Every job has its own benefits, though some jobs certainly provide more or less than others. We have been extremely impressed with the benefits provided by our new employer and our roles as ESL teachers!
1. To start with, there's the apartment. I mentioned before that per our contract, housing is part of our compensation, so we don't pay rent. Sweet deal!
2. Our school also provides transportation in the morning, noon, and evening, for going to work or going home (this isn't special for us, we ride the teacher bus with our coworkers). If we want to go to the school or return at a time other than when the bus comes, we can take public transportation, but that requires much more walking on our part--and since the school bus is free, we usually take it to work and back. Will I forget how to drive while I am here? Possibly.
3. Free Breakfast! Served buffet-style in the teacher's cafeteria from 7-8 every weekday morning. I have never before been a regular patron of a cafeteria (homeschool followed by being an off-campus college student will do that to you), so maybe I'm easily impressed, but a morning smorgasbord of boiled eggs, rice, noodles, bok choy, dumplings, rice buns, and chiffon cake is definitely welcome in my life.
4. 2 Yuan Lunch! Okay, so, lunch isn't free, but it's very inexpensive (in the realm of $0.30 per lunch) for a portion of rice, your choice of 3 sides, and a piece of fruit, which might be anything from a banana to a pear to a pomegranate. Maybe I'm crazy, but wondering what kind of fruit we'll receive at lunch is one of the highlights of my day. There are always both meat and vegetable dishes. I'm not a huge fan of meat dishes so I invariably choose all the veggies!
5. Milk! Yet another unexpected bonus. Each teacher is allotted one box of milk each work day. We aren't big milk drinkers but I usually bring our boxes home and use them for mashed potatoes or cereal or even a snack involving Oreos. Basically, with all of this food, it feels like they're trying to fatten us up.
6. No dress code! Or at least we've yet to stumble into one. It seems that on certain special days, the rest of the teachers are supposed to wear white shirts and black pants. We were told, though, that as wai jiao, foreign teachers, the rule did not apply to us. There's a big part of me that feels that I was made for the precise purpose of being a high school teacher who wore slightly crazy clothes. After all, a few of my college professors had some very unique tastes in fashion, and they were all my favorite profs. It's a dream come true to be the teacher who wears pink sparkly Converse to class.
8. Teacher's Day just so happened to fall in the middle of our 2nd week as real teachers. The school presented each of us, and all the other teachers, with gift boxes each containing two hand towels and two movie ticket vouchers. How cool is that? Now we just need to figure out the movie theater. Currently the only English movies playing are Divergent and The Expendables 3, so we'll probably wait till the next round of movies to use our vouchers.
9. In case you can't quite believe your eyes, this is just part of the huge stash of toilet paper and face tissues that our school gave us. We were told that teachers are given toilet paper and tissues every semester, and we thought this was incredibly awesome. I mean, such things are a necessary part of life, and to get 4 packages of 10 rolls of toilet paper and 2 packages of 5 boxes of tissues is quite awesome, in my opinion. I think our coworkers might have been slightly shocked at how excited and thankful we were for this unexpected bonus.
8. All right, this isn't guaranteed by contract or anything, I just think it's too cool not to mention. One of my students came up to me last week and told me that the first time she met me, she thought I was so beautiful and she drew a picture of me from the 1st day I taught her class. Have you ever heard of anything so sweet? And I think she's so talented, too. I can tell that I was wearing this plaid top on the day she decided to draw the picture and had put my hair in pigtails as a way of managing the heat. And now I really want to see an anime movie all about this cute little Rachel drawing with her pigtails and glasses. I think the drawing pulls off glasses much better than I do.
Am I making the job sound appealing?