Answering Your FAQ’s About Teaching in CHINA!

Last month I wrote a little guide answering your most frequently asked questions about teaching in Korea, however, some of you had a few questions about what it would be like to teach ESL in China! Since I have no experience on that front, I got one of my blogging friends to share her wisdom with you instead.

Bennett of The Further Adventures of Bennett signed up for 6 months of teaching English in China and left 2 years later, work that one out!

Here, she answers frequently asked questions about making the move to China to teach English in order to inform and encourage others to do the same.

Rain in Yangshuo

Do I need a degree to teach in China?

The general answer is yes as in order to get a work visa in China you need to produce the certificate. I do, however, know of many people who did not have a degree who worked as English teachers in China.

What if English is not my first language?

Whilst native English speakers are the most attractive prospects in regards to satisfying Chinese parents as well as governmental demands, those with English as a second language should not be deterred. If you’ve studied in an English speaking country, this is looked upon well. However, you might have to go through a pre-interview Skype call to check your accent.

Teaching about swap shop

Do I need to have teaching experience or a TESL/TEFL certificate?

Just like the degree, this is desirable but not essential. What you need to show, especially in your interview is your willingness to learn and adapt as quickly as possible.

Should I teach at a public school or an English training school? 

The main difference is the working days. Do you want to teach Monday to Friday and have the weekends off? Then go for a public school.

Want to work mainly weekends and maybe have some adult students too? Work at an English training school. It’s your choice! 

Kindergarten class in China
Where should I start looking for a job?

There are plenty of ways to find a job online, through Dave’s ESL Café or just searching for English training schools in China. One other way to find a job is through a recruiter, such as NewLifeESL, who will place you in a school.

Will I be the only foreigner at my school? 

If it’s important to you that you aren’t the only foreigner at the school, you need to let employers know and the same vice versa. Most people are placed to their requirements, but be prepared to have something not in your expectations either!

Controversial sculpture in Zhangzhou

What will my school cover?

Every school will offer different remuneration packages: some may include return flights, contract bonuses or medical insurance. The main one I would look for, however, is rent-free living, as that takes a huge weight of your mind each month. 

What if I don’t like China – can I leave early? 

Just like any job there would be consequences (usually monetary) if you did. There are some 6 month contract opportunities out there, so if you think it might be difficult, start with one of those and if you like it, then renew it!

Dinner with adult students in China

Do I need to speak Chinese to teach in China? 

No way! I didn’t know a word of Chinese before I left and managed to absorb enough to live safe, happily and comfortably (but then again I am a language geek!) 

I want to move to China but I’m scared!

Everyone is in the same boat at some point in their life. Remember starting university for the first time? Or any new job? Everyone gets scared and it’s okay to get scared but until you push boundaries, you’re not living. 

A friend from the UK visiting me in Beijing

If you have any further questions about teaching in China you can get in touch with Bennett. She also recently wrote new eBook Add Your Brick To The Great Wall – Experience-based Advice From Expats which answers many more questions about living, teaching and travelling in the fabulous Middle Kingdom!


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