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    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 20, 17 at 01:24 PM
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Need advice on "Teach English in China"

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I am thinking about doing a 6 month (or 12) Teach English in China.

Does anyone have any experience, or advice on any reputable programs we can look into? There's a million of these programs online but it's hard to decipher which one is legit

These are what we are looking for:
- City (Shanghai, HK, Beijing or other city where we will fee more comfortable living as a foreigner
- Provide Room (simple basic is fine)
- Teaching Hours max 25-30 hours a week, so we have free time to travel and explore
- Be with a group of other foreigners, so you don't feel alone in a foreign country
- Stipend (enough for food, expense)

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    I'm a certified ESL teacher and have taught in Eastern Europe. I can't tell if you're certified and / or have masters degree .---or you wish to operate by the 'seat of your pants'.

    Universities and other legitimate institutions require certification and usually experience. They'll usually post job opportunities. If you look at Internet sites for ESL teachers there will be listings incl. qualifications. From recognized institutions you'll usually receive more benefits. These institutions are always 'accredited '.

    Others could be 'fly by night'. They don't post on ESL sights (I believe). You need to find out if they are legitimate language schools and if they have proof of it. check out the school program, who's running it, requesting details regarding benefits and teaching hours--That's the only way to know the basics about them if not recommended by word of mouth. Being honest with them serves yourself as well as them.

    If you're without credentials, ( my guess is that you're one of these)then you're one of thousands. They are used to the native English speakers going to their country using English as a way in. Don't expect all your desired benefits if you don't have credentials.

    Many prospective teachers ' just go' and do the search when they get there --especially the non-certified ones. I can tell you it's an amazing experience. BUT again, you can't have high expectations about either a good job or even finding one ,and have to be financially prepared in case you get stuck.

    Speaking professionally, believe it or not, to be good at this job, you need to know what you're doing. You won't enjoy it if you don't do well. You need to organize and expect to do homework. It's not a game as many think--"If you speak a language you can teach it". If you go with the idea of fulfilling your travel urge first and educating second, you won't have success and the experience can be miserable. You really have to decide on your goals--for yourself and those who will be subjected to to your goals. Hope I've been helpful. ---at least, straight forward.

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    I asked my daughter, who teaches English in Dalian, Liaoning Province in the northeast of China if she could provide you with some advice. Her reply is below.

    Having visited Dalian I can confirm that it's a modern, go-ahead city with lots of amenities. It does get cold in winter, for an Australian anyway, but nothing that most North Americans couldn't handle. The city is 4 hours by train from the provincial capital, Shenyang, and from there it's another 12 hours (from memory) to Beijing. Or, one hour's flight from Beijing.

    One of the great pluses for my daughter has been the opportunity to make good friends from all over Asia, Western Europe, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    There are aspects of life in China that will take you out of your comfort zone, but nothing that will really faze an open, flexible personality. Teaching is an excellent opportunity to travel to other parts of this huge, endlesly interesting and incredibly diverse country.

    Something else you can do is to study spoken Chinese - even "survival Mandarin" will greatly enrich your interactions with the Chinese people, who by the way are generally welcoming and gregarious.

    Enough from me. My daughter's response:

    "All English teachers in China are required by the government to have a bachelor's degree, in any discipline. Of course there are teachers here who don't have a degree, but then getting the correct visa can be very difficult. Most teachers in China have a degree, but no formal teaching qualifications.

    "If you want to work with a group of other foreigners, the best options are a university or a large, foreign-run language school. Universities may have more stringent requirements. Language schools often involve working nights and weekends, but you should still have plenty of free time. In general, all over China, maximum teaching hours are 20 per week. In my opinion 30 teaching hours would be a rather heavy schedule when you take into consideration lesson planning time.

    "Any school should provide the correct visa, housing (with furniture), airfare (one way for 6 month contract or return for 12 month contract) and holiday pay (about 4 weeks for a 12- month contract). Obviously pay varies, but as a rough guide I think 4,000 yuan per month in a small city/town, up to Y10,000 in a city like Shanghai. This is more than enough to live very comfortably and travel in your free time.

    "I agree it is difficult to know which schools are reputable. If a school is not offering basics like an airfare and the correct visa, this is a dead giveaway. Also you can look at sites for English teachers like - they have a forum for teachers in China and a list of warnings.

    "I live in Dalian, which is a very comfortable city for foreigners; the average pay here is about Y5000-6000/month. There are plenty of universities here (they generally pay a little less) and any number of large, foreign-run language schools like Future, English First, Shane, Maple Leaf etc. I work for a university now, and love it. From what I've heard about the language schools, they know how to get the most out of you (read, hard work!) but they are honest and reliable, which is a big consideration in China!

    "Good luck! My experience working in China (over 2 years now) has been extremely varied in terms of conditions, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything - it's been amazing."

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