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What documents should a candidate submit when s/he applies for a position in a school or university in China?
Is a medical examination required prior to travelling to China to teach?
Yes. You are required to have a medical examination from your doctor prior to applying for a working visa. You can download the medical exam form from our website or from http://www.nychineseconsulate.prchina.org.
What type of heath insurance coverage will I get?
The host school will provide health insurance to cover basic medical costs. For public schools, visits to on-campus clinics will be free of charge. Outpatient services will not be covered. Most pharmacies in China will have basic medicine for a cold or minor illness. Hospital bills will be paid up to a maximum of 800 RMB. This information will appear in your contract. If you are sponsored by your school with a working visa, you are also be covered by the Casualty Insurance.
How do I go about getting a Visa?
Please see our visa section.
I don’t feel comfortable signing a one-year contract, would I be able to sign a six-month contract with an option to extend my teaching contract for one full year once I am there?
This is something you might be able to negotiate with your host school. If both parties wish to extend the contract, the new contract should be settled six weeks before the end of the current term of employment. Only schools in Jiangsu province and Guangzhou city will consider a short term ( six month or one semester contract).
How will teachers be reimbursed for plane tickets?
If you have signed a one-year contract, you will receive the partial or full amount of the round trip ticket you have purchased. If you have signed a six-month contract, you will receive the half reimbursement. Payment of these funds will be made upon completion of your contract. Each school has a different policy for airfare reimbursement.
How are we to get from Beijing to the school where we are going to teach?
You will book round-trip airline tickets to one of three cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. These are the only destinations for flights. If your host school is one of these or is near one of these cities, you will be picked up and driven to your apartment.
If you require a connecting flight to another city, the travel agent will make the necessary arrangements for your connecting flight, your airport pick up and other ground travel. You will be reimbursed for these expenses once you present receipts to your host school. Once you arrive at your final destination, your host school will send a representative to meet you and drive you to your apartment.
What is the teaching salary?
Salaries vary from urban to rural areas, private school to public schools, and between provinces. Salary generally depends on the teaching level and the location of the school with regard to the standard of living of the Region.
How often do teachers get paid? How soon would the first pay check be processed: weekly, monthly, or longer?
Pay checks are distributed usually monthly. The host school will help you open an account in the Bank of China or other bank which is near you. You can opt for direct deposit or be paid in cash.
Is there holiday pay and/or vacation pay?
Teachers receive paid holidays. However, for certain schools, vacations may be unpaid or half-paid. Each school has its own pay policy, so please refer to your contract for more information.
What is the exchange rate from RMB (Yuan) to foreign currency?
For details on current exchange rates, please visit http://www.xe.net/ucc.
What amenities does an apartment in China have?
All apartments offered to teachers coming to China are considered Triple A Western Standard rooms. For rooms occupied by singles, there is a bedroom, living room and private bath (western standard bathroom). For couples, there is usually either a two-bedroom or a large bedroom suite. All apartments come with the following: television, air-conditioner, microwave, water heater, refrigerator, a washing machine (either in the apartment or in the building), a bed and table and chairs.
Are the utilities paid for?
Each school has its own policy. For Harbin Joy schools and Wuhan public schools, the utilities are paid by the school.
Are meals provided?
You are on your own for meals. If you’d like, you can go to the school cafeteria for nutritious and inexpensive meals.
For our teaching program, public schools in Wuhan, Tianjin and Wenzhou will provide free meals to ESL teachers.
What is the average amount a teacher spends every day on food if they eat in a private restaurant?
It always costs a bit more to eat in the larger cities, but the average is $5.00 – $10.00 US dollars per day for three restaurant meals. There are usually many small restaurants and noodle shops on campus or outside the front gate. Some universities provide tiny kitchens. In this case food shouldn’t cost more than about $5.00 per day.
However, even for some Western-brand products, prices are low: costs $3.00, a big bottle of beer costs $0.30, a subway costs $0.40, a bus costs $0.15, a meal in a local restaurant costs less than a $2.00 and a meal in the school cafeteria costs less than $1.00.
Will it be necessary to take transportation to get to school from the apartment?
Most apartments will be on campus, especially for the public schools and universities or in a walking distance to the school. For some schools, if the apartment is not in walking distance, you will be picked up and driven back and forth to work. Some school may provide you with a bicycle.
What is the electricity supply voltage?
In China, it is 220volts. If your appliances only work on USA standard 110 volts, you will need to replace them with 220 volt types. Read the labels, you may find they are multi-voltage.
What will the teaching conditions be like? Will I have an office space, a desk etc.? Will I have Internet access?
You will be given an office with a computer in the staff room in the school building. We suggest you bring your own laptop if you have one in case there are many teachers who share a computer. It is advisable for your own convenience.
Will I have obligations outside of the regular teaching hours i.e. faculty meetings, outside lectures, informal English clubs, etc.? If so, are we paid overtime for these activities?
You will be paid overtime for additional time, except for faculty meetings. For informal English club meetings that are referred to as English Corner, you will be paid overtime. The rate varies from school to school. The rate for overtime will appear in your contract.
Are Chinese lessons available for foreign teachers?
Yes. Most host schools will provide free tutoring to you for two or three hours a week, upon you request.
If I have no teaching experience, is training available either before I go or when I get there?
Yes. We have a special affordable TESOL Training program. Please read our Special TESOL Training Program session.
Do Chinese students speak any English?
Yes, all Chinese students have been exposed to English as early as Primary School. For those of you teaching on a
University level, college students have had to score high on a Basic English Skills examination prior to admission to college. Middle and High School students also possess significant skills in reading, writing and speaking English. For those teaching Kindergarten, the teaching curriculum in visually based, and the children are fast learners.
How many students are assigned per class? How many hours per day? What days of the week do we teach?
All details appear in the job description of your host school. Generally, public college, high school and middle school classes are a maximum of 40 students. There are only placement options for Kindergarten in private schools. There is approximately 12 to 25 per class.
What teaching materials will be provided?
Materials will be provided. However, most ESL teachers also want to develop their own materials and would prefer to bring these materials with them. You are encouraged to do so.
Are we allowed to tutor in order to make extra money?
You will need to obtain the permission of the host school. However, we would request that you ask your host school for additional teaching opportunities prior to agreeing to take private students.
Will I feel isolated or lonely at my school?
You probably will not feel isolated or lonely. Unless you request to be placed at a school without other Western teachers, you will probably have between one and twenty other Western teachers in your school. They will be from England, Canada, the US, Australia, and other countries as well. Rural schools generally have fewer Western teachers.
I hear a lot about greater salaries being paid to teachers at small, private language institutes. Do you think it is a good idea to go to one of these places instead of a standard university?
Salaries may appear higher, but room, board and travel expenses may not be included. Workload may very well be greater, too. It depends on what you are looking for. There are pros and cons to both.
How long is a Chinese semester?
The Chinese academic-year is shorter than the US school year. Most semesters are 18 weeks long with 16 weeks of actual teaching time and then two weeks for wrap up and exams. The mid-year break is over Chinese New Year which is a lunar holiday and can fall anywhere from late January through early March. As a result, vacation dates are not fixed far in advance as they are in the US.
What courses will I be required to teach?
Depending on the curriculum for the year, and the particular school you are placed in, you may be asked to teach some of the following courses: English / American Literature, Linguistics, Reading, Composition, Grammar, conversational English. In various universities, teachers are needed to teach specialized subjects in English. Courses include Accounting, International Marketing and Law.
If I do not apply in time for the start of the semester, would I be able to be placed at odd times during the year?
Yes. E-mail or call us at any time of the year to see if there are openings. Some of our schools are on a quarterly system so that there are a lot of openings at different points in the school year.
Can I stay a second year to teach?
Before the end of your contract, please call us to find out what other locations would fit your interests. We can place you in a variety of locations. We will help you free of charge. You may also renew your contract at the same school.
I have never worked overseas before. How will I cope with living in China?
All our partner schools are well experienced in hosting foreign teachers and will make every effort to assist you in settling in. As long as you keep an open mind, stay as flexible as possible and set out to enjoy your stay, you will cope quit well. In fact, you should anticipate having the time of your life!
What is the mandatory dress code for teachers? Is there a uniform standard I would need to adhere to? What pointers would you offer concerning the best way to dress in order to make a favourable impression in China?
The best way to describe a standard dress code would be to suggest business casual attire for day / work. However, I strongly urge you to bring at least one cocktail dress / business suit for more formal occasions held at the school i.e. school meetings and community gatherings. You will most likely be invited to attend formal dinners and other important ceremonies. To these, you would wear evening dress clothing i.e. a fancy dress, or a fine suit. I believe the school will invite you to many of these. In terms of seasonal outerwear, it doesn’t pay to pack and bring winter clothing. You can buy heavy jackets and coats very inexpensively in China compared to prices in the USA or Europe.
Shall I bring some gifts to your host school?
You are welcome to bring gifts like t-shirts and other products made in the US or Europe with designer logos on them.
What one qualification is necessary to teach in China?
Elsewhere we have mentioned the academic credentials. Beyond those, a candidate should be willing to fall in love with China, its culture and its people.
What added benefits are there to teaching in China?
People come to teach in China mainly for the cultural experience and to meet the people. There are also people who use the opportunity as an investment for their future career.