On this interview, we’re talking with Ted who’s a full-time contributor right here at Goats On The Street. He’s been an expert ESL trainer for nearly 20 years now and is at the moment instructing English in Guangzhou, China

On this article, you’ll be taught first-hand what it’s like to show English in Guangzhou, how you can discover jobs, the professionals and cons, the wage, and way more.

Right here we go!

Thanks for chatting with us, Ted! Please inform us a bit about your self.

I’ve been an English trainer for nearly 20 years. I’m initially from the United States, and I haven’t lived there in all that point. I’ve been capable of journey to many locations on the earth, generally for prolonged intervals of time.

teach english in guangzhou

I’m additionally a author, and together with right here at Goats on the Street and different locations on-line, you possibly can learn my tales on my weblog No Hay Bronca. A lot of my writing is about Mexico, the place I lived for 10 years.

What made you determine to turn out to be an English trainer? Did you have got any prior expertise?

I grew to become an English trainer for 2 fundamental causes: I didn’t know what I wished to do after college, and I wished to discover the world. On the time, I by no means imagined that it could find yourself changing into my profession.

A very long time in the past, about six months earlier than I graduated from college, I answered a categorized advert for an English instructing job in South Korea.

I had no earlier expertise as a trainer. I realized on the job, and I obtained an excessive amount of assist and good recommendation from a extra skilled trainer who was introduced on as headteacher a couple of months after I arrived.

Till he got here, I had no thought what I used to be doing. After that, I continued instructing in several varieties of colleges, ultimately working my method as much as instructing in universities.

You’re at the moment instructing English in Guangzhou, China. What’s it like residing there? 

Guangzhou is a improbable place to dwell.

It’s extraordinarily trendy and in addition has loads of historical past. It has a novel tradition inside China – Cantonese tradition, which incorporates the meals and language – and in addition has a global vibe with neighborhoods like Xiaobei, the place a big group of African immigrants dwell.

teaching English in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is often known as Canton, or extra exactly Canton Metropolis. 

Guangzhou has been an essential metropolis for 1000’s of years. Proper within the heart of town is the Nanyue Kingdom Palace museum, which incorporates an excavation of the outdated metropolis palace from 1800 years in the past.

You’ll be able to see remnants of the assorted historic metropolis partitions from completely different intervals below glass under the pedestrian road Beijing Street, which runs in entrance of the museum.

What sorts of jobs can be found for instructing English in Guangzhou? 

A standard sort of instructing job is at a small English academy the place individuals research English of their spare time. In China, they’re referred to as coaching faculties or coaching facilities. Some are just for children, and a few are geared towards adults or youngsters.

That is the kind of college I labored at in South Korea. They’re the best choice for individuals with no expertise. The hours are lengthy, as much as 40 hours per week, both instructing or workplace hours, however the pay is nice.

The very best-paying jobs are at worldwide grade faculties, which are sometimes boarding faculties that go from elementary by highschool. Like college jobs, these require expertise, normally at the least two years.

I want to work at a college as a result of the low hours give me loads of time for writing, translating, and copyediting work on the facet. Additionally, the college students are extra mature and extra occupied with studying English than younger kids.

How did you discover a job instructing English in Guangzhou? 

I discovered the job on-line. I can’t recall the particular web site—there are a lot of good sources for instructing jobs in Guangzhou, and generally you will discover hiring data instantly on college web sites.

I consider that I looked for “instructing English in Guangzhou,” “college jobs in Guangzhou,” and so forth, after which I compiled a listing of electronic mail addresses and despatched every a brief message and my CV. I didn’t get a response more often than not.

freelance writing jobs salary

For those that did write again, I requested the particular person for particulars in regards to the job, such because the working hours and pay. Then I had a couple of on-line interviews, utilizing Chinese language video communication apps like Tencent Assembly or DingTalk.

It’s additionally widespread for individuals to make use of recruiters to get English instructing jobs in China. This can be a good choice if you happen to don’t have instructing expertise and wish to work at a coaching heart.

As at all times, examine your contract rigorously. In some instances, you’ll be employed by the recruiting company, not the varsity you’ll be working at, and also you’ll due to this fact be topic to their situations.

One of many first jobs I discovered in China was like that. Amongst different shady clauses, the contract said that if issues didn’t work out on the college the place I’d be instructing, I could possibly be moved to another college that the recruiting company labored with.

This successfully meant that I could possibly be taken out of the college and put right into a kindergarten or grade college, one thing I positively didn’t wish to occur.

Two good locations to take a look at for locating instructing jobs in Guangzhou are HiredChina.com and eChinaCities.com.

Are you able to inform us a bit in regards to the firm that you simply work for?

As I discussed, it’s a big public college. I work within the Overseas Research Division, and the scholars main in English, French, or Japanese. They select an emphasis later, which might be instructing, translation, or enterprise.

The Lessons

The courses are measured in “instructing hours,” which at universities all over the place in China are usually 40 or 45 minutes. Two of those “hours” make up one class, so a two-hour class is definitely solely an hour and a half.

My contract is for 16 instructing hours per week, which suggests eight completely different courses. Every group meets solely as soon as per week. Between 12 and 16 instructing hours appears to be the usual for Chinese language universities.

Housing in Guangzhou

Many universities have on-campus housing for academics, and a furnished condo is included in my contract.

It’s not a requirement to dwell in it, and if I lived someplace off-campus, I’d obtain a bit more cash in every paycheck to make up for it. However that cash isn’t practically sufficient to cowl the price of an condo in a serious metropolis like Guangzhou.

My on-campus condo is sweet, though I’ve heard some horror tales about extraordinarily small locations, run-down locations, or locations with out a Western-style rest room. (Squat bathrooms are the norm in China.)

Anybody planning to dwell in an on-campus condo ought to ask to see pictures first — or higher but, view it in particular person.

Faculty Occasions and Group

Earlier than I made a decision to show English in Guangzhou, I taught at a college in a distinct a part of China.

That college was actually occupied with fostering a group, with many occasions that my spouse and I had been inspired to take part in, corresponding to a sports activities day, an enormous efficiency for the brand new 12 months, and a celebration on the finish of the semester.

There’s none of that the place I’m now. I’ve been utterly left alone, which in some ways is an efficient factor, though there are specific advantages to feeling such as you’re a part of a group.

Did it’s essential have any {qualifications} to get a job instructing English in Guangzhou?  

These are the necessities for getting a instructing job in China.


Every college has its personal necessities, which can embrace prior expertise, Bachelor’s diploma and a TEFL/TESL certificates.

College jobs require at the least two years of expertise, and a few of them require a grasp’s diploma, a PHD, or perhaps a portfolio of printed peer-reviewed journal articles.

Necessities for a residence visa in China

Then, there are the necessities for the Chinese language residence visa and work allow. Getting these includes a sophisticated course of.

Beneath I’ll describe the necessities for college academics. I consider that they’re the identical for academics in different sorts of faculties, and I think that they’re the identical or just like the necessities for different sorts of jobs in China.

Anybody trying to work in China will need assistance on this course of from the corporate that desires to rent them.

Earlier than you signal a contract, an individual from the corporate’s human sources division ought to ship a listing of necessities and supply to assist with issues like discovering translators. In the event that they don’t, or if communication with the corporate is tough, anticipate some critical complications.

Some firms will reimburse you for the numerous bills of this course of, and others gained’t. If the corporate pays, it ought to be clearly said within the contract.

Paperwork for a Residence Visa in China

You’ll want originals of your highest diploma (at the least a bachelor’s diploma for instructing, and plenty of universities require a grasp’s diploma) and a felony background examine.

These two paperwork should then be licensed 3 times. The primary two occasions are by authorities companies in your house nation, and the ultimate certification is by a Chinese language embassy. Subsequent, they’ll must be translated into Chinese language.

You’ll additionally want a medical checkup, which incorporates x-rays and blood checks, and the physician should fill out a selected kind that’s in English and Chinese language.

When you arrive in China, you’ll most likely must get one other at a selected hospital for all these checkups.

In case your job requires earlier expertise, corresponding to college jobs like mine, then you definitely’ll want an official-looking letter out of your earlier boss.

It’s like a suggestion letter, however with the precise dates of your employment, an official letterhead (in shade if doable), and clear contact data.

This should even be translated, so hold it brief.

Translations to Chinese language are costly, and a few translators cost by the phrase. Additionally, be certain your boss indicators it with a blue pen. My authentic one was rejected as a result of the entire letter was in black and white.

If you wish to transfer to China along with your partner or kids, you’ll want your marriage certificates and the kid’s beginning certificates translated, they usually’ll have to get a medical checkup too.

It’s a complicated, irritating, and costly course of. That’s why it’s essential to have somebody serving to you from the corporate you’re employed for.

What does a day within the lifetime of an English trainer in Guangzhou seem like? 

Between instructing, exploring Guangzhou and finishing my different on-line work, right here’s what a day/week would possibly seem like.

Instructing at College

As a college trainer, I solely educate courses three days per week, however I find yourself working principally day-after-day. Moreover instructing, I spend loads of time planning classes. The college gave me a e book to make use of, however nothing else.

That is typical for universities in China—you possibly can educate no matter you need, kind of. Lecture rooms have a projector, and each trainer I do know makes use of a PowerPoint presentation day-after-day.

At practically all coaching faculties, however, academics should comply with set lesson plans which are ready prematurely. Deviating from this plan can imply massive hassle for the trainer.

I want making my very own lesson plans. It might take fairly a little bit of time, however you possibly can reuse (and enhance) them if you happen to educate the identical courses in a later semester.

I educate studying and writing courses, so I additionally spend loads of time checking homework. A tip for potential English academics—hold these writing assignments brief, solely a web page or two, or the time you spend checking papers provides up quick.

My Different On-line Work

Other than instructing, I additionally do freelance writing, copywriting, and translating work. The writing and copywriting is fairly regular, so I normally know what number of hours per week I have to dedicate to these.

I additionally know myself and the way I work—at all times within the morning, and the sooner, the higher. I gained’t get any high quality writing completed within the night after a protracted day of strolling round within the solar, instructing courses, or squeezing into crowded buses.

Translating, nonetheless, might be completely random.

As an example, a couple of weeks in the past I used to be contacted to translate a protracted journal article by an instructional in Mexico who writes to me a couple of occasions a 12 months. When that occurs, it’s like, nicely there goes my weekend. I want to do my freelance work on Saturdays and Sundays.

Exploring Guangzhou on Days Off

I don’t have courses on Mondays and Fridays, so my spouse and I do our exploring on these days, when fascinating locations in Guangzhou are much less crowded.

We would go mountaineering at Baiyun Mountain on the north facet of city, wander by outdated labyrinthine neighborhoods within the historic Xiguan space, or get some Mexican meals and take a look at a museum in ultra-modern Zhujiang New City, proper throughout the river from the slender Canton Tower.

How a lot can an English trainer earn in Guangzhou? 

English academics make good cash in China, and if you happen to determine to show English in Guangzhou, you possibly can anticipate to save cash throughout that point.

As a result of there are fewer working hours and two lengthy paid holidays a 12 months, universities typically supply decrease salaries than different instructing jobs.

You would possibly make from 7000 RMB (about $1000 USD) a month on the low finish to 12,000 RMB (about $1850 USD) at a serious college in a big metropolis like Guangzhou.

That stated, most universities in Guangzhou (I interviewed with a number of of them) pay round 10,000 RMB (about $1500 USD) a month, plus housing and numerous bonuses.

Coaching faculties pay extra, some as much as 20,000 RMB (about $3000 USD) a month, however with out housing included, and naturally there are a lot of extra working hours and solely per week or two of trip a 12 months.

Worldwide center faculties and excessive faculties pay much more, however this fluctuates wildly and is dependent upon the varsity and on the candidate’s expertise.

At grade faculties and universities, you’ll receives a commission extra when you’ve got a grasp’s diploma or a PhD.

What are the professionals and cons of instructing English in Guangzhou? 

I’ll do the cons first, as a result of there’s actually just one main con and one minor one, and each apply to universities solely. I’m sure that coaching college academics may add many cons to this listing.

Con: Extra Than One Campus

The massive con to instructing English in Guangzhou is that almost each college right here has a couple of campus. Lecturers might have to show at two completely different campuses, making a protracted commute between them.

About 10 years in the past, the federal government designated an enormous island outdoors of town heart as a spot for the principle universities in Guangzhou to construct giant new campuses.

In Chinese language it’s merely referred to as “College City,” and in English, it’s the Guangzhou Larger Schooling Mega Heart.

Supposedly this occurred throughout China at about the identical time.

The unique campuses in crowded city areas ran out of room to increase, so new campuses had been constructed on the outskirts of cities. Some universities closed their authentic campuses, however not those in Guangzhou.

Regardless of repeated guarantees about the place my courses could be, I ended up residing on the new campus however instructing on the outdated one. The island is definitely a pleasant place to dwell, with plenty of parks and nature, however the commute is brutal.

On the college’s shuttle busses, it takes simply over an hour to go from one campus to the opposite.

The shuttle bus doesn’t run on a regular basis, nonetheless, and when it doesn’t, it takes me one hour and 40 minutes on public transportation—insanely crowded public transportation, by the way in which.

Con: Lack of Participation from College students

The second, minor con to instructing English in Guangzhou is that Chinese language college students aren’t accustomed to taking part in school very a lot. It could possibly take some effort and time to get them to open up.

Scholar participation is important to studying a language, and the scholars know that, however they could be a little shy or afraid of constructing errors. It’s the trainer’s job to reassure them that errors are a part of the training course of.

Now, to the professionals! There are such a lot of that I’m unsure the place to start.

Professional: Variety Folks

China is a enjoyable, dynamic, fascinating place, and Guangzhou is considered one of my favourite locations in China.

Folks listed here are typically form and cheerful. This contains the scholars. Most of my college students are respectful, hard-working, and desirous to be taught.

They’re additionally keen to show a foreigner about China. I’ve realized rather a lot from my college students, corresponding to Chinese language historical past, customs, and naturally meals.

Professional: The Meals

Chinese language meals can take some getting used to, however as soon as you realize what you want, it’s straightforward to search out actually scrumptious meals.

Chinese food in guangzhou

There’s an enormous quantity of range in Chinese language meals, and after making an attempt many various Chinese language dishes, I can say that Cantonese meals is considered one of my favorites, if not my favourite.

Two widespread dishes are dim sum and barbecued pork, and you will discover them all over the place right here.

Professional: Time without work for Journey

There are a lot of extra professionals to instructing English in Guangzhou that I may listing, so I’ll give a last one about instructing at a college. The lengthy summer time and winter holidays are an amazing alternative for journey.

Final summer time, my spouse and I traveled round China for eight weeks.

The COVID-19 outbreak was below management, however most individuals had been nonetheless staying house, so locations in China which are usually crowded, notably in summer time, had been virtually empty.

Amongst different issues, we noticed the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, rode bicycles among the many karst mountains in Yangshuo, and hiked by the mind-boggling scroll-painting surroundings of Zhangjiajie.

Any last recommendation for an aspiring English trainer?

Contracts for English instructing jobs final one 12 months. In the event you completely hate instructing English in Guangzhou, it’s just for one 12 months. However you might find yourself loving it.

Both method, you’ll virtually actually get monetary savings, so you can begin a brand new life afterward.

If you wish to attempt it, I say go for it. However come ready. Get monetary savings beforehand, sufficient to get settled in China and sufficient for a flight house if issues actually don’t work out.

And be ready to work arduous. No one is an efficient English trainer from day one, even individuals who took a TEFL/TESL course. A number of weeks of distress, when you haven’t any thought what you’re doing, would possibly out of the blue give strategy to a job you get pleasure from.

You could find yourself with a complete new profession. That’s what occurred to me.

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