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ablindwatchmaker

Does speaking fluent Chinese help people in the english teaching job market?

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ablindwatchmaker

I am wondering if I can expect to make more money teaching English in China if I have the ability to speak Chinese. For instance, I would think that a small child with no prior knowledge of English would require English classes taught in Chinese for quite some time before they could go to an all English class. If I am able to teach the youngest children who don't know any English and I'm able to use Chinese to explain concepts, wouldn't they provide some kind of pay premium? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Silent

I've no specific info, but my guess would be no. For starts, the assumption that children or students in general, need to start with English classes in Chinese is wrong. A competent teacher may use comprehensible input without need for supporting language, however often a supporting language is used. Also for absolute beginners is English competence of the teacher less of an issue, as more people are qualified for the job I would expect lower wages to teach small children/beginners. If you're after better pay you should aim at higher level students and richer students that are able and willing to pay more. My guess is that this requires a network/marketing and/or better (provable) qualifications and experience. So my guess is if it's just higher wages you're after better invest in learning educational skills and get quality experience.

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James3

I don't teach English in China, but I've read a few posts on the subject. And if I'm not mistaken, some teacher's contracts warn of being fined if he/she speaks Chinese in the classroom. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

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ChTTay

Silent has got it right.

The younger the better for students to start learning in an English environment. They don't need to use Chinese at all really, especially when they've got used to the class environment. After a few lessons they quickly learn the mean key class commands like 'sit down', 'stand up, 'drink water', 'go to the bathroom' , 'be good' etc

 

Teachers use gestures, visual clues, flashcards, real objects, etc to teach. If you are teaching clothes... just show a photo of or bring in some real clothes, when you teach colors, have the colors there ...

 

You really want to avoid speaking any Chinese. Parents don't want it, schools don't want it. As a native speaker you aren't there to speak Chinese.

 

As for employment, it might be useful if you work in a government school but it's unlikely to mean more money. It might just make communication a bit easier depending on the level of the Chinese teachers there. At our private language school it makes no difference if you speak it or not.

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Angelina

You won't need to speak fluent Mandarin in the classroom, it's actually better to avoid it, it's better to keep an English-only environment. 

 

Parents don't want it, schools don't want it. As a native speaker you aren't there to speak Chinese.

 

Spot on. 

 

 

However, it can certainly be useful to speak Mandarin when networking. 

 

if I can expect to make more money teaching English in China if I have the ability to speak Chinese

 

Yes, if you speak Mandarin you can meet more people and network better. Will it be cost-effective to invest in learning Mandarin. I'm not sure. Can it help? Certainly. 

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ablindwatchmaker

 

Will it be cost-effective to invest in learning Mandarin

 

I'm in my fourth year, and the cost-effective ship sailed a long time ago.

 

Right now my main reason for studying Chinese is to eventually start my own business in China. My plan was to try to work two jobs in China because 14,000 RMB is not enough to achieve my financial goals--I need to make above 20,000 RMB a month to justify living in China and teaching English.

Is 20,000-25,000 RMB per month possible from teaching English? Assume I have a degree, TEFL cert (not CELTA), two semesters of English composition tutoring, and about 3 years of management experience in warehousing and logistics (I know, completely unrelated) . I'm 30 years old, white, and have blond hair lol.

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Angelina

Maybe you should get CELTA or Trinity. Even if you are not planning to work in EFL long term. If I were blond and a native speaker of English, I would have done it.

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ChTTay

20,000RMB is pretty unrealistic as is working two jobs.

Firstly, your residence permit is tied to your job so a second job would be illegal. Any professional school probably wouldn't hire you. If you got caught you'd likely get fined and deported so say goodbye to starting a business.

Apart from that, If you worked for a private language company you'd likely be on around 20 hours a week by these would be spread out. It's unlikely you could find a job that fit exactly within these times or at least enough work to hit your target of 20k. Also, you would have planning to do and perhaps office hours.

University jobs have low hours (14 a week) and are Momday to Friday so you might be able to fit a job around that. Again though, it would be an illegal one.

Often doing a bit of tutoring on the side can be easy to get away with but having a whole second job will likely lead to being caught.

Your experience and qualifications aren't enough to get you any more money than the average for s teacher. You would not get hired in management position even with your unrelated experience in management. If you happen to have a degree in Education then maybe. A CELTA would open doors to larger companies like EF and WSE.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

Often doing a bit of tutoring on the side can be easy to get away with but having a whole second job will likely lead to being caught.

 

The goal is not to have two jobs, the goal is to reach 20k per month. People I met in Beijing said I might be able to pull off tutoring as much as 10 hours per week. If I could make 200 RMB per hour tutoring, that would be 8k per month. Assuming compensation of 12k from a legit job.

 

Is there anything wrong with this idea?

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ChTTay

Didn't you just say ..."My plan was to try to work two jobs in China "

It might technically be possible but I wouldn't want to live your life. Let's say you did 25 hours a week in a decent school (to get 12k) then you're probably looking at 2 more office hours and 10 hours planning (at least at first) which is 37 hours devoted to that job. Then, you've got travel time. It might be your one on one students are not that close to you OR you job isn't that close. So you've got potential commute time on top of this. Then of course the time doing the 1 on 1 classes, of which you may not get 200b if you go through an agency.

Then, on top of that most good schools will have a clause in the contract against doing any other work. You might not get deported but you could get fired.

It sounds like you're fairly set on giving this a try so good luck anyway! Let us know how it goes!

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ZhangKaiRong

Am I the only one who find it ridiculous that mere English teaching is much more profitable than professional (finance, engineering) jobs?  :roll:

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ChTTay

I'm very happy about it actually.

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ZhangKaiRong

Good pocket money for students studying in China, but I never considered it as a serious job at all compared to professional fields. It's a shame that professionals with up to 4 years of overseas experience and fluency in Mandarin are paid less than a beginner English teacher. I don't blame English teachers about this because this whole inequality is caused by the stupid Asian way of thinking that white people can be only good for teaching English  :roll:

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Angelina

whole inequality is caused by the stupid Asian way of thinking that white people can be only good for teaching English   :roll:

 

It's caused by the competition for all other jobs. If someone wants to works as an engineer in China, this person will be competing against Chinese engineers, who are competitive and there is a lot of them, and they don't need a work visa. 

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ZhangKaiRong

Yes, but that's a valid point only for entry level jobs. 3 years experience at an MNC in a developed country vs the same amount and at the same MNC in China cannot be compared. You learn much more in Europe than in China, and the learning curve is steeper in the Western side of the world (and no, at reputable workplaces we don't work less than the Chinese, that's the ultimate rubbish nonsense what I get even from highly educated Chinese friends on this matter).

I have some particular bad experience with joint projects with Chinese MNC offices, where people with the same years of experience and in the same position performed way below expectations compared to their Western counterpants.

Another problem is that HR people in China just don't live in the real world. An HR from one of the big4s contacted me about a quite special finance-related new position they had, they were particularly looking for a foreigner who has some years of experience in the field and who is fluent in both English and Chinese. Sounded cool, but the package they offered was simply ridiculous if I compare it to the numbers OP mentioned some posts above. I turned it down and said good luck finding anybody with the said parameters who is skilled enough and willing to take this job for this package...

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Angelina

Another problem is that HR people in China just don't live in the real world. An HR from one of the big4s contacted me about a quite special finance-related new position they had, they were particularly looking for a foreigner who has some years of experience in the field and who is fluent in both English and Chinese.

 

A Chinese person I know was telling me how his friend owns a resort and they were looking for a foreigner to work there because they needed help to attract foreign tourists. 

 

Then he send me the 要求

 

1、西方脸

 

 

结果,I asked him if they are looking for a face or for a human being. Then he was like, well, you know. 

 

BTW He was asking me to help him find such a person, he didn't offer this job to me.

 

I would suggest people to stay out of jobs like that. 

 

To be honest I think the well-paid jobs in China (especially Chinese companies) can be found by networking, I'm not sure if HR people would offer those jobs to people outside their personal network. Maybe HR working with foreign companies in China will be different. 

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ChTTay

I would say .... 8-10k average for a new English teacher in a big city (Shanghai, Beijing, etc) and this drops to around 6-7k in a small place like Chengdu or even smaller like Yinchuan.

 

Sometimes the salaries look bigger as companies throw in the 'housing allowance' in the the overall figure. Often they don't give you this as cash if they have apartments available themselves.

 

Regarding race/nationalitiy and teachin English, it's not just a Chinese thing.

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ZhangKaiRong

6-7k seems realistic. When I studied in China, we often taught English during the weekends, language schools paid 120 to 180 RMB per 45 minutes, but of course they knew that we were students and shouldn't be teaching. However, 8-10k is a good money at a big city, compared to professional entry level jobs, which starts with 6-7k even in Shanghai. Senior professionals with 2-3 years of experience get 9-10k. Being an executive with 10+ years experience pays off well, so to say, they earn 40-50k+ per month. Expat packages are also OK.

 

I know it's not just a Chinese thing, same things are going on in Korea, Japan, etc., this is why I mentioned Asians and not Chinese.

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Shelley
The goal is not to have two jobs

 

200 RMB per hour tutoring, that would be 8k per month. Assuming compensation of 12k from a legit job.

 

Doesn't this add up to 2 jobs?

 

I hope it works out for you and the money you get is worth the stress and hard work mentioned by others.

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Angelina

Kindergartens in Shenzhen pay well, a job paying 15,000 a month will be easy to find. I am not sure about top-paying jobs. You can try tutoring on the side if you want. 

 

Get your CELTA and go there! 

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