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China: on an upward or downward trend?
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Unheard Utterance



Joined: 02 Aug 2018
Posts: 55
Location: On the road

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:56 am    Post subject: China: on an upward or downward trend? Reply with quote

I'm assessing options on whether a move to China is a good one.

I'm an experienced EFL vet in Asia, and all I see are downward trends in terms of salary and benefits. For example, wages in Korea haven't changed in a decade, it's difficult to get full-time work in Vietnam from abroad, Thailand pays nothing; you get the picture.

As China is such a huge place and as it has a massive population with an increasing middle class, is China a worthwhile place to give TEFL a go?

I have a non-related BA, Delta and CELTA.
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Osiry



Joined: 19 Mar 2015
Posts: 84
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of different options here. Over the past two years I've seen some pretty decent increases in salaries for the jobs I've been looking at. This may have something to do with a higher demand for teachers being created by tighter visa restrictions.

I think that 2018 is a better year to be coming to China than 2016 was, the average training center wage in 2016 seemed to average around 10k to 12k RMB per month, and now you can get a training center job with zero experience starting at 15K to 17K per month.

Look around at a few different job ads, weed out the shady sounding ones, and see what kind of offers you have on the table. I think that somebody with your experience should find it easy to get a reasonably well paying job here in China.
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RiverMystic



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1985

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assess your career options. There are some fantastic opportunities in China personally, socially, professionally and outside working standard ESL jobs. I’ve been coming here for years and everything just keeps getting better and better. I’ve had some bad luck, and some great luck. But I didn’t let the bad things or bad people drag me down. In the early years I went through an anti-China phase, but I got woke. Wink (I hate that term used in the West, but it’s cool here). I kept learning the culture and language. Got a PhD. Kept letting go of any resentments (well, most of them).

I work in a nice college. Great students. Fantastic salary I never dreamed I’d get in China. Get to teach what I love. Not ESL, but by own liberal arts course which I designed. Students respect and love me. The feeling is mutual.

I’ ve also just opened my own school in another city, managed by a relative. It’s exciting.

Was it always this good? No. You wouldn’t believe some of the crap I’ve been through, the people who have let me down or stabbed in the back. But I just let them go.

I have worked hard. Introspected upon my shortcomings. Kept my eye on the road ahead. Plenty of people, including my own spouse, told me to give up. But I kept going. And it has paid off.

Come me on in. What have you got to lose?
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 577

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see you happier these days RM Very Happy

It can go both ways in this country, but I think you laid out a good outlook on it. Let the bad roll off and hold on to what is good.
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Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinese demographics suggest a long term downward trend for the education business. There are also some signs that the economy is going to feel some pain in the future, though when and for how long, it is hard to say.

That said, if you have the docs and quals for a proper Z Visa, it still seems to be the most lucrative place to teach in Asia at the moment for most ESLers, particularly if you are flexible as to what city you are willing to teach in.

In the past, the best way to make money was typically to get a Z Visa contract that was as efficient as possible in terms of total required hours (teaching, prep., office hours, paperwork, etc.) vs. salary, and then supplement with a lot of highly-paid side work.

However, one gets the feeling that side work may become increasingly dangerous in the future. (As with predicting the fate of the Chinese economy, predicting the future danger level of side-work for Z Visa holders is difficulty.) Still, I'm increasingly of the opinion that it's better for savings to stat looking for the higher paying but higher work hours Z Visa jobs, even if they are less efficient. In addition, pay attention to 'summer pay'. A lot of great jobs did not pay you for the summer, but that was no big deal. Summer is also peak season for private institutions, so you could just go work there for two months. This is also 'seeming' a lot less safe.

All in all, if coming to China for the first time, and having decent experience and the needed requirements for a Z visa, I'd be looking for the high-monthly salary jobs that pay all year long, even if you have to put in 40 hours a week (much of it office hours).

In addition, if you can in any way become remotely qualified to teach AP courses in the sciences or maths or economics, you can get some great jobs. There are no strict requirements to be able to teach such courses: 3-4 years as a stockbroker could let you teach AP Econ; 4-5 math courses in college would be enough to let you teach AP calculus, etc.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 401
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike Japan and Korea, salaries have increased continually over the last decade since I've been here. There is definitely a need for teachers as they've cracked down and made the requirements more difficult. It's good NOW...no telling where things go in the future, though.
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voyagerksa



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They can't get enough NET's. Allso the salaries are on the rise. The school I work for can't get enough NET's, they are having to hire illegal part timers. You can thank the dumb policies of 'The People's Paradise'. No teachers 60 or over.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'All in all, if coming to China for the first time, and having decent experience and the needed requirements for a Z visa, I'd be looking for the high-monthly salary jobs that pay all year long, even if you have to put in 40 hours a week (much of it office hours). '

I've been working positions like this for five years now. I work a little over 8 months of the year and get paid for 12. It's all about finding a position with a good overall package for me. (see my sticky about primary school positions if that's of any interest to you OP)
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Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. Though often such positions as yours are easier to find if you are a licensed teacher, but I agree you can find them even if you are not (provided some combination of competence and/or experience).

Also, if you can find some type of self-improvement activity that you can attend do during forced office hours (working on an online degree, reading, online freelance editing or work like that, etc.) then you can turn the main downside of such positions (being forced to be at work for many hours when you aren't really needed) into almost a positive.

In the past, efficiency was the name of the game: get the most money for the least total hours on your Z, and supplement privately. Most of my friends here think I'm paranoid and that the next 5 years will be no different than the last in this respect, so take what I say with that grain of salt. But I personally still think the danger of supplemental work outside of your Z Visa is increasing. But this is China, so nobody can say for sure.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur, a teaching license isn't normally required for these gigs apart from positions at the top International Schools. I know of FTs teaching at very good accredited IB schools without licensure.
I dont mind the office hours, it's just part of the deal of having a good overall package.
On the otherhand my teaching hours have varied quite a bit each contract;
2014 7 x 35mins
2015 11 x 35mins
2016 15 x 35mins
2017 19 x 35mins
2018 16 x 35mins
12 to 16 teaching hours/week is what to look for imo. You have enough classes to fill your week with plenty of freetime to plan lessons etc.
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Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point. I am probably overstating the necessity for a teaching license, particularly at the moment.

Right now, I'm feeling a bit paranoid that China and the ESL market could start to turn, that one can age out quickly without qualifications, that part-time work is getting more dangerous, etc.

This is China, so nobody really knows anything for sure. I could be nuts; most of my friends think so! But this kind of worry about the future may be clouding my thinking more than it should.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are around the same age and I don't see any issue atm but you are right to have concerns. I teach young kids atm and love it as they keep me young (big kid at heart here). With the lifting of the one child policy, I'd imagine there will be an abundance of work here for a long time! Also, with more stringent requirements being implemented, it can only help NETs have better conditions. Another thing I'm finding is that schools appreciate more mature teachers as many have had issues with younger ones (although that can happen vice versa in some cases also I'm sure)!
Will likely plan to move into other areas here in the future as my wife is Chinese so can make that work hopefully.
I've done loads of research and thought long and hard about going back and getting a teaching license but I figured out that it's not for me. The stress and workload attached to working at a IS is not the reason that I moved into this game! If I had kids perhaps I'd have a different mindset though.
On a final note, things can be very frustrating here, if one doesnt adapt, but I just stop and think sometimes of what China has and is giving me and get over it pretty quickly Wink
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Unheard Utterance



Joined: 02 Aug 2018
Posts: 55
Location: On the road

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur wrote:
Good point. I am probably overstating the necessity for a teaching license, particularly at the moment.

Right now, I'm feeling a bit paranoid that China and the ESL market could start to turn, that one can age out quickly without qualifications, that part-time work is getting more dangerous, etc.

This is China, so nobody really knows anything for sure. I could be nuts; most of my friends think so! But this kind of worry about the future may be clouding my thinking more than it should.


With a population of well over a billion and a growing middle-class, would I be assuming correctly that China is a massive market? Even though more more Chinese are sending their kids abroad to study, I would have thought that the Chinese market was a massive one.

I am hoping China is one of the last potentially good places to teach in Asia. I've taught in a few countries in Asia, and I really think the market in general is flooded (Korea), is getting flooded (Vietnam) or it's all over already (Japan).

I'd rather not teach in the middle of nowhere like I am now. It would be nice to settle down somewhere and plan for the future. I'd like to not be working past 55.


Last edited by Unheard Utterance on Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@unheard utterance: China is still pretty much the best place in Asia, and certainly has some good years left in it, especially if you have the docs needed for the new Z Visa.
I'd follow the advice of looking for a single high-paying Z Visa job, even if the hours aren't super efficient. This should protect you from any changes in the enforcement level re: part-time work. Many such positions still exist.
The main imminent danger is the RMB tanking due to the economy slowing, trade wars, demographic aging, etc.
But what can you do? It is still typically better than anywhere else.

@getbehindthemule: Being married to a Chinese definitely changes the equation. While a marriage Visa doesn't give you the right to work, and even the rare permanent residence doesn't give you the right to teach, you always have a Visa for being in China, no matter your age. Also, from what I have seen, if you are married to a Chinese and get caught doing work you aren't permitted to do, the Chinese typically will not deport and blacklist you (just a fine and maybe a short detention). So that also changes the risk equation.
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Unheard Utterance



Joined: 02 Aug 2018
Posts: 55
Location: On the road

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What can one expect (roughly speaking) in terms of salary with Delta, CELTA and BA? I'm pretty much a Jack of all trades but master of none. I've been doing Military English for a while as the students are generally good, but open to other ESP or EAP teaching contexts.

I'd rather not be running around town scavenging for work like one has to do in some places in Asia. Any salaried jobs? That's what I've got now. To be honest, going back to per hour wages isn't a pleasant thought.
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