Should I teach English in China?

Teacake Travels

Are 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!

Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil 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!

Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil your dreams!

Teach me!

What’s special about China?

  1. Just how unbelievably big it is: every area is different – it’s kind of crazy
  2. Chinese food is nothing like you think it is.
  3. The history! These guys are ancient!
  4. How hard the language is: Teacake has learnt a little of lots of different languages but Chinese? Pfffff, you really have to make some effort
  5. 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?

  1. A lot is possible here: there’s something in the air that if you want to be successful, you can do it here
  2. The money is fantastic: find the right school and you will be very comfortable
  3. 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!
  4. You’ll be tested and challenged: that’s what Teacake likes and maybe what you want that too!
Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil your dreams!

Hanging out and having a ball in Shanghai!

What do I need?

As always, Teacake recommends a TEFL certificate. Currently all Teacake Travel readers can get 35% off MyTefl’s 120 online course that will give you everything you need to get your dream job straight away! Just make sure to put in the special code TEA35 to save your pennies! There’s a lot of Chinese people who want to learn English.  Put yourself out there and you will succeed!

TEFL course

How much money will I earn?

This is for Shanghai specifically but still expect very good wages in relation to your living costs elsewhere.

Part-time

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.

Private tutoring

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.

Full time

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.

Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil your dreams!

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 work just as hard but I’d rather work hard and be paid good money for it.

Don’t Forget To Get A VPN Before You Go!

A serious word of warning. China blocks many things on the internet including your precious Facebook and Gmail! Be one step ahead by getting a VPN BEFORE you go. Once you’re there, it’s a lot more tricky to acquire it.

Astrill VPN for Facebook

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? Click on the banner below to get yourself off to a great start!

Where should I look for work?

Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil your dreams!

Hanging out in the beautiful mountains in Xingping China!

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!

Websites which I love are EChinaCitiesChina JobTEFL Panda and Teaching Nomad.

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!

Save this information for later! Pin me!

Do you want to teach English in China? Read on to find out exactly how you can use ESL TEFL English with the best tips, advice, resources and job companies to help you travel, save money and fulfil your dreams!

About Alice Teacake

I'm a kickass girl who believes in women facing their fears and pushing their boundaries, to reach their full potential through solo adventure travel! Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

17 replies
  1. Emma AKA Size15Stylist
    Emma AKA Size15Stylist says:

    I loved teaching English in China when I was out there in 2004-2006, and private tutoring was definitely the way to go. Also good to look for summer or winter camps in other parts of the country, so you can travel across China for free (although it’s pretty cheap anyway!) – I found some great jobs through Dave’s ESL Cafe.

    Oh, and the best (ie, sweetest) food is in the south: loved living in Guangdong!

    Reply
  2. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    Thanks for this very interesting post! I’m super interested in teaching in China. I never really do research for a job before I go to the country itself (feeling if I like the place and such is important to me). I was wondering if it would be hard to apply for a working visa if I’m already in the country or if the schools would help me with that. Do you have any info about this? Thanks! :)

    Reply
    • Alice teacake
      Alice teacake says:

      Hi Cynthia! The schools will certainly be able to help you out with this. You might have to leave the country and come back in (might!). Every school is different but like I recommend in my guide to teaching English, I think it’s best to hunt on the ground in the country you want to teach in. You’ll find better jobs this way.

      Reply
  3. Valerie Szwaya
    Valerie Szwaya says:

    Taught English in China for the last two years with my boyfriend and thought you had some really great insights!

    We taught in a rural area in the mountains of Southwestern China, though, and I definitely hear you about it being “remote.” It was super beautiful, though, but big cities with more expats are definitely better for novices.

    Would love to chat with you more (: Check out our blog, if you can.

    Reply
  4. Ant Burden
    Ant Burden says:

    Love this guide Alice. Will certainly be doing the TEFL course over the next few months. Do you think there are many opportunities available for teachers without a degree?

    Reply
    • Alice teacake
      Alice teacake says:

      Hey Ant! Great to hear you’re embarking on an awesome new adventure :D There are certainly many opportunities for teachers without a degree. Where are you hoping to teach? I recommend Thailand as a good starting place!

      Reply
      • Ant Burden
        Ant Burden says:

        Hey Alice. Really keen on teaching in China. I will be travelling throughout South East Asia from September though. Was thinking of getting some teaching experience through volunteering whilst in between travelling.

        Reply
    • Alice teacake
      Alice teacake says:

      Nope, it’s not an issue :) You do not need to be a native speaker to teach English. In fact there are more non-native TEFL instructors around the world than native ones! A TEFL course will provide additional benefits to non-native speakers through the comprehensive Grammar and Functions sections in some of the MyTEFL courses. Some employers may prefer native English speakers but completing a myTEFL course will show your commitment and that you mean business

      Reply
  5. Rinesh
    Rinesh says:

    Hi Alice,

    Thank you for the fun and informative post. It´s cool to see that you are really doing what you love and enjoying life.

    I have lived in China for a year and did shaolin kungfu at the temple. Now I am back in the Netherlands and I have been looking for a job as English teacher for 2 years now. The fact is that I am not a English native speaker and therefore it´s hard to get a job now I am not in China anymore. Do you have any advice for me or do you know any schools/ contacts that do hire non-native speakers.

    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • Alice teacake
      Alice teacake says:

      Hi Rinesh! I’ll agree with you that it’s harder to get a job as an English Teacher not being a native speaker BUT you do not need to be a native speaker to teach English. Truthfully, there are more non-native TEFL instructors around the world than native ones :) Do you have a TEFL course? That will really help you get ahead of others and show that you’re committed to teaching English. MyTEFL have really good courses and Teacake readers get 35% off which is cool! You can find out more here.

      Reply
  6. Kristin McNeil
    Kristin McNeil says:

    This is a great post! I’m considering teaching in China so this was very helpful! So far I’ve been contacted by and interviewed with Golden Staffing, a recruiter. Have you heard of them? If you were to go back to China to teach, which areas would you want to teach in? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Alice teacake
      Alice teacake says:

      Hi Kristin! I haven’t heard of them I’m afraid. Shanghai isn’t the place for me but that doesn’t mean it’s not the place for you! Lots of people like Beijing and Guangzhou to teach in. The south west is also incredibly beautiful but you need to decide how ‘remote’ you can really handle. Shanghai is incredibly ‘comfortable’ but was just too comfortable for me.

      Reply

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