The Qingdao GAC center’s vision is to develop the best one-year university prep education in Qingdao by emphasizing study skills, critical thinking, experiential learning, and college-style assessments. When our students are finished, we hope that they will not only have the skills to succeed at the university level, but excel.
Our Academic Team is always happy to discuss current and future employment opportunities with enthusiastic educators who seek an international teaching experience. We regularly hire for the following GAC teaching positions: English instructor, Mathematics Instructor, Computing Instructor, Business Instructor, and General Science Instructor. Learn more about our GAC curriculum
In addition to these general teaching positions, from time to time we also hire for ESL "outreach" teachers. Outreach teachers work at local middle-schools and prepare 45 minute listening & speaking lessons that enhance the school’s formal curriculum. It's the perfect position for an educator with a strong ESL background. Learn more about our outreach teaching position
Basic Instructor Duties
Requirements of Application:
(i.e., the countries our students apply to)
Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants regularly send us well-researched questions about teaching with us. This FAQ section summarizes the answers to the most common of those questions.
What's the application process?
Initially, we will arrange a time to speak to the applicant by Skype, phone, or in person. During that time, we will talk in more detail about our center, the available teaching positions, and ask the applicant about their previous teaching experience. The applicant will have the chance clarify their experiences, goals for teaching with us, and ask any initial questions they may have.
Second, we will arrange for a second formal interview with the Director of Study and another member of our Academic Team. They will ask more in-depth questions about the applicant's experience. Afterwards, we will generally make a hiring decision.
For those applicants nearby, we will attempt to find a convenient time for a short 30-45 minutes demonstration lesson
How are Visas handled?
Our Coordinator will request the following documents from the applicant:
Our coordinator will also request the applicant take the Foreign Expert Online Survey (as required by the local government). The survey has a psychological component, knowledge component, and writing component.
After our coordinator has gathered all the essential documents, they will apply for Z-Visa approval from the Qingdao government. Once approved, we'll send the relevant forms to the applicant, and they will go to the local Chinese consulate to apply for the actual Z-Visa.
I'm already in China and have a Z-Visa. Can you renew my Visa or do I have to go home first?
We can renew the Visa under our company name. Please make the Director of Study aware of the issue and your Z-Visa expiration date during the application process.
I'm already in China, but have a tourist Visa. Can I go to Hong Kong for a Z-Visa?
No. Some companies have informal connections that allow them to have Z-Visas granted without returning to their country of residence, but we do not.
How does your salary compare to the Qingdao teaching market in general?
In Qingdao there are generally three ranges of salary. Each range can be associated with a different type of employment.
In public school and universities educators are paid between 4,500 and 6,000RMB per month and given basic benefits. Duties are light and generally just include preparing for English lessons. There is little paperwork, and educators have quite a bit of free time. This is a great choice for educators looking for their first teaching experience and a significant amount of time to experience China.
We are part of the second type of employment: private schools catering to Chinese students. Salaries range between 7,000 and 10,000RMB per month, and educators are responsible for paperwork, lesson planning, and grading comparable to traditional teaching duties. The one significant difference lies in on-campus time. Educators are only required at the office during teaching hours, office hours, and meetings. As such, schools like our center are ideal for educators wanting both a professional teaching environment and enough personal time to study Chinese or get involved with the local community.
The third salary range can be found at international schools where students are a mix of Chinese, Korean, etc. Making 12,000 to 18,000RMB per month, the educators have the duties and hours of traditional teachers. With greater salary comes greater qualifications as well. Many international schools will require their teachers to have formal teaching certification from their country of residence at the time of hiring. As a result, these positions are often preferred by teaching professionals whose goals include saving money.
Can I negotiate for a higher salary?
We set initial salaries according to the expected teaching hours and an applicants experience. TESOL certification, teaching experience, Chinese skills, and previous GAC teaching will all be taken into account when we make an offer. We provide a 5-15% raise for contract renewals. For more details, speak with the Director of Study during the application process.
Can I speak to current or former teachers?
Of course. For any teaching position in China, an applicant should seek references from the potential employer and ask about work conditions. Applicants to the Qingdao GAC-ACT center can speak with our current staff, or be connected to previous staff who have given us permission to use them as references. Please speak to the Director of Study about this during the interview process for more information.
Will you offer training?
Yes. Assuming the new instructor can arrive a week or two before their classes begin, we will provide a policy review, class observations, training material, and plenty of time to lesson plan.
How many hours should I expect to work each week?
In general, each of our instructors should expect to work about 35 hours per week. That's 15-18 teaching hours, 4 office hours, 1 meeting hour, and plenty of planning/paperwork time. Depending on the schedule, an instructor might expect fewer or more hours. For example, if some of our classes are on break, instructors may only work 20 hours per weeks.
How often will I be expected to work overtime?
Instructors who are contracted to teach 15-18 hours will rarely teach more. the staff has been hired such that overtime rarely occurs (if at all). If unforeseen situations arise, the Director of Study will seek to alter the schedule or take on extra courses themselves in order to prevent overtime. In 2014 voluntary overtime occurred twice and the volunteers received overtime pay.
That being said, given teachers' natural inclination to offer extra help to students and continue lesson planning, it's very likely the teacher will find themselves occasionally working more than 40 total hours per week.
How much direction is given to teachers?
Our instructors will have general freedom in everyday lesson planning. We will supply instructors with GAC student manuals, facilitator guides, a manual of tests and major assignments, and supplementary academic manuals used by students. When lesson planning, the instructor can use the activities from the student manual, alter them to fit the specific class, or design new activities that are consistent with the learning objectives.
Although there is general freedom in day-to-day planning, teachers will be required to use the major assignments and tests designed by ACT to evaluate the student.
Are there vacations?
We follow the government holiday schedule and add a day off for December 25th. So, our staff gets three weeks off for Spring Festival, a week of for the October National Holiday, and at least a day off for Qing Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and New Years.
Besides these contracted days off, we regularly receive a week or two break in July for student's high school graduation testing. Additionally, breaks are occasionally scheduled in-between our terms.
How much paperwork should I expect
Expect the traditional amount of paperwork for a teaching position. Our instructors keep track of lesson plans, attendance, coursework scores, assessment scores, and write up student evaluations each month.
Additionally, each instructor maintains a MOODLE page online, where students can access content and view their grades.
How do you handle housing and supporting the foreign staff in general?
Our coordinators help with both. Regarding housing, we offer a 2250RMB per month housing stipend. Our coordinator locates an apartment within walking distance (of which there are many), inspects the apartment, interviews the landlord, and signs the contract on behalf of the center. The instructor will then be responsible for utilities (100-500 per month), Internet (1000-1500RMB per year), and damages.
If an instructor prefers to handle their own housing, that's no problem. We will simply add the housing stipend to the salary.
Regarding general support, our coordinator and teaching staff will assist instructors with getting a phone, learning how to get around town, shipping, travel, hospital visits, signing up for Chinese lessons, or anything else that comes up. If you have any special concerns, please let our Director of Study know during the application process.
What is the English proficiency of the center's students?
According to GAC policy, all students must pass an entrance exam. GAC audits these exams to ensure centers don't enroll unqualified students. This means that students must at least be at an intermediate level (~5.5 IELTS, 71TOEFL IBT). To help ensure this, the teaching staff interviews applicants before enrollment is approved.
In general, about one quarter of our students have high English proficiency, half have intermediate proficiency, and a quarter have lower intermediate proficiency. For classes beginning in March, students are assigned by entrance score--effectively allowing us to teach towards a specific English levels rather than having multi-level classes.
What are the disciplinary issues a teacher at your center deals with on a regular basis?
Regular disciplinary issues we discuss at meetings are what you might expect: speaking Chinese in class, misuse of personal IT, poor participation, and inadequate homework quality. Occasionally we have students with attendance issues.
Will I be forced to give students high grades?
Our instructors are expected to adequately prepare students for homework and assessments, but there will be no pressure to give students high scores. Our assessments are formally audited by the GAC Regional Academic Director to ensure against unfairly inflated scores. Our students generally average a GPA just under a 3.0 for all three levels. Students who don't prepare for assessments or papers regularly fail. As per GAC policy, they then receive two opportunities to achieve a passing score and receive an official score of 55%.
Are staff members social?
We have an enthusiastic and positive staff. Most have lived in Qingdao for at least two years and have become part of the local community. In general we are social, but we've also developed our own social networks. Some of us are fitness enthusiasts, others focus on learning Chinese, while others get involved in local clubs and organizations.
I'm not from one of the countries mentioned above. Can I still apply?
Sure, but the country of residence is a factor we consider. We weave cultural information into our regular lessons and have found that instructors from the countries our students intend on residing in make better resources. In the past we have hired Chinese and Singaporean applicants, but they received their advanced degrees in the UK or US and resided afterwards for multiple years.
I'm over 60 years old and heard I can't work in China. Is this true?
It's not officially the law in Qingdao, but we have been told directly by the foreign expert bureau not to apply for a Visa if the applicant is over 60.
I've heard Chinese schools don't like to hire people of color. Should I bother applying.
Please bother. Color comes up enough during the application process for us to be aware of the issue and many of the stereotypes, but we've never encountered any problems with obtaining a Z-Visa.
What are the best and worst aspects of working at the Qingdao GAC Center
I think the single best aspect of working here is the supportive ownership. The Directors founded the company to provide a quality academic experience and two of the Directors received advanced degrees abroad. As a result, they provide the Academic Team with the resources and independence to implement the GAC curriculum effectively.
What's worst? Two issues tend to re-occur with new staff. First, the paperwork. Many new educators, or those used to working in Asia, are not accustomed to the traditional paperwork load of professional teachers. We lesson plan, take attendance, report on student progress, and grade student work. Additionally, we maintain a Moodle website for our courses where students can see their grades and view Ecopies of lesson materials.
The second issue is cultural. The logic of life is different in China than many "western" countries. Everything makes sense, but not in the way many of our foreign staff are used to thinking. New educators should be prepared for different notions of education, interpersonal relationships, and conflict management.
- Daniel Grover (2009-2014)