Teaching English in China

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How to Begin Teaching in China

Sitting on an enormous landmass, China is home to a vast array of cultures and ethnic groups, all united by the main language of Mandarin Chinese.

Sitting on an enormous landmass, China is home to a vast array of cultures and ethnic groups, all united by the main language of Mandarin Chinese. The ultra-modern Eastern side of the country, symbolised by Beijing and Shanghai, is not the only part to explore. The striking hills of Gualin, the archaeological discoveries of such sites as the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, and the snaking structure of the Great Wall of China are bound to take your breath away. China is also at the original heart of the ancient Silk Road. There is so much to see and experience of this culture, that after a year in China, you will only have just begun to scratch the surface.

China is an interesting blend of Confucianism, mixed with the ideas of modern communism, which is driving the country to its superpower status. Daily life is rich in colour, with parks full of people and groups littered in various corners, practising the waltz or tango under the trees, while others practise Tai Chi or sing in the open spaces. On the streets, old men sit and play Chinese chess, while others have their hair cut. Kites fly high above the rivers and restaurants are full of customers enjoying the varied dishes that Chinese cuisine brings. This is not a country in which you are likely to get bored. The Chinese language is also fascinating. Each character carries with it a story and the history of this ancient culture.

There is a very interesting story behind China’s national banner that was originally created in 1949 and first flown in Tiananmen Square on the day that the People’s Republic of China was established. The star represents communism, the little stars of the Chinese people and the red colour symbolizes revolution. As is common knowledge to many, China has the biggest population of any country in the world at an enormous 1.4 million. This is followed closely by India at 1.3 million and it is predicted to surpass this at some point in the near future. That said, the fact that China currently leads the way is a great source of national pride.

Respect elders in China is taken very seriously indeed, so much so that it is illegal not to just your parents regularly if they are over 60 years of age. This is a pretty stark contrast to other countries where elders are often forgotten or put into rest-homes.

The most common surnames in China are Wang, Li or Zhan. In fact, these surnames make up about 21% of the entire population. That means that one in every five people have Wang, Li or Zhan as their surname, which is actually referred to as the first name in China.

 

Teaching Opportunities

Although there is a recent move by the Chinese government to reduce the significance of the weight of English in university entrance examinations, there is still a high demand for English within the country. There are many wealthy families who wish to send their children abroad to an English-speaking destination for their university education. English teaching jobs are plentiful in the private and public sector, but teachers must research each job carefully as there are many agents operating from China who try to use foreigners in scams or are not paying what has been initially advertised.

Chinese students are interested in learning English for business and academic and general English classes are also in demand. Such a large population also brings with it large class sizes. These can range from 30 in private language schools to 65 or 70 students per class. While the high figures can seem daunting, China still is a traditional culture, and students are often highly disciplined and respectful of their teachers.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    BA/BS required
  • Typical Contract Length
    12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    All year round (although March and September are peak times to find job opportunities)
  • Visa Info
    Z visa in advance (see the Chinese Embassy site at http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng
  • Typical Students
    Business professionals, children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    8,937-13,404 CNY
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    8,937-20,553 CNY

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