Career as a Teacher in China
Though many foreign teachers come to China with the idea that they won't remain more than a year or two, a growing number of them fall in love with the country and decide to make a career out of teaching English there.
Exaggerate Your Capabilities and Experience
A lot of things have changed in China recently. In 2009, when I initially moved here, getting a work visa and a permanent resident card was simple processes. China desperately needed foreign instructors to satisfy the soaring demand for English language classes, and they didn't care whether they didn't have a teaching certificate or even a bachelor's degree.
A recruiter at the time instructed me to go to China on a tourist visa, which my institution would then convert into a work visa. Today, with so many foreign instructors already in China, the government is becoming pickier about who they let in for the teaching profession. This has made a job in education in China more desired, but also more difficult to join, since schools and language centers have grown more selective.
Thus, the issue of certification and credentials is of paramount importance if you wish to advance in your teaching career in China. This is a wonderful trend despite the fact that it may prevent many outstanding but unqualified individuals from entering the teaching profession.
The trend toward hiring only licensed and experienced educators may be traced back to the rise in the number of prestigious institutions and their consequent desire to raise educational standards. Although such "fly-by-night" schools are becoming less popular, they will likely always exist in areas where people are willing to accept anybody they can pass off as a competent instructor because they pay for their licenses with cigarettes and baijiu.
A TEFL or CELTA certification is often essential when seeking for employment and residence permits, and is often requested by employers. While it is possible to get such credentials in China, my experience has been that the top schools in China's first-tier cities prefer to hire foreign instructors who have earned credentials in their home countries.
There are a variety of routes open to people in China who desire to enter the teaching profession or advance their qualifications in the field. You may choose a course near you that will combine classroom instruction with independent study and hands-on training. On the other hand, there are a plethora of online teaching certification programs in the United States and the United Kingdom that are open to recent college grads as well as instructors located in countries all over the world.
You may keep working at your existing teaching employment while completing the practical teaching requirements for these online programs. The second perk is that you can become licensed in your native country if you ever decide to return there, and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.
Getting certified as a teacher, either in person or online, might help you get a job at a better school and earn more money.
Think About Urban Redesign
Location is another factor to consider. Bigger cities in China will always offer more opportunities for promotion, but you'll need to weigh that against the lower wages and higher cost of living there. If you're a teacher in China and you're stuck in a small town, moving to a larger city like Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou may help you develop in your profession.
Jobs for international educators may be found in a wide variety of fields and locations, including administration, recruiting, and classroom instruction, in a variety of second- and third-tier cities. Here in Xuzhou, a city in the second tier of China's economic might, I've had several chances to enhance my teaching expertise.
Put Yourself Out There
The last piece of advice I can provide is to not be shy about some blatant self-promotion. You can't hinder your chances of finding work in the field if you use your TEFL or CELTA qualification as a calling card on social media and in your email signature. Make sure your resume and online profiles reflect your most recent experiences if you've been an English teacher for a while.
In spite of the fact that you may not have a degree in teaching, you probably do hold a degree in something else. Therefore, if you're trying to broaden your career horizons, highlight your skills while applying for positions or interacting with recruiters and potential employers. To provide one example, if you have a business degree, you may be able to locate colleges or even corporate firms that will pay you to teach business-related courses without a teaching degree.
China is a fantastic destination to further your teaching career objectives. You can improve your career and finances if you take advantage of the current prospects. Even though China now has more schools and foreign instructors than ever before, the country's insatiable appetite for quality international talent ensures that demand for qualified experts will remain high. In a short amount of time, you will be able to set yourself apart from the crowd if you are enrolled in the correct institution, know exactly what you want to accomplish, and are prepared to put in the effort to bolster your available opportunities.