Brendan is a recent BridgeTEFL graduate who is about to make a career jump. Inspired by his previous ventures in Dublin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Munich, and Paris, Brendan is making the leap to Asia. He is currently teaching middle school English in New Jersey but has just signed a contract for a TEFL job in Shenzhen, China, starting this August.
Fresh off his own TEFL job search, Brendan shared his top 5 tips for landing a job in this sought-after, but sometimes overwhelming, TEFL destination.
Looking for a new job is never an easy process. Looking for a new job on the other side of the world in a foreign country you’ve never been to? Daunting, to say the least! Fortunately, you’re not alone in your pursuit of new horizons. Plenty of others before you have paved the way for how to find a job teaching English in China.
I recently signed a contract to teach for a year in Shenzhen, a southwestern city in Guangdong Province in China. I’ve used my own experience to highlight some helpful tips and to outline the steps of the process. While everyone’s job search will be unique to them, hopefully this post will prove to be useful should you choose to pursue a teaching career in China.
Tip #1: Research, Research, Research!
To put it simply, China is massive. The country has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re interested in the hustle and bustle of a major city like Shanghai or would prefer the quieter atmosphere of Suzhou, you’ll need to know where you’re heading before you can narrow your search for a TEFL job in China. Take advantage of the countless resources available to you in order to develop a sense of what life is like in different locations throughout the nation. Watch videos about life in various Chinese cities, get in contact with actual residents, and ask BridgeTEFL advisors for insights!
Tip #2: Become Qualified
There are a lot of requirements for getting hired as an EFL teacher in China. First and foremost, you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree. While the bachelor’s degree can be in any field of study, it will of course work to your advantage if it is focused on English and/or education. Beyond the bachelor’s, you will also need TEFL certification. China requires your TEFL certification to be at least 120 hours, so make sure you don’t short yourself. Experience requirements vary from city to city and school to school, but many locations will ask for at least one year of prior teaching experience after your college graduation.
Get a TEFL certificate online.
Tip #3: Develop Your Skills
Schools in China will want to see, of course, that you know what you are doing, particularly if you are a young, inexperienced candidate. If possible, it is highly encouraged that you film yourself teaching a class while implementing prominent TEFL strategies, such as using realia, imagery, or acting out to demonstrate new language. Filming yourself will serve multiple benefits, including allowing yourself to see where you can improve and showing employers that you can meet their needs.
Tip #4: Advocate for Yourself
A career decision as significant as moving to a foreign country to teach is not a light responsibility. Employers will want to see that you are capable of proving your strengths and being an independent person. While there is no shame in utilizing all of your resources, such as job recruiters and agencies, to procure a job, there is something to be said of prospective employees who put forth the effort to contact schools directly. So, don’t be shy! Your willingness to reach out could be the key to landing your dream TEFL job in China.
Tip #5: Have an Open Mind
It is important to recognize that teaching in China will not be the same as teaching in your home country. In fact, it is unlikely to be akin to any job you’ll have for the rest of your life. There will undoubtedly be a degree of culture shock, and adjustments will be necessary to be made constantly. Do not shy away from this! Embrace the cultural differences and use your interviews to promote the fact that you are willing and capable to experience an entirely new lifestyle.