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ESL Job Tips

Non-Native English Speakers Teaching in China Revisited

A little while ago, in an article entitled Can Non-Native English Speakers Teach English in China? I discussed some of the difficulties non-native speakers of English may encounter in China in relation to finding teaching jobs.

Since that article was posted, this site has received hundreds of hits from non-native speakers of English asking me to help them find a place to teach in China.

Unfortunately, I am not a recruiter and nor do I run a school, but the overwhelming response the article produced prompted me to do some further investigation into the issue of non-native speakers of English teaching in China. Over the last few months, I have contacted a number of English schools in China in order to get some feedback about non-native English teachers in the PRC.

Here is what I have discovered:

–Most of the English schools I contacted did not bother to respond to my questions. The schools were either too busy or didn’t care.

— Non-native speakers of English are much more likely to get a teaching job in China if they are already in the country. Many schools in China are hesitant to hire teachers from countries considered to be ‘poorer’ than China. For better or for worse, some schools are afraid teachers from these ‘poorer’ countries will simply use the school as a way to get into China.

— This year in China, as a result of visa restrictions, English teachers are in high demand so non-native English speakers of English may have an easier time finding some work. However, non-native speakers of English can almost always expect to be paid lower than their ‘Western’ counterparts. This wage disparity between native-speakers and non-native speakers is all too common in China.

Is there any hope for me as a non-native English teacher in China?

Now that I have gotten the bad news out of the way, I want to share some helpful tips for those of you who are really determined to teach in China:

— As I mentioned earlier, if you are already in China, it will probably be much easier for you to find a teaching job. I have met non-native English teachers who came to China originally to work in trading companies or do other forms of business. Obtaining a visa and traveling to China is your best way to ‘get your foot in the door.’ Once you have arrived, you can spend a few weeks taking part in job interviews and hopefully a school will hire you. If you are hired full time, the school will help you obtain that ‘precious’ work visa.

— If you want to teach in China, do not just focus on English. Many schools are looking for people who can effectively teach computers, math, music, and even physical education. Schools that are seeking to fill these positions are less likely to care about your ‘advertising value’; they just want to find someone who can teach these subjects well. If you are passionate about English, perhaps you will also get the opportunity to teach some language classes after you have started work.

Read our free ESL Job Guide

Make sure you are effectively pursuing a job in China. Please read our free guide to teaching English in China which will help you better understand the process that goes into finding a job here. Whether from the West or from another country, you can benefit from our helpful guide.

Do not be too discouraged if at first you receive little or no response in your quest to find a job in China. While the situation may seem bleak for non-native speakers of English, every year, hundreds of people from countries all over the world do find jobs in schools here. Exercising patience and not becoming discouraged is key to your success.

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