10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020 +JOBS +FAQ | Travel Freedom

Teaching English in China in 2020 – Your Complete guide to start your ESL Adventure

How to teach English in China – 10 Steps for Teaching English in China

You’ve probably read or heard about all those amazing English teaching adventures that so many ESL teachers are currently undertaking in China and you probably also have wondered on How to teach English in China yourself, well here are the 10 steps for teaching English in China with everything you Need to know about TEFL in this amazing Country, plus where you can find some of the top teaching positions and the most common questions most starting teachers have on their mind.


Everything you Need to know about TEFL

In this Article i will discuss everything you need to know about Teaching English abroad and how you can start your TEFL career as successfully as possible. By following The 10 steps laid out for you here will have all the information you need to become an ESL teacher abroad in China.

For those who don’t know what TEFL stands for, it’s short for Teaching English as a foreign Language and it’s probably the most common acronym in regards to teaching English abroad. Another very Common acronym is ESL, which stand for teaching English as a second language. These are the two most common acronyms in the English teaching(to foreign students) world.

Whether you are a native English speaker or a non-native English speaker, Opportunities are plentiful and you too can definitely make your ESL teaching career come true. Because now more than ever before in history, the demand for English teachers has skyrocketed and this is the Perfect age for teaching ESL.

The Perfect Age for teaching ESL

Teaching English to foreign students has always been a very popular job, However since the year 2000 and also thanks to the rise of the internet, it’s popularity has grown at an even higher rate than the decades before. Next to that, more and more countries have become globally connected and it’s population and students are scrambling to learn the English language because it’s one of the most important world languages.

The English language is in every market worldwide, there is no escaping it. more and more countries are opening up to the world with each passing year and the current demand for ESL teachers are at an urgent status, this truly is the perfect age for foreign language teacher. In fact it’s the Golden age.

And you have made a great decision to become a part of this incredible global process. because teaching ESL to foreign students is not only fun and adventurous, but also an incredibly well paying job with a ton of benefits, nice holidays and the best of all, a Life change experience for yourself and even for your future students!

We will be discussing the next 10 steps with you:

1. Be Confident in your Choice to become an English teacher

2. The Qualifications you need

3. Becoming TEFL Certified

4. The Salary, Benefits and costs of living in China

5. Be mentally ready to start your adventure abroad

6. Choosing the right Teaching position

7. Getting ready for the interview

8. Common problems you may have to face

9. Prepare yourself as much possible for teaching your future students

10. Making the right Decision


Frequently asked questions(FAQ)


Where you can find some of the most awesome teaching positions

Lets Get Started.


How to teach English in China – 10 Steps for Teaching English in China and start your ESL adventure abroad.

10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020

1. Be confident in your Choice to become an English teacher

You have made your first step on making a life changing choice to become an ESL teacher and in my opinion is a great choice, because the career opportunities are currently endless, Both for teaching ESL Abroad and teaching ESL Online.

Even though you may feel nervous or scared on taking this new step in your life(And don’t worry, most people usually are), you will feel happy and excited once you get started. it’s just getting over the fear of the unknown and that’s probably to the most scariest part for you right now, But now to worry because everything is going to be okay, Better yet your adventure is going to be great!

You are going to learn everything you need to know about becoming an English teacher in China and finding an awesome job there. Teaching ESL in this country is one of the most beneficial and profitable career choices for any experienced and starting teacher out there.

You have already Made it this far

If you need a good paying job for any reason at all, whether it’s just for living a good life or paying of student loans, then Teaching ESL in China is definitely the place to be. So be confident in your Choice forΒ  becoming an English teacher, Because it’s going to turn out to be a great one! You have already made it this far, now you only have a little further to go. πŸ™‚

By following the steps laid out for you here in this article you can start your teaching adventure in no time at all! Well okay… it may take a little time to get your work visa, but next to that it should be a pretty smooth ride, don’t worry, we will walk you through all the steps!

So what ever your fears or anxieties may be, you will get through them. I will help you to make your journey as smooth and as comfortable as possible. Later on in the article we will also discuss some of the most frequently asked questions regarding teaching ESL in China, This section will definitely also help to ease any fears you may have and prevent a possible mental break down. No but really, all jokes aside, You are going to do Great.


2. The Qualifications you need

While some countries may be less strict when it comes to teaching English to students in their countries, others will be stricter regarding the qualifications needed for a work visa. There could be several reasons why some countries have a higher requirements needed for a work visa.

The most common reason is education. While i personally do not believe that a higher education degree equals to being a better teacher(For example a lot of experience could make up for that), Some countries do believe that a higher education makes a better teacher. While Knowledge definitely is power, there are different ways to obtain that knowledge.

Like mentioned before, experience could make up for that or self education you can obtain online, reading books or articles about teaching or TEFL, visiting seminars etc.. There really are different ways in where one can obtain knowledge… Unfortunately, my own opinion is worth nothing to help change this matter. Now back to the topic at hand, Is China One of the Countries with stricter Qualification requirements? The answer is, Yes they are.

What are the requirements?

While China is one of the most highest paying country for ESL teachers, they also have one of the most highest requirements needed for becoming an English there there:

These requirements are:

  • A Bachelors degree or higher in any field
  • A TEFL Certificate or any other similar Certificate
  • For non native teachers in most cases 2 years worth of working experience in any field

To learn more about the documents needed for the work visa process click here

Now these are the requirements for becoming an English teacher in China. However if you don’t posses a bachelors degree, you still have the possibility to teach English in another Asian country or even become an online English teacher. That is, if you want to.

Even as a non degree holder, you still have options available. You don’t need a college degree In Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam or even in some cases Thailand. But degree qualifications are likely to become an increasing requirement in the future for a lot of other countries.

So if you are planning on being an ESL teacher for longer period of time(basically a career choice), it is definitely recommended to get yourself a university degree. You can even do a degree course Online and do it according to your own time, That way you can do a combination of a Work and study way of life. Which happens to be very fitting for a lot of folks from all around the world.

The next step is also a very important one, Getting your TEFL Certificate.

3. Becoming TEFL Certified

This step is also one of the most important part to get your TEFL adventure started, Which is getting Your TEFL Certificate. A TEFL Course is a specialized education program specifically for ESL teaching, for both online and Abroad. So having your TEFL Certificate is definitely one of the biggest keys needed to open your door for the ESL job World.

You may wonder why doing a TEFL course is so important in the first place and it’s a good question. A TEFL Course provides the starting ESL teacher with a lot of basic and advanced knowledge, teaching skills and strategies for teaching English to foreign students. It has been made by ESL experts and previous ESL teachers that came before you.

This is why TEFL Certified teachers are so incredibly valued. The course that they have done has provided them with a ton of amazing ESL Knowledge and resources, which has prepared them for becoming English teachers in Classrooms world wide.

Where can i get a TEFL Course?

There are a lot of TEFL Course providers out there. The easiest ones to get are usually Online and the best ones are usually Onsite. While most are good enough to get your ESL Adventure started, some others provide additional course content and ESL Resources which definitely helps starting ESL teachers to improve their knowledge and boost their confidence even more.

Click here to check out some of the top TEFL Providers

While Doing Online Courses is mostly more cost effective and one of the best online TEFL provider in the Online field is LETSTEFL, Doing Onsite classes is in most cases more effective, fun and adventurous(Especially if you do them abroad). It will also look more better on your resume and prepare you Greatly for your English teaching adventure abroad. One of the best Onsite TEFL course provider is SEETEFL in Thailand and you will also be able to Experience first hand Real ESL Classes there.

However onsite classes are more expensive, but you can definitely get more knowledge and first hand experience out of them most of the time. So if you are in the position to participate in Onsite classes, then i definitely recommend to for them. But if your are unable to participate in onsite classes, then an Online TEFL course will suffice for now.

4. The Salary, Benefits and costs of living in China

10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020 - The salary

Naturally, The biggest questions on everyone’s mind is(Don’t deny it!), what is the salary of the average ESL teacher in China? And what are the other benefits that come with it? Well i can definitely tell, you will be in for quite a shock because teaching English to foreign students is one of the most highest paying career job worldwide.

The average Teacher in china is around the 15.000 to 21.000 RMB per month(Depending on experience), which currently is around $2150.- to $3000.- Per month! Yes, this is what the average ESL teacher Make and when you have more experience, you can make even more than that. Up to $3000 per month just for teaching students English, it’s crazy right?

And we haven’t even mentioned the benefits here yet. Half of You may even wonder why such a crazy salary just for teaching Students some English and the other half of you probably don’t even care about the why, just interested in making good money(Yeah, i know what you’re thinking!). Well I’m telling you anyway, it’s because(as mentioned before) it’s the golden age for ESL teaching and it will be so for the next few decades. πŸ™‚

The package of the average ESL teacher

So lets put everything in a row here.

Most Packages include:

  • A salary of 15.000 to 20.000 RMB (For non-native English speakers 10.000 to 16.000 RMB)
  • A Free non-shared apartment
  • Free Health/Medical insurance
  • Flight ticket reimbursement
  • Plenty of holidays or in some cases even paid holidays
  • travel trips with school classes
  • End of the term Contract bonuses which Usually is somewhere around the $1000.- to $1500.-
  • Free airport pickup
  • Free hotel if the apartment isn’t available yet.
  • Usually Free Mandarin language classes.

These are the most common packages you will find anywhere in China. you can find some of the best schools and packages through us as well, we Are also listed on the Featured Schools Section. This truly is the best age to start ESL teaching, my guess is around 2040 to 20-50 this age will slowly end. Simply because of the rapid Technological Growth and Globalism. We are all becoming more and more connected.

But until then, we have decades to enjoy this financial and adventurous opportunity. The only question remains, are you ready to be apart of it? Well it’s my job to ensure that you have all the knowledge and information you need to get on you way, Otherwise, I’m afraid that I’ll need to find another job(i hope not)….

Cost of Living

Living in China is super cheap, especially when you have your own free apartment, the food is cheap, even the western food is considered much cheaper than in your home country. In short, you can live like a King or Queen and live very comfortably!

5. Be mentally ready to start your adventure abroad

Also important is to prepare and visualize yourself for your adventure abroad. Be mentally ready to go, Visualize yourself teaching your students in china in your mind over and over again. You don’t want to be at the airport later thinking Oh no i cant do this! And having a mental break down, returning home screaming and destroying your own dream into obliteration, Okay.. maybe not that bad, but you got the point.

See yourself succeed. See yourself Teaching English abroad, Your students walking in the classroom every single day and are very happy to see you. See them grow, learning from you and knowing that you are making a big difference in their lives. Because by becoming a teacher, You will impact a lot of people who will cross your path.

Being an ESL teacher is a great career choice, but it also comes with responsibility towards your students. You will be their English teacher, so at some point they will expect to speak some English, even if it’s just a little bit. Focus on the Progress, be motivational and the success will grow gradually.

Visualize the beauty

Although the responsibility may seem scary at first, it will grow on you naturally. In fact there usually is an assistant teacher or their current classroom teacher who will be present in class to assist you when necessary. So there is no reason to panic in that area. If you do find yourself to be nervous or even with some Anxiety, Then focus on the beautiful side aspects that come with ESL teaching.

Focus The adventures you will undertake, traveling to different places, eating delicious food, meeting amazing new people, making incredible new friends, enjoying your holidays, climbing mountains and so much more! The events and things you can do is endless, this is just an amazing side effect of being an ESL teacher. πŸ˜‰

So while you may be nervous at this moment and it’s normal, Everyone will feel somewhat a little nervous. It will all gradually flow away once you’re there. Just visualize all the amazing things you can do and all the amazing things that can happen and you will feel much more at ease.

6. Choosing the right Teaching position

Choosing the right job is one of the most complicated part of being an ESL teacher. Which jobs are safe, which position or school are the right fit for you, even choosing the type of school you would like to teach at and which age group? These are probably the kind of questions flowing through your mind at some point and they are good ones too.

No teacher wants to be unprepared and for good reason. You will want to know as much as possible about your own personal preferences and where you would like to begin. First of all, lets start with work effort. You are Probably thinking about all the work you need to make for preparing your Classes, Like Lessons plans, materials etc… Wrong.

Most schools nowadays have their own lesson plans and curriculum, leaving you with just minimal work effort. So basically your only focus is just teaching, Just teach your students English from whatever lessons plans, books or materials your will receive from your school, it’s that simple. Life is pretty good right?

The types of schools you can work at

Lets go through the several types of school you can work for and which type of school may suite you the best.

The several schools you can work for are:

  • Kindergartens – These type of schools are usually the easiest ones and also a provide a high paying salary and have their own curriculum and lesson plans.
  • Training centers – These are Private language schools which are usually also pretty simple jobs, they usually have longer working hours, but they are among the highest paying ESL teaching positions out there.
  • Primary School – Similar standard like that of a kindergarten, but usually has more work involved.
  • Middle School – Usually has more work involved, but has a decent salary and benefit package
  • High school/University – There is usually less work hours involved and less salary. The amount of work depends on which school you decide to work, some have their own lesson plans and curriculum, Others do not.

Private schools(Like kindergartens and training centers) usually pay a lot better than government schools(Primary School, Middle school, High school and university). This is because they are privately owned and can provide a much more attractive package, while nearly most government packages are already set.

There are definitely Plenty of opportunities out there in all fields and there is a great demand for ESL teachers, so what whatever your preferences are, it’s most likely available for you.

7. Getting ready for the interview

10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020 - The interview

After choosing a school that interests you(And the school likes you back), naturally there is going to be an interview and this will be the next important step to land you a job at the school. So we going to give you several tips that will help you prepare for the interview.

By following these tips here below you should be more than ready to take on any job interview that comes your way and make the interviewers just absolutely Want to hire you.

Some killer tips to aid you during the interview:

  • Sit up straight, act Confident and speak a little slowly if you need to

A strong posture matters greatly, it shows in part that you are confident, calm and that you can handle any situation as a foreign teacher, next to that, if you find yourself still somewhat nervous, try to speak more and answer more slowly. This way you will seem less nervous and more confident as well.

  • Use a lot of body Language and show enthusiasm

Use body Language during the interview, this will definitely help put some of the tension and stress off of you as well plus it also show that you are more enthusiastic, which you should definitely show during the interview as well.

  • Listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying(In fact, let them talk the most)

I will personally say that i consider this one of the most important part you need to keep during the interview. Which is listen carefully what the interviewer(or interviewers) are saying. Better yet, let them do most of the talking and answer only when needed, just nod your head and pretend your actually listening Haha…

  • Ask them question back(Even if you already know the answer)

You don’t want to be on the defensive all of the time, especially if they are asking you a lot of questions. So to counter this, ask them questions and put pressure on them as well, it doesn’t matter if you already know the answers to your questions. The point here is showing that you are confident and calm.

Of course, keep a balance of listening and asking questions. Try not to interrupt them when they are asking you important questions, Ask your questions when the right time comes.

  • Try not to speak monotonous

Try not to speak in one tone during the interview. i know it’s temping an may feel natural, but it may definitely seem dull or boring to the interviews, try to use different voice tones, Sometimes serious, sometimes enthusiastic and most of the time, a happy tone.

  • Last but definitely not least, Put a Smile on your face

Β A simple Smile on your face could make anyone hire you and will tell the interviewers a lot more about yourself than using a 1000 words to describe yourself. Heck even saying Hi with a big a smile and huge enthusiasm may give the interviewers a big positive feeling to hire at the immediate start of the interview.

With these tips you will be well on your way to crushing that interview and getting that ESL teaching job, Believe in yourself, sit up straight and remain calm. you can do it!

8. Common issues you may face in China

Naturally, traveling and working in a different country may not come entirely without issues.

Some of the most common issues for foreign teachers are:

  • Cultural differences

It is rather obvious that the peoples way of life in the east will be different than that of the west. Even though you may not like some things(Can be anything), you must remember that you are a guest in their country and act accordingly.

  • A Big Population

It’s no secret that China has one of the biggest population on the planet and some cities will be more crowded than others. This is just a natural part of life there and something you may have to get use to.

  • Restricted Area’s

There are some parts in the country where foreigners aren’t allowed to enter or even some buildings or facilities. While it only effects a few Area’s, it’s always best to ask a travel guide about your travel options and where you are allowed to go.

  • Getting used to eating Chinese food

Although there is definitely a good deal of western food available in most cities, Chinese food is still the dominant supply of food out there. While most of the food is definitely delicious, it’s still different and new from the food you are use to back at home. it just takes a little while before you get use to it.

  • JetLag

After a long flight to China it’s quite common for a lot of travelers to experience jetlag. There is not much you can do about it, just take a lot of good rest and it will gradually go away.

Well these were few of the most common issues you may face in China. Although most of them will gradually grow on you, it may be quite frustrating at the beginning.

9.Β  Prepare yourself as much possible for teaching your future students

Besides finishing your TEFL course and getting your TEFL Certificate. You can ask the school to give you some additional resources or a heads up look into their curriculum and lesson plans so you can prepare yourself better for teaching your students.

Being better prepared definitely can help to boost your knowledge an confidence in your abilities to give good classes. You will also want to make your classes as fun and interactive as possible and lead by example. After all, all students love the cool and awesome teacher in class!

So Prepare yourself as much as possible. In a lot of cases, a lot of schools also provide some additional teachers training. This may include content materials, ESL teaching skills and strategies, How to teach young students or adults. This will depend on which school you will work for. All of the additional teachers training will definitely be very useful for during your classes

10. Making the right Decision

10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020 - Decision making

So You have got your TEFL Certificate and you have got your Job, you are in the process of getting your work visa and flight tickets. At this point Many teachers will start to feel nervous, knowing that their ESL teaching adventure is about to begin. Some may even get cold feet and cancel their entire ESL dream entirely, This is where you must decide to keep a strong spine.

Make a decision and go for it, just be sure that it’s a decision you can live with. Remember you are living one life right now, your life, i advice you to make the most of it. So unless you have a family emergency, then just go for your ESL adventure. You will definitely become the stronger and more experienced for it. Even though you may feel nervous or even scared, don’t let fear define your life, be the Master creator of your life and you will succeed greatly in all area’s.

Teaching ESL abroad truly is a life Changing and amazing experience and you can make a great income and living for yourself as an English teacher. I said it before and i will say it now again, This truly is the perfect age for ESL teaching. There are Golden opportunities everywhere and you can definitely be part of this incredible process. Go for it!

Frequently asked questions about Teaching English in China(FAQ)

In this section lets walk you through the Most commonly asked questions

Most Common Questions are:

  • Is China safe for foreigners?

It definitely is! Much has changed over the last few decades and China has progressed much since many passing years, it’s cities have advanced, it’s technological and economic growth dramatically improved and gained an increasingly standard living for its population across the country.

As a foreign teacher you will be and feel quite safe there, although you will need to watch out for the traffic, it can go crazy a lot of the times.

  • Do they Speak enough English?

A Lot of people in China(Especially the younger generation) will speak a good amount of English or they can easily help you out with translation. After all we are living in the digital age, so translation shouldn’t be a big issue anymore.

Although, when offered by your should i do recommend you to take their(Free) language classes, it’s not only useful, but good fun as well!

  • Will the school Pick me up?

Yes they will, the schools prioritizes the safety of their (foreign) teachers and will gladly help you to move from point A(The airport or anywhere else) to point B, Your apartment or in some cases your hotel room. So you shouldn’t need to worry about this topic either.

Most of the time, schools invite their foreign guest for lunch or dinner before taking you to your residence. This is both as a warm welcome and for getting to know each other a bit better.

  • Will i get a tour or a guide to show me around?

Yes In nearly every case(sometimes you have to ask for it). The schools usually have an assistant or someone for you ready that will give you a tour through the school and guide your through the city so you where you can get food or find the market, go to the cinema, bars or clubs etc….

  • Will i get paid for over time work?

Yes you will(And should), the hourly rate will be different for each school, so it all depends on the school you will be working for. But usually the hourly rate is higher than the normal pay rate on per hourly basis.

  • How can i contact my family and friends?

That’s a good question indeed. Since China has its own great fire wall which blocks a lot of foreign websites, including social media, it’s going to be quite difficult to contact any friends or Family on Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc…

However there are ways to go around them, like using a VPN, which can give you unrestricted access to any website online, however these are also blocked in China. So if you want one(or several), you will have to download them before you go on your journey Abroad.

These were the most commonly asked questions, if you have anymore, please feel free to ask away here below into the comment Section. πŸ™‚

Extra: Check out the video below and see what other foreigners think about life in China

Also: What do Chinese think about foreigners? Check it out.

Where to find the right job

When it comes to job placements, it’s not just about finding the right job, it’s also about trusting it and the employer. For Example, ALifeOfGreatness is connected to Many schools and trusted employers all across China, we are also listed on the Featured Jobs section along with some other good schools and agencies in China.

We also have our own job board which is https://eslpositions.alifeofgreatness.com

You can also find jobs there posted by some other Schools or Agencies, although i must mention that we have not verified these schools ourselves, but they should be quite safe. However if you want certainty, then you are most welcome to apply through us and we will get you sorted very fast(Even for absolute starting ESL teachers). πŸ™‚

Teaching English in China is one of the best financial and adventurous opportunities in this age and it will most likely Remain so until around the year 2050. So if you Love traveling, Helping students learn a new language and making good Money along the process, Then Becoming an ESL teacher in China is Definitely for you.

Happy Teaching~!

Got a Question or Comment? Then feel absolutely free to comment away here below into the comment section!

10 Steps for Teaching English in China in 2020
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