Travel, Teach, Live in China

What Mum Didn't Tell You About Teaching English in China
By:Andre Palmer

Teaching English in China can be a life changing experience and most people will probably find a move to China challenging to say the least. Even with all my previous experience from living and working in different countries, China was, without a doubt the biggest change I had gone through.

You will find lots of interesting options for teaching in China and working and living conditions vary greatly, so do your research. The demand for TEFL teachers is great as peaking English can mean a better life and future for locals in China.

The internet provides you with easy access to plenty of job opportunities, as well as opinions and stories from people that have worked and lived in China previously, it is important that you read at least a couple of different ones before you make your decision, some good ones as well as some bad experience ones.

In regards to getting a job and working, there are plenty of jobs around. Echinacities or GG international are some sites where, on a normal day around 200 new teaching positions will be advertised.

Teaching opportunities in China will be divided between, Public Schools, Universities, Private Language Schools and Tutoring.

A friend on mine did a class on Asian countries, he got into a talk bout Thailand and suddenly one of the students, middle teenager, slammed his fist on the desk and shouted "Thailand is not a country and it belongs to China!, you foreigners are all the same when it comes to China" After a few moments of stunned silence, and a few words back and forth, another student corrected his classmates misunderstanding that Thailand is NOT Taiwan as was the first students impression. My friend never received anything close to resembling an apology.

My friend also had an interesting experience when he was working in Jinan. This time it was not an angry Chinese student unhappy with foreigners sometimes small mistake in regards to what country, do, or do not belong to China.

This time it was a bit more serious. One the other teachers there, a full time Chinese teacher had gone crazy. He was living on campus and spent his waking hours with hammering down the walls of his small apartment he had been assigned by the school. Once in a while he would take a break and use the rubble he hammered down and throw it outside from his fourth floor window. His target selection was people, cars, bikes, students dormitory windows and anything else within range. If he, as he did once in a while, would run out of rubble, ammunition to use, he would quickly improvise and use whatever else he could find laying around. CD's, books, magazines, bottles, eggs.

This went on for about a months time. The school board did you remove him from his apartment, even if he was not coming to classes anymore.

My friend eventually left because he to find another teaching job in China.

In regards to looking at jobs online, a typical job advert might look something like this:

4.000 RBM for 22 classes per week in Kunshan. Middle school students, immediate start.

Or it may look something like this:

14.000 RMB Monthly, Shanghai. Teach all ages in a brand new Private Language School. 4 Hours per day, 5 days a week. Free western style apartment and Medical Insurance. Open for everyone with a bachelors degree or above. Teaching certificate or teaching experience a plus but not necessary. Teachers from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Whatever type of teaching you are looking for you will most likely find it. In regards to salary 14.000 RMB, approximately $ 2.000 in a big city like Shanghai is not what 14.000 is in a smaller city in the north or eastern part of China. However, in my experience China offers plenty of options for someone that really wants to keep a low budget, no matter where you decide to go.

Teaching material and the over all the administrative organization around school will vary greatly from place to place. So will the willingness to learn among the students, just like in most places. However in many private language centers, where the students are there because they paid to be there, or their parents paid. Many students are really ambitious and hard working.

Things to keep in mind: Start of with some general research about the experience of others. Decide on a salary and type of school you want to work for and stick with it, eventually you will find it. Go for a full time position, not a part time one. It will be a lot easier to have a routine and schedule to follow instead of just sitting around waiting for them to call and eventually ending up disappointing them because you are not available. If you can, get a 6 months contract instead of a year. Lots will happen in six months, especially in China.

Finally be prepared for an eye-opening experience in one of the fastest changing countries in the world.

This article can be found on http://www.whatmumdidnttellyou.com.


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