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Taiyuan Mercan School in Shanxi province *DECENT*
I've been working at the Taiyuan Mercan School for over 5 months now. My girlfriend and I arrived here in March; way back then, the school had a foreign DOS and things were going great. However, since the 'boss' is entirely money-oriented, and his business represents more importance than anything else, the summer schedule has been hectic, to say the least. The classes are ok; the younger kid-classes are taught in the company of another Chinese teacher, so they're actually fun! (And I don't normally like to teach kids!)
The older classes, well they're kept around 20-25 students each; you're provided with a New Interchange book and they're fun to teach. The students are usually pretty motivated to learn here and this is way better than my last experience in China (teaching at the Chiway International School in Hefei, Anhui province…nothing provided there!)
In any case. The city here sucks, bigtime. It's China's biggest coal-producer, therefore everything is covered in a thick layer of dust and god-knows-what else. One thing's for sure; you'll never get a higher salary than here though. He'll pay you between 7 and 8,000 per month; that's about twice as much as you'll make anywhere else. If you do a little overtime at 90 RMB / hour then you might even reach 9 or 10,000; and that's more than what they offer in Shanghai or Beijing, where life is A LOT more expensive. So the place to save money, anywhere in China, is here, hands down.
So that's it. There's no more foreign DOS. The schedules are shady, things aren't run very well, there's no support for the teachers, the staff is all over the place, it's China basically; but people come to this school for money, and for money alone. And for that my friends, it's worth it!
Myles.
August 5th, 2004.
Myles.dolphin@gmail.com