A TESOL Teacher in China (part 1 )

The following comes from our “Man in China”, Nigel who has established Elite English for us there..

Yes we know because we go………..China, ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ is one of the oldest and most culturally diverse countries on our planet. Traditions that go back into the mists of time make it a fascinating country.
Welcome to the first, in a series of articles that will help you become aware of the opportunities here for TESOL graduates.

{Editors Note: Nigel and Elainne have established and manage our China Branch, “Elite English”. Nigel is a graduate of EE with an Advanced Diploma in TESOL and he is also a speaker of Mandarin. A catch phrase at EE is “We know because we go”.}

My name is Nigel and I am no longer a youngster. I started coming to China around 2009 and was a frequent visitor due to the nature of my work. I found the country fascinating on a number of levels – it kind of ‘gets under your skin’ – and I had no idea why.

I found EE on the internet and as they were in my city of Perth, I contacted them and signed up for the TESOL course. I took the advanced course with a total of 240 hours study, I soon rattled through it in a few short months.

In January [2015] this year I took a full-time job at a middle school in China and I have never looked back. Opportunities are endless once you have some teaching experience and working through the summer/winter school holidays is an excellent way to gain that experience, since ‘normal’, full-time teachers are in extremely short supply during this time.

For now let’s take a look at what you can expect as a teacher in China.

Firstly, there are over 266,000 language centres in China, and this does NOT include schools or universities!

Language centres are a great way to start your teaching career simply because they are extremely diverse. By that, I mean the age range of students tends to be anything from 10 years to 40+ and the student’s English levels are many and various, so a great way to ‘find-your-feet’ and see what suits you best.

Kindergartens are everywhere and these are also a great place to teach, especially if you are young and energetic

Language centres and Kindergartens are often privately owned (although there are many government owned ‘Kindies’) and the salary is usually pretty much ‘industry standard’ (which I will come to in a moment)

Life in China is extremely cheap compared to western countries. Many of us have been to Bali and Thailand etc where it’s easy to be a ‘millionaire’ when we convert our currency into theirs, but when you are EARNING local currency, it’s a little different……or is it?

I work in a city in Jiang Su province (about 2 hours by car from Shanghai). Population here is only 4 million (small by Chinese standards) and I earn the equivalent of about AUD$2000 per MONTH. The school provides me with a small apartment (glorified hotel room to be honest, but it’s comfortable and well-equipped) so I have no bills to pay – they even give me free wifi.

{Editors note. Most schools add value to salary with Mandarin classes, push bikes, mobile phones, local health insurance, gymnasium use and the big one is subsidised travel home to Australia [ value set at around $800aud ] after a year and a subsidised return flight if you sign up for another year. This latter paid after you get back! }
So all-in-all, that $2K per month is more than enough to provide me with food, drinks and other necessities. In fact it is easy to live on less than half that amount and still have a very comfortable life.

{Editors note: we have reports of people returning at the end of a year with 10k to 12k in aud$. Also in China your students will want to take you out or away for weekends. You get funded for the trip and they get one on one language practice. You can be very very busy socially!}

As a ‘ball-park figure’, there’s approximately 5 Chinese Yuan (RMB) to AUD$1 and industry standard pay ranges from around RMB6000 per month in universities to anything around RMB13,000 in language centres.

Language centres and kindergartens don’t usually provide accommodation, but here for instance, I could easily rent a 2 bedroom flat for about RMB1500 per month – which is not a ‘bank-breaker’

Getting around in China is cheap and easy too. A bus ride costs either RMB1 or 2 no matter where you get on or off and a short taxi ride is RMB9. Beer, cigarettes and food for example cost a fraction of what they do back home and a good night out would cost you no more than RMB100 ($20)

It’s fun and EXTREMEY rewarding work (and it’s not even ‘hard work’) either!!! Oh, and before you begin to get worried about living in a ‘communist country’, I PROMISE you 100% that you would never know you are living in an autocracy. I feel safer walking the streets of China than I do walking the streets of Perth – even at 3am !

So whether you are thinking of working in China or even studying in China (yes, there are lots of international students here too because the cost of a degree course is also a fraction of the cost back home), watch this space in forthcoming issues.

For more information or to find out how to apply for a teaching job in China, please e-mail Harry directly and he will pass on your e-mail to me. harrycs@tesolcertification.net  or harrycs@iinet.net.au for direct contact.

Till next time

Happy Learning! “Nige”


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