General FAQs

 

This brief FAQ is designed to familiarize you with living and working in Jilin at our school.

If you’d like a much more complete resource about living and teaching in China, you may want to check out the award-winning Foreign Teachers Guide to Living and Working in China. It is by far the most comprehensive and valid source of information you will find on the Internet. Also, we do welcome job candidates who have passed our initial screening process to contact teachers at our school for an unbiased opinion.

Our School and Your Job

Teaching Methods and Resources:

We use educationally sound, high energy, fun teaching methods. We use games, songs, role-plays and activities that engage the whole brain and appeal to different learning styles.

We are not a “White-face-talking-at- random” school. In our main campus, we give students both oral and written tests and consider student progress a serious matter.

Also, at our school we require written lesson plans and bookwork for every class. We have an obligation to our students and parents to provide quality teaching and measurable results.

Most classes are taught with books (a textbook for in-class and a workbook for assigned homework), a whiteboard, flashcards and the occasional handout.

In our main school, we have developed a considerable collection of A4 sized (slightly larger than standard 8.5 X 11″ paper) laminated flashcards to teach vocabulary words. We use real clocks to teach time, plastic fruit and vegetables and the like.

You will find the books and materials adequate to teach the assigned classes.

We use games, songs and whiteboard activities to reach all learning styles. We will teach you these methods when you arrive if you don’t know them. In addition, you always can rely on other instructors here to share ideas on teaching methods.

Students:

We teach students from 4-14 years of age.

Most of the students are pleasant, and many quite delightful to teach. There are of course, a few bad apples in any barrel. Unlike most English Training Centers, our teachers are empowered to remove disruptive students from class. If necessary, we will expel disruptive students.

In our school, we use an escalating method of discipline. We have a Chinese teacher in every class who is responsible for maintaining classroom order as well as helping translate when necessary (primarily for administrative and safety issues).

Class sizes:

In our English Training Centers, class sizes are limited to a maximum between 25 to 30 students, with the average class size being 22 students or less.

Workplace Dress Code:

Our dress code for work is simple, “Wear something  comfortable, sensible, and inoffensive.” Shorts and sandals in the summer are cool, literally.

Pay and Payday:

You will be paid on the first of every month for every full month you work. You will be paid in full and on time (minus any funds you owe to the school for cash advances, maid service, etc.). If you arrive after the middle of the month, your first payday will be six weeks later and include your first partial month’s pay. If you arrive before the middle of the month, you will be paid a pro rata amount depending how many days you worked that month.

Overtime and Supplemental Income:

Overtime, when available, will be paid at 150 RMB, in cash, after each lesson.

Medical Insurance:

Our school pays up to 600 RMB, per month, for medical costs related directly to unexpected illness or injury. This also covers testing and medicine.

600 RMB is more than adequate to cover the basic minor illnesses and injuries you are likely to encounter during any normal month in your stay here.

The best hospital in Jilin is down the block from our main school and we have excellent contacts there who not only expedite service but give us a considerable discount on the price foreigners usually pay in China.

We do not cover preventative medical procedures or testing, pregnancy, or emergency medical evacuation costs.

If you feel you need medical coverage beyond what we offer (catastrophic medical coverage, major medical coverage,  emergency medical evacuation services, etc.) you will need to find and purchase these on your own before you arrive.

 

Spare time:

You will have spare time to explore the city and experience life in China. We understand that teachers need a balance in their lives. After all, why come to China if you are going to teach forty class hours a week or work six days a week? This is why we provide teachers two (consecutive in most cases) days off a week as well as 42 days vacation/holiday time each year.

Your Apartment

We do not require you to live at the school or in any sort of gated compound.

We do not require you to have a roommate or any shared living conditions.

You will have a housing allowance and can choose where you wish to live and can come and go as you please.

 

Appliances:

China uses 210 V AC current. Most home wall outlets accommodate three kinds of plugs. First, a standard US two prong flat plug. Second, European style 2 prong round plug. Thirdly, a three prong plug (one straight up and down and two at approx. 35 degree angles.

Check your appliances before you bring them. Most computers and many small appliances do have 210/110 dual capabilities.

Do not attempt to bring any 110 Volt only items here. Converters, if you could find them, would be expensive. In addition to the two plug types pictured above, you can use standard flat two prong plugs too.

You probably do not need to bring any appliances with you. Any small appliance you might need can be purchased quite reasonably here. DVD players run about 400 RMB (about 50 US dollars) and they are the most expensive appliance you would normally buy.

 

Utilities:

You are responsible to pay for your water, bottled gas, electricity and phone costs. All together, you utilities should run about 300 RMB per month, more or less depending upon your consumption habits. ADSL is available at approximately 100 RMB per month extra.

Water:

Like all of China, bottled water is used for human consumption. While the tap water is safe for bathing, it is not recommended for drinking. The school will provide you with a hot and cold water dispenser. You will buy bottles of water as you need them (about 12 RMB per 5 gal. bottle). Bottles usually last 10 – 14 days. Notify the school when you need more water and we will arrange delivery to your apartment.

Coming to Work in China

Airline Tickets:

You will be met by someone from the school when you arrive. You should fly in to Changchun International Airport (Jilin Province). From there we will pick you up and take you to your apartment to get settled in.

When you buy your ticket, you should be able to buy a one-way ticket since you can show you have an Letter of Invitation and a  Z Visa (Working Visa) in China.

Many airlines will refuse to let you board the plane to China if you do not have a round-trip ticket. Some airlines just don’t understand the rules and want you to buy a return ticket even if you have a work permit (this is an exception, ask to speak to a supervisor). If all else fails, buy a REFUNDABLE ticket to Malaysia or somewhere very near China (NOT Taiwan!). The requirement is only that you show you are exiting China. Then refund the ticket in China.

SAVE all your travel tickets. We must turn them in when you arrive to prove when and how you arrived in China – this includes e-tickets.

Visas:

You will need a Z Visa (Work Visa) to legally work in China. Our school is authorized to hire foreign teachers and we will take care of all the paperwork and expenses incurred on this end, including your physical exam in China).

Money:

How much will I need my first month? You can expect to be able to live on 3500 RMB your first month. This is living simply but comfortably.

For your own protection and peace of mind, you should arrive in China with enough money to cover your first month’s costs as well as an emergency fund.

We understand that this is not always possible sometimes and we do have a provision to allow teachers, if necessary (and there is enough office cash on hand), to draw up to one-half month’s pay in advance.

You will be paid the first of every month for every month you work. Your first payday will prorated to reflect the part of the month you did work.

Clothing:

Jilin has all four seasons here, so you should bring clothes for all of them. Unless you are unusually large, you can find reasonably priced clothes here at the local shops.

What NOT to bring:

Do not bring illegal drugs, pornography, books critical of China, or religious pamphlets (a Bible is OK but if you bring 500 pamphlets to distribute, that would not be good).

If you bring food products, be prepared to have them possibly confiscated. The rules seem to be arbitrarily interpreted and enforced on this matter so just be prepared. Oddly, having foreign food products mailed to you seems to present no problems.

What other things to bring:

While you will find most things you need here, there are some items you will find difficult to buy and it is recommended you bring a supply with you:

* deodorant * feminine hygiene products * Prescription medicine * large heavy socks

Living in Jilin

Currency Exchange Rate:

Currency data courtesy coinmill.com
The RMB is currently about 6  per U.S. dollar.

Cost of Living:

Jilin is an inexpensive city to live in. Here are some examples:

You can eat a meal ranging from 8 RMB at a clean, simple noodle shop up to 75 RMB for a Western style all-you-can-eat buffet at a luxury hotel.

You can shoot pool (billiards) for 5-10 RMB per hour depending on where you go.

You can go bowling (two games plus shoe rental) for 20 RMB.

A 30 minute massage will cost 25 RMB.

A 1 liter bottle of beer ranges from 2 to 20 RMB depending on where you buy.

A haircut costs 5 RMB

A McDonalds meal (supersized) will cost about 27 RMB.

High speed ADSL Internet access (including voice phone) will cost under 100 RMB per month.

One half kilo of onions are 5 RMB.

A bottle of fresh yoghurt is 5.5 RMB.

A new release movie DVD (buying, not renting) is 8 RMB.

Shopping:

You can buy anything you need for everyday living within Jilin. For special items, like certain Western foods, you can go a local foreign food store.

Normally, there will be an open market near your apartment where you can buy eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables and the like. There are also large, Western style department stores (even Walmart), where you can shop for food, clothing, electronics and household goods.

Language Lessons:

Northeast China (where Jilin is located) is considered to have the ‘purest’ spoken Mandarin. If you are really serious about learning the language, it is recommended you hire a teacher or tutor. If you like, we will help you find one and you can arrange personalized classes according to your own schedule. Costs are quite reasonable; normally about 20 RMB per hour.

Nightlife:

Jilin is a small (by Chinese standards) city of one million people. The Western community is small so there are few nightclubs that cater to Western entertainment. There are however, many Western style restaurants (with varying degrees of authenticity) and countless excellent Chinese restaurants. You can, of course, find bars, go bowling, shoot pool and a variety of other things. However, if Western style club hopping is your passion, Jilin will probably not meet those needs.

Winters:

It gets cold here in the winter. It can go to -40 C. If you like the snow, there is some skiing available. Things warm up again beginning in March and the weather is quite nice until about October.

Travel to Other places:

Jilin has both train (35 minutes) and bus service to Changchun (1.5 hours away). You can also take the high speed train train from Jilin to Beijing and other cities.

Changchun International airport is only 30 minutes by train (for 30 RMB) from Jilin. You can also take a shuttle bus to and from the airport for 40 RMB.
About 25 minutes away by taxi, or one hour by bus, is the Song Hua lake where you can take a boat tour of several islands. This is a beautiful all day activity.

School Address: The school address is: Kenneth’s English School, 5 th Floor, Annex B, Great Wall Building, Jilin City, Jilin Province, China Phone: 0432-2454208