Teach English in China

Details

Demand

Vey high

Busiest

Jan-Dec

All Year

Currency

¥

Renmibi, AKA Yuan (CNY)

Contract

1-12 months+

Normally

Taxes

Acceptable

Summary
China’s attitude to westerners has softened greatly, and there are over 400 million English language students across this vast country, so demand for teachers is massive.
Main TEFL regions
Shanghai, Guiyang, Hangzong, Kunming, Yinchaun, Yan'an, Yanliang, Weinan, Xianyang, Lianyungang, Wuhan, Zhengzhon, Dalian, Jinan, Xian, Dandong, Shenyang, Tangshan, Beijing; and many other smaller towns and cities and rural areas.
Types of teaching
State and private secondary schools: General English
Colleges and universities: General English, Business English
State and private primary schools: General English, English for Younger Learners
Foreign language institutes: General English, Business English
Teacher training colleges: General English, English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
In-house company training: General English, Business English, ESP
Private tuition: General English, Business English, ESP
Accommodation
This is usually provided by your employer, and you’ll share with other English teachers. The quality of accommodation can vary from very comfortable to basic, but most are of a good standard.
Flight reimbursement
This depends on your employer, although many schools offer a bonus on completion of a 12-month contract.
Salary
There’s a big salary range depending on your qualifications, where you work and for how many hours per week: anywhere between US$400-1,400.
Taxes
At the lower end of this salary range, you will pay around 11% of your income as tax; at the higher end it’ll be closer to 16%.
Cost of living
This can be very low for those who eat local food and travel on cheap public transport or on the ubiquitous bicycles. If you live in a rural area, you may have no choice but to cook your own food, but don’t be surprised if the curious locals offer you Chinese cooking lessons!
Potential to save money
If you land a good job you could save US$500 or more per month, but foreign exchange in China is tightly controlled, so negotiate a clause in your contract that allows you to convert this money to your home currency.
How much TEFL training is recommended?
You only need a university degree to get a job, and in some workplaces you don’t even need that. However, to maximize your earnings, you’ll need a decent TEFL qualification.
Common teaching conditions
As conditions can vary between posts, you should negotiate your circumstances and timetable wherever possible. Expect to teach for 15-25 hours per week, but classes can be big (sometimes with over 50 students) and you should set aside time for extra-curricular commitments such as marking.

Be aware…

In the past, it was common to enter China on a 1-3 month tourist visa and then your school issued the work visa in-country. But the Chinese authorities are cracking down on this practice and you could find yourself fined.

Due to foreigners keeping their options open by accepting multiple jobs, many language institutes found themselves without a teacher. For this reason, once you’ve found work independently, it is important to keep in touch with your employer until your arrival, or you could find yourself without a job!