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ShanghaiGuide

How to: Find a teaching job in Shanghai

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Thinking about teaching English in China? What are the necessary steps to land a good job here, and how do you prepare for this life-changing experience?

The first step, as to any job application, is to research and research hard. Questions you might want to ask yourself may include what your expectations regarding working in China are, what you wish to achieve whilst being a teacher, which part of China you want your work to be in, and what kind of students you want to have. You can leave the question of settling down in the country for good after you’ve taught for a year or so. Finding resources to satisfy these questions is easy.

The internet offers thousands of sites about English teacher job openings, and you could read up on Blogs of teachers who are already there and can tell you first hand about their experiences. Descriptions of different regions and cities in China with their respective culture, character, weather and places to visit are also easily searched. Books are also available. Not only do they tell about the teaching experience in China, they also offer listings of universities and language schools that you might be interested in contacting.

After you have answered all your questions and listed down prospective employers, try contacting them. It is best to let them know you are interested in the position five months before the date you want to start. September and February are the months after school holidays and vacation, but summer school also has lots of vacancies. It is necessary that you talk to the right authorities, meaning those who are in charge of recruiting English language teachers themselves. If you are looking at a university, you might want to find their foreign languages department and ask for the chairman or vice-chairman. Ask around about who does the recruiting. If you are very serious about getting results, you can consider going there yourself. Have your application materials and documents at hand, but keep in mind that by going in with a student or tourist visa you would have to go to Hong Kong and get your visa changed. The people who will get to handle your CVs and resumes would be proficient in English, and you need to emphasize any past teaching or tutoring experience if you have any. References will also be looked up and they might interview you personally of by phone.

When you do get the job try negotiating if the institution does not have standard contracts. Lodging is usually a given, rates are given according to your credentials and experience, and a ticket back out of China is sometimes offered. They will then give you your schedule which normally would consist of 14 to 16 hours of classes a week. After you’ve settled in, make friends and know other foreigners that teach in the same institution to brief you about the school and give you a feel of what your life will be like as a new English teacher in China.

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