Too many foreign teachers in China feel like they are treated like royalty in China and think they can do whatever they wish.
If they want to show up late to class who is going to stop them? If they want to skip a staff meeting who is going to care?
In fact, no one may stop them or even say anything about this behavior. But following the rules and thus establishing a good relationship with your school is like taking out an insurance policy. You want your school to be enthusiastic about helping you if a problem arises.
Unless you never step foot outside your apartment, you will inevitably encounter problems which are beyond your ability to solve. An administration which is eager to help you because they value your services can make a big difference in terms of how quickly an issue is resolved.
Examples of issues which might arise include theft, visa problems, and common misunderstandings. If the school administration is happy with your services as a teacher, they are more likely to help you however they can.
The relationship you forge with the administration is also important for the future. You never can know when a connection you have with a headmaster, for example, could open up doors for you. On a personal note, my first boss in China has treated me very well since I left his school. When I came back to his city visit last year, he gave me a place to stay and some temporary work. He also wanted to offer me a better job with the school but unfortunately, I was unable to stay in the city.
So even if you feel like you are royalty sometimes, don’t act like you it. Remember you are still an employee and that at the end of your contract you will either have a good or bad reputation. Be responsible and treat your job in China like you would any other job in your home country.
It’s worth it! I promise!