There is a lot to be said about a company in China that is ran by another foreigner. Yes, it is true that the company is a partnership between Barry (Canadian) and his wife (Chinese) but we pride ourselves on our western values and beliefs. This can be seen; the moment you look at our contract. Most (about 99%) schools or education institutions have contracts that are about 2 pages long and give no details because their contract is simple, “they tell you what to do and you do it !” Our contract is about 16 pages long, spelling out all policies, the rules, the laws, the number of hours you are expected to work, information about overtime, holidays, missed time off work, visas and your duties as a teacher. We believe in no secrets or surprises. Because our education institution is fully licensed, we have additional contracts that are provided to us by the Chinese government regarding labour laws and other important issues when working in China.
So let’s get started with our list of benefits;
- High Salaries – Panda has always tried to provide the highest salaries possible for their teachers and without giving out the exact amount online for our competition to see. We aren’t classified as the highest in Shanghai but the main reason for that is because many who pay more than us are hiring teachers illegally without the proper visas or licenses. Due to the fact the government passed new laws this year, decreasing our ability to hire non-native English speaking foreigners, we have raised the salaries by an Extra 2000 yuan/mth (between 16,000-24,000 yuan/year = an average of approx., $2,000-3,000) plus the annual bonus for the beginning of the September 2016 semester. I know a lot of our teachers are earning approximately 20,000-24,000 yuan a month after tax ($4000-4800 CAD) that’s including their earnings with Panda (which they need to get their visas) and the rest is tutoring after work or overtime.
- Summer Travel Bonus – is something we have just added for this coming semester year of 8,000 yuan for teachers who completed a full school year. This will be paid to the teachers around the end of June when most of the schools are off for vacation.
- Attendance Bonus – Panda also pays an attendance bonus every month, based on the teacher’s attendance record. We feel that teachers who work hard and follow the rules should be rewarded for their efforts. Each teacher who has a perfect attendance and/or following the rules regarding attendance, which is spelt out in the contract, will receive an extra 1000 yuan/mth (paid monthly). We understand that people get sick and do require the time off work but we have a procedure that has to be followed to ensure that the students aren’t left without a teacher.
- Legal Residence Visa – We say “legal” because there are a lot of companies that get teachers visas for companies or places they don’t even work, which is illegal in China, and a lot of schools and education centres hire foreigners on working visas, which is also illegal. Teachers are classified as professionals in China, the same as lawyers, doctors, dentists, engineers, etc., so we require a visa that fits our profession. The residence visas are connected with our FEC license and gives our teachers full protection to work as a teacher for our organization.
- Foreign Expert Certificate (FEC) – We have our FEC license and education license, without it, we can’t make foreigners teachers in China. An FEC isn’t only for teachers, even though our licenses say Education or English Education, it is for all professions. We don’t take chances with our license because if the company lost the license for breaking the visa laws in China, all the foreign employees would be deported, including the Canadian owner.
- Training and Assistance – Twice a year, we have training meetings for all teachers. This includes all senior, junior and new staff members so that everyone can work together to educate each other in different teaching methods and explain why some things work and why they don’t. We know how it is in the classroom and we want everyone to succeed in this business. Other than being a foreign director, who trains the teachers at the meeting, he also trains in the classrooms after work if necessary. The owner also on an occasion will help when needed and we have several senior teachers who have been with the company for more than 6 years that will lend a hand to make your lessons great.
- Help from our support team – Face it, living in a foreign country will be somewhat difficult at first, especially since you don’t know the language or where to go. I know, I have been there myself. That’s why we have Chinese English speaking staff the help and assist the foreign teachers with many different things. If a foreigner is sick, they will go to the hospital and translate. If they need an apartment, they will find an apartment and negotiate the rental agreement to keep the costs low. They will teach you how to pay your bills, get transit cards, hook up your internet, hook up your mobile phone, show you places to shop for food. We think it is important that the foreigners feel comfortable in China and not feel that they have been left out in the cold to fend for themselves.
- Opportunity for overtime hours – We have overtime work available for our teachers on weekends and sometimes evenings, so that the teacher can earn extra money. This is totally optional and we suggest that teachers not to overdo it and should work no more than 6 days a week (if you do decide to take extra work on). Making money is great, but I have always told my teachers that getting your proper rest is very important and going out traveling is also encouraged. Life isn’t all about work and money, and you shouldn’t come to China unless you are planning to do some sight-seeing too. Plus, if you over work yourself, your normal weekly job will suffer.
- Daytime Working Hours and 5 days a week – Almost all of our teachers work from Monday to Friday from about 8:30am – 4:30pm (on the outside) and their evening and weekends off (unless they take on extra work). Most prep work is able to be done at the school, during business hours, leaving the nights fairly free for relaxing (generally).
- Government paid holidays – Same in most countries, they have government classified holidays, and as in our own country, we get paid for them. That said, sometimes the government will extend the holidays and make us work on a Saturday or Sunday. (for example: if the holiday is on a Thursday, the government might make Thursday and Friday holidays, Saturday would be a normal day off but make us work Sunday to cover the Friday which wasn’t a government holiday).
- Minimum 2 weeks’ summer holiday – All teachers, whether or not they place in a school for 8 months a year, 10 months a year or 12 months a year, get a mandatory 2 weeks’ vacation. That said, if a teacher wants more, they can get them during the summer vacation period. We generally have many teachers who are willing to cover for another teacher during the summer.