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


ablindwatchmaker

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ChTTay

Shenzhen wages do seem higher generally. I would say the average there is still about 10-12k for a new teacher though - either 1 year or less experience. A friend lives down there and has a pretty easy life for the money, works a lot less than he did in Beijing for roughly the same wage.

 

Most teaching jobs in China don't require a CELTA either. I would say being able to claim 2 years relevant experience is more of a stumbling block currently. Even the Shenzhen jobs I just had a look at only say 'TEFL' which really means they don't care what you have as long as it will be accepted by the education dept.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

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

 

Haha yeah! Well...we will see lol. That's still about a year away, so who knows. Thanks for the advice, I learned a lot I wasn't aware of.

 

 

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

 

Well, people make millions of dollars a year for doing things like throwing footballs, playing video games, and singing terrible music. Financial compensation is only loosely related to one's value to humanity, if at all. Supply and demand rules all... :(

 

 

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

 

Hopefully I can get most of my hours from actual teaching. I'm also hoping that after my first year I'll be able to command a little more income and not rely on supplemental income as much.

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noony1990

There are a heap of kindergarten positions out there. But they can be tiring and hard work. Remember cost relativity, 8000 RMB in an inexpensive smaller city can be better than more in an expensive environment. 20,000 RMB per month seems a damn long distance away from the average native wage in China best of luck with it but i think your gonna have to work bloody hard for that mate. Its a fair wage in England never-mind China. Very best of luck though and I recommend growing that 关系 to the max.  

 

Ben Noon

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ablindwatchmaker

 

Remember cost relativity

 

I know, the problem is that I need something comparable to an American salary, even a very mediocre one, in order to ever do anything with my life in the long run. I wish I had studied engineering with the amount of time I've put in. I'm starting to wonder if learning Chinese was the dumbest decision I ever made.

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ZhangKaiRong

IMO a Chinese major itself is not a good choice in terms of futural prospects - unlesd you want to be a rrsearcher or interpreter/translator. What my Chinese teacher told us continuosly, starting from the very first class, that you need good professional expertise (something that makes you unique in China) and good command of Chinese (which is a tool that makes you able to share your expertise in the Chinese business environment). I really envied Chinese major guys who progressed far more quickly than us in business/finance, as they only had classes related to Chinese. However, we caught up with them in one year in China, and they slowed down in terms of useful language skills. Most of them had problems finding a job not just in China, but in our home country as well. Sad story.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

Most of them had problems finding a job not just in China, but in our home country as well. Sad story.

 

Yep. It's my story. Many bad decisions leading to this point. I avoided the more practical majors because I didn't have the prerequisites, hated the material, and didn't want to delay graduation by more than a year. Now I've delayed graduation anyway, can't speak or understand the Chinese delivery guy after 4 years (no dialect), and have no other expertise. The only thing I am good at, which is arguing with people, isn't provable or valuable. Bad decisions... My Chinese instructor told me my foundation was bad and that I lacked understanding of crucial points pertaining to basic Chinese sentence structure. I thought that I was decent because my pronunciation was significantly better than my classmates and thought I had a comparative advantage (true in the beginning when sensory perception was important), but now I have fallen far behind many of my classmates. It's profoundly depressing to realize the opportunity costs associated with learning Chinese. Unfoetuantely, you can't see it until you've spent thousands of hours and years of blood sweat and tears.

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Gonna chip in on a few points in this thread with my honest opinions.  For a start I generally found speaking Chinese doesn't help much with wage expectation; a professional teaching degree or certificate will though.  Don't try to get an American salary, it won't happen even with starting your own business (unless you are very lucky).  The chances are low.  Secondly, professional jobs in China more than English teaching (even international schools, IELTS teachers included).  Now let me go on explaining why I came to these conclusions.  I am a software engineer by trade with 4 years experience, In the Chinese software market I am offered minimum 20k, whilst I have seem some jobs offer 25-35k kuai monthly.  (5 years experience).  Free housing included.  Chinese citizens would be on around 12k-20k and I know people who are.  Whilst I'd say the situation is slightly more favorable for TEFL teachers over Chinese citizens it is slowly turning against under qualified expats.  TEFL teachers in Beijing would also be on around the same wage (12-20k).  This all comes from experience as originally my company in  London originally moved me here on to work in a smaller city on around 30k a month.  I loved it and now it was obvious why; tons of money, tons of holiday leave, actually felt proud of myself - and my career.  

 

When my company wanted me to come back I quit to try out TEFL teaching.  However from a career perspective... it was not a good choice.  The head teacher of my school was paid less than I was before... and upon returning home having a six month break... not so good on my CV.  However from a different angle there are many upsides to teaching.  It's an easy job and I feel that it's a lot less qualified (even professional teachers), than private sector jobs.  It's fun and the kids are amazing, you get to experience a new culture!  You should really concentrate on these things.

 

To sum up if you come here trying to earn an American wage and I forgot to mention my salary is a UK salary, in America it'd be like 40-50k a month.  It's not gonna happen.  Even 15k for having no qualified teaching experience will be a good offer.

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LongYiFan

Was reading through this thread and felt the need to chime in clear a few things up for the OP. 

OP, I currently live in China and earn 20,000+ teaching at an international school. I know quite a few guys who are non-natives, with dubious degrees, clearing around that working a few jobs. It is VERY realistic. It does take effort though. 

If you have a degree and/or experience teaching subjects like Economics, Physics, Math or Business then I would strongly suggest you look at international schools. Or, come to China, work at kiddie schools a few years, increase your Mandarin skill-set and network. 

If you work hard enough, it is definitely doable! 

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ablindwatchmaker

Thanks for all of the good advice on here, as usual! To summarize, it sounds like it is doable but won't be easy. It's still a more than a year away, so I have time before any big decisions have to be made. By the way, the TEFL certification available through my university is the official CELTA, so I'm hoping that will help.

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Why would it not help to be able to speak Chinese when all English classes in China, even up to university level are taught by Chinese people, primarily in Chinese. Forget about kindergarten level, all the way to University level its taught in Chinese. I'm not saying its a good method, in fact its awful but its certainly what they are used to.

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ChTTay

 

Why would it not help to be able to speak Chinese when all English classes in China, even up to university level are taught by Chinese people

 

So you think that Chinese students are paying to go to a private language school, have 1 on 1 classes or whatever ... so they can be taught in Chinese by a foreigner? A foreigner who is likely a native speaker of the language he speaks ... but instead is using (likely) not so good Chinese to teach instead? Even if it's at a government school, the 'draw' of the class/school is that they have a foreign native speaker.

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So you think that Chinese students are paying to go to a private language school, have 1 on 1 classes or whatever ... so they can be taught in Chinese by a foreigner? A foreigner who is likely a native speaker of the language he speaks ... but instead is using (likely) not so good Chinese to teach instead? Even if it's at a government school, the 'draw' of the class/school is that they have a foreign native speaker.

 

The university I go to the English is taught by a Chinese person. They have a teacher from England as well but he just helps with pronunciation because he doesn't speak Chinese he can't actually teach the class as a whole. Why not? I don't agree with it either but that's just what they prefer.

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ChTTay

I would strongly disagree that it's what "they" prefer.

The fact that the demand for foreign language teachers far out strips the supply of those available, the increasing number of private language schools, the cost people are willing to pay to hire a foreigner teacher ... All would suggest against such a preference.

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Angelina

An English teacher can be able to speak Chinese, but not use it during class. Obviously, the ability to speak Chinese can only help you get a job. You will understand Chinese society better, you will know more people, not to mention how you can improve your understanding of second language acquisition.

I am not sure if it is cost effective to invest your time in learning Chinese if your goal is to get a job where you will be teaching English. If you are interested in Chinese, you should learn it, it's not like it will hurt your chances, on the contrary, learning Chinese can be helpful.

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I would strongly disagree that it's what "they" prefer. 

 

Ok...you may disagree but its still a fact. Otherwise obviously the English guy would be teaching the class, especially since all the Chinese English teachers teach grammar wrong and have awful pronunciation. I even had some students in the class I'm in asking me to teach English 'because I'd be great cos I could explain everything in Chinese'.

 

An English teacher can be able to speak Chinese, but not use it during class.

 

Yes...except they do use Chinese - a lot, in fact almost the entire content of the class is Chinese language. Just go to Youtube and watch some classes of English being taught in China in classes or even on TV. Why would you think its any different from in the west? When I learnt French in school pretty much the entire lesson was English so if the teacher couldn't speak English how in the hell would she get the job??

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Angelina

The question OP raised was whether speaking fluent Chinese can be helpful when looking for a job as an English teacher?
-Definitely.

Now, whether it pays off to learn Chinese just to improve your chances I am not sure.

When it comes to teaching, when I am learning a language I prefer to think in that language. You might want to ask yourself, XiaoXi, why do many Chinese teachers of English have a bad grammar and bad pronunciation. They are teaching their students how to pass the 高考 or the 六级 exam. This has to be taught in Chinese. If they were teaching their students how to speak English, they would be delivering their lectures in English.

My Sanskrit teacher is teaching us using Chinese because: 1. Except for me all the students in the class understand Chinese better than all other languages; 2. He is teaching Sanskrit grammar, he is not teaching us how to speak Sanskrit.

English is not Sanskrit. It is much better for the students to have the entire lesson in English. Unless we are talking about exam preparation, which English classes at public schools in China in fact are.

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OMG please people don't misunderstand me, I'm a million percent against this method. I think if you want to teach English, speak English, if you want to teach Chinese, speak Chinese. I was merely stating that in schools all across China English is taught by Chinese people because they can deliver the class in Chinese. In fact that's how languages are taught pretty much everywhere in the world. Go to youtube and look up how many lessons teaching Chinese are 90% English. Its just standard everywhere because its 'comfortable'. People by nature, especially kids - well teenagers anyway, don't want to move out of their comfort zone.

 

The OP wasn't asking what the best teaching method is, he was asking if he could get more work if he could speak Chinese. I'm sure he could.

 

Please let's not turn this into a discussion about what is better. Anyone knows that the school methods for teaching languages suck like you wouldn't believe.

 

"but its still a fact"

 

Wow.

 

Ok maybe they don't prefer it but that's what they do in all the schools. If they don't prefer then how did it get that way? At the very least whoever sets up the curriculum prefers it. Of course there are demands for foreigners because they have native level grammar and pronunciation. Foreigners typically don't speak Chinese or at least if they do its not at a level where they could teach a lesson in it...so English learners in China are used to them not being able to speak it but that doesn't automatically mean they wouldn't prefer it if they could.

 

Why do you think every Chinese person teaching Chinese to foreigners can speak English and has to use it a lot?

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ZhangKaiRong

"Why do you think every Chinese person teaching Chinese to foreigners can speak English and has to use it a lot?"

That's not true. When I started to learn Chinese in my home country, we had two teachers: a Chinese native speaker and a local teacher. The local teacher carried out the classes (2x90 mins) in our native language, we covered a lot of grammar points and translation with him. The Chinese teachers's English was non-existent, and on her classes we exclusively used Chinese even since our first class.

In China I attended intermediate courses, and we used zero English. Even the 语法课 was taught in Chinese, and our book didn't have any English - and it helped a lot, actually!

Only the very basic, Chinese from zero group had English as the mean of communication, and only in the first semester...

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Angelina

I was merely stating that in schools all across China English is taught by Chinese people because they can deliver the class in Chinese. 

 

I am not sure I will be able to prepare Chinese students to do well on their exams even if I delivered English classes in Chinese. Since Chinese education is pretty much exam-oriented, those who hire teachers prefer to hire someone who knows how to get children 满分 when they take the 英语 part of the 高考 instead of someone who will actually teach the students how to speak English.

 

Also, some local Chinese teachers of English have the guanxi I don't have. 

 

In fact that's how languages are taught pretty much everywhere in the world.

 

Do you have the statistics to back it up? 

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