Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to teach english in China
By:Sarah Dray

More and more people are going abroad to work as English teachers. For some, it is a way of fulfilling a long-term dream of teaching and sharing a foreign culture. For others, it’s a chance to experience a new world, travel and have fun. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to teach English, China should be at the top of your list. The country has a huge demand for teachers, few requirements and usually covers travel expenses and other secondary costs for new teachers.

Obtain a teaching certificate. TEFL, TESOL, CELTA and TRINITY are the most common and recognized certifications, but almost any certification will improve your chances of landing a job as an English teacher abroad. Most ESL teaching certifications take just weeks to complete and consist of workshops taught over the weekends. Some certifications are also available online.

Search job boards for opportunities to teach in China. Dave’s ESLCafe is the main virtual destination for prospective ESL teachers. Its international job board frequently includes offers for teaching positions in China, including those in large cities, towns and rural areas. The website also offers a forum where you can talk to other teachers working in China, plus hundreds of articles related to the ESL world.

Obtain a job offer. You will need this in order to obtain a work visa. Once you arrive in China, you will have 30 days to exchange the visa into a residency permit (this is a requirement, not an option). Be aware that legitimate schools will never ask you to go to China on a tourist visa. This is not only illegal, but highly dangerous; there’s a big chance that you won’t be able to exchange your visa for the right one and will either be deported or forced to stay illegally.

Research the school well. Look online for complaints and try to locate former teachers who can tell you what it’s really like to work there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always be up front with your doubts and concerns.

Understand what to expect on a standard contract. At a minimum, it should spell out how many hours you are expected to work (normally around 20 a week), housing arrangements, who will pay for transportation and plane tickets (many schools do) and any other details that are deemed important.


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