Teaching abroad is often touted as a great way to earn money and experience something new. China, as one of the biggest markets out there, is probably where you will end up. Asia is a big customer when it comes to looking for teachers who are skilled in English.
Japan is a favorite, but China is often as good a choice. The problem is that teaching in China is a major life change, and it can be difficult for many people. Here are some tips on how you can make your life there much easier.
Get TEFL Certification
Before anything else, you will want to get TEFL certification. This is a big help in getting you the better jobs out there. TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it tells schools that you are qualified to handle a class of students. Without it, you will be at the mercy of lower-paying jobs and recruiters. A TEFL certificate also helps when it comes to negotiations. Schools will want someone with certification teaching, so they tend to bend over backward when it comes to salaries and other benefits.
Learn the Language
One of the first things you need to do is learn the language. Yes, the recruiters often say that you can do fine without knowing how to talk to people in their native language, but that’s an exaggeration. Knowing how to speak Mandarin Chinese is a big plus for any teacher since it will allow them to better connect with their students. Plus, it will allow you to handle the basics of living like talking to your neighbors and the people on the street.
It can be difficult at first, but a language is a skill, and that means you just need practice. It is easy enough to find Chinese language books for teachers online. Start practicing early, and you can have the handle of it by the time you land in China.
Know the Difference Between Public and Private Schools
When you get job offers from recruiters, it will still be up to you to decide on which jobs to accept. They will come from both private and public schools. Knowing which one is which make it easier to decide. Private schools are the preferred job posting. This is because they often offer better salaries and conditions. The competition is fierce, though and can mean you will need better qualifications.
Public schools are general classes that offer English education to most of the population of the school. You might end up with 500 to 1,000 students and can be quite grueling. They still pay you well but not as good as private schools.
Learn the Work Culture
One of the things that Westerners have difficulty accepting is the different work culture. In a Western school, open discussion is encouraged. In Chinese schools, the hierarchy is the top concern. If your boss wants something done, it will happen. Fortunately, it translates to teaching, too. You’re the superior in the room, so your students need to respect you.
Teaching in China will take you to a whole new world. With your old life thousands of miles away, it is time you learn how to adapt. The advice above should be a big help in ensuring that you have a better experience in your time as a teacher in China.