How and Why
I've gotten several inquiries from different people wanting to know how to get a job in China and what is my motivation for doing so............well here goes.
The idea of moving to China was first put into my head when I stumbled across Lisa McClure's web site. Now I don't know if all of you have been to her web page, but it is probably the greatest page on the net for reading Chinese Adoption Stories and her own Return to China story is there as well.(www.tussah.com) When I read her site she was still in the States and preparing to go to China. My first thoughts when I read her diary were "yeah right" but I obviously didn't know her very well because she went. She also had an egroup like mine (hey why re-invent the wheel, she had a great idea). I subscribed and drooled over her every word. Some other ideas I have borrowed from Lisa are my soon to be up and running web page (www.thompsontrio.com) and having my own domain name for the page and email. It sure makes things easier for people wanting to get in contact with you. (Side note I really wanted karenthompson.com but some relator in FL has that domain name and my second choice, domesticgoddess.com is owned by Roseanne Barr).
I told my mom about what I'd been reading and that I'd kind of like to do that too. My mother was very supportive, she thought it would be a great opportunity for both me and my girls. Charlie was only 18 or so months old at the time and I felt that I should probably wait until the summer she turned 3 to go (she will be 3 in August). Julie was 2.5 and would be 4 when we went. I felt like this would be the perfect age for them to easily learn the language and by this time Charlie would be out of diapers (well she almost is..... no accidents in almost 2 weeks now) Something else I felt "had to be" was American Citizenship for the girls. I had started that process when I discovered there was legislation up before congress stating that all foreign born children adopted by US citizens would automatically be granted citizenship. I stopped the proceedings (thus saving about $1000.00). The law went into effect Feb. 27, 2001 and on the 28th I applied for passports for the girls.
I corresponded with Lisa some while she was in China and she directed me toward several egroups. One was a group she started ChinaKids@yahoogroups.com this group is directed towards people in or wanting to go to china with their children, all kinds of life issues are discussed. Other groups with similiar agenda's are
The tefl (teaching English as a foreign language) lists are mostly made up of English teachers and they discuss teaching issues, life issues and jobs. (Editorial note because there are some "real" English teachers on these lists, they can sometimes get very wordy and the debates are often way over my head, but there is some very good information on them)
red-dragon@yahoogroups is a spin off of the tefl groups but IMHO more fun to read.
Last but not least there is
firstname.lastname@example.org Now this list is moderated by a "real" character and he is the main poster and if you can get through all of his ramblings (if you think I'm bad.......read some of his posts!) again there is some very good information to be learned. Through these lists I've made contacts with several people in China and they have also been most helpful in guiding me on where to and where not to go. The expat society in China seems to be a fairly tight knit group despite their ramblings on the tefllife list! You can always count on someone answering a question for you.
There are several web sites dedicated to getting a teaching job, some world wide and some just in China. These are
I chose to teach at Liaoning Institute of Technology (where Lisa was) for several reasons. I got a great feeling about the waiban (foreign teacher liaison), this is a person who can make or break you. There are some real horror stories out there. Because Lisa broke the ice by taking her daughter with her they seemed to be more willing to help with things like affordable kindergarten. One school I was really interested in wanted me to pay over 1200 yuan for kindergarten for the girls. Now 1200 yuan isn't all that much in US dollars (around $150.00) but when you consider you're only making 2200 yuan that's over half of your salary and you still have to eat. I also did not want to go to a large city with a lot of western influence. The population of Jinzhou is around 700,000 but Lisa assures me you can ride a bicycle at a leisurely pace across the city in about 40 minutes. Finally I really wanted to be in North East China where Mandarin (the official language) is spoken. Oh I should also mention that Lisa said she lost 50 pounds in the first 4 months she was in Jinzhou, hmmmmmm could that have played a role in influencing me to go to LIT??????????????
Only about 6 more weeks to go!