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 The Experience of Being a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia

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John V Asia Teacher
John V Asia Teacher
John V Asia Teacher

PostSubject: The Experience of Being a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia   The Experience of Being a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia Empty25.02.17 16:03

The Personal Experience of a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia

Leave behind the unemployment queues, realize revolutionary opportunities and survive modernity by becoming a TEFL Teacher in the Far East. English is the business language of the world and those having the necessary academic qualifications and the ability to survive without western welfare systems remain in high demand. The facts contained within this article may differ slightly in different schools with different packages and contracts. Living cost prices are averages as of January 2017.
The city of Ordos lies 400 kilometres North-west of Beijing: longitude of North 39° and latitude of East 109°.

Part of the People’s Republic of China, Inner Mongolia differs from anywhere in the west. Perhaps this attracts the younger generation searching for adventure, or the mature TEFL teacher looking for stability. The culture of Inner Mongolia and its ethnic minority is conversely both appealing and a culture shock. Independent travel advice for Inner Mongolia [1] is available from Wikitravel. You must uphold the State administration of Foreign Affairs rules (SAFEA) [2] to work legally. [3]Ignore this at your peril and do not not blame the company who convinced you that you didn’t need a work visa, or a Public Security Bureau residency permit.

The Experience of Being a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia Inform10

Is Inner Mongolia for me: Lifestyle, culture and diet 

The city of Ordos isn’t cosmopolitan, so bring a supply of music and books. Daily life for the TEFL teacher revolves around the school and in free time, browsing through the local markets and sightseeing excursions. Within walking distance from most schools and using inexpensive public transport, are  Pizza huts, KFC’s, McDonalds and a few foreign type shopping centres, where one can buy western products, including food.

The local produce is cheap and plentiful; especially the basic staples of rice, potatoes, lamb, and chicken. Apartments excluding a kitchen, have a school canteen, with a varied menu choice. Ordinarily, the cost of living in comparison to the west is low and nearly all food is organic. A 5kg bag of potatoes £1 (US $1.25). 1 kg tub of local farmer goats milk yogurt 70p (US $0.87), and 1kg frozen fish fillet around £3 (US $3.74). A Chinese café type lunch costs about £2.50 (US $3.12), and a 15-minute taxi journey £1.20 (US $1.50). Genuine Mongolian cashmere wool is an everyday inexpensive worn item.

The English Teacher Package: Accommodation, allowances and insurance

The assigned apartments differ in condition depending on the school. All apartments include Western type bathroom, shower, Internet connection and are satisfactory, but not of western hotel tourist quality, which are not what they’re intended for. Moreover, all apartments have radiators, but you may also ask for a free portable electric heater and humidifier.

Included is bed linen and Chinese satellite TV (Chinese programmes only). Where accommodation includes the use of  a kitchen, a fridge and necessary utensils, plus a washing machine is supplied. If no kitchen is available, a microwave and hotplate, plus a small fridge is supplied, or you may eat at the school canteen.

All contracts include around ¥7000 (£817.48 - US $8722), annual cash payment for a holiday air flight, or to save. Additionally, two holidays of around four weeks a year, paid at 60% salary rate and all internal holidays paid at normal rates. Contracts also include free accommodation, food allowance, health insurance, water, electric, and Internet connection. Currently, monthly taxation of foreign teacher salaries stands at 10% for under 10k ¥, (although in practice between 4 to 5%), including a personal allowance, with no VAT, sales or local tax, or anything else to pay.
TEFL: Support and working hours

A major need will be a native English speaker (NES), preferably Caucasian and most schools prefer certified TEFL applicants, with a minimum of two years experience. Please be aware that discriminatory practises are normal and widespread. Throughout Asia, personal standards, appearance and morals often carry equal weight to qualifications. Minimum requirements include a verifiable degree, no criminal record, TEFL certificate and under 60 in age.
The Recruiter processes your documents to stay legally, and provides free (compulsory) comprehensive annual health checks, as required by immigration law. The recruiter also assigns schools, but in the case of preference, will try to arrange personal choice. From personal experience, it's advisable to come here with a set of already prepared lesson plans [4] of the ABL variety, including downloaded cartoons. All schools use textbooks and conversation, but shyness (losing face) and lack of self-confidence are major obstacles. All classrooms also have an overhead projector, and a blackboard.
The working hours are around 20  a week, Monday to Friday (20 x 40/45 minute periods), although sometimes lower, but never higher, with class sizes around 60. Usually, there are no exam preparations or scoring, ‘extra activities’, or summer camps. The school terms (semesters), are of a twenty week duration and two  a year. All schools assign an English-speaking Chinese coordinator (leader) for daily problems or advice, and a company representative for any matters arising not concerning the school.

TEFL Teacher Beware: Scams and recruitment

Scams across Asia are legion and almost without exception problems arise from those employed in private schools – the for-profit treadmills of often unscrupulous private enterprise. Conversely, the State schools have a reputation to uphold and are much more likely to honour contracts and undergo regular SAFEA inspections.

Popular and reputable TEFL recruitment sites across Asia are international [5] serious [6] and specifically for Thailand [7] All include question and answer forums. Do your homework before accepting an offer; Google the company and request testimonials and emails of current employees before you sign a contract.
Personal Experience: Facts and figures
China has a one-party socialist government, with a capitalist economy and an estimated 60% middle-class by 2020. Its GDP growth rate is 6.5%+ and Inner Mongolia remains the second richest province in China, behind Shanghai, with its fortunes founded on coal mining. Viewed as a rural Chinese cousin, Inner Mongolia is developing at speed, although conversely, there are tell tale signs of a recession.

Few people in Inner Mongolia speak English, but sign language and a smile eases the passage through any problems. The people are both inquisitive and pleasant and it's safe for foreigners, day or night.

The salary, often overdue because of administration bureaucracy, is always paid, with no question of not receiving due payment. Salary amounts are based on experience and academic qualifications, including TEFL, plus subject.

Ordos (Erdos) and the surrounding areas of the Gobi Desert are dry, while winters are long and cold (-25F/-13C) and the summers short and hot (30F/86C).Did we mention sand and electric storms? The power cuts, sandstorms, occasional water shortages and ever prevailing intrusive bureaucracy? It's all part of daily life and a chapter in an individual’s life experience, as a TEFL teacher in Inner Mongolia.

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The Experience of Being a TEFL Teacher in Inner Mongolia Tefl_t10


[1]  Independent travel advice for Inner Mongolia
[2]  State administration of foreign affairs
[3]  Chinese work visa (Z)
[4]  The basic points of English grammar part 1

[6]  Serious

Further reading:        Teaching English in China
                             TEFL Job Seeking?
TEFL Teacher Inner Mongolia

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