Alongside Benxi Future English School, David also has a monopoly on supplying native speaking English teachers to public schools. These public schools are located in and around Benxi. Taxi money is always provided if these schools aren’t within walking distance.
I was only told about ‘maybe’ teaching at a public school after signing the contract and arranging my work visa. So it came as a shock to both my wife and I to arrive in Benxi and find my wife spending her whole time teaching in public schools. With the differing schedules this basically meant our only time together for the first six months (until our schedules were changed) was on our day off.
Unfortunately there is no knowing how much you will teach in public school before arriving in Benxi. David has his best teachers working in his private school. Therefore there is the stigma that working in public school means your teaching performance isn’t appreciated or thought highly of. This can be demoralising, considering you are given only one or two classes to prove yourself before David decides where you will be teaching.
One thing you can be certain of is that you will teach at a public school at some point during your time in Benxi. Public school classes can range anywhere from 40 to 120 students. Depending on the school (and the laziness of their teachers) you should have a local teacher with you in every class. It’s hit and miss though whether they will be of any help. During my time in public school (which I did earlier in my contract when I didn’t have so many classes in the private school) I had some excellent assistants who helped diligently. I also had assistants who read newspapers and fell asleep at the back of class.
Public school classes start at 07:50 and finish in the mid afternoon. They last for 40 minutes (less if it is a kindergarten). Because you aren’t paid for travel time, or time outside of teaching, you could leave for a public school at 06:30 and return home at 12:30 and only get paid for four classes (two hours and forty minutes). Remembering that you are contracted to teach up to 22 hours each week, like private school, you can end up working a significant amount more than this.
Teaching at public school shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Gone are the stresses of the watching parents and the demands of strict deadlines and interfering management. Replacing them are classes full of excited and easily impressed students. Normally you are only told what you will be teaching on your way to the classroom, so it’s impossible to plan for your classes.