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Avoid Columbia College/Kindergarten in Changchun
Dear All


I am (one of many) ex Columbia employees who left way before the end of my contract due to the appalling conditions there.

For further proof go to this site
Some of the reasons why I left:

1. THERE IS NO CURRICULUM! The staff have to create all their own lesson plans, flash cards etc.
2. The boss of the kindergarten constantly undermines staff, she seems to believe the teaching staff are completely incompetent (they are not). She is rude, unhelpful and lies and seems to have no people/children/management/kindergarten skills. She is hated by pretty much all the staff, Chinese and foreign. If you do meet her, don’t be fooled, she is charming to you until you have signed a contract, then she totally changes.
3. Working hours at the kindergarten are: Mon-Fri 7:30-17:00 with 2.5 hours for lunch. Staff have to be teaching or tutoring for most of that time. The schedule is to meet the kids and parents outside from 7:30-8:00. Lesson preparation til 8:30. Teaching or tutoring til 11:30, then lunch. 2:00 to 4:30 teaching or tutoring then standing outside again to see the kids off until 5:00 (not great in winter) – this is a very long day for a mere 5500RMB. You also have to work a few hours on Saturday too. At most decent schools you are only in when you are teaching (less than 20 hours per week) and get paid the same if not more.
4. Staff are not allowed to eat in the staffroom and are also encouraged to spend their lunchtime with the children. The staff room doors have to remain open, so during the little time spent in there, the staff are constantly gawped at by prospective parents.
5. 1 PC is provided but is used by all the Chinese and foreign staff. It is in Chinese and has no internet. Staff have to make comprehensive lesson plans for every lesson but getting on the PC for long enough is very difficult. The PC is also very old and frequently crashes (losing your work) or does not work at all.
6. Requests for even 1 sheet of paper have to be made in writing and requests for photocopying (you are not supposed to waste time doing your own) are to be made in writing, 24 hours in advance. Very few materials are provided such as pens, scissors, teaching materials etc so the staff have to buy their own and do not get reimbursed. If you do make flashcards at the kindergarten they stamp the back of them so you do not steal them – AS IF!
7. The advert on the internet says Chinese classes can be provided – rubbish!
8. If you work at the kindergarten you live in the kindergarten building, on the 7th floor (no lift). No one is officially supposed to live in the building so the staff are requested not to leave lights on overnight in case someone sees. If you are lucky enough to work in the college you live in a far nicer apartment block nearby. You cannot have post delivered to the kindergarten, it has to be posted to the college.
9. The kindergarten ‘apartment’ has no kitchen (as you are effectively living in the roof space). You just have a fridge and microwave, not even a kettle. You are not allowed to purchase any sort of oven in case of fire. Staff are supposed to eat at the kindergarten canteen but no one is that stupid. For breakfast, staff are given the food from the previous day that the children didn’t want, reheated in a microwave in a plastic bag – nice! The kitchen staff are also incredibly rude, serve the teachers only when they have to, and have a tendency of throwing things at the staff rather than passing things to them. The Chinese staff are treated slightly better. The only real option is to eat out which is not ideal and expensive when you have to do it every day.
10. The bathroom smells of sewage 24/7 and there is no shower cubicle, just a drain on the bathroom floor. Unfortunately this isn’t at the lowest point on the floor so the floor remains wet all day. There is also no shower curtain provided so the whole bathroom gets soaked. The light switch to the bathroom is in one of the bedrooms, not ideal if you are sharing with another teacher and wish to use the bathroom at night. Also remember with no kitchen that the bathroom sink has to be used for watching any cutlery/crockery.
11. Despite being promised one in the contract, the rooms have no phone. If anyone (such as your parents) tries to phone, they have to phone the front desk, and if they are lucky enough to get through to someone who speaks English, someone then has to locate you – not an easy task in a 7 floor building.
12. A TV is provided but there is no aerial so the TV is useless unless you want to buy a DVD player and DVDs.
13. Despite the building being quite new, it suffers very badly from damp in the apartments – a health risk I believe.
14. Finally, the kindergarten building has a security guard at the front desk during evenings and weekends. This means that the door is kept locked and staff are often locked inside or outside the building for long periods of time, waiting for the guard to arrive and let them out or in.