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Getting started to teach english in china


Resa
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hello everybody, i am planning to teach English in china. but the thing is, i don't know where to start. as for my condition, let me break it down

1. i am a non native speaker. my TOEFL score was 530-ish.. but that was long time ago when i was in high school.

2. i don't have any degree now. well, i went to college majoring in biotechnology and i finished my thesis but for some personal reasons, i choose not to graduate. 

3. i am 25 yo now. this year, i will be 26.

4. i am a chinese descendant, but were born and grew up in Indonesia. even though i am a chinese descendant,, i don't speak or understand any chinese. right now i am learning it because i have a goal to live in china.

 

i got some questions need answering

1. how does the employment in china work?

2. should i get some TESOL certificate or TESOL Diploma to make myself more 'desirable'?

3. does anybody here know about Will-Excel? i submitted my application about more than 3 weeks ago but i haven't got any reply. does this mean i got rejected?

4. what should i do first to achieve my goal of teaching English in China?

 

well,, i guess that's all for now.. thanks for your help, guys!!

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To work legally in China as a teacher you must have a degree and two years experience.

 

You may be able to find illegal work, but frankly as a non-native speaker without a degree, even that  will be difficult.

 

Sorry.

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thank you for your replies... i read them all already. i know i will face this kind of problem when i choose not to graduate. i just thought earning a TESOL diploma might give me a better chance. 

and,, even though i prove my English proficiency through TESOL diploma and TOEFL test,, i still don't have a good chance? i thought they were looking for an english teacher,, not some people with degree?

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You can find work here. However, until you finish your degree and get two years of full time teaching experience any work you do will be illegal.

 

Earning a TESL degree without a Bachelors would be useless.

 

If you have other marketable skills look into non-teaching positions - they are more rare but they do exist. Alternatively, perhaps consider enrolling in a language course at a University, that will get your feet on the ground legally and make it easier to find work.

 

There are non-"native" English teaching positions available, but it is more difficult to find a job if you are not "Western" aka American, English, etc. Just because you are from Indonesia doesn't mean you can't teach well, but there is a strong perspective here favoring "native" speakers. I know teachers from African countries, India and the Philippines - in general they can find employment but the options are limited.

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The requirement to have a University degree is one, broadstroke attempt at implementing some kind of 'quality standards' in the industry. The thinking is that if you have a degree, any kind of degree, then you must be fairly educated. You aren't just some blue collar employee who came to China to be an English teacher because 'anyone' can do it for a bit of fun.

 

As others have said, a TESOL won't help you without a degree. Even with a degree and a TESOL/CELTA it would be tough - as walkingtree mentions above. One reason people from the Philippines often find work here is that there English is generally excellent.

 

Your posts would be a lot easier to read if you paid attention to capital letters and used punctuation a little less liberally.

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Your other problem is that you say you are of Chinese descent. I take that to mean you look "Chinese". Sorry, if I have misunderstood.

 

It is totally wrong, but most Chinese schools want foreign teachers who look "foreign".

 

"Chinese looking" foreigners are at an immediate disadvantage. That on top of your lack of degree and experience makes me suggest you find another way to experience China - perhaps by studying as has been suggested.

 

Think about it. You say you are learning Chinese. Would you want an unqualified, illegal teacher to teach you Chinese?

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To sum up, the factors working against you...

 

From a legal standpoint:

  • You don't have a bachelor's degree
  • You don't have 2 years' teaching experience

From an employability standpoint:

  • You're not a native English speaker
  • You don't "look" foreign (this is clearly a bullshit "requirement", but unfortunately it's a factor for a lot of companies)

Despite all that, it's almost certain you could find employment. The problem is that it would certainly not be fully legal, and it may well not be a great job (lower pay, less than ideal working conditions, less desirable city etc.)

 

You said you didn't graduate "for personal reasons"... is that something that can be easily fixed (complete whatever else was needed to be done and graduate)? If so, that might be a good first step to take towards employment of any kind in China (although I think getting any working visa still has that 2 year work experience requirement... I may be wrong though? Could depend on the city?)

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Our school has been instructed to only hire people with two years of demonstrable full time teaching experience.

 

However, the rules have been bent to hire at least two people I know. What the visa officers accept as full time teaching experience seems to be...flexible.

 

So - only full time is accepted, but this is China.

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GaHanna, it used to be General in anything but now, in Beijing at least, it has to be in some kind of teaching.

I am not sure if this guideline has actually been officially rolled out all over China. Initially it was only Beijing that had this requirement. However, you can expect a lot of other schools or cities to follow Beijings lead.

As walking tree said, just because it's a rule doesn't mean it's ridgidy stuck too. What is more likely to happen than visa officers accepting less than the required experience is that your school will likely pad out your CV for you or stretch those days so you meet the requirement. Equally, whoever approves you as a teacher won't be doing any thorough checks on that.

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GaHanna, it used to be General in anything but now, in Beijing at least, it has to be in some kind of teaching.

I am not sure if this guideline has actually been officially rolled out all over China. Initially it was only Beijing that had this requirement

 

Not that it makes any difference, but I believe it was introduced in Guangzhou first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Consider this scenario about two people both wanting to teach English in China:

1) 25 yr old girl from New Zealand, Hospitality Management graduate with 3 years part-time experience at her local daycare.

2) 50 yr old woman from USA, never went to college but has been teaching English full-time at her local school for 30 years.

 

****as a hiring manager in China, who would you hire?****

 

Let's add some more criterion shall we?

 

1) 25 yr old's main job is at a 5 star hotel with many international visitors. Among other things, she was hired for her excellent Chinese language skills which can greatly enhance customer relations with visitors from the sinosphere. In addition, she is very studious and has attended Professor Google's classes on modern TESOL techniques for the past 1.5 years.

2) 50 yr old teacher has never seen a foreigner let alone speak any Chinese. "What's a TESOL? A kind of tea flavoring?" But this teacher is a brilliant English teacher for native students. Remember: she does not have a college degree!

 

****as a hiring manager in China, who would you hire?****

 

Personally if I were the hiring manager, I would find both candidates possess qualities that could have a positive impact on Chinese students' learning. Keep in mind this is China and there is always a way around regulations, but make sure you ask yourself if you will truly be doing your students a service before you go and do something 'illegal'.

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  • 1 month later...

2 years experience is highly desirable but not an absolute requirement. After all, if it was an outright absolute requirement then how would new TEFL teachers gain their first two years experience? But as for the degree.... I've never known someone get an official position without one. Nor would I as a recruiter be able to hire one. Best of luck though and I hope you figure something out :)

 

Ben

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2 years experience is highly desirable but not an absolute requirement.

 

Sorry, but that is misleading. State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (国家外国专家局) regulations specifically state that two years' experience is a requirement for the issue of a foreign expert's certificate without which the residence permit cannot be granted.

 

If some local offices ignore this, it is still illegal.

 

 

After all, if it was an outright absolute requirement then how would new TEFL teachers gain their first two years experience?

 

In countries other than China which do not have this requirement, of course.

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I think calling it 'illegal' is excessive. If someone without two years experience gets a working visa, without having mislead anyone about their work history, I can't see what laws they've broken. If some middle-of-nowhere city decides it'll accept inexperienced teachers, there's maybe an official somewhere breaching a regulation (which is different from breaking a law), but I reckon the teachers themselves are safe. Like Walkingtree points out, the rules get bent. I'd be interested to hear of any actual cases to the contrary, where someone has got the visa (or residence permit or whatever) and then had problems. 

 

Personally I'd suggest you go and get two years experience in a country that wants you. You'll have a better choice of jobs. 

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Yeah, it's not a back and beyond thing, teachers in Beijing don't always have the 2 years requirement. No idea when the rule gets 'bent' or by who but it's mostly not the teacher themselves.

 

Really, at a local level it's a choice between being strict on this requirement and not having native teachers or being more flexible with it and hiring them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's not illegal to embellish your qualifications. Since, at the time of your application, you don't reside in China, you're not subject to Chinese laws. Prior to your arrival in China, think of honesty as a professional courtesy, not a legal requirement. The worst the government can do is to reject your application.

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