7 Apr 2017

Full-Time 8 Oral English Teachers at Chenggong College (6500-8500 RMB / month)

GregZhengzhou Shi, Henan Sheng, China

Job Description

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Introduction:

Chenggong College is a private university located in Gongyi, which is a satellite of Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan. The college has over 19,000 students and delivers a range of degree programs related to English, Tourism, International Trade, Computing Science and the Financial Service industry. The college was founded in 2004 and has grown steadily to become an important part of the local and provincial economy.Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 2.51.41 PM

Chenggong College employs approximately 20 teachers from English-speaking countries. We are interested in attracting teachers who have the academic knowledge, professional experience and enthusiasm necessary to help our students achieve success.

Get the inside scoop with this FAQ written by current faculty, and one of their teachers wrote this short book about her time there.

 

Summary of duties: 

– 18 hours of Oral English classes per week.
– 2 hours a week participating in “English corners”, offering speaking practice.
– Management of course outlines, lesson plans, exams (2 exams per semester) and attendance records.

 

Contracted benefits:

– The contract runs from August – July.
Monthly salary of 6500 RMB to 8500 RMB (depending on qualifications and experience).
– Traveling stipend of 2000 RMB, paid during the ‘Spring Festival’ period.
– One roundtrip air ticket up to the value of 13,000 RMB per contract period.
– Up to six weeks of paid holiday during the ‘Spring Festival’ in January and February.
– Teachers will be entitled to all holidays normally observed in China.
– Teachers will also be entitled to 2 holidays particular to their religion or nation.
– All teachers will be supplied with a 2-room apartment on campus.  Electricity, internet and filtered drinking water are supplied without charge. All apartments are equipped with basic cooking facilities, furniture, bed linen and a desktop computer.

* The cost of living in this area is such that many of our teachers are able to save between a third and half of their salary every month while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

 

Summary of Qualifications:

 – Preference will be given to those with a degree in Linguistics, Language, Literature or History. Candidates who hold an MA or PhD will be offered a higher starting salary.
– At least one year of related work experience. Preference will be given to candidates who have previous experience in teaching or administration in the fields of culture and the arts.
– Successful candidates will be confident enough to manage large classes of students, some of whom will be focused on learning English to pass examinations rather than through spontaneous personal motivation.
– Successful candidates will be professionals who are comfortable living and working in a campus community in which they will be highly visible.
– Knowledge of the Chinese language is not necessary, but successful applicants will be interested in learning about Chinese culture and committed to meeting the challenges of living and working overseas.

– In order to obtain the necessary Chinese work visa, applicants must be:

  1. Citizens of a country in which English is a native language.
  2. Between the ages of 25 and 55.
  3. Physically sound, capable of passing a basic medical screening.

 

Official Website:

http://www.chenggong.edu.cn/

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Welcome! It’s nice to hear that you are considering accepting an offer to teach here at Zhengzhou Chenggong. With the help of the foreign teachers, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help you make your decision whether or not to teach at Chenggong.

How is administration?

The administration here is friendly and very helpful. Jessie and Julie in the Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) are always supportive in whatever is needed. They often go out of their way to make sure that we are happy and to get any questions answered. They are a wealth of information. They want to make sure the foreign teachers have a very pleasant experience working here and should be the first ones to approach if you have any questions or problems. Teachers have very little contact with the other administrators other than for official meetings (which are few and far between). Jackson, our foreign teacher’s community manager is also very nice and goes out of his way to help out with anything outside of teaching.

What is the Campus like? Is it easy to navigate?

The campus is similar to most colleges in China. It is large and will take some time to get used to where everything is located. Luckily most of your classes are located within a short walk from your apartment. Some teachers did have class in the “Y” building. This is about a twenty-minute walk compared with a ten minutes for the other classrooms. It is located across the street from the main campus, but there is a convenient footbridge that most people use to get to this building. The classrooms are numbered sequentially in a circular fashion. This is different from the west where even numbers are on one side and odd numbers are on the other side.

Does the school monitor you closely? Do they micromanage?

Chenggong definitely doesn’t micromanage. The course books we’re given are adequate for the classes we teach, but it’s good to be able to try different things and figure out what works best with a particular class and focus on that. The books are more useful as a guide for what is expected to be taught. But getting feedback from the students is encouraged. Someone from the foreign language department will observe your class once per semester. If there are any questions, do not hesitate to ask! On the whole, though, administration is more than happy to leave you free to teach what, and however, you want. There is more information provided about teaching below.

What about working for a private university, are there any common problems that are unique to China or Chenggong?

Chenggong is a private college. Things tend to be organized at the last minute, which is a cultural aspect, not an example of poor management. You usually get told about meetings no more than a day or two beforehand, but sometimes the day of the event. Administration tends to go out of their way to help you actually live here, but the office culture can be a bit chaotic. Best advice is just to plan ahead, but be flexible. For example, don’t expect to be able to get copying done on the day you need it, plan at least two day s in advance. Try to keep copying to a minimum.

What about being paid?

You are paid around the 16th of each month and it is directly deposited into your bank account here. In the 1st few days after your arrival, the university will help you set up a Chinese bank account at an ICBC bank. Pay is very reliable. However, please allow for a two day grace period. There are usually very little problems associated with pay.

What about the teaching schedule?

As per the contract, foreign teachers work a total of 18 hours a week (nine classes) M – F and your schedule depends on what classes you are assigned. Each class is 100 minutes with a break in the middle. The class times are from 08:10-10:00, 10:15-12:00, and 14:10-16:00 (14:40 – 16:30 in early fall and late spring). Foreign teachers are encouraged to participate in English Corner once a week and that is usually about 1hr. to 1 1/2hr. in length. However, English Corner is not a requirement for employment. At some schools in China, this is, indeed a requirement and has even been included in the contract for that school. A lot of teachers have a full day off during the week or have a day in which they only have one lesson. Occasionally, the times and days do get shifted around official Chinese holidays to get more consecutive days off. When this happens, you may be working on a weekend to make up a class.

What about the dress code?

It’s relaxed, but teachers are expected to be professionals and dressed accordingly. The only rule in the college handbook is no flip-flops, no shorts, and no vests/sleeveless shirts while you’re teaching. Some of the teachers look smarter, some decidedly scruffy. As long as you’re good with smart/casual, you’ll be fine.

What are the classes like?

Most teachers teach both English majors and non-English majors. Class size depends on what major you are teaching. For English majors, class size averages around 10 – 15 students. The largest classes will be your Accounting majors; they will have around 30 students. What is taught depends on the class. Most will be Oral English. Books are provided and are free to make up your lessons accordingly. There is not much guidance given to teachers and are free to teach in any style that they feel is appropriate. New teachers may find this difficult at first until they find their voice. Teachers who have never taught before may struggle in the beginning, but as the semester progresses, will usually find it increasingly easy. There is no set curriculum to follow other than what’s in the text books that are provided. The student’s proficiency will vary greatly. For example, English/International Trade majors will be much more proficient than the other disciplines. Freshmen have military training before they start their classes and do not start until after the nation holiday, which is October 1st.

What are the classrooms like?

Classrooms are heated in the winter, but not air conditioned in the summer (they do have ceiling fans and windows that open). They are sparse by western classroom standards. Each classroom contains a lectern and a large whiteboard.  The students’ desks are secured to the floor. Unfortunately, there are no projectors, overheads, smart boards or other multimedia enabled technology provided in the classroom. There are a few multimedia classrooms that are available, but it’s only on a day by day basis and proper channels must be followed in order to use one.

What are the students like?

The students are a mixed bunch. For students not majoring in English, the courses don’t count towards their GPA, so there can be a definite motivation problem with quite a few of them. That said, there are always students in every class who do want to learn and practice. Different teachers use different techniques to motivate the rest, but it’s not a major hassle. Getting the students to speak English in class can be a struggle at times and need to be reminded often (this is mainly for non-English majors only). Students should be encouraged to practice as much as possible outside of class. The students can seem young at times, more like school kids than university students, but it’s more a difference in cultural perspective than their maturity. There is definitely a culture of respect for teachers in China and here at Chenggong.

Was it easy to get settled in?

Getting settled in is a breeze. Someone from the university will pick you up from the airport and take you straight to your apartment. The apartments are very roomy and fully furnished, although it can be somewhat dirty when you arrive (see downside of apartments below). Pretty much everything is provided for day to day living. Usually within the first 24/36 hours after arriving, someone from the university will take you shopping to get other supplies you feel you need. Bedding is provided, but you’ll need to bring a towel and a roll of toilet paper for the 1st night, for none will be provided.

How are the apartments?

The apartments by Chinese standards are very large. They are about three times the size of the other teacher’s apartments. They each have two bedrooms, a small kitchen, combined living and dining room, enclosed balcony, and western style bathroom. They are lightly supplied for day to day living. The building is pretty clean, although dust here is an issue. It’s definitely quiet on campus most of the time. The apartments are heated in the winter and do have air conditioning for when it gets warmer. During the summer months, the air conditioners are not that powerful, but are much better than the alternative. Overall, it is a very pleasant living environment.

There are a few downsides to the apartments though. The 1st is that they can be cold in the winter. The heat is radiator-generated that is centrally provided and is turned on only from Nov. 15th – March 15th. Most teachers end up getting a small space heater (you may be able to snag one from a previous teacher). The heat will be turned off for about three-four weeks around Chinese New Year when everything closes down. Gongyi can be quite windy sometimes and the windows do shake a bit and can be loud when they do. Also, we are right across from the coal fired steam plant and the smoke does blow our way sometimes and it does seep in through the windows. The other downside of the apartments is the PA system that goes off M-F to wake the students up with music at 06:20 and serenades them to bed with organ music at 22:30. If you are a light sleeper, that will annoy you. However, most do get used to it.

What about computers and the internet?

Most teachers bring their own computer; the ones provided are quite old. Most foreign teachers have laptops and purchase their own Wi-Fi routers for the use of laptops anywhere in the apartment. If you do not purchase your own router, you must be connected to one of the Internet wall outlets in the rooms. Printers are not provided in the apartments and if you need something printed you’ll either have to buy your own printer or use the one in the recreation room (located in one of the two foreign teacher apartment buildings). There is 24 hour internet access, but the speed is erratic. A lot depends on how many students are online. The internet can be a bit slow when all the students are using it, but it does the job. When they’re in class, it’s more than fast enough. So if you want to stream, it’s best to do it late at night or when the students are in class. The Internet will go out from time to time, but it is usually only for an hour or two and doesn’t happen too often. Keep in mind that due to Chinese government restrictions on certain websites, you may not be able to access your regularly visited sites.

What do you do for meals or cooking?

There is a small kitchen that comes equipped with the basics in each apartment. A wok, some silverware, dishes, cups, and a few other things the previous tenant may have left behind are provided. There is also a microwave, gas cooktop (no oven), sink, and bottled water dispenser (the university provides bottled drinking water for free).  Located about a hundred meters from the apartments is the teacher’s cafeteria. The food is halfway decent. They serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. There are quite a few places to eat on campus – some good, some not. They’re inexpensive, quick, and very convenient. Most meals on campus are around 5 – 10 RMB. The cost of living is definitely a lot cheaper here than in the larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The average restaurant bill is around 25 RMB (about $4 USD) if you eat off campus. However, you can order dishes for as low as 6 RMB at most restaurants.

What do you do in your spare time?

There are things to do on campus, but not a whole bunch. One of the foreign teacher apartments has been converted to a recreation room that is open only to the foreign teachers. It is very modern and includes an exercise room, TV lounge, small office, kitchen, and a raised area with a table and chairs. There are student clubs like Chinese Chess, Ballroom Dancing, Tai-Chi, and Calligraphy, etc. that foreign teachers are welcome to attend. There are also free Chinese lessons, if you’re interested. The school will arrange for students to tutor you. Foreign teachers are free to use any of the facilities that are on campus when not being used by the students. There are bars and restaurants in town, as well as pool clubs and tea-houses, a few KTV’s (karaoke bars), and the 1st wine bar just opened. Compared to other Chinese cities, Gongyi is not crowded at all. There’s not much in the way of a night life here if that is your thing. Mainly though, people do travel around China.

What about the other teachers? Do you find it difficult to keep your work and private life separate?

There are currently 17 foreign teachers here. There’s a good mix of ages here, from people in their early-20’s to mid 40’s and a few in their 50’s. Quite a few have stayed for multiple years already, and have signed on again. The foreign teachers live in two apartment buildings which are next to each other in the middle of campus so bumping into students is inevitable. However, the foreign teachers live in a gated separate community that is manned 24/7.  It’s pretty quiet living here and safe, so you can chill out when you need to.

What can you do nearby? Gongyi doesn’t sound fantastic… 

Gongyi is a smaller city and it isn’t exactly buzzing, but there’s stuff to do – some decent restaurants, a couple of bars, and some shopping. Many like Gongyi’s charm, but a few people complain that it’s boring. There is a smog problem here since Gongyi is in a valley and from the local aluminum production. There are a good number of days that a haze does linger around for a while. However, Gongyi is centrally located and is a great spot if you want to do any traveling. Zhengzhou is nearby and easy to get to, and it’s central China’s major rail terminus, so you can get pretty much anywhere from there cheaply. If you go the other way (west), you’ll end up in Luoyang. Luoyang is a much nicer city, with more to see, but both of them are good for shopping. Gongyi has a new high-speed rail line as well. Although the station’s about half an hour away, the train to Xi’an only takes 2 ½  hours and can get to Beijing in a little over 3 ½ hours. There’s plenty to see nearby too – the Longmen Grottoes, the Shaolin Temple, Luoyang, and Kaifeng to name a few. There is the Green Dragon Mountain about 5km to the South and it is very beautiful. Gongyi does have a few historical sites from the Song Dynasties that are worth seeing too. Gongyi is also the birthplace to the famous Chinese poet Dufu. After all, Henan is the heart of ancient China.

What can I get in Zhengzhou and Luoyang that I can’t get in Gongyi?

A few of the teachers make regular trips to large discount supermarkets in Zhengzhou, to stock up and bulk-buy Western stuff , like cheese, ketchup, mustard, butter, processed meats, etc. There’s also a much bigger selection of Western fast-food restaurants. Luoyang is smaller than Zhengzhou but about the same distance away. It’s a much more attractive town than Zhengzhou, and has more of a tourist/expat scene.

How can I get around Gongyi?

You can either take a taxi (10 – 15 RMB) from the schools’ main gate or take the #11 bus (1 RMB), which picks us up right across from the main gate. Many teachers end up purchasing a bike or scooter to help them get around.  Another option is to walk (its great exercise) because it only takes 45 minutes to walk to downtown and is a great way to get to know the city.

How far is the nearest supermarket or convenience store?

On campus, there’s Business Street (like the Union at most American universities) and a few other small convenience type stores. Also, just outside the back gate there is a row of restaurants and convenience stores. There are four large supermarkets in downtown Gongyi. They are not very far, about 3 or 4km. It takes about 20 minutes by bus, or 5 minutes away by taxi to get to downtown.

What Western foods or products are difficult or impossible to find?

There is a KFC, but no other western restaurants or fast food joints. There are a few restaurants that say they serve Western food, but it doesn’t taste like what you would expect it to. There is some western food in the supermarkets, but it is limited. The best bet for a wide variety of western food is to go into Zhengzhou or Luoyang. Regarding western products, it’s usually the toiletries (like Q-tips, dental floss, deodorant, etc.) which are a problem to find in Gongyi. If there’s anything specific or peculiar that you use, bring plenty of it.

Are there any health clinics on campus or hospitals nearby?

There is a free clinic on campus, located right next to the foreign teacher apartments. The medicine they prescribe is paid for by the college as well. The doctors and nurses don’t speak any English so it can be a bit tricky sometimes, but Jackson is always willing to help. The clinic is for your day-to-day health problems, like getting a stomach bug. There are a number of hospitals that are quite near for anyone needing advanced medical treatment.

What’s the climate like?

It’s a four season climate here, but spring and autumn are pretty short. Hot and humid in summers, but with a good breeze most of the time to keep it cool. The winter can get cold. A winter jacket and warm clothes are a must. There is no official rainy season, but it does rain to some extent mainly in the spring and fall. Gongyi can be quite windy at times too. The climate is also very dry, so expect to drink a lot of water to compensate.

What about the winter holiday?

It’s typically between four to eight weeks long. This is a paid holiday, but not until the school reopens after Chinese New Year is pay given. The heat will be turned off for about three-four weeks around the Chinese New Year when everything closes. Most teachers use this time to travel around China or enjoy a long rest.

Are there any Chinese expressions I should know before I arrive?

  • Ting bu dong – I don’t understand what you’re saying.
  • wǒ bù dǒng. – I don’t understand what’s written.
  • xièxie. – Thank you.
  • nǐ hǎo. – Hello.
  • wǒ jiào… – My name is…

Zhengzhou Chenggong is a great school if you are just starting off, growing as a higher ed. educator or looking for a slower pace and more traditional Chinese lifestyle with a lot of freedom and little pressure in your teaching schedule.  If there are any further questions, please feel free to contact us!

PS – Remember, this is China and not the West! Remembering that will make your stay much more enjoyable.

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