This school had several problems with non compliance to labour standards and non adherance to the contract. They did not have a dedicated resource person tasked with assisting foreign teachers with daily issues or obtaining community services (ex: water deliver, health care, tax forms, banking assistance) and were non communicative / uncooperative with respect to dissemination of essential information regarding local laws and emergency procedures. The school did not even voluntarily provide pay stubs, and did not provide any assistance to obtain tax forms to send money back to the respective home countries of foreign teachers, or file annual tax returns. The even refused to assist a foreign teacher obtain a family residence permit for their spouse, something that was promised in the contract.
Pay was regularly late with no explanation. Pay was also often inaccurate, with unexplained deductions being made from salary with little to no recourse available to the teachers. Local teachers also experienced late payment / non payment, and by function of that the turn over rate for local staff was uncharacteristically high for a grade 1- 12 private school in China. Foreign English teachers were not provided with a teaching assistant for the young primary students, but the foreign math and science teachers were.
The school hired undocumented workers and non native speakers to teach English language classes, knowing that they would not have any recourse when the school did not pay them. As for the legal teachers, the school did not enroll them for social security, so basic health care was not available, and needed to be paid out of pocket by the teachers if required.
The pay in and of itself was lower than average for a similar position in relation to the required classroom hours. There were no paid sick days provided for in the contract, and the school purposefully created contracts and immigration document validity to be less than a year - although the contract stipulated a year long term - to avoid paying the summer holiday pay stipulated in the contract.
The school refused to assist foreign a foreign teacher with translation when they had to bring a colleague to the hospital for emergency medical assistance, and provided no information or emergency plan when a massive forest fire resulted in mandatory evacuations of the surrounding area. If the cafeteria was closed for whatever reason, the school often did not inform foreign staff.
The school is located in Gaoming District in the village of Fuwan, about a 20 minute car ride from the Gaoming city centre and about 40 minutes to an hour away from Foshan city centre. The location was not ideal, and did not provide the benefit of being close to a reasonably populated area. The nearest store was about a 15 minute walk away from campus.
The staff dormitories were acceptable and in good general condition, but the mattresses provided were of extremely low quality and the foreign staff needed to purchase their own mattresses from a vendor in the city centre and arrange payment and deliver on their own, as the school was unwilling to provide any assistance.
The foreign teacher contingent was without an international department director for a substantial part of the year - already, the school did not have a foreign affairs officer position, but without even an international director, there was at times absolutely no one as a point of contact in case any issues arose.
The local teachers were all dedicated professionals that were extremely cooperative and personable - its a shame many left because of the administrative conditions at the school.
The classrooms were well equipped with modern equipment - large digital computer to display presentations, a projector, a dvd player - and there was a printing room for teachers to obtain photocopies of work sheets as needed.
The school is new and the facilities are generally well maintained, but it can be difficult to obtain assistance as a foreigner if there is an issue, be that in the dormitories or the classrooms.
Little to no assistance from a dedicated foreign affairs officer (the school went through three teams of international department administrative assistants because they all kept resigning)
Frequent and egregious cases of late and non payment of salary.
Advice to Management
If this school wants responsable and dedicated teachers to come and stay, they need to be a responsable and dedicated employer and fulfil all of their professional obligations to be compet*t*ve in the TEFL market when attempting to attract new candidates.
No. 19, Xuefu Road, Hecheng Street, Foshan City, Gaoming District, Guangdong Province, 528500