It’s been a while since I posted, but I haven’t had much new to say until now. I’ve spent more time in China and I have more to write about the job market here, especially for things other than ESL. First a confession: I hate living in China and I’m going to leave in a few weeks. I was lucky to get a good job in Taiwan, where I am much happier. I would have gone back there even if I didn’t get a great job.
In the past few years, less than five probably, a certain kind of public/private educational program has exploded in number. They are private programs in public schools that prepare Chinese high school students for foreign (typically American or British) universities. They’re not after hours or weekend schools, but are the normal school that the student goes to. They will typically rent space and resources from a public school, typically a well known one to piggyback on their prestige, and operate independently. The quality of these programs varies enormously. Some are for rich, dumb kids who could never get into a Chinese university. They may even aim to get them into a community college or the equivilent. Others are very serious about what they do and send students to top colleges.
In general, the older the school the better it is. The worst have died off by that time, the others have worked out kinks and are used to dealing with foreigners. Thus, the quality varies so much with this new crop of schools.
So what about the advantages? Pay is great. I’m making 20k RMB a month at my school. Also you get regular hours, no evenings or weekends. It can also set you up for greater things. ESL is kind of dead end. Teaching at this kind of school however made me realize that I like teaching in a real school, but I’m sick of teaching in China. I plan to go back and get my teacher’s license. There’s a good chance I’ll end up back in Asia though, just not China.
How can you break in to this market? Supply and demand favors you at this point. There is a very strong demand for math, physics, and chemistry teachers. Economics and English less so. Requirements can be tricky though. Schools strongly favor native speakers of English, however when they often can’t get that so have to settle for someone who can speak English. Other documents are needed, your degree and a criminal record check from your home country. Legal requirements can even vary by province and some schools help you more than others. The time to apply was a month ago. Echinacities and seriousteachers are the best websites to look for jobs, craigslist too.
If you’re new to teaching in Asia, this is a great way to start, if you have the credentials. As I said though, I’m sick of it here.