Monkey Abroad

Videos and stories of the life abroad – food, culture, travel & work

So I Quit My Language Center Job in China: Part 2


So it turns out that I still work for the language center. I tried my best to quit, but within the confines of Chinese law, I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too… yet. This is about compromising, and my employer agreed to meet me in the middle.

It’s a long story so I’ll just give you the meat and potatoes of it…

I decided I no longer wanted the language center job in China.

Per my contract, I must provide a one-week prior notice of resignation if I want to leave.

I wrote a formal letter of resignation stating one week of prior notice, signed it and submitted it on October 29th.

After a week, I planned to collect my letter of release, which I need if I want to get a job elsewhere in China.

Once I have the letter of release from my employer, I can take it and be off. End of story.


All seemed well, until…

The language center refused to give me the release letter.

You see, if I leave the company right now, I would essentially  f*@# over the business.

The company was depending on me when it hired me. The language center needs more foreign teachers and it cannot afford to lose me at this moment.

While I really want to get out now, my selfish conscience actually submitted.

I was given two options:

1. I pay 10,000 yuan ($1,600) and I can leave now.

2. I work for the language center until they hire a replacement teacher.

I agreed to option number 2.

I’m hoping it’ll only take about a month, then I’ll receive my letter of release.

Once I have that letter I can switch to my next employer.

My next employer…

A college in Rizhao.

I’m excited to teach college courses, hopefully starting next month. I’ve already toured the campus, received my teaching schedule and met some of my future students. It’s just a waiting game now.

What’s even more badass about this college gig: I can teach whatever I want. The curriculum is mine to shape and mold. I can discuss anything with the students, as long as it isn’t religion.

The hours are better, which will give me more time to focus on my blog.

The college is just as eager to hire me as I am to begin working there.

So this whole thing didn’t turn out so badly.

Yes, I’m still teaching young kiddos in the meantime, but there isn’t any bad blood between me and the language center (I hope).

Keep your eyes peeled for my next post. It’s gonna be an awesome video!!

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. I hope you sort things out soon and can start teaching a course you like. 🙂

  2. Your dream job is just around the corner. Bummer though!!!

  3. It’d be fun teaching college students 🙂

  4. Hi Kevin,

    Ran across your blog while searching for methods to control approximately 55 students times six 40-minute periods, ages 11-13. What vile training center is this, you ask? A middle school in Haikou, Hainan that’s affiliated with the high school where I spend the rest of my working time. Even with Chinese teachers translating into English, they manage to shout loudly enough in Chinese to wake their dead ancestors and enable the deaf to hear. The other American teacher who teaches this age group (different classes) and I are constantly exhorted by our main Chinese liaison to “let the students talk!” These little darlings can barely put together more than a three-word sentence, and that’s only if they see the words in their workbook. Of course when they work together, they jabber away in Putonghua and not in English!

    BTW our contract is to teach at the high school, not the middle school.

    The high school is a little bit better: the students are part of a special Sino-U.S. program designed to get them on the fast track to attending American colleges. These kids ain’t going to Harvard or Univ. of Michigan. Think more community college and Central Michigan University. I teach writing to seniors who still think in Chinese writing style, which is different than what we use in the West (Introduction, Body, Conclusion). I receive lots of wordy writing exercises that would get them bounced out of Pre-Remedial English at a commuter school. I try to teach them writing techniques to improve their writing but most of them would rather sleep in class (these classes start at 7:45 a.m.), chat with each other in Chinese, or play games on their phones. I also teach an optional class (like elective) of “American Artists” where I can shape the material of what I present. They never take notes, never ask questions. Oh, except that one time where I was asked if I could play Justin Bieber videos–um, he’s Canadian. Or Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys. (Sigh)

    Just need to point this out for those readers who would rather be dipped in hydrochloric acid (or ingest the other kind of acid) than work at a private training school and think a public school will be the answer. Like the private schools, there is a wide range of “good” public schools. I’m glad I didn’t accept the come-ons to teach “learners as young as 3” at the private training places, but after my contract is up in June I plan to snag a uni or international school ESL job in Shanghai. Haikou is a backwater of 2 million people, of whom approx. 1,999, 928 drive their motor scooters on the sidewalks in every direction possible, pedestrians be damned.

    Hope your new job is working out as well as you anticipated. Can’t wait to read about the rest of your (mis)adventures.

    • Hbeach,
      I worked at EF English First until I had had enough of the parents, the screaming and the general disorder. My new job is pretty much the best job I’ve ever had. I plan to post about it soon enough, now that my visa and residence permit are finally in order. I’m teaching at a college 3 days per week for a few hours per day. The pay is the same as the language center job before and the students love coming to my class since for 99% of them, I’m the first foreigner they’ve ever spoken with.
      Best of luck on your teaching endeavors. I highly suggest a uni job the next time around!

  5. I worked for two months in Huai’an City, Jiangsu province and had much the same experience that many others did. I taught at the Jiangsu Food Science College. My apartment was far from potable water, groceries, etc. It was moldy, filthy, it flooded, no hot water and the cooking facilities didn’t work. I am an experienced ESL/EFL teacher with many years of experience as well as a survivalist but the Chinese don’t seem to have reasonable expectations or much understanding of why westerners aren’t flocking there to enjoy their communist paradise. They also don’t care too much about your problems. I gave them
    30 days notice in a face to face meeting and left at the first opportunity after the 30 days was up. They seemed shocked.
    The deal breaker for me was that the health insurance was a reimbursement policy instead of real insurance. Of course if you had an emergency, you had to go fend for yourself, pay cash up front (remember your credit cards won’t work there) for that emergency apendectomy or whatever and you will be expected to explain your predicament in fluent Chinese. The doctors generally have no receptionist there so there are 30-50 people crowded into his little office all asking questions at the same time. You don’t tend to think about these things when you are young and in good health and hopefully nothing like that will happen to you. But if it did, it would be a life or death matter there. Be sure you have western style health insurance and access to English speaking doctors.
    One thing you should know right up front is that your contract means nothing other than a beginning point for negotiation once you are there. Usually there is a $2000 or more penalty if you do not stick it out. If it ends up in court, you’d better speak fluent Chinese and have lots of influential friends. My advice is avoid China like the plague.

    Les P

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