Teaching English in China: 5 Things You Need to Know

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Jul 16, 2013 / 0 comments

Is one of your dream goals to teach English in China? You may have always been fascinated by Chinese culture (and Chinese food?). You might want to live and work in a different country. You might be working on your language skills, or are ready to immerse yourself in a different culture. You might want to teach overseas –and China has a plethora of opportunities! Whatever your reasons, there is definitely a need for native English teachers. Soon, you’ll be on an adventure of a lifetime!


Here are 5 things you need to know about teaching English in China:

1.    Know your geography – and weather. China is an enormous country! Where would you like to live, and teach? If you’re a big city person, head to Beijing or Shanghai. Prefer smaller cities? Choices abound. Also think about what weather you prefer – for China has a wide climate range!

2.    What level do you want to teach? Are you more comfortable with little kids, or college students? Do you prefer private or public schools? What about an international school? What size classes are you comfortable with? You will need to know your preferences before you begin looking for teaching jobs in China.

3.    WHY do you want to teach English in China? This is sure to come up in interviews, so think clearly and be prepared. You may have always longed to live in and explore Chinese culture, want to expand your cultural horizons, be entranced with a certain geographic area, or you may just love teaching and have something to offer these new students. Whatever it is, polish your answer and feel it, with all your heart.

4.    Requirements – do you fulfill them? The Chinese government stipulates that teachers must be a native English speaker, have a university degree, be between 24-55 years old, have two years work experience, be TEFL certified, and have teaching experience. If you don’t fulfill these requirements, and you still want to teach in China, work on your cv to fulfill your dream!

5.    Do your research (again). When you find schools you’re interested in, research everything – location, salary and benefits, job requirements, visas, if airfare is included, local cost of living, and more. Talk with other English teachers at that location. Read the fine print, and be sure that all your questions are answered before committing to a contract. You want to embark on a great adventure – so be sure to cross your Ts and dot your is before you begin.

teaching in China

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/togawanderings/