I’ve heard that class sizes in Chinese schools are huge – so why would I want to teach in a Chinese public school?
Yes, it’s correct that a Chinese public school can have very large class sizes, often between 30- 50 students, but don’t let this factor deter you from a public school role – there are so many benefits, which we explore in this week’s post.
Workload and Hours
The greatest advantage for many teachers is the fact that public schools’ timetables are in line with national academic term times. So, teachers work from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 4pm, and have weekends to themselves. The majority of schools require no more than 18 teaching hours per week, with a limited number of office hours, if any at all – most teachers undertake just a few hours of planning each week in their own time.
This fixed schedule means being able to plan social activities, and has the benefit of consistency of classes, meaning a better bond with fixed group of students.
Lots of Holidays = travel time
Of course, teaching in China is not all work work work – you’re there to explore and embrace a new country, and one big advantage public schools have over private language centres is the holiday periods. In addition to the 11 days of national holidays, schools have two term vacations, one in July and August and one between January and February, so plenty of time to travel! During these long holidays explore more of China with colleagues, or take an extended holiday to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Singapore…you get the jist!
Curriculum, Teaching Objectives and Culture
We’ve already touched on public schools having very large class sizes, and you need to be prepared for the fact that you may be the only foreign teacher at that school.
Although foreign teachers may be given a very basic syllabus to follow and some teaching materials, many schools ask foreign teachers to plan and conduct their lessons independently with very little interference, allowing a lot of flexibility for teachers to make their own lesson plans.
Many would argue that teaching in a public school increases the immersive value of a teacher’s time in China. In terms of learning culture, public schools are motivated by the success of their students, and the atmosphere in public schools reflects this initiative to press for academic excellence.
Good Salary Package, Optional Private Tutoring
On top of a salary of between RMB7000- 9000 a month (although can be up to RMB13000) some teachers opt to undertake some private tutoring on the side or winter/ summer camps during the long holidays to top up their income – which can be fairly lucrative!
Coupled with the lower working hours, public school roles are great financially for ESL teachers in China.
Teachers also get the standard package including flight reimbursement, apartment, and local insurance as part of their salary package – for those schools providing an accommodation allowance, a start-up loan is often available to help cover the initial rental costs on arrival.
Everyone loves a free, tasty meal – and the majority of public schools give their teachers free meals while on campus!
If you like what you’ve heard, review our Teach China Public School Programme for more information.