Q & A

What steps do I take to complete the application for TELC? What are some of the deadlines?

The application process starts by your filling out the TELC Application Form which is found on our website. A completed application package contains: ⑴ A Recommendation Letter from a professor or a faculty member; ⑵ A photo copy of the passport photo page; ⑶ An Employer Reference Letter; ⑷ A Personal Statement (please see the Application Form for detailed requirements). A Checking List link is available on the web to help you send in a completed application package.

What is the minimum length of the contract? Is it possible to renew the contract after one year? Do I teach in the same school or at a different school if I renew the contract?

The contract with Shanghai Pacican Academy (SPA) is for one year (one school year in China – from late August to early July). If it is agreed upon by both you and SPA, the contract may be extended. SPA may assign a new teaching location if necessary.

What happens if I break the contract?

All participants are expected to fulfill the full term of the contract. Early termination of the contract on the part of the participant greatly affects the overall operation of the TELC program. In the event a participant decides to discontinue his/her program before it is due to end, there is no transportation reimbursement and no end-of-year bonus.

Why does SEF International charge an application fee?

The TELC Program is a well organized and well managed program. We promote our program through job fairs, news media, internet and all other available channels. We provide an array of services for our candidates from sending in the applications to the Pacican Academy in Shanghai , we conduct job interviews, we process visa applications, assist with travel plans, provide pre-departure orientation, and assist with the completion of the program and returning back home. The application fee is only a very small portion of our total administrative cost. Furthermore, the fees provide us with an indication that the applicant is committed to the challenge of teaching overseas.

How many days do I have for sick leaves? How many days are paid holidays?

Every Pacican Teacher is entitled to two paid days of sick leave every semester. Sick leaves beyond the two-day limit result in deduction of salary on a per-day basis. In either case, the Teacher must hand in an official sick-leave note issued by a public hospital in Shanghai.

There are 11 Holidays: the Chinese statutory holidays are New Year's Day (one day), Chinese New Year (three days in winter break), Qing-Ming Festival (one day in April), May Day Holiday (one day in May), Dragon-Boat Festival (one day in June), Mid-Autumn Festival (one day in September), National Day Holiday (Oct 1st - 3rd). Although the Teachers do not teach on these days, there is no deduction of the Teacher's salary.

Is the reimbursement of international travel for a round-trip ticket or a one-way trip ticket? Can I fly to Beijing or other cities in China and still get the international airfare reimbursed? Will train tickets between Beijing and Shanghai be reimbursed? Which train station in Shanghai should I use?

If the participant stays for a year, the Round-trip is reimbursed. If the applicant decides to break the contract after 6 months, transportation reimbursement is only a one-way ticket.

According to the contract and local tax bureau's rule, an airfare reimbursement can only be claimed if the flight is for the teacher to come to Shanghai for the teaching job. Therefore, the flight into and out of Beijing or other cities in China is unacceptable for the airfare reimbursement. If you plan to visit friends, I suggest that you fly to Shanghai first and then, take a train or fly to Beijing to meet your friends. No matter what, Pacican can only reimburse you for the airfare between US and Shanghai . Your airfare (or your train fees) between Shanghai and Beijing will not be reimbursed.

If you arrive in Shanghai by train, Pacican will still arrange pickup for you. Please be informed that there are three railway stations in downtown Shanghai . Pacican strongly recommend that you arrive at Shanghai Railway Station (the other two are Shanghai Hong-Qiao Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway Station).

Is room and board provided by the TELC teaching contract?

No. The cost of living (including rent, food, and utility) is your responsibility. But SPA does provide assistance in locating housing upon arrival. (Please see Living in Shanghai link for more information.)

Is anyone picking me up at the Shanghai airport?

Yes, airport pick-up is provided, free of charge.

Where do I stay before I locate permanent housing?

During the first week, there is a five-day workshop/orientation provided by SPA. Room and board is covered by SPA for the first week.

Do I have to commute to go to my teaching site? Is there an allowance for my commute?

SPA assists SPA teachers locating housing, ideally as close to the teaching site as possible. But often times, SPA teachers do need to travel a long distance to their local schools. There is daily commute allowance, which is reimbursed once a month, at a stipulated time in the middle of every month. Transportation in Shanghai is mostly by a rapid metro system.

What is the public transportation like in Shanghai?

There is an excellent Metro system in Shanghai with 13 lines, one of them being a circular line where you can catch any of the other lines. The Metro are fast, clean, and well marked. (Caution: The Metro closes at 11pm.) There are buses as well but it is not as easy to navigate them unless you know exactly where you plan to go.

Will I have a cell phone?

Yes. Pacican will take you during the orientation to a computer store where you can purchase a phone that works in China . It is important to have such a phone so that the coordinator can be in touch with you.

Does the TELC teaching contract cover health insurance?

Shanghai Pacican Academy (SPA) only provides a comprehensive Accident Health Insurance (AIG) as we know it in the US . Applicants need to purchase appropriate health insurance by themselves in case of more serious health problems. However, SEF and IEA are working with a reputable insurance company that specializes in overseas travel. Please note that all participants are required to purchase the travel insurance before their departure.

What health coverage do I have if I am in an accident?

SPA does provide a Comprehensive Accident Insurance for SPA teachers under the age of 60 for the entire contract period, which covers major expenses for hospitalization caused by accidents.

What if I have a minor illness, such as a cold or sore throat?

Teachers can purchase OTC (over the counter) medicines easily and inexpensively at convenience stores or drug stores everywhere in Shanghai . Please note that many commonly used antibiotics are considered OTCs in China . If there is a clinic at the local school and if the school permits, SPA teachers may use the clinic for emergencies. You do need to consult with the health insurance if you need to go to a hospital for serious health problems.

Will I have a medical check-up when I arrive in Shanghai?

Yes. A very thorough check-up which includes tests such as blood test, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, etc. These tests are needed to obtain a work permission. Pacican takes you to a special medical center for foreigners who want to work in Shanghai , and brings you back.

Should I bring passport pictures with me to Shanghai?

The process to obtain a permission to work, once you arrive in Shanghai , requires you to have 8 passport pictures.

How much money should I bring with me to China?

A furnished two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai requires about RMB2,500 - 4,000 per month (US$366 - 586). Shanghai landlords usually require two / three months' rent as upfront payment plus one month's rent as security deposit. Therefore, when signing a lease agreement, the teacher needs to pay at minimum RMB 7,500 (US$1,100). One-bedroom apartment monthly rent is around RMB2,000 (approximately US$300). The teacher must also have enough funds for his/her living expenses for the first month. Please see Living in Shanghai link for more details.

Will I be able to open a bank account?

Yes. Pacican will help you to do so. You will be able to transfer your money at the bank next to the academy.

Should I bring Travelers Check?

Do not bring Travelers Checks as you would have to go to the Bank of China which is located on the Bund to cash them or deposit them.

Can I bring my family with me?

SPA expects that the teacher's family life does not impair the teacher's teaching performance at local schools. For example, SPA is unable to approve the teacher's request of leave for a family tour in China.

Besides the one-week orientation/workshop upon arrival, is there any other training at the local schools before classes begin?

Besides this initial orientation in China , SPA organizes workshops once a month during the semester for teachers to discuss teaching-related issues and share information with each other.

Are SPA teachers provided with office space including phone, computer, internet, and other office supplies at their local schools?

All SPA teachers teach in local public primary schools and/or secondary schools. While some schools are able to provide office space or desk, and even access to computer/internet, not every school can afford to do so. However, office supplies, textbooks, and other teaching supplies are provided by SPA.

Are there required office hours for the SPA teachers at the local schools or at the academy? Are their regular staff meetings for SPA teachers?

Yes, some schools require office hours. SPA does organize regular workshops once a month for all teachers. Every teacher receives a workshop schedule at the beginning of the semester.

Does SPA evaluate SPA the teachers' performance on a regular basis and adjust their teaching plan?

SPA evaluates teachers' teaching performance regularly and provides assistance if necessary so that SPA teachers do not fall behind the pacing schedule of the syllabus.

How much freedom do I have regarding teaching method? Do I have to follow a specific syllabus?

Pacican English programs have specific syllabus requirements. However, if SPA teachers think that it is necessary and appropriate for their students to alter the syllabus, they can adjust their teaching methods upon consultation with the SPA staff member assigned to the teacher.

Will I receive help in planning my lessons, dealing with the school, obtaining material?

Yes. Pacican assigns a coordinator to each teacher. That person is supposed to leave her/his cell phone 24/7 so you will not feel isolated and definitely assisted by a Chinese speaking teacher.

To facilitate learning Chinese and adjusting to daily life, does SPA provide a mentor/coordinator to each SPA teacher?

SPA provides weekly Mandarin classes at the academy, free of charge. Every foreign teacher has at least one coordinator (Chinese/English bilingual-speaker) from SPA who assists him or her with his or her teaching and daily life in Shanghai.

To whom do I report when I have a question or a complaint?

All TELC teachers are under contract with SPA. In the event the participant wishes to complain about any service provided by SPA, its suppliers or affiliates, they must first immediately inform the supplier of the service in order to give the supplier a chance to rectify the problem. In the event the participant cannot obtain satisfaction from the supplier they should put the complaint in writing to the supplier and at the same time inform SPA by email or in writing. SPA always does its best to rectify the problem. No complaint is considered if the above procedure is not followed.