Teaching English in another country may seem like a tricky endeavor to some people, especially those who have never lived anywhere else before. However, once you take the time to look over this guide, we are sure that you will be impressed at not only how easy it can be to move somewhere new, but also how much fun you can have in the process!
How to get started with teaching English in China?
“What opportunities are there for teaching English in China?”
There are three different options for teaching English in China and they are public schools, language institutions, and international schools.
All the public schools are run fairly well when it comes to organization and classroom size. You will find that you will have between thirty and fifty students in your classroom and you will be able to teach mostly what you want. The one thing that seems to be an issue in these schools is that some students are ready to learn English, while others just see it as a class that they need to take.
Language institutions cater to students who want to learn the English language after their normal school hours. This type of position will allow you to really get to know the locals in the area that you will be living in. Your students and colleges will willingly teach you their traditions, cultures, and even language in return for you spending time teaching them what they need to know in the English language.
An international school is going to be a mixture of both Chinese students from more well-off families and non-Chinese students who happen to live in the country. These types of positions are more challenging to get, but the rewards are amazing, as are the benefits.
“What are required for you to teach English in China?”
Everyone who wants to teach English over in China will need a Bachelor’s Degree, but the good news is that you do not need it within a specific field. In fact, you don’t even need any teaching experience to go with it! Of course, you do need to be fluent in English, whether you are a native English speaker or simply have the language mastered due to your bilingual skills.
Another requirement that you will find necessary includes being a passport holder of either the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or South Africa.
Once you have that straightened out, you will need to determine that you can work in China for one full year. If the answer is yes, then you should consider getting your TEFL certification soon. Although that may not be necessary for certain positions.
The only other thing that you need to guarantee is that you have no criminal record, because after all, you will be working with students!
“How much do you make teaching English in China?”
You will find that the salary you earn for teaching English in China can vary greatly depending on which area you are teaching in, which school you are teaching at, and whether your accommodations are included in that amount. The average monthly salary for teaching English in China is 10,000 RMB, which equals $1,584.
A public school will often pay between 8,000 RMB and 10,000 RMB, which equals between $1,268 and $1,740. Private institutions often start at 8,000 RMB, but they often will pay as much as 16,000 RMB, which is $2,535. International schools pay the most and that amount is between 10,000 and 25,000 RMB. That equals between $1,584 and $3,961.
Those salaries are very good given the low cost of living, especially considering that most of the schools will either give you a place to live for free or give you additional money to pay for a place to rent.
“What visa do you need for teaching English in China?”
When you decide that you want to teach English in China, you will need to apply for what is called a work visa z. It is not difficult to go through the application and approval process, especially if you know exactly which documents are required.
The first thing that you will need to do is provide a scan of your passport, as well as a headshot photograph that is on a completely white background. Once you have completed those things, you will need to get copies of your degree certificate and your TEFL, CELTA, or TESOL certification. If you do not have one of those last three certifications, you can simply send reference letters that state that you have two years of experience instead.
A physical examination form is also needed, but don’t worry, you will not need to have blood tests or x-rays completed when it is filled out.
A background check will need to be completed on you to ensure that you do not have a criminal background.
“What’s the cost of living while teaching in China?”
Everyone is pleasantly surprised when they find out how little they will spend when they live in China. You can spend an average of $100 per month for groceries and another $40 for going out. Your transportation costs will average about $80 per month. When it comes to all your utilities, your monthly cost will average $75.
Once you add all those totals up and subtract them from the amount you are earning each month, you’ll have a nice amount of money left over to save, pay down student loans, or splurge on something nice.
“What your experiences will be like teaching in China?”
There are so many things that you will be able to experience when you are living and teaching over in China. First, imagine all the students that you will have an impact on, whether with the language that they are learning, in other areas of school, or even in their personal life.
As you are beginning to get accustomed to your new surroundings, you will meet new friends. Some of these new friends will be teachers like you and they will have moved to this country to do the exact same thing that you are. However, you will also meet many new friends that live in China and they will turn into lifetime international acquaintances that you can connect with numerous times in the future.
While living in China, you may be busy teaching English to your students, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have plenty of time to explore other areas of the country. Imagine taking a day to explore a city or town a couple hours away or taking a long weekend to see the sights that were recommended by your new friends!
The food in China is delectable and while it will be different from what you are used to, we can guarantee that you will love quite a few of the dishes after you try them. You may find a new favorite food in one of the local restaurants or you may experience it during a visit to the home of one of your colleagues.
No day is ever the same in China, especially when you have just moved there to teach. Therefore, you should be prepared for unexpected surprises. These surprises aren’t going to be bad, just not what you are accustomed to back home. But isn’t that a big reason why you wanted to go overseas at the first place?
“Which locations to teach in China?”
There’ll definitely have a location that suits you, be it a metropolitan city, or small-sized city.
Check out this city guide which gives you a list of great locations teaching in China.
Before you go:
5 Things You Need to Know Before Teaching English in China
- The location you choose matters. Consider the environment, the number of other expats, and the cost of living.
- The type of school matters. Consider the number of hours you will be working as well as the schedule being offered. e.g., Public schools and language institutions have very different time schedules.
- The age group of your students matters. As you’ll spend most of your time with students, it’s important to understand your own comfortable level and learn the learning behaviours of your chosen ages.
- China’s Internet environment is different. You will need to use Chinese apps (mostly WeChat) on a daily basis to stay connected with your Chinese friends and colleagues. And you also need to get a VPN for Facebook and WhatsApp to contact your families at home.
- The curriculum can be different depending on where you are teaching. The type of school or institution, as well as the ages of the students can determine what you need to teach. Each school or institution may have their own preferred method that you need to adhere to as well.
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As you can see, there is a lot of information that you need to know when you are considering teaching English in China. However, you can also see that you can have an experience of a lifetime, as this is a chance for you to explore a lot of things at the same time! The culture, the people, and languages, and even yourself! Not to mention that you’ll have the opportunities to travel or save some money!