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How does a beginner begin in China?
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: How does a beginner begin in China? Reply with quote

What's the best paying job a beginner with no teaching experience, but some tutoring experience could get, and how do you recommend they go about getting it? I"m looking to avoid being a Disney employee, and am interested in University jobs, although other jobs would be ok too.

I do have a degree, and would get an online TEFL if I had to. Are recruiters worth using for China or is it better to look for job listings yourself?
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beginners usually begin at the beginning - that is to say, the better jobs are hard to get from outside China, even if you have (actual classroom) experience.

Most people with good jobs here will have done a foot-in-the-door year, being underpaid/overworked/both. Having proven oneself reliable and amenable, doors will open to the fabled five figure salaries.

Not many schools will drop 10k per month on a noob, understandably.


My advice: work your way up.

And don't waste your time and money with an unaccredited 'online certificate' - get a Cambridge CELTA or Trinity TESOL if you want effective training.
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Big Worm



Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Above is true. Not just in China, but mostly anywhere. When deciding to teach overseas, you most likely will have to "eat it" the first year and take a less than awesome job. Get a passport, visa, feet on the ground...put some time in, make connections and look for something good for your second year. Jobs do grow on trees here, but the good ones don't always fall at your feet.
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kids or adults.
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can someone say what is a typical first job, whether it's a language school, or university, or both? Also, do any of you think it's smarter to start in that other country where things are provided for you and the pay is good? There's something about how there's less paperwork and less of an application process in China that appeals to me, plus I'd rather learn Chinese.
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rawera



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

me:

job: university, ielts prep.

qualifications: degree, white face.
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mnguy29



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take your lumps and work for a training center like I did for two years. It really sucked, but I got the experience needed. You will get good pay for tons of hours worked with very little holiday and free time.
Now I am working for a pretty good University in a good city.
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mnguy29



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

training center=language center
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rawera wrote:
me:

job: university, ielts prep.

qualifications: degree, white face.


You work at a university plus do ielts prep, or you do ielts prep at a university?
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rawera



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The class I teach at university is designed to prepare students to take the IELTS. I cover writing and speaking.
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vikeologist



Joined: 07 Sep 2009
Posts: 536

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I help recruit for a Uni, and we certainly are open to people coming to China (or living overseas) for the first time, but there's a big danger that such a teacher could hate China, so it helps to have an offsetting positive such as a CELTA or Trinity TESOL.

The harsh fact is that a bad teacher would be preferable to a good teacher who leaves after a month, or turns out to have major psychological problems.

So, 'serving your time' in a Language Mill is definitely the easiest way to get your foot into the Chinese door, and if your main focus is experiencing life in China, it makes sense.

If you want a career in TEFL teaching, get a proper qualification and training, and start at a Uni with a good Director of Studies.
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vikeologist wrote:
I help recruit for a Uni, and we certainly are open to people coming to China (or living overseas) for the first time, but there's a big danger that such a teacher could hate China, so it helps to have an offsetting positive such as a CELTA or Trinity TESOL.

The harsh fact is that a bad teacher would be preferable to a good teacher who leaves after a month, or turns out to have major psychological problems.

So, 'serving your time' in a Language Mill is definitely the easiest way to get your foot into the Chinese door, and if your main focus is experiencing life in China, it makes sense.

If you want a career in TEFL teaching, get a proper qualification and training, and start at a Uni with a good Director of Studies.


What's the best way to look for a Uni job? Can you recommend any websites? Also, would you agree with someone trying ESL teaching for a year to see how they like it before they invest in a CELTA?
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vikeologist



Joined: 07 Sep 2009
Posts: 536

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcloo7 wrote:


What's the best way to look for a Uni job? Can you recommend any websites? Also, would you agree with someone trying ESL teaching for a year to see how they like it before they invest in a CELTA?


Have a look at http://en.chinatefl.com/

I understand where you're coming from, but there's a big advantage in getting good training before you start teaching. I think if yu apply for a CELTA, they'll be able to get a fairly good idea whether you'll enjoy teaching before they accept you. I think you'll enjoy it a lot more if you get the CELTA first.

However, lots of very good teachers don;t have a CELTA, or get it later in their careers. You certainly don't need one to be a good ESL teacher. Also, though a CELTA / Trinity TESOL is a plus for getting a job at our Uni, that's far from universal. Maybe most UNis wouldn't know the difference between a good cert and something you've cut from the back of a cereal box.

This is the trouble with advice about China. We can give tips on how to increase your odds, but it's a big country. Iin the end the most imprtant thing is to go to a good supportive school, whether it's a mill, school or Uni.
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mcloo7



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 410
Location: Hangzhou

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 420
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the OP:

For what it's worth, I spent my first year treaching at a "Language Mill" (Training Center) and it definitely helped me learn and understand a lot about living and working in the Middle Kingdom. Although I'm a certified teacher from the U.S. and had been teaching at the middle school, high school and university levels for 12 years, I still learned a lot working for my first school in China.

I also spent a year living and working for an Oral English "college" in Yangshuo. That was also a learning experience since anyone who's taught in Yangshuo knows there's a fairly limited ceiling of what you can achieve there in terms of salary, advancement, etc. I spent a year there because I loved living in Guangxi, the area was beautiful, there were many things to do and see and it was a lot of fun. The teaching was easy and straight-forward and the hours were not too demanding. However, the opportunities there are limited and I figured I had to actually MAKE some money if I wanted to SAVE some money. Visa issues were also a hassle and the "Sleeper Bus to Hong Kong" trips got old VERY QUICKLY, especially since the school I worked for was not qualified to get me a Z Visa.

I'm living in Guangdong again now. I've been in China for three years, and working for an International school is nothing like the other two jobs I've had. There's just no comparison in terms of being satisfied as a teacher. I teach both middle school and high school level students and do a lot of IELTS and IGCSE prep work. I'm also the Head of the English Department and do a lot of testing, assessment and teacher evaluations.

My good students are quite good, and my "naughty" students are quite naughty, BUT it's NOTHING compared to teaching in a California public high school or middle school! As "bad" as some of the students here might be, they pale in comparison to the "bad" students in Cali. Student motivation and lack-of-confidence can be a problem in China, but Discipline and Respect are pretty much universal.

As far as salary, stress and job satisfaction are concerned, I love teaching for an International School. I won't go back to teaching at a Training Center or an Oral English College. I no longer have Z visa issues, Residency Permit issues, or salary issues. I plan my lessons during the school year, and I plan my 10 weeks of PAID vacation during the school year too. I make five figures. I'm not rich, but I save as much money as I want every month. It's nice to finally have a life. Part of me wishes I had this job when I first came here, and part of me is happy I had to wait and work and learn the ropes to get this job. It took me more than two years, but I learned a lot along the way.

Finally, you may not know this and it may help others out there too, but a really good book that I found helpful was "Teaching English in China" by Robert Wyss, Jr. and Emily Thrush. I have the 2007 edition and some of the information is a bit outdated, but as a general guide with some good teaching ideas, strategies and advice ... it's a good book to have with you, especially if you have no teaching experience at all. It will provide some guiding principles, some educational theory, some methodology, some activities as well as sample lessons, Oral English and Communication strategies, information for teaching students at different skill levels and some pronunciation and grammar advice. It also has a helpful section on adapting to life in China. It's quite good. I got my copy free from my first job and I have kept it with me ever since.

Good Luck!, and I hope some of this has been helpful to you.

--GA
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