ESL jobs in China|Find a teaching english job(TEFL jobs) in China.

I remember with great detail the moment I was given a Chinese name. It was more than 2 years ago, I had just arrived in Asia, and the first thing my Taiwanese staff did was to give me a moniker that would represent me in China. I was named Ke Ing De, which loosely translates as “clever and of good moral character.” I immediately sent a note to everyone I knew back in the West introducing my new self.

Walking tall with my new distinction, I was convinced I was one step closer to the Chinese world. I sought to understand everything about the Chinese and became fixated on the English names the Chinese gave themselves. I wondered why a colleague in our advertising office would call himself “Billboard” Kwok. Or why my slightly heavyweight boss called himself “Beef” Chen. Or why the advertising creative team donned such names as “Jesus” Yeh and “Devil” Zhou , and in case you had a question, you could ask for the Creative Director, “If” Chen.  I was fascinated by the fact the Chinese selected names from almost every month and season of the year. Quite literally in my company we have or have had an AutumnGuo, “Spring” Cui, “Summer” Sun, “Winter” Xia, as well as a “February” Lee, “March” Chung, “April” Fan, “May” Liu, “June” Dong, “July” Guo, “September” Li and in case we forgot anything, a “Remember” Zhu.  We have a “Phat” Song, who is a bit overweight but as cool as anyone I have met in China. We have a former colleague (who is a client), very smart and quick, by the name of “Running” Xie. And we even had staff and clients with such rhyming names as Lili Li and Didi Di.

One particular difficulty I had involved working for a client with our team composed of “May”, “June” and “Spring”. I remember working on one campaign that was due in the spring, around May or June, that required detailed follow-up actions by the team of May, June and Spring.  By the end of the planning meeting we were so confused and dizzy that it became a source of great comedy for future meetings.

Understanding the naming process became an obsession for me. Thirty years ago, standing out in a crowd was not recommended in China, and maybe even scorned. However, with China’s opening up in the ’80s, people were beginning to express individualism in greater numbers and worked to find their point of difference. Marketers say that the exponential growth of luxury items in China is a result of the Chinese associating with brands that say something about themselves. Self-identity is a familiar topic now and this can be seen in many corners of modern China.

For those who wonder where these names come from, there are a variety of influences. One staffer told me he chose “Autumn” because that is when he was born, and is generally a “fruitful and successful” time of the year. “Winter” told me that his English name is a direct translation of his first name, Dong. “Phat” got his name from chatting with a bunch of laowai 12 years earlier in a bar, who explained “Phat” was slang for being cool. “I loved the double meaning because I am really fat,” he explained. “Running” chose her name because she liked the “running mode. I like to keep the pace. No need to be fast. Just be steady.” Yet, overwhelmingly, many of our staff with descriptive or different names told me that they had an English teacher in their youth, who had suggested they consider a name of a different nature.

All I can say is that there are many creative English teachers out there. I would like to meet the folks who gave our knowledge manager her name, “Shooting” Li. (Fortunately she has a lot of patience.) Or the teachers who named our talent manager “Psyche” Tian, and our finance staffer, “Cookie” Wang. This makes dealing with our HR department a bit scary, but working with our finance folks much more palatable.

In looking deeper into the English names of my colleagues, I was particularly curious about our creative team, as this department is usually the wackiest in our company. I was delighted to find a “Chocolate” Huang, “Popeye” Li  and “Rocky” Ren. I have visions of both delight and terror in having to work with these folks. In PR, I often call on our team member “Mars” Li when we want a big idea, and “Ice” Liang to bring her back down to earth. We have our share of staff who have acquired names of fantasy characters as well. Among my favorites are the beautiful “Ariel” Zhang, and our talented digital creative team member “Robin Hu.

If you want a tasty campaign, you can ask for “Apple” Guo and “Elvis” Xu in our consulting team to serve you. If you have trouble counting, don’t worry, we have our folks “Eleven” Li and “Twelve” Tang to help you. Ironically, our fastest-growing business is run by “Pope” Li, who has “Morning” Cao, “Chairs” Chen and even a “Shakira” Huang working in his office. After studying their business model, I am told they sit down with clients in the AM, pray and perform.

My favorite, though, and I am not making this up, came when I was trying to get some money out of our Finance department recently. As finance departments go, we have a very good team at Ogilvy that protects the company from abuse. This makes getting quick cash advances and other money often difficult and at times slow. In a rush I put in a request and was told that I would need to reach out to the new assistant to our CFO, “ g>Pray” Chen.* Need I say more?

Find teaching Eglish jobs in China,know more about Chinese&Chinese names.

Brazil’s recent spat with FIFA is adding uncertainty to the country’s 2014 World Cup preparations. Concerns are growing over lagging stadium projects and unsolved bottlenecks in infrastructure improvements. CCTV reporter Peter Koveos has more details on the problems facing the country’s plan to host the tournament.

The clock is ticking for the South American country’s officials as a team of 40 FIFA experts landed in Brazil on Tuesday to evaluate the progress in the host cities.

Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo speaks about the criticism over 2014 World Cup preparations during a news conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday March 3, 2012.Rebelo announced Saturday it will refuse to deal with with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke following his “unacceptable” criticism over the country’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Rebelo called for FIFA to assign another official to work with the government. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

While FIFA officials may have apologized for their secretary-general’s harsh comments last week, Jerome Valcke’s words only marked a further escalation of a dispute that has simmered for years as stadiums, hotels, roads and other basic infrastructure for the 2014 Cup continues to run drastically behind schedule.

Brazil’s Former star Ronaldo, also a member of the Local Organizing Committee, says Valcke’s comments are harsh but true.

Ronaldo said, “It does not mean Valcke is wrong about his complaint, because Brazil made a commitment to deliver this World Cup law a long time ago, but now there are many things behind schedule.”

Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo (2nd R) and Pernambuco Governor Eduardo Campos (R) observe the site of the Arena Pernambuco that is being constructed to be one of the host stadiums for the 2014 World Cup in Recife March 7, 2012.

Brazil is struggling to get airports, trains, hotels and roads ready for the event and its curtain raiser, the 2013 Confederations Cup. The delays have ballooned costs and reduced the extent of the infrastructure projects that had been planned for the World Cup.

One Brazilian economist says the country is now fighting the clock.

Marcelo Neri, Brazilian economist and infrastructure expert, said, “This is a serious problem and Brazil’s infrastructure will have to improve very quickly, otherwise the problem will never get better, it will only get worse with time.”

The team of FIFA inspectors who visited Sao Paulo’s Itaquera stadium Tuesday, say they are glad to see quick progress in the work, which started a year behind schedule.

Despite the government’s repeated vows to deliver a flawless tournament, most of the host cities have failed to meet deadlines, and nobody knows if they will be accomplished on time.

A wide view showing the site of the ongoing construction of what will be the new soccer stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday March 6, 2012. The stadium, expected to seat as many as 65,000, will host the opening match of the World Cup in 2014 on June12, located in the Itaquera neighborhood. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

FIFA inspectors make a technical visit to the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 7, 2012. Beira Rio is undergoing renovation works for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014. (AFP Photo/Jefferson Bernardes)

Introduction to Teaching Spoken English to Chinese Middle School Students

(A lecture [to be] given in Beijing to foreign ESL teachers, by Petko Hinov [韩裴])

Spoken English is, in the conviction of Chinese students themselves, more difficult to “acquire”
than written English. In my communication with the students I have witnessed that from
a relatively high level of expression in writing they drop to a uncommonly low level of listening
comprehension and ability to express their thoughts in English. Every time their effort is
checked by the mother tongue code which powerfully commands their linguistic ability. What
they lack, most of all, is the faith they can do well.
Understanding some of the typical problems of the middle school students of China
would, in my opinion, be beneficial to teaching English to them itself. Apart from personal gifts
for language learning, there are objective reasons for that, and one of the most essential ones
is: time.

I will try to put that in very simple terms: the Chinese pupil is overloaded with work. Most
of the students live in their school and apart from their duties as students they have additional
tasks, arising from their need to take care of themselves being away from home. Roughly, the
day begins at 6 am, lessons begin at 7 am; there are 4-5 periods before noon and then, there is
a lunch break of about 2 hours which the students usually expend on a much-needed nap. Then
they have the afternoon periods (4) and the so called wanxiu, evening self-preparatory classes.
Practically, their school day ends at 9:30 and so ends also their day. The next day is a totally
regular repetition of the previous one. Put yourselves in their shoes and try to understand how
strenuous and tenacious a child of 10-14 years must be to maintain his/her interest in education
and acquiring knowledge, under those circumstances. The natural reaction toward such pressure,
in any adolescent soul, would be far from positive, if not aversion, then hard feelings
against books and teachers.
Quite logically, the foreign language training, being a part of the Chinese educational system,
would fall into much the same routine as the rest of the school disciplines. One of my stu -
dents told me he was a Chinese, therefore he needed no English in China, in fact I could feel he
felt aversion toward English. This was not a typical case, but it is a good illustration of what results
pressure and standards in education can yield in an otherwise traditionally knowledgethirsty
nation. Of course, most children would respond positively to your teaching, and if you
ask them which their favourite subject is they would say: English. The Chinese are naturally
thirsty for knowledge. As a matter of fact, Chinese children expect a different type of English
education. Many of my students and colleagues have shared this expectation. Students cannot
be sufficiently motivated by mere necessity to achieve good results at their exams, although
this may be the primary goal for many students. It is the teacher in his/her integrity of character
as a Teacher, who must command their respect and relate himself/herself to his/her students in
such a manner, that they would feel at home in his lessons and would keep an open heart toward
his words, towards the tasks he/she offers them.

Positive traits of the Chinese student

– openness and friendliness; they will greet you immediately upon seeing you; treasure
this attitude, don’t think it won’t change and they can’t be unfriendly; snatch at this first
positive impression and develop it; the best way to engage those qualities is to love your
students, love them as though they are your own children. If your heart is sincere, the students
will feel it and will love you in return. This, in my poor experience, is the best way
to achieve cooperation with your students. Let them feel you want to help them! I
offered my students the opportunity to ask me questions whenever and wherever they
see me. If you are not entirely devoted to them, it would not be surprising if they would
gradually “ebb away” from you. If you do love them and are kind and helpful to them
not only in class, but everywhere, they will consolidate with you and eventually become
your good friends. Friendship is the most excellent basis for teaching. Education should
be bi-directional, teaching should not be the mere communication of knowledge, but
mutuality, sharing knowledge and accepting knowledge. If you ask the students questions
about Chinese or their country, they will be the readier to ask for and acquire
knowledge from you. The Chinese are not individualists, they are socially oriented and
you will notice in the school-yard they go together, eat together, speak together. Togetherness
is the finest medium for giving them knowledge. They will greet you on the
bus stop, they will smile to you wherever they meet you and that would be the reflec -
tion of your own kindness and open-heartedness to them. So, don’t be inaccessible,
don’t try to represent a respectable teacher who is above the students; be one of them.
At the same time don’t be too easy to get at, nor too familiar, or you might make yourself
a fool. The Chinese respect those who respect themselves without being supercilious
and haughty; keep a prudent closeness and a prudent distance at the same time
with wisdom, and you shall exude the fragrance of maturity which should command
their respect in a subtle, but tangible way.
– Studiousness: they are ready to receive information, if presented in a vivid and attractive
way. Modern students are very fond of non-textual teaching, probably because the
amounts of text they have to assimilate is enormous. Even when in the best of mood,
they unwillingly obey you when you tell them to turn to page N. of the textbook. They
are, on the other hand, quite willing to watch videos or listen to music, so if you could
append music or/and videos to your lesson, that would give a rise to their interest towards
your teaching. Their natural interest to the English language is most likely stirred
by Western pop-music and films, so be prepared to be asked about Michael Jackson and
other “stars”.

It is a good idea to cooperate with your colleague ESL teachers over China by internet, by
exchanging experience and teaching materials. This would eventually enrich both them and
your own practical experience. I am strongly in favour of our cooperation in the future.

Deficiencies of the Chinese student

– Lack of proper language environment: unpractised ear and difficulty in pronouncing the
English words (these difficulties may be systematised according to the local dialect
which the students speak, for example the Sichuan student would find it hard to distinguish
between N/L in both listening and speaking;) Sometimes the Chinese pupils would
find it hard to understand even a simplest phrase or words they already know. The reason
for this is that most Chinese students learn English from Chinese teachers, whose accent
is, naturally, Chinese. The moment they face a native speaker (who is speaking in
his natural way and with a proper accent), they become very perplexed and have a feeling
that their efforts were next to wasted. Help the students by speaking very slowly,
with very good articulation and audibly. The classrooms are big and the students can’t
always hear well. Always ask for feedback: did they understand, have they any
questions. Provoke their questions by playing with words, or making them see in other
ways that learning English can be “fun.” Offer them as many opportunities you can for
listening to good, well-pronounced English. If you can add Chinese to your explanations,
that would be a very winsome feature of your teaching: the Chinese students love to
hear a foreigner speak their own language.
– repetition and imitation as a limiting practise. One of my last resorts in teaching English
to Chinese students who are disinterested in making an effort to think, is to read to
them a text which they should repeat after me. This is not the best, but sometimes the
only way to keep a class in a non-insurgent state. Don’t limit your teaching with a textbook:
improvise it, add your own contents—you purpose is to galvanise them to be active
and positive. There are factors that contribute to the inability or unwillingness of the
students to cooperate: fatigue, the impending weekend, the approaching tests etc.
Sometimes even a personal conflict could influence the whole atmosphere in a class. I
was always trying to understand the students’ way of thinking: why in given circumstances
they would behave like this or that. And I was always using condescension
rather than strictness, while trying to act on the conscience of my students, making
them feel they are hurting me when they are bad in my class. In most classes there are
“colourful” students who “give the pitch” and suppress the initiative of other, usually
better students.
– collective shyness, lack of initiative, lack of confidence. Very few of my students are active
in class. One or two really good students, who had a higher self-confidence, were
active. But the others were lethargic most of the time. One of the reasons is that they
are very much afraid of making mistakes. So I had to develop a little “error theory” to
encourage them. I had to convince them that mistakes are a necessary part of learning
English. I even asked them to make mistakes, to be brave to speak their mind without
hesitation, by telling them that their mistakes will let me know how I can help them
overcome these. They understood me; but the diffidence was still present in most
classes. In all cases your approach should be: never get tired or lose patience repeating
the same principle: “I want you to make mistakes without being bashful; we are friends
who help each other, so I don’t mind your errors, I will always patiently help you, etc.”:
explain to them the reason for these mistakes, joke with them about the mistakes, let
them feel at ease with them; in my humble opinion, a good teacher would love his students
the more for their courage to endeavour, despite of the errors they make.
At the end, I would like to emphasise that there is no necessity to be uniform or insistent
on teaching the same thing to all classes and students. In my experience, every lesson with
every class is a little drama in which we all act. I always try to give my students the feeling that
we are not having the lesson, but we are living it. The words, the phrases, every action of ours
is not theory, not a model for imitation, nothing which they would be criticised for not learning
or praised for learning (well, sometimes we do need praise!), but a small “life-time”. That is
why even when I have many classes per day, I always feel exhilarated after my contact with my
students, because I always live a lifetime with them and find out something unusual about
I learned to adapt quickly to the level of my classes (I teach the same lesson 10-20 times
per week,) on account of which my teaching is almost ALWAYS different in the different
classes.) Rigidity is a bad approach to the Chinese students, because it is the dominating model.
I left strictness to their Chinese teachers. I prepare my lessons with the utmost diligence and
usually I employ more than the textbook suggests, which gives me the opportunity to switch to
something more apposite for the moment. I depend on my students as much as they depend
on me, and I demand of them according to their good conscience. Sometimes their behaviour
decides my course of action. Sometimes the lesson, the effort might seem futile, but there is
no success or failure in a class. My purpose is to create for them a vivid language atmosphere.
Finding the common, the interesting subject is the key to that. Even if you can’t interest them,
your English speech will resound in them (consciously or subconsciously) and will leave beneficial
traces there.

My China experience began as I battled my way through scores of emails from recruiters and schools across the Middle Kingdom. I had sent my resume to hundreds of potential employers as I searched for my first job opportunity in China. In response, I received a giant raft of emails from interested parties. This may sound like I am trumpeting myself as a world-class educator, but I am making the point more to illustrate that for prospective teachers coming to China there can be a plethora of options and no easy way to make an informed decision.

The greatest lesson I learned from my experiences in getting to China and my subsequent years living here, is that it is vital to (i) know why you are coming, (ii) know the details of the job you are taking, and (iii) to ensure these factors are compatible. To explain the importance of this, I would like to recount my own personal experiences and use those of others I have encountered here in China to paint profiles of the jobs available and the people who typically fill them. I fell into a trap that ensnares countless others. I looked for a “job in China.” At the time, I was still in England and China was, in my mind, one homogeneous block of mystery and potential adventure. I failed to understand that just like my home country the jobs on offer were varied and that just because I was offered a job here didn’t mean it was the right job for me.

I found my first job through a recruiter. The process was quick, smooth and remarkably easy. However, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. After a few days, I soon realized that the job I had taken was going to be a major challenge. The first aspect of this was the location. The town itself, Dawufeng, was a small industrial hovel (and I do not use this word lightly) about an hour away from Tianjin. I was the only English speaker in town and was at least one hour away from any other laowai. Even though my home-life was less than ideal, it was nothing compared to the job I had at school. I taught at both the local primary and middle schools. In both, the classes were made up of over 40 students. In the primary school I had an assistant who spoke some English, but in the middle school I was on my own. None of the Chinese English teachers spoke much more than the most basic English. The whole situation left me feeling overwhelmed and, at times, desperately unhappy.

The job in Dawufeng was clearly not the right fit for me. This is not, though, to say that another, better-suited teacher would not have enjoyed the experience – someone who was a more experienced teacher or who had better Chinese skills perhaps. Everyone has their own needs and motivations. By not understanding mine, I found myself in a situation that I did not enjoy. The first, and most vital, step for those looking to come to China is to understand why they are coming and to then seek the job that suits them best. Below, I have briefly outlined the ESL job-market here in China and how it might relate to those interested in heading east.

Public Sector
Let’s start with public schools and universities. There are two basic considerations here, holidays and salary. The salary in public schools is likely to be quite modest – as low as 4,000 or 5,000rmb in some cities (a little higher in Beijing or Shanghai). Universities tend to be a little higher, pushing closer to the 10,000 mark (both usually provide apartments as part of any package). However, the flipside to the lower compensation is that the holidays on offer are usually far longer, often taking in three summer months and lengthy periods at Spring Festival. Many – although certainly not all as I do not wish to generalize – of the teachers working in public education tend to fall into two categories.

• The first are youngsters, often straight out of university, who are using a teaching job as a base from which to see China. Being new to the workplace, these teachers are also less concerned about salary than some of their older counterparts. Most tend to get their jobs through recruiters – just as I did – or through organized schemes, such as that of the British Council that places teachers in schools around the country. (Many of the recruiters looking for this type of teacher, clearly state in their online ads the travel opportunities around the region in which the school is located).

• The second group features those focused more on making a difference and with a genuine commitment to education – perhaps often teachers in their home country. These are the type of teachers who would have been more successful than I was in Dawufeng, and, who would be best suited to slightly more remote areas of the country.

The teachers attracted to this sector will tend to be making a shorter commitment to China. This is reflected in the contracts available. Many can be as short as four to six months – often covering one semester – or, those that last a year, include an airfare home.

Private Sector
Now, let’s move onto the private sector, which includes local private schools as well as major international companies providing language training and teaching. In this sphere, the money is better, but the hours longer and demands greater. This is the sector that attracts those looking for a little more stability:

• The first group you may find working at major education companies are those for whom teaching overseas is a career or a longer-term commitment. This is because –on the back of Asia’s insatiable demand for English – many of the companies have grown into major corporations and can offer high salaries and genuine development opportunities. At the top end of the market, salaries may not yet quite match the levels of those in the west, but, with improved exchange rates, they are getting closer.

• This type of company often also attracts older professionals seeking career breaks or a change of pace, the chance to earn salaries that bear closer relation to those on offer at home, hence making the trip away a far less costly experience.

For many of the bigger companies involved, teachers are required to make commitments of at least a year. Therefore, many of the people involved are likely to be in China longer. This does not necessarily mean they will stay with the same company as, just as in any industry at home, there is competition for talent. This often creates a migration from the lower end of the market towards the better paid top end as teachers accrue experience in China.

Chinese labour law
The Labour Contract Law, which covers all workers in China, changed on January 1, 2008 in an effort to address the rising number of labour disputes. The law requires that employment contracts must be put in writing within one month of employment commencing, and gives clear recourse to employees whose rights have been violated. It covers areas such as severance pay, probationary periods, lay-offs, non-compete clauses and collective bargaining.

Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China 

1. According to Chinese labour law, the standard working time is 40 hours per week. In theory, the standard work week in China runs from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, but in reality, overtime is the norm and most local companies don’t compensate their workers for it.

2.All workers in China are entitled to three national holidays, each stretching into a week of vacation: Chinese New Year (usually in late January or late February), International Labour Day (first week of May) and National Day (first week of October). While employees get the week off, the government mandates that workers “make up” for the holiday by working through the previous weekend (resulting in only three days off). In any case, you should ensure that your holidays are stated in your employment contract.

3.If you are badly treated at work, you should first complain to your personnel department, preferably in writing, with evidence to back your case. If there is subsequently no change then it could be time to speak to a lawyer. Try to find a reliable Chinese lawyer, as they will be familiar with the local regulations.

4.If your company wants to fire you for any reason, they should give you one month’s notice, first providing verbal and written warnings in cases of alleged misconduct.

Other things you should know about Chinese labour law

1.Contracts are not seen as binding in China as they are in other countries.

2.Try to get a clear statement on the length of your employment in your contract, including any probation periods. If your contract is for a year or less, the probation period should only be one month long.

3.You should check salary details, payment dates and currency you’re paid in, taxes that will be deducted from your pay, the terms of overtime work and holiday policies. Also make sure that any ‘extras’ such as housing, travel expenses and mobile phone costs are stated in your employment contract.

4.Check in advance on what terms you can leave your job, and the company’s procedure if it decides to terminate your employment. For maternity leave, the law in China states that women 25 years and older are entitled to four months off work after giving birth. If you’re under 25, you’re only entitled to three months.

Employment packages for expatriates in China

Your employment package will depend on whether you are hired as an expat from abroad or locally. If you are employed from oversees, you can expect a salary according to Western European or US-standards and a full range of benefits.

Salaries depend on your position and your industry, but many expatriate salaries in China range from US$ 25,000 – 100,000 per year. Benefits often include standard bonuses, housing allowance, 3-5 weeks paid vacation, a round trip air ticket once a year, full Western standard healthcare, evacuation insurance, tax coverage, coverage of shipping fees and all other expenses and training that you will need as an employee. Sometimes language lessons are also paid for. In high-level positions, you will often get a mobile phone and a car and/or driver, or at least have travel to and fr
om work reimbursed.

Local expat hires

If you’re hired locally in China, the picture changes significantly. and you will receive just a fraction of the package that you could expect when being sent to China from a company back home. As an expatriate, you will often get better conditions than your Chinese colleagues, but even so you might not reach the level of benefits that you’ve been accustomed to at home.

Typical business salaries for local expatriate hires run between US$ 15,000 and 50,000 per year, although they can get higher if you bring significant experience to the company employing you. Salaries for medium-level positions such as translators or assistants range from US$ 15,000 to 30,000 per year. Teaching English is well paid for – at least by Chinese standards – with salaries for foreign English teachers ranging from US$ 5,000 to 15,000 per year. The exact payment depends very much on your teaching position.

Employment benefits in China
Besides the salary itself, the extra benefits that you receive as a local expat worker in China can be just as important. Some expat packages don’t include any housing; others will provide you with an allowance of up to US$1500 per month. Only very few local hire expat jobs will provide you with an apartment – you’ll have to find one on your own otherwise.
Healthcare: When working in China, you will certainly want a foreign healthcare package and an evacuation service. If this is included in your employment contract, it adds another US$ 200 per month to your total benefits.

Vacations: Standard vacations for locally hired expatriates are 3-4 weeks of paid vacation per year. If you get lucky, your vacation package will also include a yearly return flight to your home country.

Visas: Your Company should handle all tasks related to your visa. If you are lucky, they may send you to Hong Kong every 3-6 months to get a new visa. So not only will you have the chance to visit Hong Kong but it will also help you avoid taxes in China. Visas are a major headache if your company refuses to handle them on your behalf, so insist that they manage your visa and all related work permits.

Bonuses and raises: Standard bonuses are a month salary or less. Standard raises vary from year to year, but are normally between 5-15%.


If you’re looking for a teaching job in China you’re probably asking yourself: What’s the best job I can get? How much salary can I negotiate for? How can I get a position in the city I want? Certainly your schooling and teaching experience will have the biggest impact on your possibilities, but how early or late you choose to apply has a significant effect on your employment and salary options as well. Applying at the right time can mean the difference between a so-so job and a great one, an alright salary and an excellent one. Read on to find out when’s the best time to apply for teaching jobs in China.

China has several types of teaching institutions which hire foreign teachers: primary schools up to universities, public and private schools, international schools and private language academies. Most of them run on a system of two terms per year. The fall term, which is usually the biggest time for hiring, begins late August or early September. The spring term, which brings with it slightly less hiring, begins late February or early March. There are a few exceptions to this, especially with private academies, which sometimes offer contracts of several months. According to the schools I spoke with, you should apply for teaching positions as early as April or May for the fall term, and as early as November for the spring term. By this time, schools have already heard from most of their teachers about whether they will return, and the hiring departments know how many teachers they have to search out. Three to four months may sound early to a lot of ears, and it is certainly possible to start finding a job later, but when you consider that you’d probably like to shop around and compare location, salary, benefits and even do a bit of negotiating, then the more time you give yourself the better.

You probably don’t just want to sign a contract with the first institution that offers you one. Ideally, you want to be looking over several possible contracts, and learning more about the position and the institution itself. After all, communicating and asking questions about a job may sometimes go smoothly, but it can also take weeks. I once spent nearly a month applying to teach at a university, having an initial interview, and then having a meeting to negotiate a few details. It was only at the last meeting that the hiring director told me that the school actually ships out their teachers to another location an hour away to teach most of their classes. As you might imagine, this was not exactly what most teachers, myself included, would want, and I was glad that while discussing their offer I’d been taking my time to apply to other universities as well. A week later, I turned down their offer and accepted a different one. If I had been over the barrel because of time and without other options, I could have done no such thing. Similar to the school system, large academies advise applying four months in advance also. This is not just for the sake of deciding if you want the job, but also because with a multi-franchise school you can choose which city you want to work in. Four months in advance, you may be able to choose between all of those cities as your destination. By about six seeks in advance, the pickings are slim. Academies also offer positions during winter and summer breaks, which range between six and eight weeks. Academies need fewer teachers for these shorter programs, but many local teachers choose to go out of town during this time, leaving some positions open. While your immediate concerns may be with the time involved in researching and applying for jobs, another important factor in the hiring process is that you will need to get your work visa. This is usually shortly before the semester begins, but in some cases schools will help you get it earlier. If it’s simply a renewal, and you’re in China already, it will often take only a week. However, you should leave yourself at least two weeks just in case of bureaucratic problems, or in case a public holiday falls on a visa-processing day (as it might during Spring Festival). Getting the work visa for the first time in China can take as long as a month. At home, it generally takes two to four weeks. To avoid overstaying or other problems while acquiring your visa, make sure you have time during this period to visit the necessary offices (most of which are only open during work hours), and check to make sure public holidays won’t reduce the number of business days, making it impossible for you to get it processed in time. If you already have a visa, you can sometimes negotiate higher salaries when applying at the last minute.

The school will also be short on time, forcing them to agree to contracts they would’ve turned down several months out. This is obviously a dicey tactic, especially when it involves a move, and can result in complications on the visa front. It might seem daunting going through the whole employment process the first time, but getting a jump on it early will be a huge help. Even if you’ve had teaching jobs before, an early start will definitely give you more options. It will also allow you to review more schools, examine more contracts and compare more offers. You may already be very confident in your credentials, but with the added advantage of proper timing, you’re in an ideal position when it comes to landing the right job and the best salary. **Thank you to the folks at, New Oriental and South China Normal University for their help in researching this article ***