No-nonsense guide to teaching English in China during COV-19

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ESL Tate
I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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For a lot of people, teaching in China is a representation of a full package adventure. You are going into a new country where you are about to have a ton of new cultural experiences. And this no-nonsense guide to teaching English in China during cov-19 will help you navigate your way.

China is home to one of the seven wonders of the world which is thrilling on its own. But beyond that, the fascinating culture of China appeals to the souls of adventure travelers.

But how do you go about daily life there now knowing that COV-19 is still a mystery? The short answer, the same as anywhere else. Protect, practice excellent hygiene and keep your  distance.

Because in my time in China, one thing I did not like was how crowded it is in many public places. So do well to keep from crowded places or go during off-peak times.

You don’t want what could be to ruin what is now. Because China is a country with a lot to offer as this article will show.

fishing in china

If you are looking for a country where you can experience adventure every single day in the form of delicious cuisine, amazing art, new language and scintillating cultural experiences,  China is where you may want to start.

It’s easy to get a job teaching English. But before you pack up your bags and hop on the next available flight, it is important that you stop and make well-informed decisions.

I know that the country is fascinating but there are certain things that may affect your experiences negatively if you do not prepare for them. I know because I spent three weeks there and of course that time frame is not enough to make a full assessment of a place but it is an experience none-the-less.

China is great in all ramifications but it may not be suitable for everyone. In this article, I will lay out the reasons you should go and also give you some of the pros and cons to teaching in China but I’m not going to stop there. I will also list out some online platforms where you can build some experience before you actually go there physically.

Benefits to Teach English in China

There are so many reasons to take on this opportunity and it was difficult, but I have been able to narrow those reasons down to these three.

1. You have several options

There are so many teaching programs in China. As at last count, it exceeded 400. These programs can see you placed in major cities like Beijing and Hong Kong and if you prefer, you could do a lot of traveling within the country during that period. This is perfect for people who do not want to be stuck with a boring routine.

2. The pay is incredible

Imagine doing something that you actually enjoy and getting paid as much as $3000 a month for it. Teaching in China can open the door to an opportunity like this.

Aside from the pay that you are getting, there is also the possibility that you might secure a job that takes care of your accommodation and basic needs leaving you with more money in your wallet at the end of the day.

3. You get the opportunity to learn new things

Besides teaching the language, being in China also offers you the opportunity to learn Mandarin. That’s not all. The cuisine over there in China is divine.

If you like Asian food, be ready to get blown away. Apart from that, you also learn to appreciate that art and culture of the Chinese people who by the way are very hospitable.

tea in China

Pros and Cons of teaching in China

The Pros:

The pros I am going to list out here are basically supporting the reasons for you to go and experience China. But I’m going to do a comparison of teaching in China to other countries in the same region and draw both the pros and cons from that.

1. The cost of living is relatively low

Depending on which city you live in, you might be able to maintain a certain standard of living without necessarily going over budget. China is a manufacturing country so a lot of the things that are considered luxury in certain places are relatively cheap there. Things like food, clothing and basic accessories are very affordable.

2. The Chinese people are very friendly and hospitable

Going to a new place can be a scary experience if you don’t know anyone there and for someone who comes from a completely different environment to be transplanted into somewhere completely new in every sense might make you feel out of place. But the Chinese people are generally very friendly and quick to make you feel at ease

3. You have access to most parts of Asia

Flights from China to nearby Asian countries are cheaper and the documentation required for that process is easier when you are living and working in China. So, if you would like to see all the countries like Thailand, Vietnam South korea or Japan, the door is open for you to explore.

travel cheap in china

Cons

For every positive, there is a negative and we would be deluding ourselves if we assume that everything about China is completely perfect. These cons will help to prepare you for any future aspirations you have for living in China.

1. The health standards are considerably lower

For people who are used to a certain standard of health, it may come to you as a cultural shock to witness how things are done in China. This is not to say that the people of China do not value cleanliness. It is just that the way they go about it is a lot different.

2. Communication is difficult

China is not an English-speaking country so you will find situations where the products you are buying, the shops you are visiting, the signs on most notice boards are written in Chinese language. Without any prior knowledge of this language, you will struggle initially.

buddha water china

Top Three Cities Where You Can Teach English

There are so many beautiful places to visit in China but when you plan to work and live there, you can ease your introduction to the country and its culture by starting off in any of these three cities.

1. Beijing

Beijing is the capital of China, its political centre as well as the academic hub of the entire country. So, you are getting more than just one package when you sign up to live in this city. There are several cultural attractions like the Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City.

2. Shanghai

Shanghai is the modern city in China. If you would like to get a taste of the Orient without losing so much on the modern infrastructure that is prominent in cities like Paris and Berlin, then this is where you want to be. But beneath the modern structures lies a rich cultural history that you can explore if you work and live there.

3. Hong Kong

If you want a country that offers the perfect blend of modernity and history, Hong Kong is where you want to be in. Hong Kong is a thriving city of over 16 million people with a rich cultural heritage and a biodiversity that allows people of different cultures to experience China without feeling too much like an outsider.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Top Three Platforms for Teaching English in China Online

If you are not quite sure if you’re ready to commit to the full experience of teaching in China, you can try some of these platforms that cater to Chinese students exclusively. This might give you a little insight into what to expect if you decide to go there physically.

1. EF English First

English first has offices in over 120 cities around the world. However, in China they have established their presence and built a huge reputation. You can sign up to become one of the teachers on their platform and get the chance to earn an average of $12 per hour.

2. VIPKID

This is one of the more reputable online English teaching platforms and it is designed for students in China particularly children within the ages of 4 and 12. You can set your own teaching schedule on this platform and expect to earn somewhere between $7 and $22 an hour.

3. Palfish

Palfish is an app that targets students and teachers. They find students in China and hire teachers overseas to teach them. However, keep in mind that Palfish and many other platforms in China do not abide by or have the anti-discrimination act in their home country as many users have reported; as a result, many people have been turned down on the platform for not looking a certain way.

Final thoughts

China is a great place to start your ESL teaching career. The requirements to teach there are lot easier to acquire. Not only that, there are numerous online catering to the large population of Chinese citizens who want to learn English.

Now more than ever, it’s easier to get teaching jobs in China; both online and actually going there. The choice is yours. See the job board for current job listings for China.

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