English Teaching Job In China, Guangzhou

In China, a job interview and induction is unlike professional job interviews in The West.

You have a sense of being rushed, flashed with promises the company never keeps, on a rollercoaster of back-to-back interviews with HR, the Head Teacher, the Manager, with the intention to sign you up onto a contract as quickly as possible.

The whole process is a rubber-stamp of approval dressed up as an informal induction into the company.

This is one of those detailed experiences with World International English, in Guangzhou.

Reception In World International English

At the building in Sports West road (体育西路), I came up to World International English on level 9, and walked to the front reception.

The reception girl wore a traditional reception girl outfit, that resembles Japanese porn.  She was a really skinny, sexy, ravishing Chinese girl with a waif-skinny body, with her hair tied back, a little white button-up blouse on – that even if she arched her body forward, you still could not see her little breasts – and the shortest black skirt on that showed off her immaculate legs.

She sat me down at a table and said, “Wait here one minute.”

She sounded a little bit confused that I am coming for an interview.  She gave me paperwork thinking I had just walked in off the street.

I then waited.

I am looking at her from the side of her reception table as I am seated down on some chairs.  As she came behind the counter to sit down, she rolls her legs around the table to be under the table.  As she rolled her legs, I could see up her legs, between her legs, and up her leg.

I am thinking, “Wow, my hormones are getting really riled up and solid.”  I figure this is what the staff in World International English see on a daily basis.

She came back a second time and said,

“Okay, you met Mason.  We know who you are.  You don’t need your resume.  I will take you to this room. “

Taken To The Interview Room

I was escorted through the foyer area, and pulled into a function room to the back left.

She said, “Just wait here.  The teacher will see you soon.”

I sat down.

You can see the rest of Guangzhou from there.  It was a nice little view.

Impressions Of World International English

I then paced to the front of the room and looked around World International English.

My first impression was that it is a really huge office.

My second impression was that World International English employees are attractive.  There are a mix of foreigners, Westerners, and Chinese all working together.  It is a nice office environment.

Then I sat down.  Across from me was another glass pane office, where a sexy, more older mature female was conducting an interview with a kid.

An English guy is walking around outside with a top hat.  He is trying to do what Chinese people do, and making a caricature of himself being an English person in a tux.  It is just really lame.

Interview With Head English Teacher

Then, after a little while, is when the Head English teacher came into the room.  He was an older English male, and the guy who had a tux on.

The interviewer was fairly shameless.  He came with his top hat.

He sits me down.  He has his legs crossed, and acts very Pommy.   He was very confident with himself.  He never lost his confidence.

Then we started to conduct an English interview.

He says, “I want to know what kind of experience you have.  Why don’t you tell me.”

I said, “In Australia I was an IELTS teacher.  Then I came to China and studied Chinese.”

He asked me some basic questions at the start to explain my history, why I wanted to teach in China, how I found this job.

He said, “I saw with your resume that you can speak Chinese.  Is that true?”

I said, “Yes.  I can speak fluently.  I studied Mandarin in China for one year.”

Head English Teacher Discussed Culture

When he heard I could speak Chinese, he asked,

“So you understand the Chinese culture very well, do you?”

I said, ” One of the things I did when I came here was to learn more about how Chinese tick.  I think I found out.”

Then he is telling me about culture.

He says, “Yeah, because fucking Chinese do not know fucking anything.  Where I come from, we have things like civil liberties and regulations.  When you come to China and talk to them about all these things, they know fucking nothing!”

“When you are on the train and you try to get on, they all push you trying to get on.  It is fucking ridiculous.”

He is talking with Pommy English shameless abandon.

There was a certain sense of irreverence to the man.

As I went through my history, and then we started to talk about all the things about Chinese culture that we showed disdain towards.

Discuss Previous English Teacher Work Experience

I explained I worked in Hampson and BBT English, both in Guangzhou.

Impromptu English Demo Class In Interview

Then he asked, “Alright, well why don’t you stand up and show me an impromptu lesson about everything you know about Australia.  Pretend I don’t know anything.”

I said “Alright, so, are you a little kid, or an adult?”

He said, “All of the people in this academy are adults.”

Initially, I was coughing nervously, especially when he asked me to conduct a demo class.  Once he reassured me however, saying, “Just relax,”  I felt a lot better.

I stood up at the blackboard, drew a picture of Australia, and said,

“Hello everybody.  Welcome.  I am going to teach you all about Australia.”

Then I started to talk about The British First Fleet in 1788, the voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, exclaiming,

“Back in those times, the boat was the size of the Titanic!”

I was saying it with some pizzazz, gusto and energy, but not too much because I was nervous.

He said, ” Stop there.  That is all I want to see.  That is what we want to see from our teachers, someone who can teach with enthusiasm and engage the students.”

I said, “Yeah, that is me.”

Head Teacher Explains Previous Teachers

Then he told me how they had a boring teacher come in to do a demo class.

He got up and demonstrated with some theater,

“We had one teacher who came in here, and he is looking at the blackboard.”

The head teacher nervously looked at the blackboard, and talked towards the blackboard, drawing pictures.

“That is how that person was teaching.  He did not engage the students at all.  He was a train wreck.”

Then the girl from HR also said,

“We had a teacher who came in.  The Head teacher had twenty people in his class.  When he had a holiday, we had that substitute do his class.  Only three people wanted to come to his class.”

The head teacher added, “You have to make it interesting.  You have to make it exciting for them. They want to have fun in your class.”

I said, “I can definitely do that.”

Impersonating Steve Irwin Australian English

When we were conducting the actual interview, I said,

“How about I do this.”

I stepped up to the white board again and put on my Steve Irwin voice, and began to speak in full Australian accent.

He said, “That is pretty good.  We want the students here to get the best experience from all different countries and accents.”

I said, “I remember this girl who came to Australia, and she had an American accent.  I asked her, ‘why are you speaking in American?’  She said, ‘because I had an American teacher in China.’  Then I said to her, ‘but don’t you know you are coming to Australia?  You should have learnt an Australian accent’.”

Head English Teacher Explains His Background

He then explained how he has full work rights in China.

I said, “Really?  How did you get that?”

He said, “My family here are all Chinese.”

I said, “That is cool.”

He agreed, “Yeah, I never have to leave China.”

Then he starts talking down his wife, saying,

“But she is a really fat woman.  She complains a lot.”

I was taken aback, wondering where all this irreverence came from.

I figured he is probably here fooling around with other girls, putting on a new persona, and having the best time in China.  It would be a good thing to write about if I was him.

Then he said, “I probably should not talk bad about my wife.”

I am trying to be cool and calm so I do not come across as being like him, I guess.

But then I realized, he is messing probably around.

Discussing Networking In China (关系网)

I could feel the interview wind down, as he digressed,

“How did you pick our school?”

I said, “Because I have a really good friend in China.  She has known for a while that I am coming to China looking for work as a teacher.  She has a friend that works in here.”

He said, “Mason?”

I replied, “Mason.  So, she told Mason, and Mason told somebody in here.  Now they have asked me in for an interview.”

Then I paused for a second, before I continued,

“That is how China works, guanxi (关系).”

He said, “I know, that is how it works.”

The Head Teacher Speaks Basic Mandarin

This teacher was interesting too, because he can speak Chinese.  He was not fluent, but he knew enough words, and he was speaking in Chinese to the staff members.

I thought, “This guy can get away with speaking Chinese actually.  It is just that his accent sounds very British.”

To me it was curious, how this guy’s back story is that he has come to China, he has found his wife, she ended up being a very fat woman, “But she served a purpose because I can stay in China easily.”  I am not sure if he had kids or not, but that was his story.

Head Teacher Praises Me

After the interview was conducted, he said,

“I am sold on you.  I think you are going to be a good fit here.  Let’s get HR to run you through some things.”

Interview With HR

Then he went into the HR department, and he brings a girl in.

She had a nice, white shirt on, with a big birth mark going down the right side of her neck.  Birth marks are kind of cute.

The head English teacher was flirting with the HR girl when he stood next to her.

When he came in, the first thing he said to her as he walked through the door was,

“Do you like my dumplings do you?”

She replied, “I like them very much.”

To me, it was an obvious English-language allusion to sex that he knew she would not understand.

He is very irreverent.

Switch To Conduct Interview In Chinese

The head English teacher then turns to me, and says,

“She can’t speak any English.  Maybe you can conduct an interview in Mandarin, because you are fluent.”

When she sat down with me, she took me through my resume.  She asked all questions in Mandarin, starting with,

“Tell me when you started?  When did you graduate?  What did you do after graduation?”

I said, “I developed websites for five years.”  I showed her the website for Wubao English Services.

She asked, “You created this yourself?”

I showed her the Chinese version, as she wrote down all the things I had written in there for IELTS and 1-on-1 classes.

The girl was doing her job, just like I was.  I was listening to her, and we were being professional.  At one stage, she lifted her eyes up to look at me, and she had seen me in my eyes.  It was nice.

Moving To My Experiences In China

Then we moved on from there to start to talk about my time in China.

She said, “So, why did you leave when you were with Hampson?”

I said, “Because I knew I was coming back to live in Australia.  I didn’t believe I was going to return to China.  I told them that I would be happy to stay in Hampson for three months.”

Experiences With Hampson

Then I went into the story,

“When I was there, they did not pay me for the last month.”

She asked, “What do you mean?”

I said, “They knew I was going to Australia in that last month, so they did not pay my account.  They directed me to their Beijing office.”

She looked at the paper and queried,

“Didn’t you say that the office where you taught English for Hampson is in Guangzhou?”

I said, “Yeah, but they directed me to their Beijing head office.  I think they were trying to cheat me.”

She exclaimed, “That is really bad.  Don’t worry.  We are not going to do that to you here.”

Discuss Part-Time Or Full-Time Teaching Roles

Then we started to discuss,

“Do you want to be a part-time teacher?”

I said, “Yes, because I am still a writer.  I want to do my own work, and eventually become a full-time teacher here.”

Discuss Salary Expectations

The topic of salary expectations naturally arose.

They asked whether I could work on the weekend.

I said, “I can work on Saturday and Sunday.”

She said, “Great, that is perfect.”

Being able to work weekends is a bonus for them.

I then had a look at the schedule for English classes.  Each class was 55 minutes long with 5 minutes to prepare for the next class.  The class sizes are 4 people, 10 people, and a movie theater class.

The schedule is full of Saturday and Sunday classes.  If I can get some of those classes, I will be cheering.

World International English Is Stacked With Stunners And Perverts

The great thing about World International English was that every turn you make, there is always a beautiful girl.

I had gone from reception, and my jaw has dropped to the floor to the girl behind reception.  I almost lose my sense of control.

I then had the male English teacher interviewer.  He may as well be walking around with his cock flopped out, how irreverent he is, but he just does not care.  He still keeps his job because he is the Head English teacher.

Then I had the dorky, bookworm girl with the white top on, with a skinny body.  She looks like the innocent type, the curious type.

The Office Layout

Once done in the HR interview, the girl walked me around, and showed me level 9.  Level 9 is really nice.  The middle section is where people apply to become students in World International English.

Students will pass reception and come to the middle section of the floor, which is a round section of dividers.  Inside the dividers is a rectangular space with desks and computers.  That is where all the workers sit and student applications are registered.

All the rooms around the outside perimeter are teaching classes, as well as larger offices.

The girl took me to her HR office, which had two desks in there.  It was really crowded.

Then there is a finance department next door, also with two desks in one small room.  In Australia it would be one desk per room.

Everything else in the level is managerial rooms with glass walls.  It looks pretty nice.

A Lack Of Privacy

The lack of privacy is also a concern.  Around me are all offices.  Everyone can hear each other.  I can still hear other people in the other classrooms conducting their class.  The chatter from outside comes inside, and our classroom chatter also travels to the classrooms adjacent to ours.  It would be very difficult to find a sense of privacy in here.  I guess that put me off.

Now I am looking across outside of my room, and I can see another lady sitting down at another table conducting an interview.  I am looking at her directly.  There is nothing but glass panes to hide us.

Flirtatious Office Staff

The girls here at reception are really hot.  One of them just served me another drink.  She has this blue work jacket and blue short skirt on, long legs, and her black hair in a ponytail.  She has a white shirt underneath that show her sleeves.  It is really sexy.

The interesting thing about this workplace, World International English is that everyone is flirtatious, first of all.

Interview With The Manager

When the girl finished giving me a tour of level 9, she asked,

“Do you mind staying around?  We need to conduct a second round interview with the manager.”

I said, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

I had that final interview with the HR girl and the manager in the one room.

The manager had her hair cut to the bottom of her shoulders.

The manager spoke in English with me, as we joked around about different subjects.  She said she worked in this company only since November 2017.   She was very flirtatious.

At first she was very confident, looking over the table, asking all these hard questions about why didn’t I stay and teach when I was in Hampson.

She asked, “How come you can’t get a visa?”

The HR manager is mostly looking down because she can’t speak English too well.

Long-Term Plans In China

The manager then asked question about my long-term status, wondering,

“What do you plan to do in China?”

I said, “Eventually I plan to move to Guangzhou or Sichuan.”

She said, “Okay.  I have three houses in Chongqing.”

That is when we started to bond.

I said, “Really?  I want to buy a property.”

She said, “The properties in Chongqing (重庆) in 2013 were only 10,000 RMB per square meter.  I bought three of them.  But one of them only yields 1,500 RMB per month.  It is useless.”

I said, “Yeah.  You got in a pretty good deal.”

I said, “You can rent it out if you want to.”

Flirtatious Interview

China is a very sexualized environment.

The funny thing about all of us around that table is that we were trying to be flirtatious without being overtly flirtatious.

Earlier, the HR girl and I were looking at each other a little flirtatiously.

Then the manager and I were giving each other eyes.

When she was talking to me, I was looking in her eyes.  Eventually, I started playing with my hands as if it were my cock.

I had lewd thoughts about the three of us around the table.  I then gazed at her lips.

When I directed that lewd thought lasciviously into her eyes is when she got shy in front of me, and hunched back in her chair.

Towards the middle of this interview, she mentioned that she has a husband, is married with kids, and has done well for herself.

Then it was all over.

The Relationship Status Question

Then we talked about all different teaching experiences in Australia, as well as in China.

That is when the lady said,

“So, do you have a girlfriend in China?”

I said, “Oh no.  I am single.”

I wanted to keep a level of anonymity in China, so I did not tell them the truth.  I would like to maintain my private life.

The girl in HR promoted, “Then you are going to have a lot of opportunities in China.”

I did not know what that meant, but I looked at her, and smiled, because I am thinking those opportunities might come from working in this company.

The Reception Girl’s Quick Wardrobe Change

Then the girl from front reception wearing the little black skirt came in.  Now she was wearing farmer jeans.  She looked totally different.  Her sexiness was hidden behind those baggy jeans.

I saw another girl had moved in and started to work at the front counter.

I thought, “Wow.  This place is really vibrant and cool.”

Cantonese Dialect, Australian accent, and Beijing dialect

Then some of the attention turned to language.

They asked, “Can you speak Guangdong dialect (广东话)?”

I said, “I can’t speak Cantonese.”

The manager said, “But you would be surprised, in English, there is an Australian accent.  You would not be able to understand my Australian accent.”

I then tried it on them, saying,

“G’day.  How ya goin’?  We in this place having a dig at teaching aye?”

They completely tuned out to what I was saying.

They smiled, saying, “It is a completely different English compared to British.”

I said, “Yeah, the Australian accent is kind of like Beijing’er.  They use ‘er’ (儿) all the time.”

She gasped, “Wow, you even know about Beijing accent!”

Then the girls put on a mock Beijing accent, and we all spoke in Beijing dialect.

I summarized, “Yeah, so Australian is like that.  We shorten our vowels, and our accent sounds like Beijing accent.”

Signing The Contract

I was signing the contract with the manager.  She had the paperwork out.

The manager explained, “You are going to be earning 215 RMB per hour.”

Then the girl from HR got out a calculator and explained to me how much that would be after tax.

She said, “If you earn 5,000 RMB, after tax it would be 800 RMB of tax, so you will earn 4,200 RMB.”

Once I signed the contract, in a sheepish, unbelievable tone, the manager said,

“We need to put a stamp on it.  When you come to work for us on Monday, we will give you a copy with your stamp on it.”

I said, “That is no problem.”

I did not have a chance to look over the contract.  I just signed it.

That was the unprofessional bit about this interview.  They should have given me an opportunity to view the contract.

Starting Times And Availability

Then I asked, “When do you want me to start work?  I can start on Saturday or Sunday because that is your most busy period.”

The manager then said, “You can just start on Monday.”

I agreed.

When I had signed the paperwork, the manager thanked me for coming in, and then she left.

Guaranteed The English Teaching Job

This job is practically mine because I went to the interview, got interviewed by the Head English teacher, and by HR.  Then after her, she said,

“Can you wait for some time?  We can conduct a final interview?”

I said, “Okay.”

Then when the manager came out, we did the paperwork.  I was signing my name.  I had signed my name on the contract.

So, it was legitimate.

I have secured myself a job.

The classes are 215 RMB each hour.  Classes are for 55 minutes each, with 4-10 kids per class.  I have chosen to do roughly 20 hours per month.  At that rate, I will be making 4,300 RMB per month before tax.  That is good.

If I can go to those classes and wing it through the classes, I can make some money.  That is my situation.  The best scenario would be to keep earning an income with my private tutoring classes, to continue to do my own work as a writer, and take on 20 more hours as an English teacher with World International English.

Clarifying Office Relationships

While finalizing arrangements with the HR girl, I mentioned,

“Remember how you said it would be really easy for me to find a Chinese girl, no worries.  Do you mean within this company, or just in general, outside?”

She said, “I mean in China, you will have a lot of opportunity to find a Chinese girl.  Teachers here have Chinese girlfriends, or are married to a Chinese.  I have a husband.  He is Chinese.”

What she meant was that because I am a foreigner, I will have a lot of opportunity.

I said, “That is good.”  Then I plainly moved the subject on.

Then she asked, “How come you want to get a Chinese girlfriend in China?”

She said it without any kind of prejudice or anger in her voice.

I told her straightly, “If I plan to live in China, it makes sense for me to get a Chinese girlfriend and marry her.”

Discuss Office Extracurricular Activities

She said, “We have asked that we also conduct celebrations and parties every month.  Tomorrow we are going to be going to the Ritz Hotel, doing an event there.”

It sounded nice and interesting to me.

It seems like a place where you can make friends and possibly more.  They are a bit more open in terms of relationships between the teachers and the staff there.

That is when we wrapped the interview up.  The HR girl got my contact details.

Three Months Later

Three months after signing the contract, I was offered only two classes on average per month.  I earned no more than 1,000 RMB.

I was disappointed with being asked by my student assistant every week, “May I know whether you are available every day next week,” only to be told the next day, “Sorry to tell you that you have no classes this week so far.”

I would advise anyone who seeks work as an English teacher in China to look for obvious red flags in the interview process, sign a few contracts with various English academies to spread the risk, and then settle on the one that provides the most regular classes, and meanwhile find private students to maintain a reliable source of income

If I had solely depended on this English academy to provide me with regular classes, it would have made me broke in China.

Author: 钨宝

The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.

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