The City of Jinhua
Jinhua is a beautiful city located in Eastern China. It has clean air, a mild climate and is surrounded by lush, green mountains accessible in less than an hour for hiking, fishing or eating in outdoor restaurants. There are very few westerners in the city, so you will be a bit of a novelty. They recently opened a luxury hotel complex and shopping mall not far from the school. There’s a Starbucks, McDonalds, and other American fast food as well as many Chinese restaurants. The food is great in Jinhua and you can find fresh seafood as well as their famous Jinhua ham. Zhejiang province is the wealthiest in China and there are great day-trips from Jinhua to Hangzhou and other historic sites. Shanghai is two hours by express train from Jinhua.
The city is very safe and our teachers have never been the victims of theft or any other problems. Bicycles are available for rent all over town; buses and taxis are readily available. So far, none of our teachers have opted to buy a car. (One bought a motor scooter) The cost of living in Jinhua is very low. A luxury hotel room is $40 to $50 per night, a clean, business class hotel is around $20. A good restaurant meal ranges from $5-$10 per person. You can eat at noodle shops and casual restaurants for just a few dollars. Teachers can eat at the school cafeteria for less than $1. There is a good variety of vegetables, meat and rice served at every meal. Trains are also very reasonable. A one hour train to Hangzhou is $11 each way. An express train to Shanghai is $22 for the two hour journey. Buses are 30 cents one-way and taxis are 68 cents a mile.
You will find the people to be very friendly and honest. The biggest challenge will be the language. There are many people at the school who can help with translating. The English teachers on the school staff are quite happy to assist you with whatever you need. There is a private English language training center that is contracted to oversee the program. They will help you to set up your banking, cell phone and take you shopping, etc. They will also provide an English speaking teaching assistant who will rotate among the teachers and translate at staff meetings. The parents of the Dual Diploma program students have invited the foreign teachers on many weekend outings with their children acting as tour guides and translators. If you are interested, you can tell your guides and they will contact the parents.
As Jinhua continues to grow and develop as an international trading hub, more and more people are learning English and more Western hotels and restaurants are being built. The local universities and two other high schools also hire foreign teachers, so opportunities to socialize in English have improved greatly since the program began in 2011.
The School and Job Description
AiQing High School was founded in 1953 and named after the modern Chinese poet laureate AiQing. His son was the architect who designed the school campus. In 2011, the school contracted with Jill Duoto, owner and director of High Bluff Academy in San Diego, to set up a Dual Diploma program within the public high school. Each year approximately 30 students are selected to join this fee-based program. The students attend all of the Chinese required courses for the Chinese high school diploma and take two classes per day with native-English speaking teachers to learn about American culture, history, literature and improve their language fluency. Students apply to American universities with their Chinese transcripts and do not receive a transcript from High Bluff Academy, so it is a dual diploma program in name only.
Teaching contract is with AiQing High School, a public boarding school for grades 10-12. There are approximately 2,000 students in the school. It is the No. 2 school in the city. High Bluff Academy has partnered with Ai Qing to provide native English instructors and oversee the Dual Diploma Program of 60-80 students. The teachers’ salaries are government sanctioned, so there is no flexibility in teacher salaries.
Salary and benefits: The school provides roundtrip transportation, $3,000 USD per month for 10 months paid in local currency at the current exchange rate. Chinese taxes are paid by the school. The school provides a fully furnished apartment and utilities. Subsidized meals are available at the school cafeteria. The food is good and costs about $1-$2 per meal. Foreign teachers get the same paid holidays as the local staff, including three weeks for Chinese New Year. If the teaching contract begins after Sept 1, teachers are only paid for the months they are working. There is no summer pay, but there may be opportunities to work off-campus during July and August and continue to live on-campus for free.
School year: September 1 – June 30. Teachers should arrive at least one week before the first day of school.
Teaching duties: 4 to 5 classes per day of 40 minutes each. Class size is 10-12 students. Exact times of the classes will be determined upon arrival. Three teachers will have some flexibility in dividing the workload among them. Each teacher sponsors a club or activity one evening per week with the goal of improving conversational English in a more relaxed environment. Teachers are required to be on campus for eight hours during the school day Monday through Friday.
Grade 10: Low intermediate to intermediate ESL (students will be ability grouped into two classes A and B); Social Studies: Geography, American culture and early history; English Literature (middle school level)
Grade 11: Intermediate ESL and ACT/SAT English prep; U.S. History Civil War to the present; English Literature (9/10 grade level)
Grade 12: Many students will opt to study off-campus with a TOEFL / SAT prep company in a larger city. Students who choose to remain on campus will focus on preparation for college note-taking, writing and research. If the teacher is qualified to offer an AP prep class, this is a possibility also. This year, less than 10 students opted to stay on campus. The curriculum for this grade is American Government and Economics. The teacher can choose topics and either lecture or show video lectures to teach notetaking, MLA formatting and the steps in academic writing and research
The International program has its own dedicated classrooms with tables that can be moved for group work or lectures. Our teachers are free to decorate or arrange the classroom as they wish. The students are very cooperative and kind. They are not used to open-ended discussions and voicing opinions, so they may appear shy at first. With your supportive and encouraging guidance, they will learn to open up and teaching them should be very enjoyable and rewarding.
The teacher apartments are fairly new and are located on campus where the local teachers also live. There is a well equipped kitchen, bar, living and office space, a separate bedroom, bathroom with western toilet and shower and washing machine. The school even installed a western toilet next to the classrooms for the exclusive use of our teachers!