Lastly, practice makes perfect. As understanding of the material increases, it will be displayed more naturally. Practice any language activity or game you want to use in the weeks leading up to the Open Door class. Very importantly, go through your Open Door lesson plan with your co-teacher if you have one in the class. Be on the same page together and both know what to do at all times.
I'm sure you remember what it was like? You've worked hard (harder than you probably thought you'd have to, right?) on your TEFL course, completed all of your assignments and learned more grammar structures than you knew existed. Now you've got your teaching certificate in hand and are now looking at the many teaching job adverts online.
So this girl gets in touch about finding a teaching job in China...(that's a great start straight away!), and so we ask her three very simple questions:
1. What ages do you most want to teach?
2. Do you have an location preferences?
3. When are you looking to start?
By asking these three questions down, we can whittle down from a very large number of teaching vacancies to a very small number of relevant choices for her to consider. So, question 1, teaching kids. Great! Question 2....somewhere in the south of China with cleaner air. No problem. Question 3...a year from now. Fantas...wait, did you just say 12 months from now??
When is the best time to apply for teaching jobs in China?
There are two main types of teaching jobs in China. These are with English training schools, which teach students English in the evenings or weekends, and Monday to Friday jobs such as at primary schools, high schools, universities or internation departments.
Now here is the thing; no school in China will be interested in speaking to you one year in advance. Most won't be interested in speaking to you even six months in advance; it's just far too far ahead of time to be applying.
Why is applying for a teaching job in China six months ahead of time too long?
Schools won't really want to speak to you six months ahead of time ever. The girl who applied to us was super efficient and highly organised. Her idea was to beat the crowd, get interviewed for a job early and to get something concrete lined up. There is nothing wrong with that and it is very commendable. However the fact is that this works for her, but it doesn't work for schools in China.
The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly the number of teachers who get cold-feet about coming to teach in China is way more than you would imagine. It's a big, bold step moving to another country and things in life come up which make us have to change our plans. In 50% of cases where a school interviewed a teacher six months ahead of time, then they'd either pull out or emails between both parties would dry up. In short, a waste of everyone's time. Schools just an't afford to do this.
The schools have no idea of their recruitment needs so far in advance
The second, and most important, reason why schools in China don't want to look too early for teachers is because they don't yet know their recruitment needs so far ahead of time. English teachers in China sign rolling one-year contracts. Let's say a school has a team of 5 foreign teachers. Maybe two of these teachers signed a contract with the school during spring, one in the summer and the other two in the autumn. The school is a stable school and usually just needs five teachers. How can the school know if they need a replacement 6-12 months ahead of time? Ideally, the teachers they have will want to stay on (this is always the preferred choice for schools - the parents like and trust the teachers, they don't have to train new staff and go through the titanic hassle of applying for visas for new teachers). They will only need to find a replacement once a teacher confirms that they won't be staying and will be looking for a new job or returning home.
Additionally, student numbers at the school may rise or fall throughout the year, making needing more or less teachers way later in the year a lottery...an expensive lottery. Schools just cannot speak to teachers for jobs a year down the line.
The same thing applies with public schools in China. Contracts are usally for eleven months to cover two academic semesters. Public schools will also not be able to think about hiring new staff until they know that some of their current staff will be 100% crtain of leaving. Then, very begrudgingly, they'll start the arduous process of finding ew teachers. Again, this is the very last thing they'll want to do.
Applying for teaching jobs six months (or even more time than that) is pretty much a waste of your own time as the response you will get back will be negligible. The very optimum time to apply for teaching jobs in China is 12 weeks.
Why is 12 weeks ahead the very best time to be looking for jobs in China?
Appying for teaching jobs in China 12 weeks prior to wanting to start is the very best time to do so because around that time schools will be asking their teachers if they will be staying on or not as they need to plan. The best organised schools will start looking for their new teachers three months ahead of time (never earlier, they simply can't), and so by looking then you'll be lining yourself up with the most-organised schools - never a bad thing at all.
Additionally, the work visa process can take anything from 5-8 weeks, which gives you 4-6 weeks of being able to speak with schools and interview for teaching jobs in good time, unhurried and well-organised. All of the schools you see have vacanices will all be live vacancies, keen to interview you.
12 weeks is also the best time to speak to public schools in China
Let's say you want a university job in China with semesters starting in September and March each year. 12 weeks ahead of time is asl othe best time to appy for these jobs too. Again, the public schools need to know if their current teachers will be staying or not before looking for replacements. Before each semester begins, there is usually a two month break where the staff are home on holidays and so can't interview and doing all the admin work needed to hire you.
By applying 12 weeks in advance for public school jobs in China, you are again putting yourself in the shop window at exactly the right time. You'll get more resume views and attract more interest from the university, high school, etc.
Why is applying through RAY English Recruitment a smart choice?
We are a British-run company based in China. We have a good mix of high ethical standards and professional teacher support mixed with good China know-how. We know the HR departments of the schools and will make sure that your application lands on the right desk and will take priority.
Importantly, we'll make sure that you feel well-looked after at all times and any questions you have will be answered quickly and fully. You are in very good hands with us and you'll be cared for from the moment you apply to when you actually land in China to teach and beyond.
Head over to our jobs page to see what we have for you.
For this lesson, you'll need the Made in Britain DVD. In ordering this, you'll also be helping us.
ESL Adults discussion questions on teenage crime and delinquency
Show the film clips first before having the discussion. Make sure to lead-in to the activity in your own way first.
Lesson written by Stuart Allen
The Guide to Teaching in China has everything you need to know when first coming to teach English in China. How you might get culture shock, the type of Chinese food available, getting around and exploring your new city in China, how much things cost in China, learning the language, what kind of English schools you can find in China, getting a Chinese working visa, and loads more!
The www.rayenglish.com Guide to Teaching in China is your indispensible guide to living and teaching in China and is free to download as a PDF.
Just find the download link at the bottom of this page to download the Guide to Teaching in China.
Why Teach Young Learners in China?
The biggest reason to consider teaching Young Learners in China is really two-fold.
The first, and biggest reason, why you should consider teaching kids in China is because there are just so many jobs available in China for teaching Young Learners. You'll find Young Learner, or Kids' Schools, in ever town and city all over China, and all of these young learner schools in China are looking for foreign TEFL teachers.
The second reason is that children are just a joy to teach and you can have such a big impact in their lives and educational and social development; real teaching.
Relevant Teaching Techniques
Stuart Allen has been teaching for over 15 years and is an expert in the China TEFL industry.
He is the founder and owner of RAY English Recruitment.
We have all heard of, read, or even experienced the horror stories in China that result from a bad contract and school. Unfortunately, these contracts and schools are as common as rice in China. Judging from the numerous blogs, articles, rants and death threats we can read on the internet, one might assume that good doesn’t exist here. Don’t let that deter you! I can confidently say there is still good in the Chinese education system. You just have to do more leg work to find it.
On the surface, many contracts claim to offer all of the same perks, but you must dig deeper to find what lays beneath. The standard contract for a foreign teacher in China should offer the basics. So what are the basics? Here’s a quick run down for all you potential new comers:
Housing or a housing allowance. Your school should either provide you with a roof over your head or the money (separate from your salary) to rent a decent apartment. Don’t expect to be elegantly placed in a suite on the 20th floor of the Hilton, but don’t expect to be holed up in a mud hut either. Depending on your city’s tier, your rent allowance should adjust as well. An apartment isn’t the same price across China, just as it isn’t where ever it is you come from.
Utilities and amenities. Your utilities such as gas, water, and electricity should be paid for by your school. In addition to these utilities, your school should also provide you with internet and cable TV (even though there is a good chance your channels will be utterly horse sh** and your connection will make 56K look like lighting).
Furniture and appliances. The basics should be provided by the school. A bed, desk, sofa, chair, table, etc. As for your kitchen, and bathroom, you should have a refrigerator (or what the Chinese call a refrigerator.... It’s small...), microwave, toaster oven, water heater, and washing machine. Don’t expect top quality appliances though. You are, however, only a humble foreign teacher after all, not an ambassador. They should provide a TV, computer, and house phone as well. Remember, you can always negotiate for more!
Utensils and accessories. Kitchen supplies such as pots, pans, plates, and chop sticks should be provided. Hangers and other little miscellaneous house hold accessories should be provided as well. But, please forgive them if they over look something small!
Transportation. If you don’t live withing walking distance of your school, you should be reimbursed for your transportation costs. Don’t expect to be driven around in a Hummer... Also, remember, what the Chinese consider walking distance probably is a bit different than what you are used too.
Salary. Obviously this is different from school to school, but make sure you do get paid for your work! There is a word that defines forced labor without pay... What was it... Ah yes... Slavery.... I’m guessing you don’t want to be a slave, so make sure you get paid.
Indirect payment. A wide range of possibilities lays under this umbrella. Air fair, a travel subsidy, and contract completion bonus should be paid after the completion of the contract. Once again, the actual amounts of these change from school to school. The school should also provide you with hospitalization and accident insurance.
Holidays, rest, and overtime. You should, I stress should, be given New Years’ Day, Spring Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, May Day, National Day, and other holidays stipulated by Chinese laws and regulations, paid. Remember though, China is on the Lunar Calendar, so these dates change year to year. Depending on your school, summer holiday can be paid or unpaid. Also note, Christmas is not a Chinese holiday and schools are usually open. You can always negotiate to have this day off though! As for rest, this largely depends on the type of school you sign with; private or public. Private schools usually give 1-2 days off during the weekdays. Expect the weekends off at public schools. Your contract should also stipulate how many teaching hours you have in a week, and anything over those hours should be paid extra. Note, if a class is 45 minutes long, this should, be consider one teaching hour. Ask! If it isn’t, try negotiating!
Sick leave and private affair leave. This is largely a foreign concept to schools in China. If you are sick, you are expected to make those days up. However, you can always negotiate and ask for sick days. Private affair leave is also largely unheard of except for emergencies. You are expected to do all your traveling during your holiday time, which is a considerable amount by Western standards.
Different Schools in China
Now for the school. Schools come in many colors, shapes, and sizes... This is China, so literally, the design of the school might be very strange to your eyes! I’ve personally seen a school shaped like a giant apple... I like to think their are only a few types of schools to choose from.
Private language centers. These are centers that students go to during their free time to study English. Usually, the working hours are in the evening and weekends Private schools tend to pay more, but you always have a heavier work load.
Public schools and universities. These are the government schools; the closet you get to a 9-5 job as a teacher. The work load is usually much less, but so is the pay. You are free on the weekends, which is an added bonus. Also, the length of your holidays are exponentially longer. So if you want to travel, aim for these schools.
Large companies and corporations. These companies and corporations usually have a branch overseas or do business in other countries. They hire foreign teachers to help their employees increase their level of business English.
International schools. These schools are usually backed by Western institutions and are catered towards the children of Expats, or the Chinese that want their children to study abroad. These schools loosely resemble our schools in the West. Most of these institutions are legit, and require a Western teaching certificate.
Other things to look for in teaching jobs in China
Management Style. No matter which type of school you feel best suits you, there are a few things to look for. Nobody likes to be micro-managed, so if your school gives you the impression they will hover over you like a ghost, you probably won’t enjoy your time there. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are given complete autonomy over your lessons, it can be a little daunting. It is always nice to be told what material to teach, and you make the lesson plan. Find a school that has a good balance of the two. Your school should provide you with the material you need. Textbooks, paper, pens, toys (depending on age), etc. You shouldn’t be expected to go out and buy these.
Chinese co-teachers. You either love them or you hate them. When dealing with younger students, having a Chinese teacher in the class is a gift from God. They can help with classroom management, translating difficult material, the works. However, sometimes they can over step their boundaries and be a little irritating and make you want to throw a desk at their face! Especially when they feel like they should correct YOUR pronunciation of a word in YOUR native language... (the word I’m thinking about is usually).
Vague answers. When you are in the interview process, and the schools is being very vague in their answers, this should send up red flags. The Chinese tend not to like giving straight answers. If they don’t answer your question straight forward, move on. Ask to see pictures of the school, classroom, your apartment, everything! If they are unwilling to provide you with these, move on. Ask to speak with the old, or current foreign teachers, if they say no, move on.
Established schools. Try to find established schools also. I’m not knocking new schools, but if you are the first foreigner they are hiring, I can promise you your visa application and residence permit will be a headache. It takes a school time, through trial and error, to get you a legal work visa. That being said, NEVER work with any visa other than a valid work visa. If the school tells you to come to China on a tourist visa or business visa, move on. No matter what BS leaves their lips, it is 100% illegal to work on anything but a Z visa.
Location, location, location. Depending on your personal preference, the city where your school is located will affect your attitude and work life. If you are the type of person that requires western amenities and a crazy night life, stick to the bigger tiered cities. If you want the real China experience, head for the smaller tiered cities, or if your brave enough, the sticks, boonies, villages, over the mountain and through the woods....you get the picture.
Research before coming. Obviously, research your school on the internet. Read the reviews past foreigners wrote about the school. However, keep in mind that many foreigners tend to become jaded and leave horrible reviews over petty things. It’s up to you to separate the BS from the real horror. Everybody is different and wants a different China experience, so this advice can only give you an idea of what to look for. Perhaps you want something different. This blog isn’t meant to help you choose a perfect school, It is only a reference. And remember, EVERYTHING in the contract is negotiable, so ask! The worse that can happen is they say “no.” Happy teaching!
by Paul Berger
Paul Berger is an American from California, currently teaching at Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University (黑龙江八一农垦大学）in Daqing, China. He's been in China for many years now and loving every moment of it! He feels that China can definitely make or break you, and so hopes he can help you start off on the right foot! Anything from teaching ideas to buying a home, he's done it, so don’t hesitate to ask! If you would like to contact Paul, then drop us a message here at RAY English.