What has China got against parents?
Been doing some job and soul-searching lately, and there’s something I’ve noticed: as a parent of twins, most schools offering positions offer either no discount or only a 50% discount on tuition.
This gets me to thinking…shouldn’t parents be more responsible and less likely to pull a runner? Shouldn’t a parent at the very same school likely to be more dependable and reliable?
"It's a Claw-Black"
So why such a crappy deal when it comes to signing with schools?
Married couples with children obviously have to make more careful and deliberate choices. We want our children to go to a ‘good school’ and the incumbent teaching parent has to do a lot of soul-searching to ensure that the school he/she works for and the very same school is a ‘good fit’ for his her child.
So why 50%? (and some schools offer nothing or less than 50% or a 60% discount). It’s a claw-back, simple and straight-forward.
Now, I have an offer of about 300,000 Yuan per year plus benefits, minus taxes. The school is offering 50% of tuition for one child and 60% off for the second. The tuition is 78,000 Yuan PER SEMESTER!
So, I pay 78,000 Yuan per year for one child and 62,400 Yuan for the other.140,400 Yuan for both per year. Go back to the salary offer: 300,000 – 5%= 28,5000 – 140,400 = 144,600 or 12,000 Yuan per month. Of course, there’s food, activities, utilities, rent, insurance, and daily expenses. This is far from the 25, 500 Yuan per month that the position offers.
"What are Schools Thinking?"
Now, I’m not detracting from the single/childless teachers who garner such a salary, hell, I had that back in 1998 as a single guy working in Beijing. My point being: why in the heck do schools think that this is a good thing? Clawing-back almost half of a salary just because one has children?
You could reasonably state, “Hey, Sinobear, the school could be making the full tuition from the two places that your children take up.” That is true, except that these schools always have a maximum class-load and not a definitive one.
If I was a teacher at a public school in the west, my children attend school for free. At a private school (K-12) my children attend for free. Even without the chance to attend a private school, at least they’d still go to a local school for free.
"Yesteryear and Today"
And this also got me to thinking about the discrepancy between salaries and benefits of yesteryear and today: Back in ’98, a subject teacher could expect to earn 18,000 plus monthly. An English teacher, 14,000. Everything was included (for a legitimate school hiring a foreigner from abroad). Kindergarten teachers were some of the most highly paid: usually starting at 20,000 per month. Today, there are positions advertised in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai offering less!
The requirements have increased, not a bad thing, except that you are expected to bear the cost – criminal records check, degree validation , TEFL certificate…and so on and so forth.
The start-up costs have also increased – from one month deposit for an apartment to two, three or even a full year’s deposit.
Airfares used to be fully covered, you were reimbursed for whatever it cost you from going A-B. Now, there’s caps. I’ve seen numbers as low as 4,000 Yuan. When I was working for a money-trap of a company in Beijing, I’d fly First Class (from the Chinese city where I was located) and have the company reimburse me for that. Today, enjoy your three-day, 4-stop-over flights because you have to work within these confines.
Emergency accident insurance is supposed to be covered, by Chinese law, for employees, yet schools are offering only on-site coverage and contracting terms such as dismissal after only three days medical leave.
Accommodations are supposed to be at a “three-star hotel” standard, yet many FTs are living in squalid hovels, even shared accommodations, which contravenes Chinese labor law.
Salaries, which should reflect not only the skill-level (degree and experience) of the teacher, but also the ‘hardship’ level of the placement (as of 2014 – the last time I checked, Guangzhou was still considered a hardship posting by the Fortune 500 Index).
Look at the smaller city postings – “Come stay in beautiful BF Nowhere! 80000 years of history and culture! You’ll earn 89854654 times the average salary of the local sewer-cleaner!” And people not only fall for that, but also defend it!
And now, 18 years later and things have gone from bad to worse. Profits (yes, just like the West) have doubled, tripled and even allowed companies specializing in English testing (but not English learning) such as New Oriental to go public. FT salaries have remained stagnant and even declined (and, yes, you can blame supply and demand for this).
Where does all this bring us? Back to the original point: schools want dedicated professional teachers. Most of us who want a ‘real’ life in China require real salaries and real benefits that reflect our dedication. A Chinese local teacher gets either a free apartment or extremely reduced rates on the purchase price of one. We get....? A Chinese local teacher gets all kinds of discounts, bonuses (including the ability to demand ‘Gray’ money from students) and subsidies whereas. We get...?
And when schools and institutions are looking to hire a dedicated, mature, reliable, professional teacher, we are expected to subsidize the very school we are profiting because we have the misfortune of being parents.
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Keywords: school salary tuition parents children tuition
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So if I understand it correctly, the job pays 300,000 a year and 50% of that goes towards tuition? That leaves roughly 16,000 a month and I know from raising two kids myself, that can disappear pretty quickly. I do have a friend who works for a British Internaitonal School and because he's a teacher there, both his kids receive free tuition. So your demands don't sound that unreasonable to me, especially if you're working for a similar type of school.
Apr 27, 2016 12:39 Report Abuse
Actually, if it's a school with solely or mostly Chinese students, the presence of foreign kids would be a big draw and potentially very profitable for the schools--not saying that's right, just the way it is, so "costing" the school seems an invalid argument (unless of course the presence of foreign kids scares away the xenophobic jingoists... )
Apr 25, 2016 10:16 Report Abuse
150k extra benefits paid to an employee not based on qualifications, experience or ability. I love right wingers who cry about poor people receiving help with their kids because their jobs pay them peanuts or they can't find jobs but they expect companies to pay them extra because they have kids.
Apr 25, 2016 11:52 Report Abuse
Hold on! You expect what? Free tuition for your twins?So you expect the school to give you 150,000rmb more per year than a teacher with no children because ... Not based on qualifications , not based on experience simply because you had children in a country that offers no free education and you have no money to afford to pay for their education. Are you American (I know Americans have this retarded belief that having children should entitle them to all sorts of benefits, I'm curious if this retarded belief is propagated elsewhere) ? Your children are your responsibility, if you can't afford them then don't have them. Honestly I think the school is being very nice in offering you that big of a discount. You have 2 children in a country where people routinely have only one. So your discount is actually 1 free seat. But you expect to come here and be given some special treatment not even afforded to locals? You're complaining about receiving extra benefit that other foreign teachers with better qualifications won't receive because they were responsible enough to not have children they can't afford to take care of. You're complaining about the cost of having children, yes what idiot doesn't know that children are expensive? That's why they plan and prepare or simply decide not to have children.
Apr 25, 2016 09:56 Report Abuse
I never said that I wanted more money, I was making the point that the tuition should be more equitable compared to the salary. Comparing the situation of the locals is not logical, either. The issue here is not whether someone has or doesn't have children, it's about the possibility of employing a teacher long-term that understands responsibility and commitment who shouldn't have to subsidize their own employment. But hey, I'll try to keep future Blog posts under 140 characters and only use primary school-level writing to make things easier for all to understand. Here's a great offer for the Yale set: http://news.yale.edu/2016/04/21/yale-students-awarded-two-year-teaching-fellowships-china
Apr 25, 2016 17:42 Report Abuse
So a bigger discount in tuition is not the same as more money? You clearly state that you expect a bigger tuition discount. You can word it whatever way you want but it's still the same thing. Just because someone has a child they're more responsible? BS! I have nothing against people with children but looking down on people who don't requires facts being brought forth. A responsible adult is a responsible adult (with or without kids). I would expect a responsible adults to put them selves in a more stable situation jobwise so they won't have to complain about their employer doing more to help with the burden of raising kids. Having kids does not mean anything when it comes to whether a teacher will stay or go or be responsible. And discounted tuition is a cost incurred by the school and a benefit received. You can look down on me all you want but it does change the fact that you are in the wrong. I have a BS, unless you have a MA or PhD you have no higher ground to stand on. But lets not compare me to you. Lets compare you to you. You with 2 kids entitles you to more remuneration and benefits than you without kids? And you need to learn the difference between subsidizing your own employment vs taking care of your own responsibilities. Your kids education has nothing to do with employment.
Apr 25, 2016 18:45 Report Abuse
I always suggest getting your own visa through an agent (or better, getting a spouse visa) and starting your own private/group tuition at home. Assuming that you charge 100RMB per student (cheaper than any training center) and that you have 10 students per group, I let you calculate the potential profits for you and yourself alone. 20 lessons per week means 80000RMB per month, no ESL job in China can beat that. And finding students is incredibly easy since you charge less than training centers and that you are a Foreign face, of course speaking Mandarin help a lot, otherwise just ask your wife to do the communication for you. Schools and centers will hate you to death for 'stealing' students from them, but there is nothing they can do about it. Actually the only reason they take advantage of you is your honesty, if you start playing the game then you will take shares of that market from them in a blink.
Apr 25, 2016 08:40 Report Abuse
People are so simple minded. It is against the law to work for a company unless you have a work visa. It is illegal to start a company .... whatever conditions. Private tutoring is neither working for a company or a business. Can you figure out the rest yourself? No, let me help you, private tutoring is not against the law.
Apr 25, 2016 12:46 Report Abuse