Teaching English in China

August 02, 2009, 11:57 PM posted in General Discussion


I have a friend currently looking into teaching english in china, but unfortunetly he has been a bit overwhelmed even at the initial research stage.  He told me he has found many, many services that find teaching positions for would-be english teachers, but has no idea how to distinguish the good quality ones, or even whether he should be using such a service at all (as opposed to researching them himself). 

Since the Chinesepod community is so great about providing helpful information (at least when I have previously posted questions) I was hoping to get some advice here (and then I'll email it to him).  If it matters, he is a college (and law school) graduate, has no formal teaching credentials, but has experience teaching test-prep courses.  He has no chinese language ability.  He is pretty open as to what kind of school, and where in the country to teach.

Thanks so much for any advice,


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August 03, 2009, 12:21 AM

I teach in China, but I am fortunate to have worked solely at places that have been recommend to me by friends I trust.  Personally, I would be slightly skeptical of those services you mentioned, but that's just my gut feeling.  I feel like the private training centers are often the safest risk because they usually treat employees like employees and not their indentured servant, which may or may not happen in high schools and universities.  The downside is that such places often do not provide insurance, plane ticket or room.

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August 03, 2009, 04:33 AM

I have a similar gut reaction to the idea of such services - just a middleman to collect a fee.  Then again, without any special direct access to positions, I'm not sure if there is a choice for him.  For people who haven't had friends to get information from, what have you used?

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August 03, 2009, 07:21 AM


        I just thought I would throw my 2pence in.

I just picked up on one of your initial comments about your friend not knowing any Chinese.

I dont know if its the same in China but my partner is from Taiwan and she says families over there prefer the teacher not to know any Chinese as it forces interaction and learning to take place in English. So that shouldnt be a problem but more of a bonus for your friend.

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August 03, 2009, 11:14 AM

the good news is that i've known 3 Americans that taught or are teaching English in China.  Each had a college degree and no teaching experience.  2 didn't know Chinese prior to teaching English in China.  They all said the first classes are tough because you really are thrown into the deep end of the pool on the first day, but they still got hired to teach. 

The one with the best hiring experience used the professor at the university where she was learning Chinese to connect with universities in China that were hiring foreigners.  That got her the first job.  Subsequent jobs were through connections/friends/headhunters/networking. I'm inclined to agree with you; with no network in your home country, using these middlemen might be the only way to go, at least for the first job.

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August 03, 2009, 03:20 PM

The school where I teach is currently hiring. They are a multinational with a very good reputation. They treat us teachers very well. They normally require a university degree and a tesol cert of some sort. It may be possible to still get a position without the tesol cert. If you would like me to send your friends CV to the recruitment manager then let me know and I will provide my email address.