Do you want to teach English in China? That’s great! Read on to find out exactly how you can do it with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies which can help you travel, save money and fulfill your dreams!
Should you teach English in China? As I said for Korea, Thailand and Vietnam the answer is a yes but first you must check out my overall guide to teaching English abroad to fund your travels. There are a lot of tips and advice in there which will really help you. China has exploded in the last couple of years for teachers to share the English love. Let’s see what’s possible!
What’s special about China?
Just how unbelievably big it is: every area is different – it’s kind of crazy
Chinese food is nothing like you think it is.
The history! These guys are ancient!
How hard the language is: I’ve learnt a little of lots of different languages but Mandarin? Pfffff, you really have to make some effort
How they are developing all the time but still feel really old: it’s a bit of a chalk and cheese mix
Why should I teach English in China?
A lot is possible here: there’s something in the air that if you want to be successful, you can do it here
The money is fantastic: find the right school and you will be very comfortable
For newbie teachers there’s great opportunities for you to dive right in and go for it.
For experienced teachers, there’s lots of schools looking for your expertise!
You’ll be tested and challenged: that’s what I like and maybe that’s what you want too!
What do I need to teach English in China?
A degree and a TEFL certificate.
It used to be different but China has become incredibly strict lately about ensuring their teachers have a degree and a TEFL certificate. They even give rewards to people who ‘hand in’ teachers who are teaching without these qualifications. Play it safe, follow the law and make sure you have both.
Get your TEFL certificate
No TEFL and little experience? Do an internship!
If you want to get a TEFL certificate and teaching experience at the same time, why not excel in your English teaching and take part in an internship?
Doing an internship (some with a full salary paid) will help you on your teaching journey.
How much money will I earn?
This is for Shanghai specifically but still expect very good wages in relation to your living costs elsewhere.
The minimum starting wage is around 200 CNY per hour = $30 / £20. This is if you are working for different schools. With some experience you can earn more than this and obviously, working at many schools part-time will earn you a good wage.
This is where the money really comes in. Good teachers can charge 300 CNY per hour and even more. Many Chinese students want to be tutored privately and you can find this work easily.
Expect anything from a low 10,000 CNY per month to a very comfortable 30,000 CNY per month if you have experience and teaching qualifications. Obviously, with full time you’re looking at housing allowance, return flights, health insurance, a transport allowance and lots of other lovely benefits.
Who are the best students to teach?
When I arrived I automatically assumed, just like Korea, that teaching adults would bring in the most money. This is actually wrong. Teaching kids is where the money is at here. I went from teaching in Shanghai at a very reputable University to teaching 3 year olds in a Kindergarten. I worked longer hours but I’d rather work hard and be paid good money for it.
Who should I work for?
The big players here are EF (English First), Wall Street English and Disney English to name a few but with any other country I have taught in, working for the big boys has its problems. The pay is low, the care is not the best and there really are better places out there for you. Be kind to yourself and find a job that is going to give you a fantastic deal! Wondering where to start looking?
Where should I look for work?
China is massive! In this case, research online carefully about the area which you think will suit you! I cannot stress this enough. I lived and worked in Shanghai but it didn’t match my personality very well. For more information about what it’s like to live and teach in Shanghai read my interview on TeacherHorizons here. Think about what you like, need and want and match the place to you.
Once you have picked your ideal area, to begin your search, check out these invaluable websites to set up your appointments! Remember, contracts are totally negotiable. They want you so say what you want!
Good luck! I wish you the absolute best finding your new job. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me by commenting below. I’m happy to help!