Guangdong Country Garden School

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Guangdong Country Garden School

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Beijao, Shunde

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High Turnover, Dissatisfied Teachers

Country Garden is a fairly quiet, gated community about 45 minutes south of Guangzhou. It is a very affluent community. One look around the school parking lot, and you’ll see a variety of luxury cars (Tesla, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover) It is ideal for families, there are many parks and the housing&living allowances would allow a family to rent a house. There is very limited night life nearby.

Below are some details about Kindergarten and Primary working conditions for International Teachers:

The working hours in Kindergarten are 7:40-12:00/14:00-17:40. Meetings are scheduled within those hours. International teachers work with a team of three Chinese teachers. The schedules for the other three teachers are varied to ensure that there are always two teachers present with the children between 7:20am to 8:30pm (this is a boarding school).

Within the classroom, the International Teacher is the highest paid by a large margin (2-4x). This does cause some problems in the classroom environment. The hierarchy in the classroom is Head Teacher, Language Teacher, International Teacher, Life Teacher.

International teachers will have about 6-7 classroom management hours daily. They will be responsible for 3 lesson plans weekly (English, Unit of Inquiry, Circle time/Phonics). This covers about 6-8 hours of instruction weekly.

In addition to teaching duties, there will be many nanny-like duties:
Undress and Dress students before/after outdoor activities (students exercise in underwear)
Assist with student personal hygiene (bathing, toilet time, brushing teeth, hair brushing, etc)
Serve 3 meals daily (distribute food, oversee canteen time)
Prepare and serve fruit 1-2 times a day (15:00 &17:40)
Guide/Accompany Students to all extra-curricular lessons.
Manage Classroom during all transitions
Leading Outdoor Dances/Exercises 2-3 times daily
Dance/Perform at Special Events 4-5 times annually
Dress in Costume for Special Events 3-5 times annually.
Parent communication in WeChat (provide feedback for homework up to 20-150 files daily)

A typical day in Kindergarten looks like:
07:40-08:00: Warm-up exercises/dances led by International Teacher.
08:00-08:30: Breakfast, served by International Teacher
08:30-09:00: Circle Time/Phonics, led by International Teacher
09:00-10:00: Lessons, teacher based on classroom schedule.
10:00-11:00: Outdoor activity, led by International Teacher
11:00-11:40: Lunch, served by International Teacher
11:40-12:00: Transition to nap time, International Teacher
12:00-15:00: Students nap time, International Teacher lunch/planning/meeting
15:00-15:30: Snack time, led by International Teacher
15:30-16:00: Lessons, teacher based on classroom schedule
16:00-17:00: Outdoor activity, teacher based on classroom schedule
17:00-17:30: Dinner, served by International Teacher
17:30-17:40: Transition to hometime/ fruit preparation.

The working hours in Primary are 7:40-11:50/14:10-17:50. Within those hours, International Teachers will be responsible for English Instruction with a Chinese Co-teacher for two classrooms (usually the same grade, but not same ability). International Teachers will see each class 5 times weekly as the lead teacher, and 5 times weekly as the assistant teacher. International teachers assist for ten lessons and lead ten lessons, 35 minutes each (usually paired into double lessons of 70 minutes). The International teacher is responsible for up to 10 lesson plans weekly. Beyond Instruction, the International teacher is responsible for assigned extra curricular activities and duties. Primary International Teachers are required to attend a weekly meeting after normal working hours from 18:00-20:00.

International Teachers in Kindergarten and Primary may leave campus for lunch. There are a variety of restaurants nearby including a Subway, KFC, McDonalds and two Italian restaurants.

In both Kindergarten and Primary, there are frequently last minute notifications, and administration is generally disorganized. There is a very high turnover rate (60-75% from year-to-year), as well as a handful of teachers who leave mid-contract. Most teachers feel undervalued.

The salary package listed on the website is from a previous era. After a new education group purchased the school, the International Teacher salaries were reduced drastically. International Teachers generally receive monthly salaries between 10,000-20,000rmb and a housing/living allowance of 5,000rmb.

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