Life as a teacher in China

1.What qualifications should one have in teaching?

The basic qualifications are: being a native speaker of English, having a minimum BA degree and commitment to teaching, loving China and its people. Clear, well-spoken English and a good knowledge of the fundamentals of English grammar. Teaching experience/certificate is preferred but not a must. For those interested in a long-term career in ESL teaching, however, it is strongly recommended that teaching qualifications be attained. For more information regarding suitable training for ESL positions, please see the Upgrade Your Skills page.

2.What courses are required to teacher?

Depending on the particular school you are placed in, you may be asked to teach some of the following courses: English & American literature, linguistics, reading, composition, grammar, cultural survey of English-speaking countries, conversational English and English for Special Purposes (ESP) such as business English. There are universities that need teachers to teach more specialized subjects such as accounting, international marketing and law.

3.How about the compensation in China?

For your service at a state college or university, you will be paid between 3,000 and 5,000RMB/month (roughly $360-$600) in addition to free housing and health care. If you commit to one year of teaching, most host schools will reimburse at least a one-way ticket and many schools will a round-trip ticket. Some schools will also provide a traveling allowance equivalent to half of a month 's salary. 2,000-3,000RMB a month is far greater than what Chinese professors get paid, it 's little money by the Western standards. In any case, things are cheap in China and 2,000RMB is enough to cover your basic expenses. However people come to teach in China mainly for the experience with the culture and the people. There are also people who use the opportunity as an investment for their future career. Private institutes, mostly under Western management, generally pay more than state colleges and universities. The pay ranges from $500-$1200 per month. All of them reimburse a round-trip ticket to China if you commit to one year of teaching at least.

4.How do teachers cope with the lack of English speakers around them initially?

There is never a lack of English speakers around you. As every person in China is attempting to become proficient in English everyone will be attempting to practice on you.  Obviously the ability of some of these people (students and adults) range from poor to good, the ability to convey your message however is quite easy.

Coupled with this is the fact that every foreign teacher has a school appointed Foreign Director whose job it is, is to assist you with your requirements in regards to your employment and living at the school and in the city, your Foreign Director can speak English. Remember also that we are not too far away if you require our assistance with any matter whatsoever.

5.What social interactions regularily occur with oreigners/teachers?

There are forms of social interaction between foreigners every week, mostly on the weekend. Once you arrive you will be informed of these activities and venues. Socialization with the Chinese will start from the moment you disembark from the plane.

6.If I can’t speak, read or write the Chinese language, how do I do everyday things?

Purchasing most every day items in China is as easy as it is in the west. Most products have Chinese and English labels from food to toilet paper.   Prices and descriptions of items such as buses, trains, highway buses, motorbike and the price for meat, vegetables and all household items will be told to you by your schools Foreign Director. Until you gain your “shopping skills” in China there will always be someone from your contracted school to assist you in any way they can.

7.Are there places where foreign teachers congrgate?

There are many places to meet people, Chinese or foreign, from restaurants to coffee bars to discos to city parks and English corners and the like. In regard to the perception of Chinese socializing with ‘westerners’ it is generally acceptable as long as both parties socialize with each other in a respectable and courteous manner. The old adage “treat others how you would like to be treated” applies.

8.Does the school provide meals to the foreign teachers?

Most teachers can eat at their schools cafeteria, through the provision of a food card, at a heavily discounted rate. Most meals are quite sizeable and extremely nutritious and are priced at between 3-6 RMB per meal, approximately $0.35-0.70USD per meal. As most institutions in China take boarders there are cafeterias at most schools. Generally you must eat when the students eat at 7.00am for breakfast, 12.00 for lunch and 6.00pm for dinner.

9.Can I use my mobile phone in China?

In most instances you will be able to use your mobile phone in China, thus it is for this reason we advise teachers to bring their phone with them.

You can buy prepaid SIM cards for use locally and for international calls. International Roaming can&nbs