Shanghai on 20K/m - I'm just not feeling it

mainlandchina

#1

So, after three years in Taiwan, and 10 in Xiamen I’m taking up a job in Shanghai.

I’ll be teaching, teacher training, developing content (and going through a steep learning curve) for a JV company that’s moving into education.

It’s a Monday-Friday, 9-6 job, based in Putuo district.

The aim is to teach 6th graders English using an immersive-type programme (basically the classroom is a set, and they are actors, producers, production crew, etc.)

I’ll teach about 12-14 hours/week, and the remainder of the time will be spent creating content based on their current government-issued textbook (average material, to be expected). The remainder of the time I’ll be in the office in the ‘Content Development’ department, working on ‘content’. I’ll have two ladies assisting me.

After a chill life in Taichung and Xiamen, this is a big step moving to the Big Smoke. I’m nervous, excited and worried all in one.

I’m in my late 30s, really want to settle into a good career path for the next 5-10 years, and move away from actual teaching. This job seems to be the route (I turned down a high school job in Xiamen for half the pay, same hours).

My worries/concerns:

  1. Is life in Shanghai a’ight? I hear good and bad.
  2. Am I being overworked for the salary?
  3. Can’t I just become a beach bum and chill by the ocean and mountains?

Salary is RMB20k/m after tax. Airfare is covered. A meagre 5 days paid leave and 5 days sick leave a year (WTF!!)

The two companies forming this joint venture are: http://www.knowledgeplatform.com/ and http://web.hand-china.com/en/web.asp?wid=83.

Your thoughts…?


#2

That’s about NT$100,000, right?


#3
  1. Love Shanghai. Bookshops, galleries, restaurants, supermarkets, Taipei-style fangbian. But …

Salary’s … OK. No housing allowance? You’ll not be going short on it, but you won’t be travelling or saving much because a lot of that will go on rent unless you share, either with teachers or mice. Think about the commute. You DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT want to be on the Shanghai underground, if you can help it. Don’t know Putuo: it all seems much of a muchness, outside the French Concession, tbh.

  1. Are you being overworked? Hnnng … without having too much info, it sounds like a fairly odd conception of how ‘immersion’ and ‘CLIL’ actually work, within that whole tech/content creation framework. Be prepared for a big mismatch between results and planning and try not to be in the foreigner firing line for the inevitable realization that it wasn’t the greatest plan or use of resources. Use it to learn concrete stuff so you can move into publishing with an international, maybe?

  2. I want to go and live in Iceland and write zombie filmscripts. Let me know if you get anywhere with that.


#4

[quote=“Ermintrude”]1. Love Shanghai. Bookshops, galleries, restaurants, supermarkets, Taipei-style fangbian. But …

Salary’s … OK. No housing allowance? You’ll not be going short on it, but you won’t be travelling or saving much because a lot of that will go on rent unless you share, either with teachers or mice. Think about the commute. You DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT want to be on the Shanghai underground, if you can help it. Don’t know Putuo: it all seems much of a muchness, outside the French Concession, tbh.

  1. Are you being overworked? Hnnng … without having too much info, it sounds like a fairly odd conception of how ‘immersion’ and ‘CLIL’ actually work, within that whole tech/content creation framework. Be prepared for a big mismatch between results and planning and try not to be in the foreigner firing line for the inevitable realization that it wasn’t the greatest plan or use of resources. Use it to learn concrete stuff so you can move into publishing with an international, maybe?

  2. I want to go and live in Iceland and write zombie filmscripts. Let me know if you get anywhere with that.[/quote]

Thank you for your frank answer.

The company has already flown me up to Shanghai for a one-to-one with the school principal. Put me up in a 5 star hotel.

They’ve also flown me from Xiamen, via HK (5 nights in a hotel there), then flew me back to SA, and are now flying me back to Shanghai this weekend. Covering all expenses. Putting me up in an apartment until I find where I want to stay.

You say the SH subway is horrible - I can imagine.

I’m prepared for the mismatch - I’m their very first foreigner teacher at a brand-new school. It’s going to be a clusterfuck of a year. But I’m going in with my head down, very bullish. But also showing them I know the game, better than them in fact. And I’m a pretty good teacher.

It’s going to be a gong show, and I’ll be bashing that gong.

Their budget is US$4mil for this project, so let’s make use of that fundage…


#5

Shanghai is a massive city, being close to the Underground is a big advantage. Traffic is fairly shitty there although not as epic as Beijing. Moist of Shanghai is similar to urban Taoyuan and Taipei county just more modern I guess. Puxi central area is nice but very expensive to live in, outside of Puxi you have some foreigner locales but mainly it’s very Chinese.
And there’s no guarantee your place of work will be Puxi, would be nicer if that’s the case.
Shanghai is not remotely multicultural though, I only really get that vibe in Singapore and KL.
The main reason to to Shanghai will be the opportunities to grow your career I would say, just take it and give it a shot. You.can network with lots of bored executives and managers there if you are smart, do the rugby thing, that kind of stuff.


#6

[quote=“Baas Babelaas”]
I’m prepared for the mismatch - I’m their very first foreigner teacher at a brand-new school. It’s going to be a clusterfuck of a year. But I’m going in with my head down, very bullish. But also showing them I know the game, better than them in fact. And I’m a pretty good teacher.

It’s going to be a gong show, and I’ll be bashing that gong.

Their budget is US$4mil for this project, so let’s make use of that fundage…[/quote]

Hey, I hope you don’t think I was being patronising: you know it’s going to tilt towards the omnishambles end of the spectrum already, so just be prepared. :laughing:

Enjoy it. One word: Element Fresh. :lick:


#7

Well, hit the ground running. Off the plane on Sunday, and working 9-6 days. They work their local staff hard. Me 9-6, Monday to Friday is all they’re getting from me.

I’m a wage slave. But I’m a wage slave who doesn’t do OT.

Only have six 40 minutes classes.

Shanghai - from what I’ve seen, is JACC - just another Chinese city. A blend of first and third world - chaotic traffic, pushing, crowding, malls aplenty, people everywhere etc etc.

I can last a year here for sure. But there’s not much here to inspire me (perhaps a yummy girlfriend would be the solution)


#8

[quote]1. Love Shanghai. Bookshops, galleries, restaurants, supermarkets, Taipei-style fangbian. But …

Salary’s … OK. No housing allowance? You’ll not be going short on it, but you won’t be travelling or saving much because a lot of that will go on rent unless you share, either with teachers or mice. Think about the commute. You DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT want to be on the Shanghai underground, if you can help it. Don’t know Putuo: it all seems much of a muchness, outside the French Concession, tbh. [/quote]

I prefer Taipei, by a long shot. Shanghai is very ‘meh’…

Should have got housing thrown in, over and above the 20k. Crappy little studio apartments start at 5k/m. Shanghai is super over priced in that department.

Job is also dull as hell.