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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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Is China a Good Place to Live for a Westerner? Part 5 of the Teaching in China Series    

By Barry Pittman
6271 Views | 38 Comments | 12/5/2015 1:26:54 PM
(Showing 31 to 38 of 38) Previous 1 2 3 4
#2016-05-16 18:35:52 by Barry1 @Barry1


"People the world over are having their retirement age extended regularly, and there is no reason to expect China to be an exception. I suggest that most guys diligently teaching English and doing a good job will very likely be able to teach well into their eighties without missing a beat."

Thanks for the well meaning viewpoint John.

I wish what you said was true.

As you know, I'm actually in China right now, at the coalface as it were.

Over the past month or so, I've been applying for university teaching jobs. My age is 61 and I've been told time after time that I'm too old.

I looked at a list of about 15 university jobs on a recruiter's website only a few day ago. EVERY one of them specified an age limit of 60 (or less).

It seems that most provinces have a mandatory retirement age of 60, with a smattering of exceptions to the rule, such as Sichuan Province where I am now.

I've checked out situation in Thailand, which has even worse age discrimination than China. Over there, 50 rather than 60 is a common cut-off point for aspiring job applicants

I agree that sometime in the future, China most likely will relax its retirement rules. But right now - 2016 - I'd say at least two thirds of the jobs being advertised in China are off-limits to anyone over 60. And most certainly, nearly every public service or government job is off-limits to anyone over 65, when the next age barrier kicks in.

Please take this from someone who's right royally embroiled in this frustrating mess even as I speak. :^):^)

#2016-05-17 20:34:02 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1 and @JohnAbbot

Oh little do ye know..............

China, in it's infinite wisdom, has changed the visa rules in an effort to 'clean-up' the ESL teaching industry.

Effective immediately, the following changes are to take place:-

1) All degrees have to be verified. This is essentially a 'scam' because the degree goes nowhere near the issuing college or university. You send your degree to the issuing country's embassy and they stamp it. It then goes to the Chinese embassy in that same country and they stamp it and send it back to you. Total cost = around USD$800
All done via a 'document agent'

2) NES country's (Native English-Speaking) have been trimmed down to the 'Famous Five'

UK, America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia. South Africa is no longer recognised as a NES country.

My experiences and opinions, (Justified opinions), are as follows:-

1) The ESL 'industry' in China is littered with 'deechers'. A 120-hour, on-line course in TESOL and a degree in ballroom dancing means you can become an English teacher.
Many are 'rehab refugees' who think 'Grammar' is a woman married to 'Grandad', and others forget to take their medication and end up physically hurting students.

2) Most FT's (Foreign Teachers) live from paycheck-to-paycheck and wouldn't have a 'spare' $800 if their life depended on it, so there is no way they are going to risk sending their fake degree for verification and blowing $800 they don't have.

I know a South African 'deecher'. He's in his 50's and turns up for work with a three-day-growth and dressed like a cross between Johnny Cash and Justin Bieber

I can't understand much of what he says so I doubt very much that the students can understand him either

The general feeling amongst the more 'qualified' FT's is that China is going to lose around 50% of it's current FT workforce, which means 2 things are likely to happen....

1) The age by which FT's are considered to be 'too old' will be increased
2) Education establishments such as universities will have to up their game, since they will no longer be able to recruit teachers for the pittance they are currently paying.

The new rules are apparently discretionary insofar as it is up to each provincial government to decide if they are enforced or not.
Since this is China, it would only take a few educational establishments to put pressure on the local gov (or pay a few quid to the right person) and the rules will be relaxed

So it's a waiting game right now. I really don't care what happens because I have just re-signed with my school until June 2018, but it will certainly be interesting to see how the saga unfolds

#2016-05-19 20:03:46 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@paulfox1 It is interesting to me that you have acquired a two year contract .. Thus your place of employment is suitable enough. Fortunate for you.

#2016-05-20 07:20:28 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


Hi Jim
Why interesting? I've just renewed my existing 18-month contract for a further 2 years.

What would happen if I change schools? This is China - right?

I would be doing the same job, working with the same people - everything would just LOOK different!

Better the

#2016-05-20 20:57:09 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@paulfox1 Why interesting? easy .. usually I have noticed that a lot of people happen to get one year contracts where I am ... unless they have State Cert. and teach in the 2+1 program where they get two one year contracts . Mine have always been yearly ... So what would happen if you change schools? hehehehe Who knows? Actually I prefer not to attempt to teach in famous International Schools either -- too much too worry about -- too much politics and so on ... with new people trying to get in the proverbial door .. no thanks .. I would much rather stay where I am as long as possible ...

#2017-07-09 17:35:21 by Barry1 @Barry1



"In my opinion and thinking -- unless a person already has an affluent income or a high salary job -- (unless there is another economic crisis) -- then moving back to America or living in China is mostly a no brainer -- If anyone has been observing the job employment situation in usa --- then at my current age level -- i certainly do not relish slaving away in McDonald's or other places or 7-11 et al"

I hope you are well, my friend.

If you read this, where are you?  What's been happening?

#2017-07-09 17:39:11 by Barry1 @Barry1


"But the math says that China already needs the oldtimers, like you and I, working. That's because the 1 child policy has China in a bind, even though it was a wise and necessary policy when it was enacted.

People the world over are having their retirement age extended regularly, and there is no reason to expect China to be an exception. I suggest that most guys diligently teaching English and doing a good job will very likely be able to teach well into their eighties without missing a beat."

Unfortunately you are wrong, John.  China has lowered the retirement age for foreign teachers, not expanded it.  They've shot themselves in the foot, now that the country has an acute shortage of foreign native English speakers. Well, let their kids grow up being taught Chinglish, rather than proper English. :^)

#2017-07-10 13:14:05 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - you're right, Barry, I definitely missed my guess on that one.  I really don't understand why the Chinese Government chose to restrict the age of English teachers to 60, but I also have no way to possibly know all the intracacies of running a massive country like China. On the surface though, it is hard to imagine why they would not prefer to have a mix of teaching skills and experience that would include teachers above the age of 60, so long as the schools employing them felt they were doing a good job.

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