Private Language Schools:
What are types teaching jobs are available in China? There are a variety of teaching positions in China. A large number of positions can be found in private language schools. There are large, chain schools, regional chains and family owned language schools. The larger ones will have a more corporate structure since it is a business. Whether large or small, you will be expected to sell the school to some extent. Since you are the face of the school as the Western teacher, don’t be surprised if you are asked to do a demo class or greet parents of potential new students. Remember that a good smile goes a long way not only in China, but in all of Asia. You may not like this type of “selling” arrangement, but it is part of the game, so it is better to accept it rather than become jaded and use it a an excuse to do half-ass work. The business side of language schools in China and the rest of Asia can be ugly at times, but you still have a responsibility as a teacher to do good work and look after your students. Keep in mind that if you feel like you are getting somewhat screwed by your private language school, the students are in the same boat.
A significant amount of work teaching at Private language schools in China is teaching children, including little children. However, you can also expect a fair amount of classes filled with junior high school and high school-aged students. Some kids really enjoy English while others are summoned there by their parents. In general, kids in China are easy to deal with, but you will get a brat from time to time. Your schedule will also consist on one-on-one and group adult classes as well. The percentage of adult versus children classes depends on the school. Teacher turnover rate tends to be higher at private language schools compared to public ones. Be prepared to meet some really cool individuals and others that are jaded, bitter and generally haters. Stay away from the latter if you want to enjoy your life. Remember that those who accuse others of being losers are usually losers themselves. My best advice if you are going to live in China or anywhere abroad is to live and let live.
Public Schools in China
Public teaching jobs in China and the rest of Asia are usually more sought after since they tend to be cozier positions, offering more paid vacation, sometimes better pay and overall better benefits. You will generally be treated with more respect at a public school, which also means that you will be expected in most cases to develop your own curriculum and be a bit more passionate about teaching than say you would at a private language school. Public school jobs can be divided into two categories. The first are jobs in Chinese middle and high schools. In some cases, you may be the only foreign teacher at the school, while there may be one or two others in larger schools. The second category for public teaching jobs is in colleges and universities. These are generally the best English teaching jobs in China simply because you are teaching in a university environment. The turnover rate for university teaching jobs is low, so these types of positions take a lot more effort to acquire.
In many cases, you will also need a master’s degree or even a PhD to teach at a university in China and the same is true for most of Asia. You will find some teachers at this level that have literally ‘married into’ the culture and are in China for the long-run. In general, public teachers in China, whether at the college or middle-school level, tend to be a bit more professional and dedicated to the idea of actually teaching.
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