Everything You Should Know about Teaching in China

Living and Teaching Abroad - Teacher Record 

If you are considering teaching English in China, you are in the right place. TeacherRecord has established cooperative relationships with more than 500 local schools in many cities across China. Therefore, you will be assured that you will find the perfect match.

Some teachers have taught English in China before, and some teachers are planning to teach in China. In this article, we give a detailed introduction about teaching and living in China from the following aspects in order to provide you with a better understanding of the situation of teaching English in China, and it will be helpful for you to teach and live.

This article covers:

1. THE PROS & CONS of Teaching in China

2. 5 Tips to Consider Before You Come to Teach in China

3. The 8 Best Cities to Teach English in China

4. How to Find a Job in China

5. How can I teach in China? A Complete Guide



8. 6 Ways to Make New Connections while working in China

9. 10 unique cultural facts in China you should know


About living and teaching English as a second language in China, people have different opinions. It has some advantages, but it has its disadvantages as well. This section will cover both aspects. Based on a TEFL teacher who taught English in China before, she shared her opinion about her experience in China.

THE PROS & CONS of Teaching in China

Five Pros

1. The cost of living is lower, but income is good

2. You will probably get a stable job

3. China is a good tourist base

4. Public transportation is great

5. There are many things to see and do with rich culture and delicious food


3 Cons:

1. Chinese culture is different, there might be culture conflict

2. Lack of free speech

3. Air pollution in some cities

The pron&cons above are just from the general aspects. There are many other benefits of living in China as well, like cashless payment, high work efficiency. When you come and start to work in China, you will surely embrace the convenience and the hospitality of local people.

China is different from other countries, especially in parents attitudes toward education. In this section, there are 5 tips for you to consider before you decide to move to China.


5 Tips to Consider Before You Come to Teach in China

1. Adaptation is the Priority

2. Parents Have the Final Decision

3. Can You Sing or Dance?


5. Intercultural communication

Probably you have not ready yet, but it would be better if you are aware of these differences in advance, which would be easier for you to decide if China is the destination you want. You need to pay attention to Tip 2 that parents have the final decision when you need to take both your students and their parents into consideration while having your classes. And you need to be prepared that if you choose a private company, you wont be able to have a honeymoon anymore. If you choose to go to public schools, you will still have paid winter and summer vacations.

Before coming to work or teach in China, it would be helpful if you are clear what type of teaching jobs you want and which city you would like to live in.

When you come to work in China, you must first think about what type of job you want and in which city you would like to work and live. There are three types of schools in China: public schools, private schools and educational institutions. And you can choose to be a lecturer, teaching assistant, IELTS teacher, or business English teacher. Think about this before you decide to move to China.

China is the third-largest country in the world with more than 600 cities, and the living habits and climate are different from cities to cities. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of the climate, living habits, and wages of different cities in advance. In the southern cities of China, such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the temperature is relatively high and it wont be too cold, but the relative humidity is high. However, in northern China such as Beijing and Tianjin, it will be extremely cold in winter. Fortunately, the rooms are equipped with heating. You wont feel cold if you stay indoors. But the weather in the north will be relatively dry. Many teachers have mentioned the air quality, and the air quality in Beijing is indeed lower than in cities like Hangzhou and Nanjing. Regarding language, some teachers can't speak Chinese, but no worries, because in some metropolis like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, many citizens can speak English.

China is a particularly great country for tourism. For example, if you work in some big cities and have high salaries, you can take a vacation to the beach in southern provinces and cities during vacations, visit the desert in Gansu, eat hot pot in Chongqing, or take a look at ice sculptures in the Northeast in winter. After coming to China, you will experience the joy of working and living here.

Chinese Cities:

First Tier Cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen

New First-Tier CitiesChegndu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xian

Second Tier Cities: Wuxi, Ningbo, Kunming, Xiamen, Huizhou, and Haikou


The 8 Best Cities to Teach English in China

1. BeijingCapital of China with more than 3,000 years of history

Population: 21.7 million  (basically 2.5 times bigger than NYC)

Language: Mandarin

Average Salary: 8,400-32,700 RMB/month ($1,200 - $4,700 USD per month)

Types of ESL jobs: Business English, private academies and public schools

2. Shanghai: International Economy, Finance, Trade, Shipping, Science and Technology Innovation Center

Population: 24 million (basically three New York cities)

Language: Mandarin Chinese, Shanghainese

Average Salary: 8,400-32,700 RMB/month ($1,200 - $4,700 USD per month)

Types of ESL jobs: Everything, but especially teaching English to adults and Business English

3. Guangzhou: international trade center and comprehensive transportation hub

Population: 14.4 million

Language: Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese

Average Salary: 8,000-23,000 RBM/month ($1,200 - $3,300 USD per month)

Types of ESL jobs: business English, private academies, and public schools


4. Shenzhen: China's special economic zone, national economic center city, and international city

Population: 12.5 million (bigger than the entire country of Belgium)

Language: Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese

Average Salary: 8,000-23,000 RBM/month ($1,200 - $3,300 USD per month)

Types of ESL jobs: Business English, private academies, kindergartens, and public schools

For more detailed information about the cities to teach English abroad as a second language, please check it: The 8 Best Cities to Teach English in China

I think most teachers have a clear idea about what type of jobs they want and in which city they would like to work and live.  

Now in this section, it mainly covers: How to Find a Job in China 

There are many types of methods of looking for a teaching job. In this section, it will cover the most frequently used methods for job hunting:

1. NetworkingIf you know someone in China who is able to tell you where to apply for a job, or send your resume directly, it will be the easiest way to find a job quickly.

2. Finding Jobs onlineyou can search for jobs online on Facebook, LinkedIn, or some other recruiting websites like TeacherRecord, with more than 1,000+ teaching positions across China.

3. Internshipwith an internship, you don't have to worry about the work visa.

How can I teach in China?

In this section, it will cover the requirement, salary and visa application for teaching English in China,

The requirement of English teaching in China

1. A native speaker who holds a passport from the English-speaking countries and get a Z visa

2. With a bachelor degree or above

3. pass a criminal background check in your own country

What is the visa process for teachers in China?

To ensure that you will do a legal teaching job in China, what and the only choice is to get a Z visa. Some schools will tell you that a student or tourist visa is accepted.

1. Send the school all the documents required to apply for a work permit (like a copy of your passport and notarized copies of degrees and certificates you have).

2. Begin the Z visa application process when you get your work permit. (about 1 month)

3. The Z visa, which takes 3-7 working days to process, is the document you need to enter the country.

4. You will have 24 hours to register at the local police station and apply for a residence

Regarding the interview process, many teachers are having a headache about how to outperform themselves in the interview process in order to acquire the position and get a higher salary. Due to the Covid-19, all the teachers are invited to take an online interview. Although you dont need to have a face to face interview, you still need to pay attention to your dressing. One of the most important things is to make sure that your computer and network function well. If you have any teaching experience in China, it would be great. If not, online teaching experience still works.


5 tips for interview preparation:

1 Please briefly describe your most challenging experience.

2 What do you think your role in this situation.

3 Please specify your implementation method.

4. Is your solution effective? The result is?

How to create an active learning environment is very important. About how you can master the classroom well also requires certain skills, especially for different students. Normally, there are three types of students in China: elementary and primary school students, middle school students, college students, and adults. The teaching skills for each type of student are different, therefore, it is necessary to learn different skills in advance. 


1. Flashcards

2. Music

3. Movies

4. Books and Newspapers

5. Pictures

When you start to work as an English teacher in China, sometimes you might feel lonely, because you dont have friends besides you. It is time for you to go out and make new friends.  

How you can make new connections while living in China

1. Use your existing network.

2. Know your colleagues

3. Get out there IRL

4. Follow your interests

5. Engage in the expat community

6. Connect online

Except for these ways of making a new connection, there are some local platforms or groups in each city. If you live in Shenzhen, Now.shenzhen is a nice platform; If you are in Beijing, Beijinger is one of the most popular platforms in Beijing, and some other platforms like smartshanghai, Gokunming. It takes time to get used to living and making friends, but you will start to enjoy your life in China once you get used to it.

China is one of the most ancient countries in the world with more than 5,000 years of history. Chinese culture might be different from your cultures, it is possible that you may encounter some cultural conflicts. Being aware of some culture background would be beneficial for you to live better in China.

10 unique cultural facts in China you should know

1. "Dating" is a serious matter

2. It is not impolite to ask about salary

3. 56 ethnic groups

4. Chinese Zodiac

5. Family matters

6. Chinese Kung Fu

7. Food is important

8. China has many traditional festivals

9. The dragon is a symbol of power, status, money, and wisdom. 

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