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Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations

Time:Sep 06, 2013
Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations
With China's seemingly insatiable demand to learn English, it's no small wonder that so many expats come here looking for work as ESL teachers. While many of us are able to find teaching positions that bring in a decent wage, allowing us to live a comfortable lifestyle and learn a bit about the local culture, being an English teacher in China is far from easy. 
Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations Is it possible to find a teaching job in China without qualifications?
You'll need to seriously consider how long you're planning to teach for: (1) a short-term thing that you're planning to leave and go back to your real life, (2) a couple of years while you save money for something major and experience a culture in depth, or (3) your brand new career …
Do you have to have a release letter from a previous school to work at a new school? 
By law, the company has to give you a release letter when you leave the company. It doesn't matter how you leave the company.  Once you have paid all fines, returned all equipment etc., then they must give you the letter by law. The release letter is tied to your visa. If you get new employment someplace else without the letter, than you are technically working illegally. 
Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations Does it pay more to teach English at a Kindergarten than private school?
If you see job ad online for a school, it's pretty likely that someone is getting a percentage of what the "real" salary is. If you have some Chinese friends that don't mind helping out, have them call some schools and talk to them directly. You'll usually get paid quite a bit more.
Any tips for motivating students to speak more English? 
 The biggest problem is that society has taught us that mistakes and failure are things to be feared and avoided, so people won't end up trying things out of fear of being wrong. It's like the kid in class who knows the answer but won't raise his hand because he or she is afraid that it might be wrong…The simplest cure? Encouragement. 
What is the easiest age group to teach?
 I would say that teaching the college students is the best, because even though a lot of them don't seem to be paying attention, the ones that do are really great. They are curious, and they know enough English that they can get their point across and learn new words. As for the most fun, that would have to be the 3-6 year olds, but then again, I only "taught" them for an hour at a time, and all we did was play games and learn a few words. As for the 3-5 graders, they're a bunch of brats. Some of them are very cute and sweet, but there are a bunch of them that are just a ton of trouble, and make it too stressful to be enjoyable. It's also more awkward, because they are learning simple English but still can't really use it to communicate with you. 
Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations How do your students address you? 
 "Teacher" is pretty much the standard; on the rare occasion they use it. They don't use it often since it's a small class, so I can see much of everything that goes on. Doesn't take more than a raised hand or a puzzled look in my direction to get my attention most times.  Most of them say teacher, but some adults address me by my first name. If you are teaching high school kids and they call you by your first name, I don't think it's a big problem. They seem to behave differently when learning English—they are more relaxed and having fun, so I wouldn't force them to call me teacher. I always tell them my name on the first day.
Being an English Teacher in China: Trials and Tribulations
ESL Jobs in ChinaTeaching in ChinaFinding a Teacher JobBeijing Enke Education

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