If you are looking for a job abroad consider teaching English in China. There are hundreds of schools throughout the country who seek native English speakers to teach their students the English language.
To get employed in China, you will find different requirements depending on where you choose to live and work. The bigger cities provide better pay as well as more opportunity, but the cost of living is higher as well. Don't be fooled by this "developing" country, China can be an expensive place. Larger cities also require a higher standard of work.
To teach English in China, you must be a native English speaker, or at least very good at English. While China prefers the United States or Canadian accent they also hire teachers from the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Non-native English speakers are also accepted, but they must be very good, and TESOL Certified.
The educational requirement is basically a high school diploma, but they do prefer a college degree. If you have a college degree in something other than teaching, it is understood by the Chinese that teaching isn't your profession and you are still respected in the teaching community.
A typical work week involves between 10 - 32 hours per week, depending on the quality and expectations of the job. Your contract will specify how many hours per week. If they find their aren't enough courses for you to get the required hours per week, they will often create a new class or you are assigned office hours.
The starting pay range for English teachers in China is 2,000 RMB – 10,000 RMB with the average starting at 3,500 RMB per month. Contracts vary in length from 8-12 months and your housing is usually provided free of charge. While you will have to get to China on your own dime, many universities will pay to fly you home after your employment.
If you want to get a job working in the bigger cities which pay more money, you should consider having proper English Certifications such as TESOL. This is not required for native English speakers but it will open more teaching opportunities once in China.
For the students who do have a proper teaching degree it is also possible to get a job through a placement company from your home country. Doing this will also see that you are paid more as you earn your home currency and you can also expect to work more hours.
For the average teacher, the work can be very simple. Lesson plans include language games, listening and reading exercises, public speaking and group activities.
In a sense, teachers can be creative in their lesson plans as long as the students are learning English. Basic classes offered include Oral English, Writing, Country Survey, Literature, Movies and others. Specific majors like International Trade may also have their own major oriented class in English.
While you do not have to speak Mandarin to teach English in China, it will be helpful to learn phrases as you continue your time there.
Beyond your teaching obligations you can work side jobs tutoring, reading, or giving speeches. This is something you will have to sort out in your contract as some universities will require you only to work for them. University contracts are made by the government which limits changeability.
You also have the option to work illegally, but it is best to go through the proper channels. You will find there is a lot of opportunity for English speakers to work in China.
Side jobs, depending on the nature of the work, can pay 100 yuan to 400 yuan per hour depending on the deal you work out as an independent contractor. Working on the side is something you can consider, but you must have your wits about you and learn the Chinese culture of doing business. You will quickly learn that doing business is a very different game in China.
If you choose to teach English in China, the best way is to go online and start looking up Chinese Universities in the cities you would consider living. Online you can find their employment section and what requirements they are looking for in their teachers.
Regardless of your previous experience is, the chances of being hired for a job teaching English in China are very good. Universities and schools use their native English teacher counts as a selling tool to get more Chinese students to enroll. This is one reason why English teachers are treated so well in China, they are important.
Becoming an English teacher in China is great for anyone who wants to go out and see a new part of the world. This job is perfect for the adventurous traveler or a teacher looking for a unique experience to set them apart from the rest.
Other teaching resources
How to Teach English in China - Advice on how to land a job teaching English in China
TEFL for non teachers - Teaching English offers another less obvious perk: Time to pursue other interests.
A Lesson in online English credentials - There is a lot to consider when choosing a TEFL course.
American English teacher in China - We interview an American on life in The Peoples Republic of China
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