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Few questions about teaching in China


matas2
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Hello all, I'm pretty new around here and I'm left with many unanswered questions. I've just recently found out about this great opportunity to teach in China from a friend of mine which is planing to go next year.

 

Here are the questions that I've yet not found an answer to...

 

Do the schools in China accept people from different nationalities other than British? I myself wasn't originally born in the UK, however I've lived here for ten years now and speak fluent English without an accent. People usually think that I was born in the UK, but only come to realise when they find out my name. Also reading through a few review websites, I heard that there were two girls from Hong Kong who came over to China to teach English and were denied due to their nationality.

 

Are most websites offering work placement in China rip offs? I've been looking through a few website and reading their reviews. I've come across website with very low prices at £999 and other at almost £6000. I'm looking for a job in teaching which will pay me a reasonable amount. Are there any websites/companies that you could recommend me that have a reasonable fee and a good accommodation.

 

What are great towns in China that you could recommend me? I'm obviously looking to teach in a town which is welcoming. I don't mind whether it's developed or not. Although I would prefer a more developed one.

 

What is the average pay in China? I personally know it varies from town to town.  

 

One year in china, is that too much, enough or not enough time at all? I'm planning on going over to China to teach during my gap year (after finishing college). I'm just wondering how the year would go? Will I not get bored over there?

 

Partnering up - I don't feel like going over to China on my own is a good idea, especially when it's my first time. This question goes out to those who have been there teaching with a partner and without. How did your experience go?

 

Age - How old you exactly have to be? I'm planning on going over there when I'm 18/19 years of age. Is that old enough? Because I was looking through a few website which require to be atleast 21 or above.

 

Qualifications - How does it work? I've heard of TEFL, which you require to pass a certain examination and you require it in order to teach. There's many courses for the degree. Which one would you recommend me? I'm guessing that the better the qualification, the better the school. I obviously want to be entered into a decent school with a decent pay.

 

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this and for those who are prepared to answer my questions.

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Do the schools in China accept people from different nationalities other than British?

 

 

Yes, although it may be trickier to find a job, especially if you are not Caucasian.

 

Are most websites offering work placement in China rip offs? 

 

 

I'd assume all websites that offer paid placements are. Finding a job here isn't that hard - it just takes a bit of time online and some courage.

 

What are great towns in China that you could recommend me? 

 

 

Plenty of resources on this forum and elsewhere - you'll want to tailor to your own preferences for climate, size, hobbies, etc.

 

Partnering up

 

 

I suggest against it - jump in solo, head first and take full ownership of your experience.

 

Age - 

 

 

Your options will be extremely limited by your age. Technically you are not eligible for a working visa until you are 25. Your results my vary.

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You said that it's not that hard finding a job there, however it'll be my first time going over to China with no knowledge of how to speak their language. Is there anyway that I could make direct contact with the Government in order for them to find me a placement?

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You said that it's not that hard finding a job there, however it'll be my first time going over to China with no knowledge of how to speak their language. 

 

 

That's true of most English teachers in China. Some do it themselves (as dnevets suggests), while others use a agency that places them for a fee or portion of their salary. The actual job is the same, and they may be in the same exact school, but one will be paid more than the other for having assumed the responsibility themselves...

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Dnevets

I visited the web site you had posted here and seems pretty helpful, thanks for that.

my only concern was if it is safe to go and teach English in China, i have been in China 13 times though 

 

what is their way of transferring salary? you have to open a bank account in China or they can wire it to my US account?

thanks guys

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what is their way of transferring salary? you have to open a bank account in China or they can wire it to my US account?

thanks guys

 

 

This is the sort of thing you'll need to confirm with them in your contract. Normally you'll open a bank in China upon arrival and use that. Capital controls make it very unlikely you'll be paid in foreign currency and/or with international transfers, except for a possible contract-completion-bonus.

 

Regarding safety - I'd say its almost as safe as relocating to another city within your own country for a new job. There are potential risks - injury in travel, being deceived by your new employer, falling ill in a place that you feel isolated, etc - although on the whole the risks are small enough that most people are not deterred by them.

 

There are some anecdotes of bad experiences in China, although I think these are blown out of proportion. The main difference in China is that outsiders are fixated on language/culture differences and let that bleed into a distrust of the situation on the whole. Healthy skepticism is fine, although irrational cynicism is not productive. 

 

As with any big move, a good rule of thumb is to have a few months living costs saved and accessible, as well as enough to purchasing a return flight how. This way if shit hits the fan you can get out easily. This is a good rule of thumb at any time in your life, not just in China.

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Icebear makes great points, everything i'd want to say.

Do the schools in China accept people from different nationalities other than British?

Other than British? Yes. Other than native speakers (New Zealand, Australia, America, Ireland)? it depends. Most large schools in big cities generally wouldn't hire non-native speakers. The government requirements for obtaining a work visa state that any English teacher must be a native speaker. Chinese parents want native speakers - usually young and Caucasian. Also, teachers generally want to work in larger, more popular cities so schools in these cities have a greater choice foreigners to choose from. In the past, non-native speakers have been able to find work in less popular cities far from the tourist trail. It really depends on the specific circumstance of the school, the city and the potential teacher.

Are most websites offering work placement in China rip offs?

As mentioned previously, there is no need to do some kind of "work abroad" placement in China. Just try to find a good school and they should look after you. Usually these kind of work placements pay you less and don't offer than much support, at least not more than just finding a decent school.

What are great towns in China that you could recommend me? Look at jobs available then google the town or come back and ask. Asking for a recommendation is too broad, China is too big.

What is the average pay in China? I personally know it varies from town to town.

A new teacher could expect between 5000rmb and 1500rmb depending on location. If you are not a native speaker you may be paid less than native speakers doing the same job.

One year in china, is that too much, enough or not enough time at all?

Most contracts are 1 year but it can vary depending on the type of school. Private schools tend to be a full year but a small number can offer 6 month contracts. Some Universities can offer 10 month contracts.

Partnering up

Never heard of anyone doing this - is this something "teach abroad" programmes do?

I wouldn't say this is necessary at all. Just find a school with a decent number of foreign teachers. Any new teachers that join at the same time will be in the same situation as you. Also, a lot of schools have two teachers sharing apartment unless you request otherwise. My first school had 11 foreign teachers and my current school has 45.

Age - How old you exactly have to be?

These days you must be over 25. There may be the odd exception.

Qualifications - How does it work?

You need a degree, any discipline. A "TEFL certificate" can be helpful but the quality of them can vary. A weekend, online or short TEFL course (1 to 2 weeks) will likely be accepted by schools that would accept teachers without any qualification. Better schools require CELT- or TESOL.

As for safety, when applying for jobs, you can try to pick larger companies to work for (English First, Aston or other chain/franchise schools). With any teacher job, ask the potential employer or recruiter to let you speak to previous and/or current teachers (not managers). You can ask them direct questions and expect more honest and straight forward answers. You can check where the school is in the city, what the area is like, working conditions etc. If the school has problems with letting you speak to teachers or they avoid giving you contact details, then that in itself should set alarm bells ringing.

Really though, if you are under 25 and a non-native speaker you may find it difficult to find a teaching job in China. If you have lived in the UK for ten years, could you apply for a passport? You mentioned placements / teach abroad programs, if you don't meet normal visa requirements... This path might be the only way you can get to China. However, you won't be earning much and might have less choice of location and school. If you are going because you really want to live in China and really want to teach, then perhaps this route might still be okay for you.

Edit - visas

Also be wary of any school that asks you to come to China on a tourist visa and then promises to change that to the necessary work visa. You may find they make you work on the wrong visa (illegal) while always promising a work visa. This might never happen, meanwhile, you are the one who would get in the most trouble for working on the wrong visa.

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thank you guys for all those threads

i have another question:

I am living in the USA, i am a permanent resident, green card holder.

my passport is from the country of Georgia, east Europe

you think it will be hard to get a teacher position in China? i have been 13 times in China actually and as for safety my Chinese friends will help me to do some research on the school i choose

thanks much

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Thank you very much for your answer. I am a native speaker and will be with a British passport. However, I'm really concerned about the whole visa thing. I'm planning on going to teach abroad to China at the age of 18 and according to the Z Visa category requirements you need to be 25+. How can I make this possible to end up on a working visa at the age of 18? This also means that I won't have a university degree, which is part of the requirement too.

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In my experience, and from what I've heard, it has been possible to teach English without a degree in the past but I think that is becoming increasingly less common. In Beijing, it would be near impossible to hire a foreigner without a degree. I imagine the age issue may be more flexible is less popular places.

Your problem is that you are not over 25 AND you don't have a degree. I think it would be difficult for you to find legal employment.

Are you planning to go to University? Is this your gap year? If so, there are a bunch of good programs you can do that combine "volunteer" teaching, language learner and/or internships. I would look into something like that. You could even try a few of these in different countries around SE Asia and China.

Alternatively you could consider having a good go at learning Chinese. If you applied to a University chinese program you could do a semester then extend if you liked it. You could even try two Universities in two cities. It would also be pretty easy for you to find teaching work part time too - at least a few hours here and there. That way you could earn a bit of spending money while you're studying. The experience of teaching a bit and studying Chinese would be really beneficial i'm sure.

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ChTTay -

 

 

 

The government requirements for obtaining a work visa state that any English teacher must be a native speaker.

 

This varies by province - e.g. Liaoning you can, Jiangsu you can't, Zhejiang you can - and I don't know how much consistency there is to it

 

OP -

 

To be blunt, you can't get a work visa, you're only 18

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I don't have answers to many of your questions, but I've been wanting to go to China to study Mandarin...and an option I've been seriously considering (to fund my endeavor) is teaching English.

 

However, I'm not a teacher (meaning, I can't say I have 2 years teaching experience, for example.)

 

Also, I don't have a TEFL or TESOL certificate.

 

I've explored several on-line methods of getting my TEFL or TESOL.  But for me, it still left me with the concern of, how was I going to feel about my first teaching job, if I didn't have any in classroom experience. The numerous companies who will sell you an on-line TEFL or TESOL course do nothing for your confidence, in my opinion, because you still haven't set foot in a classroom.

 

And then I came across this site.

 

They're in Harbin, and they teach people how to teach. For a month, they put you up in an apartment, feed you, and expose you to their curriculum. After the month is over, provided you do well in your training, you may be invited to teach in one of the schools they partner with.

 

Personally, I really like the sound of this...because at the end of the month long training, I will have had the opportunity - in a live classroom - to try out what I'd learned, and get critiqued on my performance. I've done some searches on the web, and listened to some of their graduates' testimonials, and it sounds like that month of training is a lot of work, but very much worth it.

 

But I have no idea if they have any age requirements.

 

Whatever route you end up taking, though, good luck.

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MichaelS - I did say that for non-native speakers "it depends".

You are right in that it varies. For visa requirements, i read they are actually all "guidelines" sent out by Beijing to each province. That means they can be interrepted and "bent" to fit that province. In effect, ignored. Otherwise some provinces just won't be able to meet the demand for teachers. Even in Xi'an, somewhere you'd think would be a popular choice, my friends school had to hire a few teachers from the Philipines.

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For those considering seeking employment in China who are not qualified (e.g. too young or without the proper certifications):

It is absolutely possible to find work and get some type of visa. But realize you will most likely be at some disadvantage in the market, and as a result may have to take less pay, worse working conditions or engage in an unstable contract as a compromise. I've heard plenty of people complain about this even here in Beijing - which goes to show it is possible. That said, you essentially are willingly becoming an illegal (or quasi-legal) immigrant, and thus won't have anyone to blame but yourself if shit hits the fan.

 

That doesn't mean don't do it (that's your call, no one else's) - it means be realistic and honest with yourself about the situation you are putting yourself into.

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Yeah, "some type of visa" ... I wouldn't take the risk of working illegally. You can study and work on the side officially now, right? A limited amount of part time work as long as you have the schools permission. As I said, there are a bunch of study/work/intern courses around too so if you are too young (like 18-21) you might consider this route as a legal route into China.

@James3, the site looks promising. They teach TESOL over that month so the core of the course should be the same as any other TESOL (rather than teaching a schools curriculum particularly). I'm pretty sure TESOL is externally assessed (like CELTA). Both CELTA and TESOL should both be month long intensive courses.

As for general training, any good school should give you decent induction training and on going evaluation/training over the term. Ky current schools gives 10 days training looking at all different aspects of teaching at our school.

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@ChTTay the thing I like about Will-Excel Tesol's course, is that since they have a partnership with the Sunshine school, if I understand correctly, you actually get to try out some of what you're learning on a live class. Not sure if that's standard for all TESOL courses or not.

 

You mentioned Ky current schools give 10 days training...I'm so new to considering teaching English in China, I've not heard of them yet. Where are they based out of?

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