Opportunity China work with a variety of school types, located in cities right across China.
Here we consider each type, to help you decide what sort of role would be the best fit for you.
Teaching English in kindergartens usually features a friendly working environment, and foreign teachers can always expect to have Chinese teaching assistants in the classroom with them. Flashcards and other vibrant resources are often provided, and teachers typically focus on songs and activities to engage with the young students. Classes can range from 4-20 students, and are typically between 30-45 minutes long. The working days are typically Monday to Friday, 8.30am- 4.30pm, with a 2 hour lunch break.
Public (government) Schools
Public schools include Primary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools and Colleges. Often the teaching focuses on oral English, and class sizes can be large – sometimes up to 45 students. The teaching environment can be basic, but usually quite relaxed and teachers typically design their own 45 minute lessons and do not need to get involved in student recruitment activities. The salary can be less than private schools, but public school teachers only work Monday to Friday, teach 16-18 hours per week, typically have limited office hours and accommodation provided on campus.
This can leave lots of time for other activities, and teachers enjoy long summer and winter breaks!
Boarding and International Schools
Boarding schools are fairly common in China, and tend to offer housing on campus in teacher apartment flats, and may also use a curfew system. They can be a good option for teachers looking to travel, as students have many exams and long school holidays. The age range of the children varies, from primary school up to high school, and levels of English also varies. Teachers in these schools should expect to have good facilities, and large class sizes.
Private Language Institutions
Private English language centres/ institutes are numerous across China. Pupils range from kindergarten students to business people, and therefore student skill levels vary widely. Teachers typically focus on oral English and reading, in small class sizes, with lessons lasting 45-60 minutes. Lessons usually take place in the afternoon, evenings and weekends – many teachers have Monday and Tuesday off work- and require 20-25 hours of teaching per week plus 10-15 hours of office planning time.
As a private organisation, teachers are often required to be involved with student recruitment and marketing activities. Salaries tend to be higher than in public schools, with various performance and recruitment bonuses offered.
Many universities in China have a foreign language or English department. Again, lessons are typically Monday to Friday, 18 hours per week with limited office hours, long summer and winter holidays. Most teachers will be provided with accommodation on campus. University students are always arranging extra activities, you may get involved in some sort of extra-curricular English clubs.
The pay at universities is the lowest of all teaching jobs in China, however the work load is limited to 18 hours a week; many such teachers top up their income with private tutoring.
Private Teaching and Tutoring
Private teaching and tutoring are very common in China, and there is great demand for native English speakers, particularly in the larger cities. However, in order to do so legally, written consent from a full-time employer is required – if you wish to supplement your income with private tutoring you should check that your school/ contract allows for this.
If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact us, or to email your Coordinator.