I found my first job teaching English to first year students at a government-run college in the heart of the city of Guangzhou. The school was great, the salary was pretty good for the number of hours I had to teach, and they offered free accommodation! One of the reasons people choose to teach English in China is that schools provide foreign teachers with paid accommodation, but I’m going to tell you how to negotiate a higher salary and find a better place!
You should not teach English in China without the work visa. The government is now cracking down on foreigners working illegally in China, and, as a result, the school may ask you to get a work visa prior to your arrival in order to avoid paying hefty fines. Many schools, like English First, will help you get the work visa. If the school will not help you out, then read this blog.
Finding any TESOL job in China, let alone a good one, was not easy for me. As I had mentioned in my first post, I am a Canadian of Chinese descent. I look Chinese and you wouldn’t believe how often I was told by Chinese people in China that my English is very good. In my job search, I stumbled upon a forum that discussed Chinese-looking people wanting to live and work in China. The main message was loud and clear: DON’T DO IT. People reported facing difficulty finding jobs and discrimination. Still, I was determined to go.
My experiences as a Canadian living and working in China are different from most: I am a Canadian of Chinese descent – I LOOK Chinese, but I behave like a Canadian. This duality was advantageous at times, but it has also been the source of immense grief and frustration. The perspective from which I write this blog series on teaching in China will be from a Chinese-Canadian perspective, but I will try to include perspectives from the typical (i.e. Caucasian) foreigner whenever possible.