Public school jobs in China for foreigners range from teaching at primary school level up to high school level. There’s a significant difference between teaching at primary, middle and high school, from the level of English spoken by the students to the teaching style you’ll use. Though you’ll generally find yourself teaching every element of English, including reading, writing, speaking and listening.

FINDING A JOB

You can find work at public schools online or in person, with most first-time teachers in China applying online in advance.

Just like teaching at a private language school, you’ll still need to secure a ‘Z’ visa to legally get a job at a public school.

WHEN TO APPLY

The public school year starts in early September, so May or June is a good time to start looking for work. It’s tempting to start searching earlier, but bear in mind that lots of schools won’t start looking at applications until 12 weeks before terms starts.

TEACHING HOURS & CLASS SIZES

You’ll usually teach Monday to Friday, from about 8am until 6pm, with a long lunch break. There are usually between 30 and 50 students per class, but there can be as many as 70. Yes – you read that right, 70!

As mentioned, the demand for English teachers is high in China, which can often result in large class sizes. This may sound a little overwhelming at first, but it’s worth remembering that teachers are well-respected in Chinese culture, so you can expect well-behaved, attentive students.

SALARY & BONUSES

You’ll earn between $1,150-3,050 per month, depending on your qualifications, the hours you work, and where you work in China. You may also be offered a completion bonus or performance-based bonuses. Other perks include health insurance, free accommodation and a flight allowance.

VACATION

You’ll get all the Chinese national holidays off work as well as vacation time in-between terms – so you’ll have plenty of time to explore China!

PROS

  •  Free accommodation, completion bonus and health insurance
  •  Comfortable wage and a lots of vacation days
  •  School books and a curriculum to follow
  •  A teaching assistant to help manage classes
  •  Weekends off to explore China
  •  Long breaks during the summer and winter holidays

CONS

  •  Larger class sizes than at private language centres
  •  Less opportunity to play games or do activities
  •  Usually only two or three other foreign TEFL teachers working at the same place
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