Teach For China

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Teach For China Reviews

Updated Apr 1, 2014

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3.7 10 reviews

10 Employee Reviews
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    IntIInernIntern

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe office is filled with amazing and dedicated individuals who are clearly very passionate about what they do. There is a casual atmosphere- coworkers are more like friends and help each other out.

    ConsI did not find any cons during my time interning at the office. It was relaxed, but at the same time, I was given assignments that had time deadlines.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe work you guys do is inspiring. Thank you!

    • Culture & Values
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    Interesting opportunities roughly executed

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsTeaching fellows are fun, interesting, creative and spirited. This experience provides one a look into the "real" China so many others miss out on.

    ConsLiving in a rural Chinese village with little outlet for a social life outside of your work wears you down after a semester or two -- teaching at the high level of rigor demanded is extremely exhausting and difficult to maintain. Senior leadership seems divorced from fellows' reality.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great cause, but this job is not for everyone

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros- Matures you really quickly because of challenges faced in classroom and every other aspect of living in rural China. Gives you a lot of perspective that will help you in other areas of life.
    - Because organization is young, there is a lot of room for creative solutions and innovation, and you can be sure that your ideas/input will be heard.
    - You begin to understand the life of a "real" Chinese person from an impoverished rural area, which helps you understand the country as a whole. This perspective may also help you later if you decide to do business in China, as many of your colleagues (even in wealthier areas such as Beijing) will have come from a rural and less-wealthy background.

    Cons- Just because you studied abroad in Beijing for a semester in college and are passionate about Chinese politics or education reform doesn't mean you're fit for a TFC teaching fellowship. Make sure your mental and physical health is in tip-top shape before considering this job, because the extreme isolation of rural China, the harsh living conditions, and the stress of having to perform well (with measurable results) in an alien environment can get overwhelming to the ordinary fresh-out-of-college grad.
    - Due to how young organization is, much of the support staff is somewhat inexperienced. Also, information given is often contradictory or changed at the last minute. Might be due in part to mainland Chinese cultural norms that this is the case, but that doesn't make it any easier for the fellows who are sweating it out in the field.
    - As the title of this review says, it's a great cause, but the job is not for everyone.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWorry less about saving face and more about the well-being of each fellow. This will trickle down and benefit students.

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    • Culture & Values
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    Tough but good experience for me. TFC doesn't make the impact it wants to.

    Teaching Fellow (Former Employee) Songgui, Yunnan (China)

    ProsIt's a great experience that will really force you to grow. Generally speaking, great coworkers, and good communities.

    ConsReally tough experience. If you don't care about education, and aren't gritty, you aren't going to make it, or you're going to be miserable. (Well, you'll be miserable regardless)

    Advice to Senior ManagementForeign fellows aren't as effective as Chinese fellows, and we cost a whole lot more. The Teach for America / Teach for All model is clearly not that ideal, and when you have only one fellow out of over a hundred sticking around to teach for a third year, something is clearly broken.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Fellow

    Fellow (Former Employee)

    Pros- a community of young bright people who are very committed to address education challenges in China and the world.
    - willing to change to adapt to the context

    Cons- sometimes too much change
    - internal communication between regions is not effective
    - very ideologist

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you are doing.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    raises your level of maturity and trains you for leadership

    Teaching Fellow (Current Employee)

    ProsAs a fellow
    1) you learn to overcome systemic barriers to rural education - poverty, misbehavior, poorly managed schools, difficult living conditions, etc
    2) you grow as a leader, you learn to how to give criticism, how to take constructive feedback, setting goals and meeting them, etc
    3) you become psychologically tougher and more tenacious because of 1) and 2)

    Overall, I would say doing Teach for China as a fellow is like doing Teach for America + Peace Corp: enormously challenging students and difficult living conditions in which to thrive as a leader

    Cons1) senior management is often busy with fund-raising, media, larger strategic issues
    2) training and support staff lacks enough on the ground teaching experience in the context of rural China
    3) pay is low and living in rural China is tough

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrust fellows more. Invest fellows not only in the pedagogy but also the specific reasons why we have core values, the specific challenges we will face as fellows, why failure will happen as a first year teacher but why it's important to overcome them, and what the organization will do to train us to overcome them. Have specific examples of successful teachers rather than bland discussions over educational inequality.

    don't be afraid to admit managerial mistakes, fellows know the staff works incredibly hard and that the organization is young.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

     

    Smart, motivated staff, but the occasional communication gap

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsReally smart people working here. They're into the cause and into their jobs.

    ConsThe goals on the bureaucratic side need to be communicated in a clearer way to Fellows on the ground.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake transparency and Fellow development a priority. Expand within the provinces you currently have a footing in. Otherwise, even if you expand successfully, you'll end up with all of the problems that TFA is currently experiencing.

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    Great vision, Poor Execution

    Teaching Fellow (Current Employee) Shantou, Guangdong (China)

    Pros- Only opportunity to impact rural Chinese children
    - Great fellows, opportunities to travel

    Cons- Not enough compensation
    - Poor management, operations
    - Lack of training and support
    - New organization with few experienced staff

    Advice to Senior ManagementUpward feedback and system is too bottom-heavy

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    An opportunity to grow and develop skills with a young nonprofit full of dedicated and inspiring people.

    Teaching Fellow (Current Employee)

    ProsAs stated in the above review, everyone in this organization is extremely committed to the cause of ending educational inequity, whether they are teaching fellows, staff, or administration. All members of the organization are very intelligent, driven, and easy to talk to. In addition, because Teach For China is still a nascent program (the first cohort of fellows was sent to the field in fall 2009), the staff is very open to new ideas about how to increase efficiency. I’ve found there is lots of room to voice opinions and make suggestions, and most everyone is willing to have open dialogues about how they can better reach their goals. Furthermore, since the program is growing so rapidly (from 20 teaching fellows in 2009-2010 to 150 in 2011-2012), there is lots of upward mobility within the organization!

    As a teaching fellow, you’ll also learn valuable skills that can be applied to other jobs post-fellowship, such as communication skills, project management skills, the ability to work in teams, facing cross cultural challenges, as well as increasing your linguistic skills… not to mention you’ll increase your network by meeting other intelligent, driven, like-minded fellows serving with you for two years.

    ConsTeach For China has made vast improvements in internal structure and hierarchy in the past two years. Responsibilities and pathways of communication are more clearly established, resulting in less confusion and frustration. However, operations are always not as transparent as they ought to be, and communication between levels of the organization (fellows to staff, staff to administration) could still use improvement. Additionally, the organization is also still grappling with what strategies to use in order to fulfill our mission of eliminating educational inequality in China. This can be frustrating as a fellow, as we are told one year to not focus on test scores, and another year to make it one of our primary focuses. However, this is a necessary growing pain for a new nonprofit unique in its field.

    As a teaching fellow, there are also numerous cons to working in the frustrating context of rural Chinese education (the heavy emphasis on test scores, rote memorization, linguistic challenges, etc.). These challenges are unrelated to the organization, but are nonetheless pervasive and something that fellows in the field face every day.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhile most of your staff is highly competent and responsible, there are several members of upper management that need to be more responsible when it comes to communicating in a timely manner. Ignoring phone calls and emails is unacceptable, even with your heavy work load. Respect other organization member’s time and respond promptly and without reminders.

    On a different note, you’ve done a great job increasing the efficiency of the organization; please continue to do so! In the 2011-2012 year, training, support, and inter-department communication were more efficient, predictable, and streamlined. Also, involving second year fellows in Development and Recruiting was a wonderful idea, as fellows feel they have added purpose and are simultaneously developing skills they can apply after their fellowship. Work on your punctuality, and continue to focus on efficiency.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great Opportunity to Teach in a Developing Area if you have enough patience

    Teaching Fellow (Current Employee) Kunming (China)

    ProsThe organization is extremely committed. Everyone, including both Teaching Fellows and the Staff, are dedicated to helping underprivileged children in rural China overcome the achievement gap. The leadership is definitely comprised of visionaries and there are constantly new improvements to systems for training, support, and administrative work.

    ConsWhile everyone is dedicated, the organization rarely manages to function smoothly. The hierarchy and the division of labor among the support staff is unclear and as a result there are constantly problems. Furthermore, the support staff do not hold themselves to nearly as high a standard as they should; missed deadlines, forgotten emails, and contradictory information are way too prevalent. As a Teaching Fellow, you need to be incredibly on top of your needs in order to ensure that you get the support you need.

    Advice to Senior ManagementJust because it's a young organization doesn't mean sloppy leadership is acceptable. There should be a much clearer division of jobs among support staff and it should be very clear for Fellows who to go to with different problems or concerns. Additionally, allowing staff to ignore deadlines and send out bad information is absurd. This wouldn't be acceptable in any for-profit organization, and just because the children we serve aren't able to oversee us doesn't mean we should be lackadaisical about our work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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