First of all, let me be clear- I'm not getting any bonus money for writing this testimonial. I'm not even getting a box of chocolates. So, anything I say will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God! Having clarified that point, let me get back to the purpose for this little composition: why I chose to work at JESIE.
First of all, why would I want to work in China, to begin with? Well, I had gone back to university (for the third time, God help me), and gotten my Bachelor of Education degree. However, in 2013, the job market in my home province of Manitoba was pretty limited, unless you were willing to go up north where it was cold, lacked basic amenities, and had lousy internet access. If I had to go someplace that was essentially a foreign country to me, I figured I would rather go someplace warm and exotic in Asia. I had worked in Guangzhou between 2003 and 2005 (yes, I arrived just after the worst of the SARS epidemic), and had found it to be a mostly positive experience. So, when I posted my resume on three reputable websites for ESL teachers, China was one of the countries that I was most interested in- with the qualification that the school offering employment was not in a place that usually went below 0 Celsius in winter. I have to say, that for me, the offers came in very quickly, and I found myself divided between my choices. In fact, I agonized between JESIE and a school in the south-west of China. Both provided similar benefits, both were in very attractive areas of China, and both offered tantalizing opportunities to grow and develop as a teacher. Ultimately, I chose JESIE because they offered me a higher salary. (Hey, I had student debts to pay off!) So, that's why I chose to work at JESIE.
Now that I'm into year two of employment, the question should be asked: why do I stay with JESIE? Well, there are several reasons for that. The benefits and contract conditions offered by JESIE are good. I'm quite happy with the accommodation provided, and the support that I have been given as a foreign teacher and foreigner living in a country very different than Canada. In general, the staff of JESIE does its best to be as helpful and supportive of its foreign teachers, whether they are based in Nanjing, or a program school in another city in Jiangsu. In my experience, the people at JESIE are always trying to improve the services they provide to the teachers, and to the programs they support. In addition, I actually work reasonable hours, with plenty of time to prepare for lessons, mark, and do any office work required of me. Compared to some of the horror stories I've heard, I have a really good work environment. I've also met some really great people here, both Chinese and foreign, who I will miss when I eventually go home to Canada. I'm also challenged professionally, both as a teacher and as a developer of curriculum.