It’s surprisingly easy to find a job as a teacher in China. Since 2001 it’s been compulsory in the Chinese syllabus to teach English. A bi-product of this change was higher demand in native English speakers to aid the students learning. Research into foreign language adoption found that if a student doesn’t pick up a new language before reaching puberty, it is unlikely they will have the correct pronunciation in later life.
Therefore, there has been a huge demand for English teachers in China who supplement children’s language acquisition through activity-based learning. This happens through listening, writing, reading, acting and a variety of other methods which provide the children with opportunities to experience the language in ways which facilitate their learning style.
One quick google search and a finders fee of between £150-500 and you have yourself a connecting agent (for free if your connecting agent is the UK government but you’ll have to go through a longer process). Included in this price, you’ll get assistance with attaining your Chinese visa and they’ll also connect you with a school in China. Some companies also provide a TEFL course (usually 120 hours long) as part of this fee. Let me tell you how this might actually be a bad thing.
Some connecting agents only charge £150 and this will get you: A TEFL, a job and it will faciliate the legalisation process (although you’ll pay for legal fees yourself). These agents usually offer TEFL’s which will only land you a job at particular Chinese acadamys. These chinese acadamies don’t pay very well so when you find yourself wanting to change jobs at the end of the contract you’ll need to do another TEFL. This happened to me. Some TEFL’s are not part of the “acceptable list” within the chinese visa office. This means that when they are checking your documents before giving you the visa, they will not accept your documentation. I recommend The TEFL Academy as i did their 165 hour course to land my most recent job here in China.
Another part in which the price of connection agents varies so drastically is the pre-arrival assistance, attaining a Chinese visa is very difficult although made very easy if you go through a good company who know what they are doing.
If you want to have a smooth ride, use The china teaching experience, everyone I’ve met who used him had the smoothest experience.
Interestingly enough, the highest paying jobs are not very good at international advertising. those which are being internationally advertised are paying a hefty wage towards your connecting agent, reducing the money you take home to keep enabling the adventure.
If want to get the best opportunities you need to know someone on the inside. That’s exactly why we have made our travel planner. The travel planner works by taking all the best local jobs and advertises them to a global audience.
Entry level TEFL postitons provided by most easy to find connection agents will offer between ¥12,000 - ¥16,000 before tax. Then in your second year you can increase this to up to about ¥18,000 after negotiating with your agent if you take on more working hours. Then the medium end TEFL postions which are a little harder to find, but our travel plannercan land you with around ¥16,000 - ¥22,000 before tax a month. Top TEFL positions are usually reserved for referred teachers and experienced teachers but again they can be found in the same place as the latter. The positions can get you up to ¥26,000 a month before tax. If you want to get more than ¥26,000 i recommend getting a PGCE. If you have a PGCE you could be looking at ¥26,000-¥32,000 before tax a month if your also from a top university with full-time teaching experince. However, if your being paid the top salary, you have to work for it. You need to ask yourself, are you here to earn, or are you here to experience a flexible working lifestyle. Comment below to tell us what you want from your teaching job.
Chinese children are universally recognised to work very hard in preparation for the notoriously difficult goakao exam in Grade 12. The results of goakoa decide the rest of the Chinese students working life, if they do well they can go to university, if they do not they are sent to “trade schools” – as my work colleague describes. Aspiring foreign teachers may be wondering whether they’d be expected to facilitate these working hours, the answer is no. Using Shanghai as an example, if you work in urban areas like downtown Shanghai you could expect 20/30 35 minute lessons a week with office hours. However, if you work in suburban areas like Jiading, Qingpu and Chongming Districts you’ll likely get half as many lessons per week with no office hours. I worked and lived Jiading District, for my first year. Here I had 17 lessons a week spread between 2 schools, getting between those schools is remarkably cheap and easy.
In Tier 1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen public transport costs roughly 2rmb (24p) for a bus journey around the city whilst the metro costs 3rmb (35p) for less than 6 kilometres. The “Shanghai Public Transportation Card” can be purchased and topped up at most metro stations, and will work on most forms of public transport (including taxis). The card can be purchased for 20rmb (£2.35) which acts as a deposit, and can be traded back in upon departure. As for taxi’s the Chinese uber equivalent “DiDi” dominates the market. If you’ve not got internet, and your hailing down a cab from the side of the road try and use your transporation card here too, usually the metered fairs are reasonable. If you stay out later than 11pm taxi’s are your best bet in getting home as most buses and all metro lines are closed by this time. DiDi is my recommendation, very professional.
Downtown shanghai is popular with expats, particularly the French concession area but this will cost you around 8,000-12,000rmb p/m (£940-£1410) for a 2 bedroom apartment, with 1 bedroom apartments being harder to find if you’re on a budget. If you decide to live in the sub-urban districts, Chinese schools usually pay slightly more to accommodate for inconvenience for being away from the other expats, however if you’re going for a more authentic feel this is the perfect option. The housing in my old suburb was roughly 4000-5000rmb p/m (£470-£590) for a 2 bedroom apartment, I lived in a relatively modern house too! If you’d like to start looking for a place before you come, Smart Shanghai has an expat friendly site with a huge housing section. Wechat is also a great way to find a place online before coming, if you’d like to move to Shanghai comment below and I’ll reply with a few Wechat accounts you’ll find useful. If you want more information similar to this please subscribe for more details.
There are many people looking for online TEFL English teachers. Our Tripapt team is connected with many families looking for tutors because it’s one of the methods our founding team used whilst growing our website to stay afloat. So, if you’d like a great online family to work for please enquire below!