In China there are some great places to teach, the students are wonderful, the culture here is one that really respects learning and teachers, and also loves to treat guests well, as a foreign teacher you’re both a guest and an Educator. China is also a wonderful county to visit, if you want to really SEE the country though, it is going to take time, the best way to do that is to live and work in country, and the easiest way to do that is to teach English.
Teachers of English are so desperately needed that in some parts of China you don’t even need to be qualified or a native speaker to teach the language, you just need to have a foreign looking face! Of course it really makes it easier to do the job if you have some idea what you are doing,it will make the experience better for you and the students too, so consider at least doing an TEFL or CELTA degree before you come, they can often be done quite painlessly online. It could work in your favour to do some English tutoring too before you leave your own country, want to make sure you enjoy it before you sign a one year contract in another country!
So how do you find a job teaching in China? Well that isn’t too easy there are hundreds of websites out there that will provide information about jobs. But how do you decide which are good jobs? The salary in RMB may not mean too much to you if you haven’t lived in China. Also you need to take into account that southern, and eastern cities in China are generally more expensive to live in than Northern cities, with the exception of Beijing of course, which is a northern city but as the captial not that cheap a place to live.
Also how do you avoid a scam? How do you know that the school is going to treat you well and look after you? This I think is the most important, and for this reason I would suggest to anyone coming to China that you choose to do your first job at a University, just make sure that it is a state run university, which you can do by looking at their website. State run universities are not out to make money, but out to provide education to their students, thus they wont cut corners or try to cheat you out of any contract agreements, at least this has been my own experience, and I’ve worked for some 5 or 6 different state universities now.
That being said the salary at Universities is normally much lower than private schools would pay you, but again at private schools you are probably teaching more and at worse hours. Private schools will need you to normally work nights and weekends, although you’ll usually be paid two or even three times as much as a university position. Universities pay less but generally provide less hours for their teachers, also University students are generally better to teach than screaming children! (If you do go to a private school, and you’re not a big fan of kids, then make sure you’ll be teaching adults!)
In general north Chinese universities pay about 3,500 to 4000 RMB a month, and should provide you somewhere to live, the salary is enough to enjoy yourself, but you’ll not be putting much away for a rainy day. You could however then choose to do some part time tutoring or teaching at those private companies, to make some extra cash, in my younger days I could make about 15,000 rmb a month doing this. Which is a tidy some of money- and I could say about 10,000 of that each month…
Anymore questions about teaching in China, or China in general please feel free to comment here and I’ll try to respond to you in the comments or by writing another article about your questions.