Frequently Asked Questions: Teachers
To begin your career, or add an international component, to an already existing career, is a very serious consideration. We have tried, to provide information, on the most frequently asked questions, considered by teachers, while determining whether to apply to an overseas school, in China. Please also read the questions, and answers, developed for University and College representatives, as well as principal candidates, for Bond affiliated schools, in China.
Q. One teacher’s view!
“It’s completely different in China. Different culture, different people, different food. My life was changed, by coming here. I mean, that my perspective has shifted, and the world is a small place, but things can be so different. I absolutely love Guangzhou. It’s my second year, and I am very happy. The city is GREAT! A cross of eastern meets western culture. You can get by, without a lot of Chinese, but if you learn the language, it opens up a whole world to you. The travel opportunities are incredible, and the food is amazing! Be open-minded and try/do everything you can. It’s beautiful here. There is amazing hiking, to do here, if you’re into that, clubs, organizations. So much to get your fingers dirty with. The students will amaze you. Their English isn’t like at home, but they make up, for that, with their charm, motivation (usually!!), respect, and interest in you. They’re amazing. Guangzhou is modern, so you can get anything here that you can get at home. If you can, Hong Kong is less than 2 hours away, by train. Life is good here. Just keep your mind open and stay flexible.” (Joshua Hatt, OCT teacher, in Guangzhou, 2010-2012)
Q. What does it mean, to be teaching, at an Ontario school, in China?
Teaching at an Ontario school, in China, means using the same course outlines, taken from the same courses of study found, in an Ontario secondary school. The diploma requirements including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test and the community service requirements are the same, as in Ontario. The document “GROWING SUCCESS Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools” is the cornerstone, of the assessment and evaluation strategies, and the code of conduct, expected, of teachers, who are all members, in good standing, of the Ontario College of Teachers, applies to teachers, in each of the schools.
Q. How does a Bond affiliated school compare, with an Ontario school, in Canada?
Bond, affiliated, schools stand for quality. It is important, that colleges and universities can count, on the marks earned, by our students, to be a true representation of our assessment, of their progress, and their future potential. The standards expected of the program, in a Bond affiliated school, are the same, as in Ontario. The major differences are the students are, for the most part, Chinese nationals, and English Language Learning is highlighted, to a much greater extent. Chinese students will be much more disciplined, than found, in Ontario schools.
Q. What will I teach?
You will be teaching the same courses, from the same guidelines, that you would be teaching, in an Ontario school. When you return, to Ontario, you will be seen, as having experience teaching the Ontario curriculum.
Q. Who are the students?
The students are Chinese nationals, with the exception of one school, that enrols mainly expatriate students.
Q. Why do they want an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, in China?
Parents have chosen a Bond affiliated school, because they want their sons and daughters, to study, at the post-secondary level, in Canada. Choosing, an Ontario Diploma program, will mean most, of them, will apply, to Ontario colleges and universities, for their future post-secondary study.
Q. What are the school’s expectations, of me, as a teacher?
You will receive an offer, to teach, at a Bond affiliated school, because the interview team believes you possess the qualities, of a professional teacher, dedicated to your chosen profession. It is the expectation of the school, at which you teach, that you will do your best, to teach the students, in the manner, that you would, in any school, in Ontario. In addition, you understand, that you are not only a role model, and an ambassador, for Ontario education, but also an ambassador, for Canada. You will be judged, on your ability, as a teacher, and an ambassador, for your country.
Q. Who is my employer?
Bond Schools International interviews, and selects teachers, to recommend, to the individual schools, in China. That is what we mean, by an affiliated school. Your employer is the individual school, and your contract will be with your school, as the employer.
Q. Where will I live?
Your school will arrange your accommodation, either, on the school campus, or in an apartment close to the school.
Q. Am I able to live on the salary provided?
Your salary is quoted, as net, meaning it is after your accommodation and medical plan has been provided, and paid for, and your Chinese income tax has been paid, in China. However, being able to live on your salary is an individual matter. It is determined, mainly, by an individual’s lifestyle. Many teachers have been able, to save a considerable amount, of their salary, and younger teachers have been able to pay off a considerable amount, of their student loan. Your salary is approximately four times a local teacher’s salary for the month.
Q. As a professional teacher, what support, may I expect, from the School, in China?
The school leadership, in the double Diploma schools, includes a principal, from Ontario, with Ontario principal’s qualifications. The other schools are led by a vice-principal or lead teacher, depending upon size. He/she is the academic leader, in the school. There is also local leadership working with the Canadian leader, to make decisions that make sense, in China. In the classroom, there are the textbook resources, normally found, in Ontario. All texts are chosen, from the Trillium List, developed by the Ontario, Ministry of Education.
Q. What are my opportunities, to teach, in more, than one school, during my time, in China?
After completing your current contract, at the school, with which, you have originally signed, you may have an opportunity, to teach, in another Bond affiliated school, in another part, of China. Opportunities are posted, and you would apply directly, to the school principal, before positions are opened, to other teachers.
Q. What are my opportunities, to develop leadership skills, in education?
In recommending teachers, and administrators, to the schools, Bond Schools International looks for exceptional teachers, who have qualifications necessary, to take the Ontario Principal’s course. This is the BSI internal leadership track. A teacher would be recommended, for a position, as lead teacher, in a school, and be supported, through a Professional Development Allowance, to take the Ontario Principal’s course. This is the beginning, of a process, in developing school leaders, who understand the role, of being a leader, in an Ontario school, in China, and an opportunity for the schools, to develop excellent leaders, for the future.
Q. What opportunities are available, for travel, in China? In Asia?
There are few restrictions, for travel, for Canadians, in China, and Asia. Many, of the teachers, take their weekend, or holiday time, to travel, and see the many things China has, to offer. During the longer holiday periods, teachers often take the opportunity, to visit other countries, such as South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Thailand. If you are interested, in history, and culture, it is there. If you are interested in the beach, and relaxing, you cannot find better opportunities, than Asian experiences. Many of the places, you will want to visit, are reasonably priced, and economical, to reach. Others can be more expensive. Your lifestyle and pocketbook will be your guide.
Q. Will I pay income tax, in Canada? In China?
Bond Schools International does not provide individual advice, on a teacher’s commitment, to Canada. The Canadian Revenue Agency has rules, around residency, that will be your guide, for paying income tax, in Canada. Canada expects you, to pay Canadian income tax, as you would normally, on any money earned, in Canada. The CRA will also determine, whether, you are considered a resident working abroad, or a non-resident, of Canada. Please read the CRA website, for further information. We also recommend that you consult an accountant, or other tax expert, in Canada, with experience, advising clients working internationally.
As, in any country, you will pay the required, income tax, as is levied, in China. Chinese income tax is deducted, from your gross salary, and submitted, to the Chinese authorities, on your behalf.
Q. Can I contribute to the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan?
You may only pay into the OTPP, if you are employed by an Ontario school district, or on a leave of absence from the district, or by an Ontario private school, which has an agreement with the Pension Plan. While you are teaching in an Ontario curriculum based school, in China, your employer is the school, in China, in which you teach. Being a member of OCT isn’t sufficient, to belong to the plan. Teachers, who teach overseas, on leave, from their district, usually continue, to pay into the plan, but that becomes your choice. If this applies to you, please consult your school district, for further information.
Q. What are the most common concerns, experienced, by teachers?
Not everyone, even the best teacher, is able to live and work abroad. Flexibility, adaptability, a sense of adventure, a desire to explore, and live, within another culture, are all pre-requisites, to a successful international career. A passion, for your chosen profession, is essential.
Homesickness, in the beginning, can be the most common concern, particularly, for younger teachers. You will find, that it happens, to many of us. You will have your colleagues, for support, and they are more than willing, to help. We will provide you with a list of strategies to deal with this phenomenon.
Culture shock can also be an issue, in the beginning. The best thing is, to just get out there, and experience the city and country! Begin with a sense, of adventure. Try things and get involved. Get to know your Chinese colleagues working, at the school. Try the food. You will be pleasantly surprised. Ask questions. Many teachers will join a fitness club. As you learn to use taxis and public transportation, explore your city, and surrounding countryside. You will choose favourite restaurants, to visit, with your colleagues, and generally, you will be fine.
You will have a computer and internet available. Many teachers Skype their friends and family back home. You will buy a cell phone, with IDD capability, and probably want to have cable TV for your apartment. All are available. You will then have access to English language programming to some extent – usually CNN, HBO, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation, at the very least.