Both Oasis Schools employ committed teachers who are passionate about teaching and who wish to travel to China not just to teach but also to learn. To qualify for a work permit any expatriate must be granted a Foreign Expert Certificate by the Department of Immigration and this requires either a degree in Education or other relevant degree plus a PGCE (or equivalent) and a minimum of two years' experience teaching at the level being applied for. Recently an invitation letter is also required to gain visa, these are called ‘PU letters ' and no permission will be granted to travel to China without one. All applicants must be under 60 years of age when applying for their visa.
The children at both schools are exceptionally well behaved and staff regard them as a pleasure to teach. Academic standards are high but we do have some students who struggle with English, especially when they first arrive. To help with this, every primary class has a local Teacher Partner. Most of our TPs have a degree in English and receive regular training in EAL. Both schools have EAL departments which offer teachers in-class support and students’ out-of-class support. There are around 570 pupils in primary and 350 in middle school.
The regular work week is a 5-day week. The regular student contact load for the teaching staff is 20 x 60 min periods (20 hours) or equivalent, in addition to class preparation, staff/departmental meetings and any student/staff/parent contact activities. Regular administrative duties and frequent and regular duties for extra-curricular activities will also be required. Teachers are expected to be on the premises from 8:00am until 4:00pm unless permission to be off-site is given by their VP Academics. Teachers are given time off for banking and other appointments during the school day where necessary. The schools are well situated in the commercial centre of Shenzhen.
The Oasis Schools are a close knit community and an ideal school for teachers who are moving to China for the first time. The whole staff, from both primary and middle school, do socialize together with regular events such as badminton being played after school or on weekends. Many of the staff are involved in local charitable and sporting clubs and events. There is a good expatriate lifestyle with bars and restaurants to cater for those who enjoy nightlife and the party scene but there is also plenty of the authentic China where you can visit a teahouse or watch kites flying in the park. The nearness of Hong Kong provides an easy source of western shopping and restaurants, however many High Street shops and restaurant chains are right here in Shenzhen.
The salary offered is very high by Chinese standards and should allow any teacher to live comfortably even while sending money home for a mortgage or student loan. The cost of living is considerably lower than in the UK or USA and, provided you don’t expect to dine and drink at Western style restaurants and bars every night, you can easily save money.
The School will reimburse the staff member for flights as follows:
Start of contract flight: the school will fully pay for the staff and accompanying families including spouse and two dependent children (maximum) under the age of 18 years as long as the cheapest economy fare(s) is purchased.
Mid-contract air fares for a return trip are restricted to the employee and his/her spouse to a maximum of RMB 10,000 each
End of contract flight: Employees and spouses (+2 children max) will also be entitled to fares to their normal place of residence to a maximum of 10,000 RMB each when they finally leave the school.
The Employees first TWO children will NOT have to pay the academic fees (they will, however, be required to cover costs such as uniform, textbooks, meals and so on). The third child’s school fees (and any child thereafter) will be paid for by the school at a rate of 50 %, the other 50% of the fees being met by the Employee. School holidays are as follows: Summer holiday from late June to mid August, National Day Holiday in early October, Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year and Labour Day Holiday plus all other Chinese Public Holidays.
The school reimburses flight costs and various expenses on arrival. New teachers are housed in a hotel near their school for the first week in China while they look for a suitable apartment. The Foreign Liaison departments will help to find an apartment and are available to sort out any problems with communication.
As landlords demand a considerable deposit (usually 2 ½ months) plus the first month’s rent newly arrived teachers sometimes find they need to bring a good deal of money with them, however reimbursement of flights and expenses on arrival help in this respect. The school will also give an interest free loan (up to half a month’s salary) to any staff who find they do not have sufficient funds to cover their deposits or for any other emergency expenses. This is usually sufficient to cover expected expenses in the first month. New staff are paid from the first Monday of their arrival.
The school provides a good medical package for staff and one dependent. There are excellent clinics locally that provide Western style medical care as well as Chinese medicine. The package also covers a range of hospitals in Hong Kong if specialist care or operations are needed.