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Gucci

19 year old, non-native English teacher?

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Gucci

Hi guys,

I've been wondering if there was any chance to find a job as a teacher for a teenager. I'm Polish, and I'd like to go to China after graduating from high school. I'm eager to speak with natives, and then come back to my motherland to study Mandarin. Naturally I'm conscious of my current level of English. It's not too good considering I want to teach others, but I hope to improve it significantly during this year. I'd like to sit a CAE exam next year to prove my language skills, and after that start to look for a job.

I've read lots of positive stories about living in China, but there are always some concerns. The biggest one is - could I afford to pay bills, rent an apartment, buy food etc. and enroll on a Mandarin course basing on a teacher's salary? That would be vital for my future career to pass a HSK exam. I currently speak a little of Chinese, but only the very basics. Yet, 400 characters and simple expressions are better than nothing, so I think I'm in quite good starting position.

What do you think? Should I try to make this dream come true or wait a couple years and reconsider it after getting a Bachelor's or Master's degree?

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Gucci

Thanks for that link skylee, I found it very helpful. It seems that I was a little bit too enthusiastic, but I still need to clarify some things. People's advice is to go to college, but I really don't see a point to do this myself, because I'm going to study sinology anyway. I doubt if any school principal cares if I speak basic or intermediate Mandarin, since he wants me to teach English. So in my case, studies aren't going to change anything. Or am I wrong at some point?

Secondly, I don't have so huge expectations like a guy who started the other thread. I don't even think about Shanghai, but if I had a C1 English proficiency diploma, I would accept a teaching job that guaranteed me 5,000 RMB per month.

Do you really think it's always better to wait and get at least Bachelors degree?

I also want you to verify a story of one Polish guy. He started an AMA thread on a popular website, and claimed he was earning 100 RMB per hour working as English teacher in Zhejiang. He arrived to China just after graduating from high school, without proven English skills. It's hard to believe his salary is so high in such circumstances. Now he studies on a university, after passing a HSK 5 exam. What do you think about it? I asked him a few questions about living and working in China, and his answers were enormously optimistic like he was trying to talk everyone into going there or sth... I'm somewhat confused after reading so different stories.

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yonglin
People's advice is to go to college, but I really don't see a point to do this myself, because I'm going to study sinology anyway. I doubt if any school principal cares if I speak basic or intermediate Mandarin, since he wants me to teach English. So in my case, studies aren't going to change anything. Or am I wrong at some point?

As I university educator, I occasionally like to imagine that I provide my students with the opportunity to develop some skills that are not necessarily related to the subject matter I teach (which may or may not be that useful in itself, to be honest... :wink:).

My impression is that you will probably have a hard time securing an actual working visa. On the other hand, securing an "under the table" part-time job that pays 100rmb per hour may not be too difficult if you live in China as a student.

I can't help but wonder why you want to teach English. Do you have any experience doing so? Or what makes you think you'd be any good at it? I'm a non-native English speaker who have lived in various English-speaking countries for more than six years (and would deem my English to be pretty good for a non-native speaker). However, although I think, speak, write and teach in English every day, I really don't think I'd be up to teaching it. Also, when I taught a university tutorial (in my own discipline, with a completed bachelor's degree!) for the first time at the age of 23, I felt awkwardly young. But I guess some people are better pulling off that sort of thing! :)

If you wish to study for a degree in "sinology" and money is a major concern, I think you definitely should look into applying for a scholarship first.

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anonymoose

You have almost no chance of getting a teaching job legitimately in your position. Apart from not being a native speaker, you need some kind of higher education qualification and two years of work experience to secure a work visa. You could always try getting some informal teaching jobs if you are in China as a student, although I don't know how easy that is to do. Nevertheless, if you want to teach competently, you should also realise that it requires time and effort. Even if you can get paid 100 yuan per hour, the question is, can you work enough hours per week, on top of your study, to cover all your costs?

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Gucci

I really appreciate your help. These replies clarified a lot for me. Looks like I'll just take my time, and go to college. My last question is - have you ever seen any Chinese schools (doesn't matter private or public) that teach Polish? I doubt anyone is interested in learning so useless language, but I want to know it anyway ;)

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michaelS

Surely you need a CPE to teach English? That's what I tell my students anyway...

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Guoke
I doubt (if) anyone is interested in learning so(→such a) useless language

Every language is useful in its own way.

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jono1001
What do you think? Should I try to make this dream come true or wait a couple years and reconsider it after getting a Bachelor's or Master's degree?

I think you would be better off going to Uni. and then going to China to teach. If you can enrol in a Uni. course that allows you to study full time in China on a exchange, you might find some time to try your hand at teaching.

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