We Want Training Schools!


I wrote previously about how I could never actually figure out what Chinese people did at their jobs, but I know most of their “titles.”  The titles can mean anything, but looking at them, and knowing my friends, I feel as if many of them are very much entrepreneurs.

Here are some of my Chinese  friends’ jobs:

Teacher

Training School Owner/Teacher

Government Employee

Website Owner/Manager

Restaurant Owner

Tea Shop Owner

Clothes Shop Owner

Lawyer

Alcohol and Tobacco Shop worker (family business)

So those are some of their jobs, but they always seem to be looking to do something else.  For example:  Huang Xing Guo, my 43 year old friend, runs a music training school where he teaches kids how to play different instruments.  Additionally, he taught at a different training school for very young kids.  Then, he opened his own street restaurant that he works at from 7:30 PM until about 2:00 AM or later every night.  And now, he wants to open an English training school.

Huang Xing Guo and I at ZhangJiaJie National Park

One thing I have discovered is that everyone wants to learn English.  Adults want to learn English, and even more, they reallly want their children to learn how to speak.  With the growing interest in English, training schools are popping up left and right.

My friend Zak has just opened his own in Xiangtan, Hunan, and I, personally, have had four separate people approach me with the idea of opening one together.  I lived in a small town, and so English training schools weren’t as numerous as in bigger, more developed cities, and so many people saw this as an opportunity to be ahead of the trend.  However, there’s one problem:  they didn’t have a foreign teacher.  It’s not 100 percent necessary to have foreign teachers, but if you were a Chinese parent sending your child to an English training school, would you want them to go to the school where there was a foreigner, or the one where there wasn’t one?  Duh, the one with a foreigner.  Hence the reason why I was approached by many different people on this very subject.

My friend Wang Ming Fu was constantly pestering me on the topic of opening a school, but his English being only “so so,” he wasn’t able to explain to me in much detail what he really wanted to do…and what he expected me to do.  I, unwilling to make a long-term commitment at the time, didn’t want to agree to anything, and eventually, he expanded his tea business and stop asking me.  But now, Huang Xing Guo is asking me to help him open one, and as a friend, of course, I will help…but what does that mean, “help.”

“Lost in translation” is a saying I should learn in Chinese since it is an everyday occurrence.

I guess the main thing here is that I may or may not be getting myself into something and I don’t know exactly what it is.  Of course.  It’s like, “Yes, I will go to lunch with you,” and realizing what I’ve gotten myself into when I am kidnapped and taken to a town an hour away.  Except, this time, it’s possible that I am getting involved in some type of business partnership.  I don’t know.  All I know is I didn’t sign anything!

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5 thoughts on “We Want Training Schools!

  1. If I can offer my two cents on this….BE VERY CAREFUL what you get entangled in.

    In Korea, private language schools and private cram schools are NOTORIOUS for being run poorly and often illegally–and the native teachers are the ones that all too often pay the price for something their Korean owner/director of the school does or doesn’t do.

    Not paying into the national pension program that is required for E2 visa holders, and pocketing the deductions all the while telling their native teacher that they are sending the deductions to the pension office.

    Firing native teachers in the 11th month to avoid paying year contact completion bonuses, and also avoiding paying airfare home.

    Making native teachers work above and beyond the contract teaching hours for no extra compensation, or lying and saying they will pay but never do.

    Putting native teachers in crap apartments.

    And the list goes on…

    If your friend knows nothing about running a language school just imagine how many critical things he also doesn’t know about how to run it as a business–what will you do when he says “I’m sorry, I can’t pay you this month.” From what I know about Chinese culture a FRIEND will just take it and not complain….but where do you draw the line with that kind of thing?

    What will you do if your friend also opens the school without the proper government documents and license for the school? Then you’d be working illegally, and could face fines and possible deportation (or so I imagine, I don’t know–what ARE the penalties for that in China?).

    There are just wayyyyy too many things that can go wrong and that can take you down with your friend.

    I’d say to him, “Open the school and run it successfully for an entire year with a consistently increasing enrollment and THEN I’ll come work for you.”

    Anyways, good luck with whatever you decide.
    J

  2. Thanks for the input. I am definitely aware that something like this can happen, and I am not going to get myself into anything too serious without knowing the details. But, the guy who wants the help now has opened his own music training school before, and I’m pretty sure he has government backing right now. In the area that I lived previously, many of our friends were government guys that were willing to help out with the training school. I don’t know the specific details, and I’m not looking to get myself screwed, of course haha. But, I also know that this guy wouldn’t throw me under the bus… I’m not going to “work for him” either. He knows that. I’d help him out as a friend…I’m just saying, I don’t know how far he wants me to “help” him. I’m not putting money down or signing any papers without knowing specific details. Plus, my one friend (an American) already opened his own…so if things did get serious, I’d bring him in to see how his process worked. Thanks for the input though. I appreciate it.

  3. I’m glad you already have a sense of what’s going on….I wasn’t too sure from what you blogged, lol.

    It’s gonna be weird in China for me cause I’ve got the five years and change in Korea, and from what I’ve been reading on the Net and blogs there seems to be a fair bit of overlap (though I suspect Chinese and Koreans would STRONGLY disagree) due to Confucianism being embedded in both cultures. I’m sure upon closer examination, and experience, I’ll find subtle differences when it comes to things like saving face and what not, but the fundamentals seem all too eerily familiar–which is good and bad.

    I didn’t know if you knew what to watch out for so I thought I’d err on the side of offering some ideas–thanks for not smacking me up side da head! Lol…

    Anyways, time to go watch “Salt” with my gf.

    Later,
    J

  4. Haha. I’m sure there is a fair bit of overlap from what I hear, also. Although k-pop is way better than Chinese pop music…damn. Han Geng did leave Super Junior though….

    Yeah, I mean, I realize in my entry I make myself sound oblivious, and I guess I probably did it a little stronger than I meant to. I really do have no idea what is happening in China usually…and well, going to lunch without knowing where I’m going is one thing. But opening a school is something completely different haha.

    Enjoy “Salt.”

  5. Ohhh, I so forgot that you’re into Kpop….and I was gonna strongly recommend you to Kblogger-expats to read about China…..ha.

    I’m gonna start blogging from the new blog I started up a while ago but haven’t linked to yet on my kimchi-icecream blog. I chose the name “Serenity in China” cause I love the Joss Whedon show, and am hoping that I’ll find some serenity and a change of scene in China….we’ll see how THAT pans out.

    Anyways, have a good night.
    J

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