Issues about the contract!


Recently, I have seen a message inquiring the issues about the contract. She has encountered the worst issue that the school has broken the contract.  The school has assigned more hours to her and paid less than the rate on the contract, which made her really uncomfortable.  Then, what she can do is to protect her rights.


As we all know, the school that signed contract with you applies the work visa for you. The work visa can keep you working legally in China. According to the rules about the work visa, you can only work for the school that sponsors you.  If you work for other schools at the same time, no matter full time or part time it’s illegal.  Therefore, if you want to work for a new school, you need to ask the new school to apply a new work visa for you. If you want to change an ESL job, you’d better get the new work visa before your current one is expired. In this case, I would recommend that the ESL teacher get a new contract through a good recruiting agency such as Sunrise.


Now we can talk about some issues about the contract that ESL teachers sign with the employers. Everyone knows that contract is supposed to protect both sides’ rights of the contract and bound their behaviors.  However, since there is lack of monitoring in Chinese ESL teachers Market, the contract doesn’t work like the one in the law sometimes. When some ESL teachers or employers break the contract, there is no place to go. The only thing that you can do is to jump out of the contract and get a new one.


How did this happen? In my opinion, both sides have their own problems. As far as I know, some ESL teachers who had signed contract with one employer would sign another contract with another employer after they find a better one.  They broke their contracts even before they came to China. Sometimes, the employer does not know the ESL teacher would not work for its school, which made the employer mad about the ESL teacher.

There are many ESL teachers who break their contracts when they are teaching English in China. I know may employers have complained to me that their ESL teachers run away from their schools.

Why? Does the school break the contract making the ESL teachers leaving? No, not many schools would like to break the contract since it’s not easy to get a good ESL teacher. They may even give bonus for resigning the contract.  For this issue, there are three reasons that I can share with you.

First, ESL teachers haven’t figured out where they really want to teach. As we all know, China is a big country. It’s really tough for you to decide where you want to teach first. Therefore, you may sign a contract for some reasons that do not seem very attractive after you come to China or travel around in China. There are some cases that I knew, some ESL teachers made some friends during their travelling. They get to know other interesting places of China. Their foreign friends may persuade them to change a job to their cities. In this case, some ESL teachers may be persuaded and jump out of the current the contract and work in their friends’ cities.

Second, some ESL teachers find out their rates are lower than the market’s when they arrive in China. There are some ESL teachers who work with recruiting agencies or friends to get the ESL jobs to teach English in China. After they come to China, they found out that the rates they get are not fair. They may want to argue the rate with the employer or change another fair paid job.  I recommend that you negotiate with the employer first to see whether the employer can give a fair rate, if she can, you can still work for her. If the employer could not give a fair rate, you can go to the recruiting agency that can always get a good job.  No one wants to be treated unfair and then how to avoid it. The only thing that you need to do is to find a reliable recruiting agency that can protect your rights and get the best package for you. Some ESL teachers prefer to be referred by friends, which is also a good way to get into a new job, although the jobs are very limited.

Third, there are some schools may break their contracts with the ESL teachers after they figure out that there are something faked about their experience. The most common one is their accents. In fact, the schools are most care about the ESL teachers’ accents, not your countries. Sometimes, the schools may ask the ESL teachers to tell the students’ parents that they’re from a native English speaking country, which makes some ESL teachers uncomfortable about lying.


The last issue I want to talk about is that whether it’s legal or not to take a part-time job in China. It’s 99.99% safe to take a part-time job. As we all know, there is something safe although it’s not illegal in China.  Therefore, you don’t need to worry about that. If you have an opportunity to take a part-time job, you can get it. There is no problem. As far as I know, there are some ESL teachers who can take two full-time jobs in China at the same time. There are many places that you can get a part-time job. I can share it with you later in other articles.


In conclusion, although there are some ESL teachers and some employers who don’t follow the contracts, there is more ESL teachers and employers who obey the contracts. Moreover, the contract is the only thing that can protect you when you’re in China, if something happens. Therefore, I recommend that everyone be supposed to follow the contract that you sign with. Don’t try to break it easily.