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Can a non-native be an English teacher?


nakuru
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Hi guys

I have MA Degree in British and American culture and literature and in teaching English as a foreign language. I graduated from University this year in summer. I'm from central Europe. During my studies I was working as English lecurer and tutor. I am planning to come to China in next year for at least 6 months and i would like to work as an English teacher. However, I read somwhere that non natives can not teach English in China, do you know anything about this? Basicaly I'm coming to China because of falling in love with chinese guy :) but i will have to work this way or another. We have to wait for his passport and visa and it will take some time to get. I can't sit and do nothing for so long time, besides I want to work in my profession. I would be very gratefull for any advices and ideas.

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It's more difficult surely, but, the general consensus is the key factors lie in being white as well as sounding "ok". There is various non-native teachers in China already, you could be one of them also, just have to "look the part".

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I think non-natives can't work as English teacher legally, but illegally you should have no problem finding a job if you look the part (white) and have a decent command of English.

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Thanks for feedback. So there is something like a ban for non natives teachers ... I am basically interested in legal work as it's sounds a bit sacrry to do the illegal one. if there is so many traps and dangers waiting for ones that are working legally what a person who works out of law can expect? I'd be looking for work in Chengdu a city that has population over 4 milions - if this matters ...

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I wouldn't presume to comment on full-time positions, but people are so intent on learning English that almost anyone can find at least a part-time position somewhere. I shudder to think of the pronunciation of students who studied under Belgian and Lithuanian teachers, both of whom had minimal Chinese abilities and even worse English pronunciation. They were both acquaintances of mine and I (an American) could only understand 50% of what they said in English. Yet they were getting 100 kuai/hour for 2-3 hours per day. It's hard to think of them as doing anything other than stealing.

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Personally, I believe things are changing for the better.

Native speaker of English does not necessarily mean you are a good teacher of English.

More and more schools are beginning to realise this, and are looking for good teachers of English and, thus, will accept other nationalities as well if they can prove:

- they have a clear pronunciation

- they can show they're genuine teachers or at least genuinely interested in a teaching career.

Particularly teachers from northern parts of Europe are more and more welcome.

Of course, there are still many schools out there that would accept anybody, as long as they have blue eyes.

It took me several years to get here, due to my nationality, but now that I'm here and proved myself, I have no problems in finding a job anywhere I'd like to teach.

However, always be careful, as not all schools that will offer you a position are genuine either. Research strongly required and advised!

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Well i really wouldn't like to get a job because I've green eyes and dark blond hair. I rather have clear pronunciation which was also stated by natives speakers. Now I'm in UK and work with English people so I hope that it would help to improve my English even more. Anyway thanks for feedback and i will do my best to get a job. For sure I will not do harm to anyone with my English :)

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If there are any laws or even regulations about non-native speakers teaching English, I've yet to hear of them. You might be a less popular choice, and you might have to take a slightly worse job then a similarly qualified native speaker of English, but you'll be able to find work.

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I agree I think it is obviously easier for a native speaker to find English teaching jobs, but if you " look the part " and have a clear accent you should be fine. Try this site (if you dont' know it already): http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/china/

You could also try the kindergardens. I'm in Shanghai and have heard of some people from Israel, Philippines etc getting part-time + full-time jobs in kindergardens at the same pay rates as native speakers. Often the language schools such as English First, Web International, Wall Street want native speakers but the kindergardens seem to be less strict. I would also advise you to wait until you get here to find a job as you can often negotiate a much better salary. By all means do your research about different schools, but wait until you are here to visit the schools, meet the people in charge etc until you sign a contract/agree to work in a school.

I know of a number of teachers in SH who get paid half of what other schools are paying here as they accepted a job before coming just because they were worried about coming here without a job. Do your research, but take a bit of a risk come here without a job and then go walk around town with your resume and give it to every English School, kindergarden, middle school etc that you can find! it should not be a problem.

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Pingpangqiu,

I agree ... however, there's a small problem here:

Tourist and business visa's can no longer be exchanged into residence permits for foreign teachers from within the country ... at least not officially.

A colleague of mine had to go back to the UK, as he was here on a tourist visa but had to apply for a Z-visa from the Chinese embassy in the UK. There was no way they were willing to change the tourist visa into a residence permit here in Guangdong.

The rules change quickly, especially with the obvious upcoming events.

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Yes your right Senzhi,

The Chinese government seem to be clamping down on teachers who are working without the correct visa and making random changes to the laws regarding visas for English teachers etc. I think there must be loads of teachers working on business or student visas, but of course it doesn't make it right.

In Shanghai there are lots of Agencies like www.emoo.net who can renew visas for you for a fee. I guess they have some good guanxi in the consulates. Did your colleague try using one of these types of agencies in Guangdong? Could he not just go to Hong Kong and change his visa?

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So what's the solution for such situation? I'm not worried and I will go there to look work on my own but coming back just to change visa is too expensive. So I can either agree to work on half of the salary when applying for the work from Europe or to go there get better conditions but be forced to go back.

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You can arrive on a tourist visa and then try to change your visa with an agency such as this one that exists in Shanghai.

http://www.emoo.net/modules/icontent/index.php?page=5

Or just work on a business visa which I think a number of part-time teachers do (which is not strictly legal - but much of what Chinese businesses do is not legal!)

You could come here on a student visa and study Chinese at a University for a semester and then change your visa when you get here.

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tkanks for all your ideas. I have done small research on visas issue and i'm a bit confused as some of you say that L visa can not be converted into X visa within borders of China. To obtain F visa I need latter of invitation form University and to get such i need to enroll on their classes and to do this i need to pay all the fees and tuitions for a semester- that's quite expensive solution. And if i'm not going or could not attend their classes all this would go for nothing. Is it easier to change F visa into working visa than from tourist one? What is the minimum one have to do to enroll on Uni to get F visa? :help

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