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Teaching in an International school in China vs HK?


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Hi everyone,


I am looking for some advice as I am interested in teaching in an international school in China( preferably near Shenzhen) or Hong Kong. As I have a daughter and we want her to get into an international school, I am aiming for a school which has free tuition provided for the employee's offspring, and preferably also with free housing/housing allowance provided. 


A little about myself: I can speak and write Chinese fluently (My Cantonese is better than my Mandarin). I was mainly schooled in US and have also studied in Hong Kong before, hence the Chinese-speaking ability. I have the CELTA certification, and I majored in Business Economics in a well-known university in US and minored in accounting. I can also speak intermediate Japanese and beginner's Spanish. However, I do not have much prior teaching experience. I am currently working in e-commerce and have done so for the past 5 years. 


Based on the above information, I have the following questions:


-How hard would it be for me to get a job in HK/Shenzhen in an international school which provides housing and free tuition for daughter? 

-Which location would I be more likely to be able to find this job, HK or Shenzhen?

-Any advice to increase my chances to get this kind of job and make myself more desirable to employers?


Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it!

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Almost all International schools require teachers to hold full qualifications in their native country. On top of that, many schools also require at least 2 years experience.

That said, I do know a few people here in Beijing who have gone into Intl school jobs through alternative routes. However, they were already established here as teachers of ESL / kindergarten. They'd been here for a number of years also so had contacts. I also know someone who got a role as a dance teacher at an Intl school but this is slightly different!

Intl schools are free to hire who they want though so you might get lucky and find a role as a business teacher or something. However, as above, without prior experience and the fact you're not already here makes it seem tough. Then you've also got a dependant and are looking for free schooling.

I reckon you'd have more of a chance in an area of mainland China that has some Intl schools but might not be able to attract teachers. It seems HK would be the hardest place to go.

This is just how things seem to me from friends and having lived/worked here for the past 5 years

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I'm afraid ChTTay and Flickserve are right about the issues. Hong Kong isn't a possibility without a teaching credential and most schools want a minimum of two years teaching experience. ESL teaching generally isn't considered to count towards these two years. The really good ones in Hong Kong like Chinese International School or Hong Kong International School will get lots of experienced applicants for each spot.

Mainland China has a slightly more complicated situation. There are English language international schools that only enroll students with kids that do not have passports from Mainland China (these are run/owned by foreigners so the government doesn't allow them to teach Chinese students), then there are private Chinese high schools that run international curriculum (US, Canadian, IB, British), and there are Chinese public high schools that have international sections that run international curriculum. all these types of school either provide housing or housing stipends in China for housing. The quality or amount of stipend varies a lot from place to place.

The Chinese government has tightened up rules for hiring teachers at these types of schools. it may not be impossible to be hired on without a credential, but it does pretty much guarantee you be at a lower tier school. Your language skills, other than you being a native-level English speaker don't account for that much, unless you had the skill level and training to teach one of those as a content area.

if you expanded your consideration to China more broadly beyond Shenzhen you'd likely have more luck. There are online programs that allow you to get your teaching credential. Teacher Ready or Teach Now may lead to a credential, but you'd still be short the two years experience that better schools want.

You may want to check out the International Schools Review free forum for more advice. Other people there had done career changes too to get into teaching.

I hope that helps.


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