So you're ready for something new. Your old job isn't what it used to be, or you're looking to travel and explore a new and exciting country. Don't worry! Thousands of people just like you teach abroad for the first time every year. Many have little to no formal teaching experience and haven't stepped into a classroom in years, but that's okay. If you choose the right company, you'll get all the support you need to become a competent, fun and engaging teacher.
This post is going to help you land that dream job, help you navigate through the finer details and even give you an overall insight. It only takes 5 minutes to change your life, just stick with us and read the whole post!
China is a massive country, and the need for English language teachers in China is huge. There are some excellent English language companies, some of which are reputable English language companies found around the world like EF. However, like everywhere, there are also some unscrupulous ones, so research is a must.
There are plenty of online English language websites advertising teaching jobs in China. A quick Google search using keywords and phrases such as ‘English language jobs in China' and ‘Teaching jobs in China' will bring up a host of options, and from here it's a matter of sifting through the ESL Teacher job vacancies in China and doing your background research.
Visit the company website. Does it look professional? Are there online reviews from ESL teachers in China and students? Many ESL teachers will evaluate schools, either to help their peers to find a good job or to warn them of any negative experience they may have had.
Once you've narrowed down your search, your next step to landing an English teaching job in China is to start applying. Make sure you update your CV with all your relevant experience and pen a killer cover letter that targets the company you're applying at.Again, do some research. Instead of writing a generic cover letter for an English teaching job in China that you're going to send out everywhere, make reference to the company and state why you think you'll be a great addition to its team.
Once you've sent off your application and all the information you need, you can expect to wait up to 2-3 days to hear back from the company. However, some programs may have a set closing date, which may require you to wait a little longer. If a company is interested, you'll be invited for an interview.
Most interviews are held via Skype, however, in bigger countries like the UK, there may be interviews held sporadically in its major cities a few times throughout the year. After you get a date for the interview, make sure the time fits, as the time difference may affect your availability.
Most interviews are relatively relaxed and can be held by a recruiter, senior teacher or directors of studies, and sometimes the school owner. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, why you want to visit and work in China, your availability to start working, your qualifications, and your interests.
Prep some questions for your potential employers as well. Things you might want to consider are company perks, student-teacher ratio, methodologies, resources and learner types to name a few. Show your interest and passion for English language teaching and really make an impression.
The interview process is very similar to the usual interview process. Your interview will re-assess your application, how you performed in the interview and try to figure out if you will be a good fit or not for the company and job. However, as this is an international job, you will also have to meet visa requirements in order to be eligible for a working visa.
Compared to other countries, China's requirements for English language teachers are fair. You must be an English speaker with a passport from either the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. In addition to a university Bachelor's Degree, you'll also be required to have a TEFL/TESOL certificate of some sort, however, if you don't have the latter, EF sometimes offers TEFL sponsorship depending on your prior experiences and desire to teach English in China.
To successfully land your teaching job in China, you must obtain a Z-Visa. Z-Visas in China are offered to any “foreigner” coming to work in China; this includes ESL teachers in China. This particular visa is valid for one entry up to 90-days after the Z-Visa has been issued.
Part of the Z-Visa process is undergoing a health check, which is done in your own country before leaving. The medical documents are sent with your visa application. You can apply for your Z-Visa in China through your Chinese Embassy. Applications usually take 1-2 weeks, however, if necessary, they can be fast-tracked for a small fee.
Once in China, you'll need to go through the standard residential formalities to ensure you can stay. This is done with the local public security department and must be done within 30-days of arrival in China. It sounds more complicated than it is – usually, your sponsor company will lead the way with this one, which is why it's also important to find a reputable English language company in China
English language jobs in China vary when it comes to what they offer, so this is something else you need to consider. Look out for schools and companies that offer visa help, provide a decent living salary, accommodation or a housing allowance and in some cases, even flights. These teaching in China perks will differ from company to company, and you may find that some companies like EF offer more training opportunities if you find you want to develop more in the field.
Whether you're an experienced ESL teacher or not, there are plenty of reasons why you might consider an English language teaching job in China. It's a fascinating country with a lot to explore and learn – it is an experience you'll never forget, and the Chinese are eager to learn English, which will make your job all the more enjoyable.
Good luck with your English language teaching job in China hunt!