I’m sure that you don’t need to be told how to teach but we believe that there are a few things that will help you in your classroom as you start because teaching isn’t just about the students, it’s about your team, your work colleagues etc.
Upon my first teaching job, I arrived in China without any real idea about what to do or how to handle the culture. I’d read lots of blogs and websites but the general feeling was that nothing can really prepare you for what will happen during those first weeks.
KINDERGARTEN/HOMEROOM: in most kindergartens/homeroom positions, you’ll be given a team of Chinese teachers who are there to support you and help you through the year. It is absolutely pivotal that you get this part of your preparations right because there’s nothing worse than being in a job where you are at loggerheads with your TA/team.
Your team will have their rules and regulations, their routines and lesson plans and they must have all that in connection with your preparations so working together is key. This is where being open-minded, patient and understanding will be your best qualities because Chinese people have certain ways and beliefs that are in some ways less advanced than ours. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “China bashing” post but I think that it’s important for all teachers in this capacity to at least do some research into the culture and their way of thinking.
Kindergarten positions will also offer a higher salary than most other teaching roles around China but without doubt, comes with a much more challenging curriculum. You will have more control of your lesson plans and your day to day will consist of a very set routine.
TRAINING CENTRES: There’s a lot of benefits to working in a training centre in China. The salaries are higher than most places, the lesson planning time is very minimal with set curriculums and you get most of your weekday mornings to chill out and prepare. General working hours are 1 pm – 8 pm through the week and then 9 am – 8 pm on the weekends but you will accumulate a lot of classes that can get quite repetitive.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Public schools are a completely different type of animal to kindergartens. You will find that your class sizes are much bigger and you will teach the same lessons throughout the week for between ten and fifteen classes so you only have to prepare one or two plans for all which is quite convenient.
The difference to Kindergarten and lower level teaching is that you won’t get as much in terms of salary but you will be offered accommodation and bonus’s whereas, in a bigger city, accommodation is simply too much so it might not be offered.
Generally, public schools are awesome and you have a lot of fun! You’re not under as much pressure as in other roles and you get a lot of free time to do other things like extra tuition or take up new hobbies.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: International schools come in the forms of kindergartens, primary, middle and high schools. They are different from public schools in the sense of smaller class sizes, an international curriculum and in general, better package benefits. However, for these better packages, they do require teachers with previous experience. These are great options for teachers to get some overseas experienced whilst advancing their careers.
EXTRA TUITION: There are lots of companies now offering platforms for students to learn one on one English, especially now that it’s a requirement for students travelling abroad so this side of the market is huge and you can find a lot of places wanting English teachers which caters for both young and mature students.
You can expect to earn between 250rmb – 500rmb per hour for these types of classes and they come in all kinds of formats so if you’re looking for extra work, this will be your side job for sure!