Just like many career choices in China, teaching has traditionally been well respected. In other words, the scope of the education system in China is extensive. Salaries are stable, though not as high as other professions in China. If you are teaching in a big city, you’ll have opportunities to supplement your income by tutoring students. Teaching is, therefore, one of the fastest growing professions for Chinese graduates. Moreover, most of the famous university’s in China admit education candidates as a priority. Many tops students are consequently making teacher programs their first choice of study at university.
Because China has the largest population in the world, it forms the world’s biggest teaching force, with over 300 teacher training institutions of all levels. However, despite all the massive teacher training systems, China has not met the number of teachers needed to maintain the demand, even in large schools, in both quality and quantity. In general, teachers’ education system does not count much towards the national contribution. Some of the reasons that undermine teachers’ ability are:
- Organizational barriers
- Range of serious policy problems
- Socioeconomic factors
Categories of Teachers in China
The type of teacher you are in China is determined by who’s paying you. Therefore, there are two kinds of teachers:
- The Gongban or State-Employed teachers
These teachers are paid by the Chinese government, and as such they are regarded as the employees of the state. They are liable to earn regular monthly salaries, just like any other civil servant, working for China’s government.
- The Minban or Community paid teachers
These are teachers who are called upon by the local community to assist in the teaching process. Their monthly salaries are therefore not fixed, as they depend on the community’s local conditions.
Methods used in finding teaching job in China: How to approach your job search
Before you apply for any jobs in China, it is advisable that you first narrow down your desired location and the type of students you want to teach. Your job hunt’s timing influences the type of school that will be available.
Also, as a foreigner, you need to know the best times to apply for teaching jobs. China employs foreign teachers yearly and is usually expected to begin their work in late August, after signing a 10-month contract. Meaning, if you want to secure any teaching job in China, you need to send your application letter and all you support credentials around March and April of that academic year. If you are interested in working in China’s government school or college or university, make sure that they have your application and other details one or two weeks before the spring semester commences. Depending on the lunar calendar, the spring semester can star in February or March but no later than early April.
As much as some universities post their job vacancies advertisement on EFL websites, most do not. Therefore, as a serious job seeker, you need to be active enough in getting the listings and contact information for those universities that hire foreign teachers. Alternatively, work with a reliable recruitment agency.
Requirements to secure a teaching job in China
Whether you want to work in a private or state school in China, there are elements that you’ll need to fulfill before securing a teaching job in any locality of China. Chinese State Administration Foreign Expert Affairs enforces these requirements, which will vary slightly depending what country you are from. However, no matter what passport you hold, you must meet the following requisites for you to do land a teaching job in China:
- You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
- You must have at least two years of post-graduate work experience.
- You must have a certification from TEFL, bearing over 120 hours of training. Though some schools will accept 100-hour certificate, schools located in 1st-tier cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, need a TEFL training experience of at least 120 hours.
Since it is impossible to secure a teaching job in China without TEFL training, make sure that your TEFL course and certificate are valid. If you have doubts about your TEFL course, visit a TEFL provider that will provide you with an original certificate.
How to apply for a teaching and maximize the chance of being contacted
Many times you will find China teaching job advertisements, either on EFL websites, or the institutional sites. Therefore, the moment you see a teaching job post that you might be interested in, you need to apply formally by sending an email. However, sending an email is not a guarantee that you are going to get the job. To maximize your chances of being contacted and getting the job, you need to include all the required and requested attachments in your application.
What are some of the attachments that you application should not miss?
Scanned digital copies, which should only be in jpg, jpeg or gif format. Make sure that the photocopies of your degrees and other photographs are not inside a word document. You should put other types of documents in PowerPoint or include links to access them online in your application. Make sure that the image maintains the same size as the original document, but ensure that the picture resolution does not exceed 100 pixels, to reduce the size of the file. If the document size is small, it will take less time to send it as well as for the employer to receive it.
You should submit your resume in the form of a Microsoft word document version 2003, or you can choose to send it as a pdf file alternatively.
Other necessities that you need to include during your application are:
A) Valid passport digital copy.
The passport should have more than six months validity before it expires. Your will need to scan the cover page that contains your credentials such as your photo, place of birth, year of birth, sex, and age. If you do not have a valid passport, don’t bother applying, as no school in China will consider your application valid. The passport is assurance and verification of age and nationality.
B) Current and professional resume or CV.
Make sure you have a CV that is professional and well updated. The CV must clearly show all the dates of attendance and all obtained expertise and degrees earned, in that order. Some of the older foreign teachers tend to alter their age by omitting dates used in calculating their approximate age. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. Comparison between the scan of your passport and your resume is a way of verifying your age.
C) Copies of your highest degree and teaching certificates.
Make sure that you include the scans of your educational achievements, including your TEFL training certificate. As an added advantage, include your original transcripts if you have any, for validation of your degree authentication.
D) Your recent photo
Make sure that the picture you have attached to your application, is a professional one. If you do not have one, make it.
E) References to at least two places you have worked.
The best way to handle such a situation is by attaching the digital copies of signed and letters of recommendation, from former and current employers. Although references are not necessary, you should include them as an added advantage.
F) Cover letter
You do not have to attach the cover letter separately. You can easily incorporate it into the message of your email’s content.