English Teaching in China
In China, the number of international teachers has consistently expanded over the course of the years, but this growth has been severely stunted by the epidemic, limitations on visas, and crackdowns. When compared to the cost of in-person tutoring in China, which ranges from CN200–400 (US$30–60) an hour, one-to-one online tutoring with a "native English" speaker can be purchased for as little as US$10 an hour, which is a great deal. Many private schools have closed as a result of this shift, and there has been a big move toward online teaching.
However, laws passed in 2021 made it illegal for online instructors based in other countries to instruct children in China. As a result, the online education industry in China is limited to adults, and the market for online tutoring of children under the age of 18 has been forced underground. A similar prohibition on out-of-school tutoring of children under the age of six, either in person or online, was enacted in July of 2020.
Because of trade disputes and other political conflicts, there has also been an increase in anti-foreign and notably anti-American attitude, which has led to a decrease in demand for foreign instructors. In recent years, the teaching of English in China's educational system has taken a back seat to other subjects in accordance with the country's increasingly protectionist economic stance. However, given that English is one of the primary courses taught at all educational levels, beginning with kindergarten and continuing all the way through university, there is still a significant need for instructors from other countries.
Pay and Benefits for International Teachers
Foreign teachers are "essential commodities," especially at private language schools, many of which are closing down as a result of government crackdowns on unregistered schools or underqualified foreign teachers. This explains why foreign teachers are generally paid significantly more than their Chinese colleagues; however, this is understandable given that they are "essential commodities." Also, the cost of living is higher for anybody moving here from another country due to increased flight and other travel fees, increased costs of communicating with family and friends back home, increased prices of importing food, etc.
The wage range for foreign teachers is 15,000–30,000+ yuan per month (around 200–400 yuan per hour).
(The average wage for a Chinese instructor is up to 8,000 yuan per month.)
This is just a rough estimate because salaries vary greatly depending on the "price band" of the city in China. For example, tier 2 cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen) typically pay twice as much as tier 3 cities (such as Xi'an and Guilin), and tier 4 cities (such as Chengdu and Harbin). (The highest-tier establishments in Hong Kong may pay up to two times as much as the standard rate.)
It is also necessary of instructors from other countries to work shorter hours than Chinese teachers, which makes sense given the additional time needed to complete the majority of tasks in a nation with such significant cultural differences. The minimal need for a full-time employment for a foreign instructor is typically 16 hours of lessons per week, and this number is seldom surpassed by a significant amount. In addition to long days spent instructing students and grading their work, Chinese instructors also have other responsibilities, such as reporting, office work, communicating with parents, etc., and supervising students while they do their homework in the evenings at middle schools.
(Chinese teacher hours: 40+ hours (sometimes much more) at school plus prep. and attendance at many events. Foreign teacher hours: 16 hours of classes plus preparation and attendance at a variety of occasions.