Updated: Apr 9, 2018
There are basic, but important questions to ask when you’re planning to teach English abroad in China or Taiwan to ensure you are prepared for job, cultural and language transitioning and acknowledged with the general expectation.
1. Here are some typical settings for the English class.
kindergarten (age 3~6),
elementary (age 6~12),
middle and high school (age 13~18),
college prep (age 15+),
business professional (adult).
small group 4~6 people,
medium 10~20 people,
large group 20+ people.
Weekday: Most common hours 9am~12pm, 4pm~10pm (Beijing time)
Weekends: depend on the education institute that you’re working with.
Full time: typically 30~40 hours. Ask about the prep hours, some are included but some don’t.
Part time: minimal 2 total working hours per week
Single session: 25~45 min per session
Multi-sessions: a 90 min session consist of 40-min teaching, 10-min break, and 40-min teaching.
2. What are the Other Teaching Matters?
Is there peak and off peak hours?
Some school count the prep time as working hours some don’t, so ask them about the details.
Some have prerequisite for training and would provide the training materials.
This might be the case if you’re teaching middle school or above.
3. Basic English Teaching Requirements
Due to Visa requirements to work in China and Taiwan as foreigner, here are some requirements are strictly required,
TEFL/TESOL/CELTA or equivalent of 2 years of proven teaching experience
No Criminal Record
Medical examination will be performed in China
Native English Speaker (UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) is often preferred, but Non-Native speaker from the rest of the world is welcome as well!
4. The Legal Stuff
Most of the school will sign a year long contract with you. If you’re performing well and will stay longer they would also pay you a sign on bonus for the following year after you finished the first year contract.
5. Compensation & Benefits
As a teacher in a new country and new environment, you’ll have to adapt to a new working culture and may need help with things like resources, accommodation for students.
It’s therefore a good idea to find out what support is available and who to contact for each type of issue.
Salary - Salary ranged widely depending on the following factors
Native vs. Non-native speaker
The level and type of the class
Total working hours
Location of the teaching school. I.e., major metropolitan vs. second tier cities. However, cities are so remote, that salary paid actually become comparable with major cities.
Here’re some Monthly salary samples,
Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu: 15,000 to 20,000 RMB ($2,380 to 3,174)
Sichuan, Dalian (Liaoning), Shandong, Taiyuan (Shanxi), Zhuhai (Guangdon): 12,000 to 16,000 RMB ($1,900 to 2,540)
Hebei, Fujian, Guangdong: 10,000 to 15,000 RMB ($1,587 to 2,380)
Lanzhou (Gansu): 15,000 to 18,000 RMB ($2,380 to 2,857)
Taipei (Taiwan): 60,000 to 70,000 NTD ($2,000 to 2,330)
Bonuses: Completion bonus. Up to 5,000 RMB ad sign up bonus for additional year after completion of the the first year of teaching
Payment schedule: Monthly or bi-weekly
Payment method: Paypal/Check/Wiring
Paid/Unpaid holidays & Sick days
Reimbursement of airfare: Avg 5,000 RMB
Accommodations: Depending on the school and location of the school. Many major cities do not provide long term accommodation, but the first month buffer and assist you to find a place.
Healthcare: Typically Yes for full time position.
Transportation from airport : Typically Yes when first arriving in the country
Visa: School will apply the Z Working Visa for you if satisfied the requirements (see item 3) and around 2000 RMB allowance
6. How to find the Best Job? Which Teaching school to join?
There are many platforms and recruiting agency out there which help filtering through all type of schools or private teaching company to join. You can also consider use recruiting agency and platform like, Oakary.com, to help you land a great job. Oakary provides the free consulting services and match you with the teaching partners based on your qualification and teaching preferences. For the preparation of the interview, you can also check the Questions to Ask during an Online English Teaching Job Interview.
APPLY here https://oakary.com/apply.
7. What is the Teaching and Living Environment in China and Taiwan?
If you are coming from outside of the Eastern Asia, you might be bit unfamiliar with the culture and custom of the countries like China and Taiwan. There are some areas you might noticed the differences.
Communication perhaps is part of the issue that many people might encountered. We had elaborated on the communication style differences a bit on the last section of Things to Know When Teaching Online ESL in China and Taiwan, but onsite has no difference but even longer hours of in person communication required.
Many part of China still in development and evolving, including the educational system and teaching style. Chinese parents also have different expectations for their children from the ones in western culture. As a result, depending on the schools and students that you’re working with, you might have trouble understanding their approach and expectation. Chinese and Taiwanese education system tend to focus on the immediate result, for example, memorizing vocabularies, memorizing and practicing the same given materials over and over again instead of focusing on the independent problem solving skills. However, with the higher education advancing, the improvement and the openness of the mentality also trickle down to the earlier stages of the education.
Different from US and Canada, where driving a car is part of people’s daily routine. Owning a car in China and Taiwan is a relatively luxurious thing, especially in dense metropolitan areas. People rely on public transportation, DiDi, Uber, taxi, bike, feet, and the best of all, scooter. Taiwan especially, you will see every inch of the road real estate filled with countless scooters during the peak traffic hours. You would know you are in Taiwan with the smell of the exhaustion and the sound of scooter without opening your eyes.
Usually not for the schools, because schools usually want you to create an English only environment for the students. However, some schools recognize the difficulty of English only environment for the first time English learner, some school actually have a Chinese teacher as an assistant to facilitate the communication process. Plus, some basic Chinese can rescue you and save time if the comprehension is going nowhere.
Furthermore, learning basic Mandarin Chinese would make your life easier as living and navigating in China and Taiwan, which you know how much to pay the right amount money and order the food from a menu without pictures.
8. Get Around and Explore!
China is a large country with rich history and geographic diversities. Composed by 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions (typically minorities, not Han Chinese), 4 direct controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing), special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. And of course, if you are bored and want to keep the debate with someone all night long just bring up the political issue and relationship between China and Taiwan.
Great food and serious eat! There are great varieties of Chinese food different regions of China and Taiwan. Please don’t try to ask for fortune cookie, which doesn’t exist in China and remember to leave your Panda Express mindset behind and prepare for the culinary journey!
If you’re excited and ready to APPLY for the English job https://oakary.com/apply.
Good luck on your English teaching journey!