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Is it common for schools to restrict your personal life?


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This is something I have been wondering about.

Since the work unit carries the responsibility for any foreigners they employ, is it common for a school to restrict the personal lives of the foreign teachers. I am specifically talking about the ability of the teacher to travel on weekends as he desires and so on.

If the teacher`s apartment is on campus grounds, is it possible that the school will assign a curfew?

If anyone has any experiences like this, please let me know. I dont suspect this is the case, but I read something that suggested such practices occur.


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It can happen, and is probably more common in smaller cities and new schools where they aren't quite used to dealing with foreigners. The most common forms would be a curfew - usually a result of their being someone assigned to locking and unlocking the gates to your accomodation at a certain time, and that person understandably not wanting to be woken up at 4am, and requests that you don't frequent nightclubs or other places of ill-repute.

They may perhaps try and restrict your travelling on the weekend, but it's less likely.

Most of these situations can be solved once the school manages to accept that you aren't going to get yourself arrested / beaten up / stolen.


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I worked at a place that would lock the gate at 11pm. At the time, we were all given keys, so not a big deal. But I have heard that the school no longer issues keys to its teachers.

In central China, things still run in a semi-Soviet way of secrecy. The school may give you a curfew because it thinks the local area around the school is not safe at night, but they might be afraid to admit it. Or, more likely, they don't want it known that teachers often go out and party at night. The school will lose face if teachers are seen as just there for booze or women. The traditional notion of a teacher, perhaps going back to Confucian thininking, requires teachers to be moral models for students to emulate.

So, if you're looking for a school, I would sugget that you ask clear questions about things like this so that you won't end up in a place that monitors your every move.

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It may seem that the school is placing restrictions when you first arrive (like Roddy has indicated), but this is probably because they are only worried about you (westerner in a very foreign land). After a few weeks to a month they will realise that you can cope in China, won't get lost etc and you will have the freedoms you enjoy elsewhere.

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