Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
MUSA90

English Contract

Recommended Posts

MUSA90

I'm a new teacher and I've started teaching at a school in China. I'm not particularly happy with the area, the staff or the hours. I want to break my contract, but I'm afraid I won't be able to stay in China since my school sponsored me to be here. I would like to continue teaching, but in an area I enjoy. Also, if possible, less stressful and fewer hours working because I have yet to explore anything because of the workload. I am here to teach, but if that's all I'm doing then I could have stayed in my home country. I want to break the contract, but  I'm concerned about the fees I'll have to pay back. It states in the contract that I will be provided receipts of the expenses the school spent. I know I'll have to pay back the residence permit application, health check, and loan for the apartment. However, I'm concerned about the miscellaneous expenses. For instance, the hotel, taxis, salary and anything else required since my arrival. I'm also worried about the lease I signed for my apartment. It's for 6 months, so if I break it, would I have to pay 6 months worth of rent?  I already paid 3 months worth of rent and a deposit, so will I have to pay the remaining 3 months?

Any advice would be appreciated.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

陳德聰

I can’t say for certain on the apartment rental, because I suspect this depends heavily on how your landlord feels.

 

But as for miscellaneous expenses, I suspect they will compile any receipts they have kept. This is pretty typical. I don’t think they can make you pay back your salary, but essentially they will expense everything they spent on you back to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

The expenses aren’t your biggest barrier to breaking contract. What is is that your school needs to provide a letter of release that enables any new school to hire you. If you part way under bad terms, they can just not give this to you (or more often directly to the new school). This means you won’t be able to complete the process of getting a new residence permit for a new school. As far as i’m aware, leaving China and coming back doesn’t solve it either. 

 

What does your contract say about a notice period? If it says a month then that’s not so bad, just give your notice, have good reasons ready ( don’t say the hate the school and people etc) and start a discussion. If it’s a 3 month notice period, maybe you can come to an agreement about what you’d need to pay and when you could leave (an earlier date).

 

It’s likely you’d lose your deposit on the apartment if you paid it. You could probably get some rent back but again it’s a discussion and depends on the willingness of the parties involved. Legally you probably don’t have much to go on. A lot depends on how easily they think they can find someone else to rent your place. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelby

Were I you, I'd make sure you get the break penalties well in hand and then start looking for new jobs. Provided you find a school that really wants you, or really needs replacement staff (teacher left in the middle of the term, for example), you may be able to get them to cover those break expenses for you. We have a teacher at our school who had this happen to him. He was well looked on in Chengdu and personally knew our CEO, and when our agency offered him a better deal on salary in the middle of the year they also offered to cover all of the breakage fees because they were in a hurry to get him to our school and get him started teaching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baby Charlie

Actually, I was in a similar situation with a crappy employer in Jiamusi. I was teaching 52 classes a week and working 13 hour days. I read my contract and talked to the US embassy. They suggested that I stick it out and then find a new job after I had completed my contract. They stated that employers have been known to get petty, vengeful and vindictive when foreign teachers just quit. So, I was faced with a decision! Quit and go home and never come back to China, as I would surely be blacklisted or any other list they use or stick it out! I chose to stick it out but I will tell you my attitude got really bad as I was so tired of being taken advantage of. I was the only employee that school had that when their contract was over did not return to their home country. I got a university teaching job and I love it! I have now been on my job for 3 years and have no plans on leaving anytime soon! So, based on  my experience, I would suggest that you ask yourself: why did you come to China? Why do you want to teach English? What is your goal/objective of being here? If your goal is to travel, drink and socialize, then you will be disappointed as teaching English is a job and should be taken seriously, as any other professional job. If your goal is to be a professional educator and your employer is not living up to their end of the bargain, then you do have a problem. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay
3 hours ago, Baby Charlie said:

as I would surely be blacklisted

 

There is no blacklist. 

 

However, you sort of go back to the point I made that you do need a letter of release from your current employer before moving your residence permit to a new employer. 

 

It seems like the OP doesn’t want to stick it out at all but depends how long the contract is! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MUSA90

My contract is 15months long and honestly, I don't think I could be here for that long. How do I go about negotiating the fees? If I owe them xyz then how would it be possible to negotiate anything? If they refuse to give me a letter of release then what are my options? I am considering on going to Taiwan to try and teach. If I'm not offered a letter then would it be possible to establish residency there? Hypothetically, what would happen if I upped and vanished one day? I'm not saying I would do it, but I'm curious to know the outcome. The school has all my information (SSN & Passport number). My goals were to travel for a bit while gaining experience as a teacher and also I would like to improve my mandarin in the process. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

Have you looked at your contract?

 

If your contract is anyway half decent it will specifically say a notice period you have to give if you want to leave. As I asked before, what’s the notice period? 

 

You’re getting way way ahead of yourself. If the notice period is 3 months then you can decide if you can take working there for that long. 

 

Definitely don’t do a runner. Having worked at schools where people have disappeared overnight, it’s your own students that get hit the hardest. The owners don’t care as long they’re making enough money. I had someone justify leaving as sticking it to the owner of our school but it’s just an excuse for them. The owner didn’t bat an eyelid, it just meant all their colleague (including me) had to work to cover the classes. 

 

As for “fees” from the school, you’re breaking contract so they’re going to be some. Again, your contract should stipulate what some or most of these are. What does it say? It’s likely just visa processing.

 

Rent is to do with your landlord and it’s unlikely you’d get it back. It makes more sense to give a notice period that coincides with how much rent you’ve paid (if you’ve got 3 months rent paid up and your notice is three months then it’s not a problem). 

 

 

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MUSA90

My contract states a 60 day notice period. I believe I need to reimburse the school for anything processed for my visa, loan, and any expenses that were spent on me during my stay. The unknown fees scare me the most. is it true a school can blacklist you if you break a contract? My colleague told me this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

As I said 3 posts previously there is no blacklist. 

 

If the school has great contacts locally or provincially they might be able to warn other schools off hiring you or something like that BUT there is no blacklist. It’s more likely if you don’t leave on good terms then they just wouldn’t give you the release letter! 

 

If you’re leaving the city anyway it doesn’t matter. 

 

What fees are you imagining here? You can pretty much guess most of them:

 

Did you stay in a hotel at first? Look that up and see how much per night 

You had a loan? How much? 

Visa processing fees are unlikely to be astronomical 

 

If you’ve got 3 months rent left, give them 3 months notice instead of the contractually stated 2 months as a sign of goodwill. Come up with nice reasons why you’re leaving beyond you hate everything and you should be okay. 

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MUSA90

Apologies for the late reply. I was going to try and tough it out, but I've reached my limit. The contract states some exact fees, but the main issues are the miscellaneous fees. I'm not sure if I have to pay my salary back or not. It states that the proportion of the expenses will be calculated by dividing the days not worked in the contract by the number of days in the contract term (not worked days/contract term days).  I'm still in a probationary period and haven't formally taken over any classes. However, I've taught some classes on my own. I'm not comfortable in the slightest. The staff talks poorly about me behind my back. Hardly no one talks to me and I'm constantly left in the dark. Its honestly a very toxic environment and I'm constantly unhappy. I'm very confused about what will happen if they hand over all the fees that the school has paid on my behalf and I can't afford to refund them the money. I'm in quite a bit of a predicament and apprehensive about confronting them. I don't know if I even have a valid reason to quit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

I am not sure you need a valid reason as you are in a probationary period which I would understand to be probationary on both sides, you tried it,  you didn't like it, give your notice, find out how much you will have to pay, until you know,  you may be worrying  unnecessarily.

 

In my opinion if you don't think you can last the 15 months, then bite the bullet and get on with leaving, the longer you leave it the worse it will get. 

 

It may all go better than you think, if they really don't like you

15 minutes ago, MUSA90 said:

The staff talks poorly about me behind my back. Hardly no one talks to me and I'm constantly left in the dark

 

They might want you to go but aren't saying, I don't say this to upset you but to try and make you look at it from a different point of view.

Just take a deep breath and take things one step at a time, it will work out.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MUSA90

Its been like this since my arrival and the fact I waited this long was idiotic on my part. I was foolish to think things would get better. How do I go about locating the  SAFEA office in my general area? I'm having issues connecting to the general SAFEA website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baby Charlie

If it is really that bad, just give notice and quit and go home! China is not for everyone and it will test your strength of character in ways that most would never imagine. As I tell the whiners that come here to live and work: Thick skin get some or go home!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

Come up with a reason, set a meeting, give your notice. 

 

As above, if you’ve paid up 3 months rent, say you’re happy to give them 3 months - 30 days longer - as you know it’s hard to recruit teachers. 

 

You could just say you aren't enjoying life in the city or away from home. You want to try another part of China or travel a bit then decide. They’ll likely try persuade you  not to leave. 

 

Just get it over with but approach it with a good reason and explaination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MUSA90

I informed the school today, but for some reason, I don't have to stay the 30 days. I  believe the fact that I'm on probation seems to be the reason why I'm free to go(it seems strange because it doesn't state that in my contract). I need to finish my weekend and I can part ways. The school is mad that I'm not finishing the remainder of my probation. However, the school told me they were going to help me find other means of work if I stayed, but I've decided to leave China. I don't understand why they would help me out. The fees are unclear as of now, so I'm not sure what will happen in the coming days. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

You know if you leave China you’ve gotta leave this forum too, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:lol: Glad it worked out for you 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

They could quite possibly earn a fee by referring you on to another school. Glad things seem to be working out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baby Charlie

Go home and regroup! You can come back in a few months! I will say this from experience that teaching children English in China is a billion dollar business! It is a dirty, cut throat business run by many heartless, greedy folks! I have found teaching at the university level one of the most rewarding jobs, I have ever had. There is a big difference in the demographics in China! Please let us know that you got home safely and good luck in the next chapter of your life!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×