Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Discussion about jobs in Asia inc. Middle East

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Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

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Sometimes, old advice remains good advice and becomes a perennial check-list for those who do not like unpleasant surprises. Such is the case with the below tips we put out back in 2010 and 2013 and 2018 with only minor tweaks to reflect changes in legal requirements, and there have been many! Here for example, was our advice back in 2013... https://www.eslbase.com/forum/viewtopic ... -to-china/

Now, forget all the negative crap you hear about China, because frankly, YOU can avoid all the negatives (if you know what they are) and focus on only the many positives like the best-paying jobs, free housing, the friendly locals, so many historical and naturally scenic sites (truly amazing places) and the best damn food you will ever consume on planet Earth. In short China is one of the most memorable TEFL assignment you can possible have, and certainly ranks in the top 5 TEFL destinations. Follow these tips, Follow Chinese Law, and get yourself a fair contract and you can find your dream teaching job in China (as soon as the borders reopen again) Also see the many useful tip other China teachers left at the above link.

Before departing for the most historical and perhaps mysterious land on on earth (China), the China Foreign Teachers union wants to remind you of a quote by the late Steve Jobs who said…"There are two ways to learn in life; from the mistakes of others, or the hard way." In hopes that your stay in China will be a pleasant one with the least unpleasant surprises, we need to warn you that only Nigeria has more scams that target foreign expat visitors and employees than China. But now that you know this, here is how you protect yourself from abuse and exploitation;

1] Get and read a copy of China’s Labor Laws which to some degree will protect you against illegal contracts, unpaid overtime work, and extortion – all three of which are a systemic problem if you work for a Chinese employer in China. You can get a free copy of China’s Labor Laws by sending an email to ChinaForeignTeachersUnion[at] gmail.

2] BEFORE and we emphasize BEFORE you sign a contract or buy and airplane ticket, take five minutes to google the name of the school you plan to work for in China, along with the key words "China foreign teachers scam school, problem complaint reviews blacklist" (without commas) and hopefully you will not get bad news. Most all of the public schools and universities as well as the international schools in China are legitimate and fairly honest, but the private Chinese-owned schools and kindergartens are notoriously "problematic".

3] Do the same Google search using the name of your recruiter/agent with the same key words. If bad news comes back to you, delete him from your memory, don not answer another email or call from him and look for a direct employer yourself (not difficult) by visiting http://www.ChinaScamWatch.org and https://reddit.com/r/ChinaTeachers When using an agent/recruiter, use this below form letter to ensure that you get full-disclosure related to your employment. If your agent refuses to answer every question, either get a new agent or find employment directly (easier than you think).

4] Be sure to bring at least $2,000 and a Chinese phrase book with you to China. Very few people over age 30 speak English and in case you have been misled or deceived about your new job or housing arrangements, you at least have enough money to return home. Also know that to rent an apartment in China most foreigners must pay 3 or 4 months rent in advance (including deposits).

5] If you require any special medications, being a large supply with you as western medications are difficult to find here and when you do find them, prices are exorbitant. If you take organic vitamins, use stick deodorant, or use Neosporin, bring plenty with you because you will not find any here. If you come in the winter months when coal plants are spewing, bring a high quality surgical mask as the air contains carcinogenic toxins. The 3M K-95 mask works best, but is hard to find in China and sold at a huge mark-up to foreigners.

6] Check to see if your health insurance covers you in China, because if not, your trips to the local hospitals here can be quite expensive since foreigners are often charged double. Even a few stitches could end up costing you $1,000.

7] Don’t plan on bringing your cat or dog with you because it will be kept quarantined 90 days at your high expense, and roughly a third of all animals die while quarantined in China.

8] Do not bring any cigarettes, liquor, porn, or drugs with you as all will be confiscated at the airport and the last item will get you five years in a Chinese prison (even one joint).

9] No matter where in Beijing or Shanghai a tax driver may take you, make sure he uses the meter and no fare will exceed 100 yuan (about $15). If he wants more money than that call the police and refuse to pay. Also avoid beautiful girls who approach you at the airport and invite you for tea or lunch. This is very common scam pulled on 85% of all newcomers.

10] Get any and all employment promises made by phone or by email SPECIFICALLY included in a written contract from your employer and agent with their signatures and seal and date on each and every page of the contract BEFORE you sign the contract, and certainly before you buy a plane ticket. This contract must state that they will provide you a Z Visa and invitation letter BEFORE you depart your homeland. If not, you will be in violation of Chinese law (See this link for details: https://chinaforeignteachersunion.wordp ... contracts/)

VERY IMPORTANT 2021 UPDATE: This official link of the Chinese government lists the official MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS for foreigners to qualify to teach in China. https://www.reddit.com/r/TEFL_TIPS_TRAP ... mandatory/ If anyone tells you different, they are deliberately misleading and outright lying to you, to either sell you some tefl course, fake diploma, counterfeit police certificate or collect a placement fee knowing all along that you will eventually get caught, arrested, tossed in jail for 30 days and then be deported. BELIEVE THE LAW or suffer the horrible consequences and get flagged in all the immigration databases of the world as an "IMW" - Illegal Migrant Worker. So come and stay legal and you will have a great time in China.

NOTE: Please do not contact us for legal advice nor job placements which we do not provide. We are only a free advisory service and just like Satellite Dish TV, VPNs, and Tor, foreign unions of any kind are not legal in China. We have only managed to operate 10+ years in China by following a strict agreement with the Chinese government that prevents us from criticizing any government program or agency, and not selling any product or service. We also assist the government to present orientation and other seminars, workshops, and a verification service of black market schools and training centers. But to be clear, our only allegiance is to our colleague foreign teachers in China, now at an all time low due to the COVID border closings, and are 27,349 past and present members.
For the latest CFTU news please visit us at https://reddit.com/r/cftu. Due to the COVID crisis our membership is closed until further notice. Thank you for your support.
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

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Man, you guys forgot the most important tip of all... Bring a good VPN with you because it is hard to download one when you are already inside china. Without a VPN your internet access will be really limited because of China's Great Firewall that blocks sooooo much TV programs, foreign news, social media , and a lot of little stuff that we take for granted like YouTube, Reddit, etc. I tried all the major VPNS including Astrill, Nord, Ghost, and all the free ones, and the only one that is always up and fast is Express VPN, but it is also the most expensive. I guess we always get what we pay for.

Also, to make your life easier in China, I suggest you get these 10 apps especially PLECO so you can communicate with people. Trying to learn Chinese will take you at least a year. https://pandaily.com/10-must-have-apps- ... -in-china/
Before sending off your resume or passport scan, be sure to check https://reddit.com/r/teflscams and to vaccinate yourself against foreign teacher job scams.
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Prometheus
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by Prometheus »

All great tips - Thanks. Btw... what are the website addresses for the CFTU and China Scam Watch, and China Teachers Alliance?
The best TEFL advice I ever got is at https://reddit.com/r/tefl_tips_traps_scams and right here at TEFL.net.
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John V55
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by John V55 »

1 China’s labour laws will not protect you. You are a foreigner and the immigration department and contract you signed is the law you come under.

2/3 agree, but don’t get advice from illegal unions or anonymous web pages. All private so-called ‘schools’ are suspect, even if owned by foreigners.

4 Try to stick to state run schools, which generally provide accommodation and utilities for free as part of the package.

5 China now has a proliferation of western stores such as Wall-Mart, as opposed to ten years ago. Just about anything you use in the west is available although the brand name may differ. China is a developing country not a Third-World one.

6 You shouldn’t need private health insurance. Your employer should supply that for you.

7 Agree.

8 Cigarettes and alcohol have limited quantities you can bring in as per all countries. Actually, why bother as they’re cheaper in China than bringing in duty free.

9 Taxi scams occur across the world, everywhere.

10 Your employer or recruiter will present you with a contract to sign as part of the recruitment process. They do have to provide you with an invitation letter to be able to enter the country. The ’Z’ visa you have to get yourself from an Embassy or Consulate outside China and isn’t something an employer gives to you. Theoretically, you could turn up with a tourist visa and the employer would then have to send you to somewhere like Hong Kong for the Z Visa, but that would imply extra cost for them and you wouldn’t be able to work until you have the correct visa so it makes sense to get the Z before you arrive.

Additional Information:
VPN. Yes, bring one with you as the problem in China is you can’t download it once you’re there. I used Zen VPN, free but with limited bandwidth. I upgraded at a cheap price and it worked fine.

No.1 Tip:
Stay clear of religion, politics, illegal unions and anonymous web pages. You will be watched and your activities reported.
Before following CFTU click baits take a quick look at https://www.opnlttr.com/letter/china-fo ... scammed-me
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by Atlas »

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Considering all the links provided in this thread above I think most teachers are smart enough to cherry pick their own jobs and avoid all the land mines. I also have to say that in the old days, or even 5 years ago, employee rights were not enforced by the local Chinese cops. But if you file your complaint correctly as I did in 2018, you will get unbelievable support. The key is to file the complaint with these people below at one time and take a video of the problem. The cops will be the last party to get the complaint and when they see the below names on the report, they will be compelled to do their job. and not that they give a shit about you, but because they care about keeping their jobs!

a) Minister of Labor (Yin Chengji)

b) U.S. Ambassador

c) Foreign Minister (Wang Yi)

d) Minister of Education (Chen Bao Sheng)

e) SAFEA Director (Pan Gongsheng)

f) Director of SAIC (Zhang Mao)

g) Minister of Taxation (Wang Jun )

h) Captain __________ of your local police station

Yeah, this is a lot of work, and you will be amazed at how fast your problem gets fixed. But don't dare attempt this if you are not 100% legally working in China with a Z visa and a university diploma that will check out when verified. You probably won't be working for the same employer when your contract expires, but you WILL get all that is coming to you.

If the matter is a serious or a frequent problem, be sure to report it at these links too so that others don't walk into the same trap... https://reddit.com/r/teflscams as well as https://reddit.com/r/chinascampatrol, and https://reddit.com/workabroadfraud.
Look Before You Leap at https://reddit.com/r/teflscams
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John V55
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

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The people who 'cherry-picked' their own jobs in China based on greed are the ones now sitting in deportation centres across China and wondering why they got scammed. If you work legally, you shouldn’t have problems.
Before following CFTU click baits take a quick look at https://www.opnlttr.com/letter/china-fo ... scammed-me
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Tiger
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

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There is absolutely nothing wrong cherry picking the white-listed job that has the best compensation package and is convenient to one's own life-style. Nobody else has a right to tell me what is the best job for me. I have a brain, and until the batteries go dead, I will continue to use it!
I suggest every TEFL teacher take a visit to https://reddit.com/r/TEFLscams BEFORE they send off their resumes.
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John V55
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

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Tiger wrote: 24 Mar 2021, 19:49 There is absolutely nothing wrong cherry picking the white-listed job that has the best compensation package and is convenient to one's own life-style. Nobody else has a right to tell me what is the best job for me. I have a brain, and until the batteries go dead, I will continue to use it!
There is no ‘best compensation package’ at the bottom end of privatised TEFL, it’s a scam riddled business. Immigration requirements will determine the best package in China, not the individual. I know that, you know that and hopefully I can warn others of the dangers of following greed and spam links in a country like China.
Before following CFTU click baits take a quick look at https://www.opnlttr.com/letter/china-fo ... scammed-me
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Blue Moon
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by Blue Moon »

I agree and disagree with John. The absolute bottom of the TEFL market in China is garbage and should be avoided. They will not have an SAIC business license nor be registered with SAFEA. The rest of the private TEFL employers are all suspect and must be vetted, except the upper echelon of International schools from abroad and a few top brands like Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, and Kaplan. This is where the below sites and whitelists and blacklists come in.

https://reddit.com/r/teflscams
https://reddit.com/r/chinascamcentral
https://eslwatch.info
https://reddit.com/r/teflreviews
https://reddit.com/r/chinateachers
Watch your step in China. There is a pile of shit waiting for your foot around every corner that only laowai seem to step in. See https://reddit.com/r/workabroadfraud.
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ssamsamm
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by ssamsamm »

I agree and disagree with John. The absolute bottom of the TEFL market in China is garbage and should be avoided. They will not have an SAIC business license nor be registered with SAFEA. The rest of the private TEFL employers are all suspect and must be vetted, except the upper echelon of International schools from abroad and a few top brands like Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, and Kaplan. This is where the below sites and whitelists and blacklists come in.

https://reddit.com/r/teflscams
https://reddit.com/r/chinascamcentral
https://eslwatch.info
https://reddit.com/r/teflreviews
https://reddit.com/r/chinateachers
SOrry for a newbie question but is there really no good TEFL companies except the big ones
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Blue Moon
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Re: Top 10 Tips For Newbie TEFL Teachers headed to China - 2021 CFTU

Unread post by Blue Moon »

There may be a few, but they are harder to find than a 40 year-old virgin in Brooklyn. Why not just avoid the risks and go the DIY route. It is not difficult to get your own job and it would take you less than a day to fax out your resume and cover letter, or use skype an dmake calls (the employers seldom read emails any more) I just got my own job and got a salary 5,000rmb higher than I would have if I went through an agency. Just do a little reading and give it a go! https://www.reddit.com/r/CFTU/comments/ ... t_hire_ap/ Follow the instructions and don't worry, someone will call you back in English! Now, if you get some principal who refers you to contact a certain agent, scratch them off your list since they are looking for a kick-back and will be a corrupt school.
Watch your step in China. There is a pile of shit waiting for your foot around every corner that only laowai seem to step in. See https://reddit.com/r/workabroadfraud.
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