Reasons for teaching and living in China
Firstly, leaving any negatives about your own country to one side, there are many reasons to come and teach in China:
- There is no stress. Lessons are cheerful, blissful and have absolutely zero pressure.
- Full time is considered 80 hours………..a month! Yes that’s right!
- Many companies allow you to manage your schedule and ask for your availability.
- As a native or fluent English speaker there is absolutely no problem getting a job in whatever part of China you want.
- There aren’t many meetings. Some companies don’t have any.
- There are no bills. You have to pay for your water, gas and electricity meters using a card, it’s really cheap and lasts for months. In smaller places you may need to pay for a gas cylinder. The most expensive thing is your phone card which comes to about fifteen pounds a month, that’s around twenty three dollars. Admittedly I don’t have a car. I don’t need one and I’m happy to leave the extra stress of maintenance and all the outgoings that go with it to the wayside.
- Chinese people are the friendliest and most helpful bunch you will come across. Your students will be interested in their lessons and really appreciate you being there to teach them.
- You get to learn Chinese; you absorb it naturally as part of your environment.
- You will be working and living in an absolutely fascinating country with an endless source of amazing places to visit.
- Generally China is a really safe place. Yes of course we read various shock-horror stories about it and no country is completely secure but generally in a country of almost 1.4 billion relatively it’s fairly harmless. Beijing is the safest city I’ve ever lived in.
- You can sleep in the office during opening hours as long as it’s away from the students. Just find any quiet space and crash out for as long as need be. This is perfectly acceptable in any establishment and it’s normal to see people sound asleep, using their arms as pillows across their desk. If there are sofas or any comfy chairs this will of course be first choice, lunch times and mid afternoon being good times to crash out. People will continue working as per normal around sleeping people
Myths about teaching English in China
Many ‘non-teachers’ are immediately put off at the thought of teaching let alone teaching in China. The notion is something that never comes into the equation, seeming to be an impossible thought that’s far out of reach. Let’s put a few of the misconceptions to rest then:
- If you’re free or able to drop what you are doing for a while, coming to the PRC is easier than you think. At the very least you can fly over to Hong Kong where you can easily get a Chinese visa. Most Western people don’t need a visa to get into Hong Kong at all. Just get yourself over there and then start to do the work. The best place to go by far is called Forever Bright at fbt.chinavisa.com.hk. It’s so handy that they even give you a map you can print off and give to a taxi driver. Information is up to date and prices are reasonable. From there you can step cross the border next door into the city of Shenzhen, China no problem.
- You don’t need to arrange a job beforehand. The best thing to do is get yourself across the water and into China first and then get a job. Getting work is really simple once you have entered the country. While I was working in Korea I sent many letters to different companies along with my CV and didn’t hear anything. The first job I got when finally returning to China was from an unarranged interview where I walked into the office and put my CV on the reception desk and asked to see the manager.
- Finding work is simple. Just go online, type in the city you are in for example ‘TEFL/TESL jobs Shenzhen China’ and start writing down those phone numbers. Someone who can speak English should be somewhere in the officeAlternatively you can leave a message here or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on getting some work in China.
- You don’t need a TEFL or any language certificate to teach English in China. Admittedly regulations may vary from place to place; Beijing tightens its rules every year or so and then it slackens off again. Generally, as an English speaker you can literally walk into a job wherever you want. Take your pick!
- You don’t have to be a qualified teacher. Most English teachers in China aren’t!
- You don’t need any experience as a teacher. Many English teachers don’t.
- You don’t have to be a native English speaker. As long as you can speak fluently with no effort you will definitely be able to get work in whichever place you decide to go.
- You don’t need to be a grammar wizard. Most students just want to put what they already know into practice and probably won’t ask you about it in a spoken English class. If you are teaching from a text book you can just find what you need easily from the internet and prepare the night beforehand.
- You don’t have to use Power Point in classes. Of course you can and I’ve met people who can do amazing PPT’s but really you don’t have to. I have never used one the whole time I’ve been abroad and similarly, I’ve also met some amazing teachers who never go near a computer.
- You don’t need to speak Chinese in your classes. Of course students may communicate in Chinese at times with their classmates, but largely when they come through your door they pass an invisible barrier which says English speaking only. I’ve even come across students complaining if their teacher speaks Chinese in class.
Categories: 09 - About Teaching in China