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With its large population, a plethora of job opportunities, and a well-structured economic system, China is definitely one of the best places to go if you desire to export your skills and teach abroad.
Not only will you enjoy the lifestyles of the Chinese people, but you will also be shown a lot of respect and treated to a very handsome remuneration.
That said, with the high demand for English teachers in China, one will have no problem finding a job in the country. But that is not to say you will find jobs on a platter on gold. In fact, without following the right steps, you may not be able to secure the right teaching job in China.
Without much ado, here are some insider tips to help you on that front.
Check your eligibility
Before you begin your preparation to travel abroad to teach English in China, be sure to check whether or not you are eligible to pursue a career in China. The basic requirements are:
- English level: native fluency
- Have obtained a Bachelor degree (no specific field required);
- A 120-hour TEFL certificate (can be obtained after the interview)
- Able to obtain a clean police check;
- Able to work and live in China for at least one year.
Get TEFL Certification
Before you can secure a work visa, residence permit, and a job as a legal full-time English teacher in China, you must have a University diploma or a TEFL certificate or a minimum of two years teaching experience.
However, some companies may offer to sponsor your TEFL, which would save you money in the outset. But if you travel to China with your TEFL certificate, you will find a much higher paying job.
Find your dream job through an agency
The two main types of teaching jobs you will find in China are through public schools and ESL academies.
That said, both types of jobs can be found on the internet, but it is a bit more miss than hit, and the best way to find a teaching job in China is to use an agency.
While a few great schools advertise online, you won’t know what kind of school you are applying to until you arrive, and there is little guarantee you will even be able to secure the job.
Save yourself the hassle and disappointments by using an agency like Panda Buddy. With an agency like them, all you have to do is submit your online application, and they will match you with the best-suited position based on your qualifications and preferences.
After all, you don’t want to spend months finding a job independently, – if at all you succeed in your independent application – only to arrive in China and realize the school is in the middle of nowhere.
Understand the difference between ESL Academy and Public Schools
If you choose to teach English at an ESL academy, you can expect a typical daily schedule of five classes, starting around midday and ending towards dinnertime.
At ESL academies, you will be taking many classes to small numbers of students. ESL teachers tend to teach students anywhere from three years old to adults teaching them business English classes. At an ESL school, you can expect better pay than what most public schools would offer you.
A public school teacher, on the other hand, works from 7:30 am – 4:00 pm taking around thirty to fifty students per class. At a public school, you will typically be teaching a large portion of the school oral English.
You don’t have to worry about the Chinese language
Even though learning a new language like Mandarin Chinese, will help you get around easily, you don’t necessarily have to lose sleep over it.
At least for the first few weeks after your arrival, you can still go about your daily life easily. When you arrive in China without speaking any Chinese, here are a few tips to get you going
- Use picture menus when you want to order meals
- Always go about with a business card carrying your home address
- You like a particular food someone’s eating, point at it, and ask if you can have it.
Get ready to go VPN
Coming from a Western country, it can be a bit of a shock to discover some facts when you get to China.
From an angle, you may be shocked by the similarities to life back home, while on the other hand, you may have to come to terms with some harsh facts, like the internet. In China, many Western-based websites like Facebook, Google-owned platforms, and news agencies are totally blocked by the “Great Fire-Wall of China.”
This can be quite challenging for many international teachers as it makes conventional ideas, like Googling class ideas, impossible. In order to stay connected with family and friends back home, you will have to purchase a VPN that will allow you to access these websites from within China.
Don’t worry; most of your Chinese students use it, and at least one will be happy to help you set it up.