Frequently Asked Questions about Working at TIS
Can you tell me something about Macao?
Macao is located on the southern coast of China, about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong. It’s a safe, multicultural city of about 550,000 people and home to a flourishing casino industry. Macao definitely has a vibe that is uniquely its own, thanks to the fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cultures over hundreds of years, Until as recently as 1999, Macao was a Portuguese colony and its influence can still be seen in the city’s architecture, food and culture. Today, Macao is a Special Administrative Region, with its own constitution and basic law, police force and currency.
Do I need a work permit to work in Macao?
Overseas employees are required to obtain a work permit or “blue card” to work in Macau legally. The human resources department at TIS will assist each employee in obtaining a “blue card”. This process is started as early as possible. The application will be approved prior to the employee arriving in Macao. The issuance of the blue card will be finalized after the employee arrives in Macao.
Does TIS have medical insurance and a dental plan?
TIS provides medical coverage to all staff, which includes clinical visits, physical therapy and hospitalization through AIA Insurance Company. TIS also provides a dental coverage plan through Novocare Dental Center. Staff may upgrade their insurance coverage or may purchase supplemental insurance if they wish.
How many sick days do we have?
Employees are entitled to 2 days paid sick leave per teaching month, not to exceed 15 days in a school year. A certificate issued by a registered physician is required if an employee claims sick leave prior to or immediately following a school holiday.
The maximum of 15 days sick leave can be carried forward and used as sick leave in the event of future illness. Employees are entitled to compensation for unused sick leave at a rate of 0.5 the cost of a substitute teacher per day at the end of the contract. In other words, you get rewarded for not using up all of your sick leave.
What does the school year look like?
Our school calendar is very similar to schools in Canada. Classes usually begin the last week of August and end the last week of June (see the website for a specific calendar). There are 187 instructional days and an additional 8 teacher days. Teachers new to TIS are required to be at school 1 week prior to the return of regular teachers.
What types of accommodations are available in Macao?
Almost everyone in Macao lives in an apartment and you’ll need an agent to help you find one. There are many real estate agents to choose from and TIS will also assist you in finding the right accommodation. Fully furnished apartments cost in the range of $1,100 Cdn per month for a two-bedroom apartment. The school provides a housing allowance to help offset housing costs. Most staff members live in Taipa.
What are the extra curricular responsibilities?
TIS has three 8-week extra curricular sessions during the year. Teachers are required to offer a club during two of the three sessions for students in their division. Most clubs run 1 night per week for 1 hour. There are numerous opportunities for coaching as well. Coaching counts towards meeting the extra curricular responsibility. Beginning in 2015-16, teachers are paid a small stipend for meeting their extra-curricular responsibilities.
What meetings will I be required to attend?
TIS has a standardized meeting schedule. Every Thursday, teachers will attend either a general staff meeting, elementary/secondary meeting, division meeting, or committee meeting. Most meetings are about 45-60 minutes. Kindergarten to Grade 9 has common collaborative planning time during the week.
What about PD?
Every teacher belongs to a Professional Learning Community. PLCs explore essential questions to improve teaching and learning. The school has two designated PD days during the year. In addition, each teacher has a PD stipend (currently $5 000 MOP per year) to use toward PD opportunities such as conferences, graduate work, online courses, etc. Opportunities are available for staff to conduct peer development and to visit other international schools in the area.
Is there a dress code?
Teachers should dress in a manner that reflects the professional nature of the job. Business casual dress is appropriate.
- Men: long pants and collared shirt; no jeans, shorts, or t-shirts
- Women: long pants, capris or skirts; no shorts unless they are a part of a suit. No tops with spaghetti straps. Clothing should not be too tight or revealing.
- Athletic wear such as yoga wear, jogging pants, athletic shorts are to be worn by PE teachers only in which case smart athletic is required as opposed to casual athletic.
What is the best way to get to work?
The TIS staff bus makes stops in Macao and Taipa each morning and afternoon. All staff members are permitted to use the staff bus. There are also busses for less than $1 CDN or taxis for $4-$5 CDN.
What about holidays and travel opportunities?
We try to balance Western and Eastern holidays each year. We also try to group our holidays together into longer blocks so that families and teachers can travel. As such, you can expect one week for fall break, two weeks for Christmas, one week for Chinese New Year and one week for Easter/Spring Break.
What kind of taxes do we need to pay?
The school will calculate your income tax and deduct it from each month’s pay cheque. Most teachers are paying an average of 3% income tax. It is important that new teachers speak to tax advisors or accountants in their home countries about tax responsibilities.
What is the cost of living in Macao?
Judging the cost of living is fairly subjective. The amount that you save will probably depend on how often you travel. Staff have recently contributed to an updated cost of living survey. You can find the results here.