame others. These teachers are the real problem and in every school they drag down the organization. My advice to these teachers is to have a positive outlook and ask “what can I do to make SNA more successful” instead of pointing finger at everyone else they should focus on what they can contribute. SNA HR as well as other departments are full of kind, caring staff members who always will rule in your favor. Working with HR has been a pleasure as they are always going the extra mile to make sure they do their job right. Overall SNA is a new school with a great work environment. My advice is to keep an open mind and not take all reviews seriously.
The pros
-Always paid on time
-Really nice students
-Independence over your classes, but at same time working as a team
-Nice building and campus
-Location is nice in within 10 min scooter ride to nice new neighborhoods, new metro stop wishing 5 min scooter ride and with relatively cheap rent near by. Lots of parks in Area as well as eating option just not within walking distance.
The cons
-Cafeteria could offer more options for food,
- It is not southeastasia .
- Evening duty in not enjoyable and in my opinion not needed ( but in interview they explained it clearly) However they do give us a small extra for doing the evening duty and the occasional, but rare recruitment on Sat*r*ays which happened 3 times in at the year. All of this we knew going into the contract. The small pay you can think of as an extra t*k*n of appreciation. Also if you need to go to the bank or leave campus occasionally during the workdays no one will stop you.
Institution Location
Wuzhong district Suzhou
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
7 helpful voted.
No Problems at SNA
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
I just completed my first year at SNA and I enjoyed my experience very much.

With the exception of a few bad apples, the students are great.

The new dorms are very nice and the building is well maintained. Also includes a pool table and a small gym.

The support staff (Matt and his office) has always been very kind and helpful (treat them with respect and they will bend over backwards to help you).

Considering the quick expansion of the school (and moving to its new located), management (Lisa and Alison - AAO) have done a good job at coordinating things.



The pros
Excellent pay and bonus, (but be prepared to work hard).

Possibilities for advancement and professional development (AP training).



The cons
Departments stepping over each other.

Some teachers complain too much.

Advice to Management
Keep up the good work. A better vetting process for new teachers and students is needed.
Institution Location
Far away from everything (which I don't mind). The new subway line is a great help to get around Suzhou.

For those who need constant action, don't work at SNA.
Relationship
Taught one year and signed for two more years.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
  • ljones 3 months ago.
    How do we concern ourselves with SNA? With regards, SNA has just employed quite a large number of foreign teachers that are on L visas. They've also visa banned someone that loves China, they'd even asked him to sign on again for another year, but he turned that down to be closer to his significant other. At this point apparently they're even refusing to help a woman that recently lost her wallet, new to china no money ,yet she was told to check it and just ask the foreigners for money, it's not their concern apparently.
    • furball 2 months ago.
      that couldn't be further from the truth....I think you should get more reliable sources of information because whoever told you that is definitely not in the know lol
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
8 helpful voted.
Reality behind the perception
5 months ago.
Work location
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
Things to be aware of if you are considering taking a job here:
1. Don't come on a tourist visa. They have many teachers working illegally and will fire them with 24-48 hours notice when it's convenient for them, they've done this to multiple teachers.

2. Don't live in the teacher dorms. Yes, they've improved the living situation in that teachers no longer have to live in the student dorms with students, but no the mold problems haven't gone away. In addition to mold, there's also rats, cameras everywhere (and they will email you pics of anything you do that they don't like) and they have a bedroom at the only entrance to the building where they have someone stay to watch that you aren't bringing in anyone you shouldn't.

3. The location is currently surrounded by fields, taxis don't go by there and going anywhere nice isn't within walking distance. So you'll need to get a bicycle, ebike or call taxis/didis to get anywhere. The area is currently under construction and dangerous, when I say dangerous, I mean multiple teachers have gotten into accidents on bikes and ebikes, involving stitches, broken bones, surgeries and extended hospital stays. Which leads to another wonderful thing SNA does and that's sick leave. If you get a note from a doctor they will pay you 60% of your salary for the days you miss, if you don't have a note they won't pay you anything.They also expect you to make up any missed classes from sick days. So if you missed 5 classes because you were sick, they'll move them to other days for you, even if you didn't have a doctor's note and weren't paid for the days you missed, they still expect you to make up the work. Also, the insurance you get from the school doesn't cover traffic accidents, so those situations (and they've happened repeatedly here) need to be paid out of pocket. They also don't have a nurse at this school and refuse to get one even though a student was seriously injured, someone is going to end up dying at this school from their incompetence.

4. Overtime isn't paid most of the time. You will do weekend recruitment, sometimes they will pay, just be careful how they word it, they try their best to make everything unpaid, you'll need to check your payslips which they make as obscure as possible and get them to you as late as possible. Sometimes they'll change the schedule for special events, this means you'll start work early, work some of your unpaid lunch and finish the same time as usual, but you won't be paid for that. Also, they make the international teachers do all of the night studies and they just keep piling on the amount of time. First it started with one per week from 6:30-8:30, then they bumped it up to 2 per week by notifying everyone during a mandatory lunch meeting. You'll be paid 40 yuan (that's before taxes) per hour for your evenings to disappear. They also want to change the night studies to 3 hours per night since the students run free after night study for an hour before going to the dorms.

4. Everything is your job at this school. They won't help with discipline or anything that has to do with your classes and really only suspend or expel students for non-academic reasons (like violence or being messy in the dorms). This means there are some students in classes that literally won't do anything and there isn't anything teachers can do about it. They'll call their parents, but if the parents don't care, either does SNA. You'll need to get all supplies ordered yourself and textbooks (if you want them or at least good ones). It's good for experienced teachers that know what they're doing, they'll give you free reign. It seems inexperienced teachers just give up, show movies and stop caring after awhile. The students are a mix though, some are really good, some are really bad. SNA will do everything for the select few students that they decide are good (through grades or guanxi) and they'll get fixed grades and schedules.

5. Management is insane. They've got multiple principals and each has a different idea of how things should be done. None of the departments get along at this school or communicate well, if at all. No one will clearly define what their job or role is and that's because they don't know and those roles constantly change here. No one ever wants to help with anything because no one here ever wants to be responsible.
The pros
Free reign to do anything you want with your classes.
Salary (at least that's the reason everyone ever gave for coming to SNA, but the extras they ask are a lot).
The cons
Terrible location, far from everything, and built on swampy land.
Unpaid overtime and sick days.
Has teachers working illegally.
Teacher dorms are small and over watched.
No help in emergency situations requiring the hospital.

Advice to Management
Stop being such terrible people and get rid of the way too many people you have in management roles that don't have anything positive to contribute. Support your teachers and try to plan beyond surviving day to day, week to week at most. So many problems could be resolved if management were willing to help instead of turning teachers into scapegoats and firing them, then bringing in new teachers and putting them in the exact same situations with zero support.
Institution Location
Wuzhong, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Relationship
Former teacher
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
9 helpful voted.
Good (New) School
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
The only other review posted doesn't reflect my experience so here's my take on things. The school moved to this new location near taihu lake a year ago. They did it as early (too early?) as they could it seems and when we got there it was still work in progress. The auditorium has only been finished in March or April this year and the gym a bit after that. The previous rooms were OK, only that they didn't have a kitchen area so it wasn't too convenient. But in late March we have moved into brand new studio apartments that are fully furnished and very nice. there are shared areas in the building with furniture and other equipment like snooker and pool tables, treadmills etc. Staff support has been good so far compared with other schools I worked at in China. The academic principal, Alison and the foreign staff manager, Matt, have always been fair, helpful and fast to respond. The school is generally fast and does what it takes to fix whatever needs to be fixed. But it's a new school and quite large so it would be crazy to expect everything to be perfect from the start. Overall, it's a good place to work and/or gain experience. I wouldn't stay otherwise.
The pros
Lots of resources/equipment available
state of the art campus and facilities
nice students (a few struggle with communication in English though)
flexibility in teaching your subject
pay is good and on time
quiet location and good accommodation.
Great guards.
The cons
Still a new (and large) school.
some staff struggle with English. it's not always easy to make yourself understood.
certain departments sort of overrule each other and create confusion. More consistency needed.

Advice to Management
keep up the good work! Slow down the expansion pace a little maybe. Reward people who work hard better. Avoid last minute announcements. And above all, w*e* out those negative teachers who just love whining and have unrealistic expectations.
Institution Location
It's 10miles or so from downtown, near taihu lake. Line 4 opened recently nearby and the nearest station is about 15min walk away or 5min ride. it takes 25min ish to go downtown by subway.
Relationship
still there!
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
  • redorangeblack 5 months ago.
    Overall , I've been treated quite well by the school, most folks have, especially by Allison. Can't testify to the Chinese management, but Allison's don't a fair job with the hand she's been dealt.
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
1 helpful voted.
5 months ago.
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Professionalism
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
3 helpful voted.
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Reviewer
1 rating(s).
1 comment(s).
2 helpful voted.
5 months ago.
Experience
Professionalism
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful

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