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

STEP 1: Decision making on details

How many budget you have, how large, buy or rent, whether houses or apartment, which district or specific area you prefer to live.

Gathering information through Internet, newspaper, magazine, among other media.

Have a basic concept of the prices for different housing types.

 STEP 2: Find an agency and the houses you like

Each agency will publicize houses they are consigned to rent or sell, you can pick up some among the total.

You should visit several outlets of those large and famed local chain agencies around the areas you preferred before make the decision.

 STEP 3: Check the house at the scene

Accompanied with one or two agent, you can visit the landlord and the house. Looking around as careful as you can and ask each question you want to know.

 STEP 4: Hire an agency

If you find your preferred houses and the agency which you can trust and rely on, you may hire the agency to rent or buy the house from its owner.

Those agencies will need you to sign a contract with them to restrict you contact directly to landlords.

 STEP 5: Bargain and sign contract with landlord through your agency

Both the leasing and purchasing contracts have their officially recommended version, you can adding some extra clauses after negotiating with your landlord.

You may bargain with landlord on the price and other extra conditions, such as repairing, renovation, fares (power supply, water, gas, and property management fee).

Make it clear on the responsibilities for taxation, fares (power supply, water, gas, and property management fee), repairing, among others.

 STEP 6: Go to local real estate exchange center for contract registration

 STEP 7: Pay deposit (for tenant) and get the key

Normally, you should pay the rent for the first month plus two months of rent as deposit before you move to your new home.

Remember, no matter buy or rent, registration is necessary, local agencies will do procedures for you or you can hire a lawyer to tackle them.

 ESL jobs in Shanghai

There are some really excellent reasons for not owning a car in China. These include the mind-snapping problems that arise if you have an accident, as well as the threat to your mental health if you live in Beijing and decide to take to the roads. However, we assume you’ve considered all this and the scales still tilt in favor of your personal set of wheels. Here are the answers to some questions about owning cars, together with a couple of alternatives.

Can I import my car?
You have a car in your home country and you think it will be lonely without you. So… can you import it? There are two answers to this question: (a) Yes, and (b) Don’t even think about it.

In theory, it is possible to import a used personal vehicle to the People’s Republic of China. But why would you want to? They make perfectly good ones here. The transport and taxation costs of importing a used car are huge, and you have no guarantee that you would be permitted to register it when it arrives. It will be subjected to an emissions test, and if it’s more than a year or so old, the chances are it won’t meet local standards - especially if you plan to drive it in Beijing. Besides all that, the paperwork is enough to make strong men weep.

Of course, new imported cars can be bought through dealers in the same way as in other countries.

How do I buy a car in China?
With the explosive growth of the automotive sector in China, there is a well-developed new and second-hand car market, and there are no barriers to resident foreigners buying vehicles. Second-hand cars may be transferred through dealers, or by private sale. For both new and used cars, the paperwork is similar to that required in the West, but it’s helpful to involve a Chinese-speaking friend in the process.

The first thing to do is check the rules and regulations in your town: the following advice is general only, and there may be special rules that are local to your city.

In the larger urban centers, dealers (new and second-hand) are often co-located in enormous “car cities”, which makes comparative shopping a lot easier. There are also car brokers, who will bring cars to your home or office to inspect or test drive, and who will handle the paperwork for you. If you are buying by private sale, you will need your passport, and the seller will have to provide the bill of sale, together with certificates of title and registration.

If you buy through a good dealer, they should help you with the paperwork, which goes like this:

• Take the car for a safety and emissions test, which all used cars and many new cars have to pass. (Some new locally-manufactured cars are exempt in their first year.) Any rectifications have to be made before the car is registered. The tests are renewed annually.
• Register the car at the relevant agency. In Beijing, it’s called the Automobile Administrative Office . You’ll need (at a minimum) your passport, residence certificate, registration form and bill of sale.
• Pay the required charges and taxes, which will vary from city to city.
• Pay the insurance. Third-party liability insurance is compulsory, but be warned: this scheme does not operate in the way you may be accustomed to back home. In China, third-party victims of accidents are entitled to prompt compensation through insurance companies under new rules introduced in 2006. However, if the driver is later determined to have been at fault, the insurance company is legally entitled to take action against the driver to recover its costs. Other insurance (for theft, damage etc.) is also available. Premiums are generally lower than in the West: full coverage will cost you between RMB 2500-5500 per year, depending on the vehicle.

Can I lease a vehicle instead of buying one?
Yes, there are plenty of firms that offer leasing services. The financials are similar to deals you might have made back home: the outgoings are higher than with a straight purchase, but they are spread evenly over the year, you have the option of low-cost purchase at the end of the deal, and there may be tax advantages. Hours of fun for you and your accountant.

Can I rent a car in China?
Yes, but if you’re after a self-drive car, it’s not as simple as you might think. There are countless rental firms across China, from two-car mom and pop operations to swish showrooms with piped music and marble counter-tops. All will arrange self-drive rentals, but almost invariably a foreign or international license cuts no ice: only a Chinese license will do, along with a residence permit.

However, the bad news ends there. Most firms will rent you a car with a driver at surprisingly affordable rates: a no-frills car-and-driver rental can be arranged in Beijing for around RMB 400 per day, with costs dropping dramatically for longer-term rents. You’ll pay much more for a limo and uniformed chauffeur, but it’s still way below what you would pay in the USA or Europe.

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A volunteer teacher from Nigeria is proving to be a hero among his students in Wuhan. Having donated 5,000 yuan to the school he works at, the Adam Scholarship will help pupils learn English.

The donation ceremony was held during the short break time at the Chunmiao Primary School. Adam won a 5,000 yuan bonus on a TV program on the 22nd of February. He immediately thought of the children in Chunmiao.

After just a brief meeting with the children of Chunmiao Primary School on a TV program in May of 2010, Adam became destined to bond with the children there.

One month later, Adam started his new role as an English teacher in the school. He usually teaches five lessons a day, instructing students from different classes and grades. On teaching days, he gets up very early at 6:30am and takes the No 715 bus to travel from his university to the primary school.

Adam has a different way of teaching from his Chinese counterparts. In the classroom, he resorts to all kinds of gestures to encourage students. Outside, he will start a conversation – in English – whenever he comes across his students, to help them practice listening and speaking in a casual environment. His warm smile and heart co
nquers all his students.

Adam was born in Nigeria in 1985, and is now a third-year student majoring in sociology. With regards to his future, he says he would like to continue to pursue a PhD in Wuhan after he finishes his current studies. He has promised he will continue to serve as an English teacher for the students in Chunmiao primary school as long as he stays in Wuhan.

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Teaching English in the nation’s rural areas is no mean task, given textbook content that has no local context and teachers who themselves lack proficiency in the language.

“Morning! Morning! Morning!” repeats a group of third-graders loudly after their teacher, first in English and then in Chinese. This is followed by other words from their vocabulary list, taking up half the 45-minute English class at Wangji School in Dongxiang county, Northwest China’s Gansu province.

Although the class of 47 third graders of Wangji take three English classes a week, few can respond to their teacher trying to initiate a simple conversation with a new face at school.

“Kids here are very smart,” teacher Ma Yanhong, 24, says. “But they are very shy. Encouraging them to speak out is the hardest part for me. In the presence of strangers, very few kids are brave enough to raise their hands and answer my questions in English.”

More than 90 percent of the teachers and students here belong to the Dongxiang ethnic group, which has its own language and whose members are Muslim. Most are fluent in the Dongxiang language, but find it hard to communicate in Mandarin.

Ma began teaching in Dongxiang county in 2010. She says when she first started, she sometimes had to explain an English word first in the Dongxiang language and then in Mandarin to make sure that every student understood.

Wangji School has just two English teachers teaching eight classes from the third to the sixth grade.

“We face a serious shortage of English teachers,” says Yang Junwei, head of the education department of Dongxiang county. Attracting university graduates to take teaching positions in the county has always been difficult. “The place is poor and isolated and some graduates find it almost impossible to communicate with the locals,” Yang says.

“In many primary schools, majors in other disciplines often double as English teachers. They have no training in English teaching and just know some simple words and sentences,” Yang says.

Even Ma, who graduated with an English major in 2009, finds her proficiency in the language wanting after teaching for one year.

“Every time I participate in a teaching seminar in Lanzhou and see students from urban areas responding quickly to their teachers and hear their clear pronunciation, I feel sad. I feel I’m not capable of teaching students well with what I learned in college. I am trying to improve by learning English online every evening after class.”

Both of the school’s English teachers graduated from the Gansu Normal University of Nationalities in Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture. Ma says she has never visited any place outside Gansu.

Poor knowledge of the outside world is a common problem for teachers in Dongxiang, no matter what subjects they teach.

At Zhongbao Hope Elementary School, a school founded by China Daily in 1999, some teachers find it hard to introduce topics they themselves are unfamiliar with, to their students.

Ma Xiaojun, 25, has been teaching English in Zhongbao for four years.

“Here, we use books that are common to all primary schools across China, and the teaching material is decided by China’s education department,” he says. “But for many topics in the books, we have no idea how to explain them to the kids.”

One example he gives is of an English lesson that deals with traffic rules.

“The book explains that in China, cars keep to the right side of the road, while in many other countries, such as Britain and Australia, cars keep to the left,” he says. “But most children have no idea where Australia is, or even about traffic. Many of them walk 7-8 km of mountainous roads from home to school.”

While teachers grapple with providing context to their lessons, what Wangji student Zhao Rui, 11, misses most is the one class taught by a teacher from Beijing.

Last year, a group of students from Peking University went to Dongxiang to spend some time teaching the students of Wangji School.

“Our teacher was called Tom. He was tall, and spoke beautiful English,” Zhao recalls. “He explained things very clearly. I remember how he taught us about colors. He said yellow is a coward and purple is shy.”

These are the only names of colors the girl remembers clearly to this day.

Similar problems crop up with Chinese literature lessons too.

Tang Xiuli, 34, has been teaching Chinese to third graders at Wangji for nine years. She has just finished reading a story to them titled A Little Photographer, which is about a Russian student trying to take a photo for renowned Russian writer Maxim Gorky.

When a China Daily reporter visited the class and asked the students what they understood by the word photographer, the class fell silent, before one of them shouted, “a journalist!” But he had little idea of what journalists did.

When asked who Gorky was, the class fell into a longer silence.

“Do you think he is from China?” the reporter prompted.

“Yes!” said the whole class, without missing a beat.

Only four students in the class of 44 had ever had their photos taken or seen a camera – and that was in the village studio.

Ma Xiaojun, who is now taking an online English teaching course, says: “My biggest wish is to write an English book for teaching students in Dongxiang.

“The book will have content that children here are familiar with, such as their ethnic dress, special celebrations for festivals and their rural lifestyles. They would be very interested in learning about something close to their lives, in English.”

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“I’m much stronger now, don’t you think?” said Kim Lee, flexing her arm and smiling. We had bumped into each other in the elevator to her lawyer’s office, where we had arranged to sit down for our interview.

I have met Lee twice before; the first time just a short while after she made headlines by posting on her micro blog pictures of bloody head injuries allegedly inflicted by her husband, Li Yang, a well-known entrepreneur.

She was right. She looked a lot better, more relaxed and confident, and far less tired.

The 40-year-old has had a turbulent six months and is going through a very public divorce from Li (the first hearing was on Dec 15). Yet, as she chatted about the Christmas she had just spent with her three children back in her native Florida, it seems she has had a chance to recharge her batteries and think about the future.

“I want to change my environment, maybe work in Guangzhou or Zhuhai (both in Guangdong province),” she said, as we walked into a small, sixth-floor office in a tall building next to the East Fourth Ring Road. “Some educational institutions have invited me already. Maybe I’ll teach in a winter camp, too.”

You could say education is Lee’s family business. Her mother was a teacher and, before she met Li Yang, founder of the Crazy English language school, in 1999, she had spent almost a decade working at schools in the United States. She also home-schooled her three daughters, now aged 9, 5 and 3.

Getting back to work, she says, will help distract her from the pain of being separated from her children, who are staying with relatives in the US until the divorce is finalized.

“I really miss them, but they don’t miss me,” she said with mock anger. Then, with sudden excitement, ruffled through the glossy down jacket she had taken off moments earlier and produced a set of photographs.

In one of a young girl on stage at a spelling bee, she pointed out her second daughter, Lila. Then, almost in a whisper, she added: “Her personality is so much like her dad. She is the most like him (of the three). She loves attention, loves people looking at her. She likes the crowd.”

It was the first mention of Li Yang during the interview, and the effect on the mood was as if he had just walked into the room.

The conversation soon turned to the topic of domestic violence and the media fallout over Lee’s accusations against her soon-to-be ex-husband. She claims he regularly slapped her face and pulled her hair during arguments, and twice injured her so badly she needed hospital treatment.

In August, following what she called the second serious incident, Lee decided to upload pictures of her injuries on Sina weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

“(Before making the allegations online) I went to the police and told him (Li Yang) that I had gone, but he didn’t care. He was still confident there would be no result,” she said, adding that her decision to speak out was partially fueled by the fear of what her children may think. “If kids see you beaten by your husband several times and you say it’s OK, they will think that it’s OK. That’s terrible. I don’t want my kids to think it’s OK for a woman to be abused by a man.”

Although Lee says she uploaded the images to attract the attention of Li Yang, an avid Internet user, they were trended on Sina weibo and within hours had been shared by hundreds of thousands of bloggers.

“The first reason (I posted them) was because I wanted it to stop, I wanted to protect myself,” she said, adding that she was not prepared for the media frenzy that ensued. It was not long before both husband and wife were being bombarded with reporters’ requests for interviews.

Both have received their share of criticism in the last six months, including some people who accused Lee of simply seeking fame.

“I’ve received great support and encouragement from most Chinese people in the past five months,” she said, recalling briefly with tears in her eyes how an elderly Chinese woman in Beijing’s Tuanjiehu Park had recognized her one morning and given a thumbs-up.

Lee said she can accept “ugly” words from netizens but cannot help arguing with people who say domestic violence is acceptable. In interviews, Li Yang admitted hitting his wife but said it was a small mistake, and he claims Lee is using the case to become famous. (Li Yang declined to comment when contacted by China Daily.)

“That upsets me, the fact that he sees himself as a victim, that I did something to hurt him,” Lee said, raising her voice, her first visible sign of anger that morning. “He still thinks the biggest problem is that I exposed the violence.”

Since the media attention, Lee has spoken at a domestic violence conference in Beijing and, in some people’s eyes, has become a hero for women caught in abusive relationships.

“I’m not a hero,” she said when asked about how she is viewed. “That’s not my job.

“The difference between a Chinese and US woman in such a relationship is that when an American woman finally gets the courage to speak out, she knows the support is there. The law (in the US) is very strong. But here, even if a woman speaks out, it’s very difficult,” said the mother of three, who plans to write a book about domestic violence for Chinese women.

“I don’t think other women can follow my example, because I’m an American I can leave the country; I have lots of options. However, I hope I have made it clear to men who abuse women that it’s not OK.”

At the end of the interview, Lee finally sat back in her soft, brown armchair and took a sip of the coffee she was carrying when we arrived. It had gone cold long ago.

“I just want an ordinary, quiet life,” she added. “But I still believe in love.”

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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.

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 ***