How to Teach English in China

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Teaching English overseas is one of the most popular ways to secure a job overseas. Foreign languages are in demand across the globe, but English tends to be the dominant one. That means, if you’re a native English speaker, it will be fairly easy for you to get into teaching English in China. If you’ve decided you want to teach English in China, it can be quite intimidating getting started so here are our suggestions:

Figure Out Where You Want to be Based
China is huge, and if you haven’t been there before, you might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to choose somewhere to base yourself. Do some research into different cities and regions to see what appeals to you. If you want to live in a big city, there are so many to choose from. I suggest looking at the travel guides for those cities to see what kind of things you can do during your time off.

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Decide on What Age Group You Want to Teach
There’s a pretty big difference between teaching little kids to teaching adults. Some people prefer to teach older, more mature students while others prefer teaching younger kids. It doesn’t matter what your preference is, but you do need to figure it out so that you can start applying for the right jobs. Obviously if you’re teaching adult students or high school students, their English levels and requirements are probably a lot more advanced than for three year olds. The flip side of that is younger students tend to have smaller attention spans and can present behavioural challenges.

Treat it Like Any Other Job Hunt
Chances are you’ll need to create a cover letter and CV for your application. At this stage, some people prefer to contact schools directly while others prefer to go through an organisation. There’s really no right or wrong way, but often organisations can be helpful in negotiating contract terms for you, which can help take a bit of the pressure off. There are a number of website forums where you can ask other wannabe teachers, current teachers or past teachers for advice. My favourite is Dave’s ESL cafe which you can visit here which even has employment opportunities on it too.

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Be Prepared for an Interview
Skype has made interviews even easier when you’re dealing with large distances. You will need to prepare yourself incase of interview with the school or company you’re going through. Keep in mind the following questions and prepare answers in advance:

Why do you want to live in China?

How will you deal with culture shock/homesickness?

What kind of travel have you done in the past?

Why are you interested in teaching?

What is your teaching style?

How do you deal with students when they are not paying attention?

Get Ready for China:
Once everything’s been approved, you’ll need to get ready for your big move. Grabbing a Chinese phrasebook will be one of the best investments you’ll make. Also don’t forget to take some of your favourite foods with you, as chances are the food available in China is quite different. And last of all, get ready for a life changing experience where you’ll be exposed to a new culture, new friends and a new lifestyle.

Photos: InterExchange USA used under Creative Commons License

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