Monday, 8 July 2013

The ESL Job Search Continues – Teach Away

So I have a really bad habit of jumping the gun.

When things don’t go according to plan, I don’t like it. What can I say? I’m an epic control freak and the sad thing is, is that it’s probably not going to change.

So after facing rejection from ECC, I decided to expand my search to include Hong Kong and China. I don’t really know a lot about these places – not in the way that I do Japan – but I know people in Hong Kong and I’ve spoken to people in China so I thought, why not give it ago.

On the interwebs, there’s a huge debate about using recruiters versus applying to the companies directly, and thinking about it, it probably is within anyone’s best interest to go to the companies directly. However, for someone like me who doesn’t really know where to start in terms of China or Hong Kong, I’m thinking that I’m probably gonna benefit from a recruiter.

And I was pretty desperate too so I jumped the gun without really doing too much research and submitted an application to Teach Away.

A lady named Angela (not her real name) got back to me pretty quickly and scheduled an interview with me for today stating that the school she had in mind was called English First and that the branch they worked with were based in Daqing, China.

Now all I know about Daqing is that it’s definitely not a multicultural hot pot. There are very few foreigners about so it’s an ideal location if one wants to get stuck into the real China, but it’s not the location that concerns me – it’s the company. And low and behold, when I then did my research into them, I came across a whole host of problems based on the experiences of other people and it’s got me biting my nails a bit.

I’ve read peoples’ experiences concerning late pay, unhelpful Directors of Studies, unruly students (but that’s a given) and unfriendly Chinese co-workers. I’ve read about people who’ve left the country without so much as a “farewell” or people that have simply left and moved onto other companies – all stating the same thing; avoid, avoid, AVOID!

ECC was the dream because I couldn’t find a bad word against them, but all these other schools I’m coming across seem to be a meagre second and it’s giving me a lot of food for thought. But I figured that I’d already scheduled the interview and it would definitely be an experience so I didn’t cancel and I had my interview not one hour ago.

I also didn’t prepare for it.

Probably a bad move.

Maybe that's telling me something.

Anyway, it lasted about 15-20 minutes and it didn’t go particularly well. Angela asked me some qualification questions which she seemed happy with but her praise-worthy responses soon depleted when I only had one question to ask her about the company. She then went on to ask me interview questions concerning how I’d motivate my students, how I’d introduce a new word and how I’d cope with living in another country.

I’m not the kind of person who can just wing an interview. I have to prepare or I’m guaranteed to flop. The only time I don’t have to prepare for an interview as much is if I already have extensive experience in the industry. Interviewing for my current place of work wasn’t new to me, but teaching English abroad is, so I need all the preparation I can get.

Irrespective, she said that she’d forward my details onto the employer but ultimately, the decision lies with them and considering that they’ve managed to employ people up to November this year, I suspect they’ve probably had a lot of applicants.

But I guess I need to ask myself a real question and that is, should, by some fluke, I get this interview, am I wasting this company’s time? Do I really want to work for them when I know damn well that my heart is still with Japan?


  1. Thanks for updating us with this nice and relevant information as we are also working with esl teacher jobs. So this info. will be very helpful for me.