If you’re looking to teach in a new country, China could be the option that appeals the most. You can take in a whole new culture and broaden your horizons, all while teaching English to students of all ages. Here’s everything you need to know about how the Chinese Education system works. You’ll be surprised at how similar it is to the education systems you’ve grown up with.
Teaching English In China
If you’re looking to teach English in China, you’ve got lots of opportunities to do so. There’s a renewed focus on teaching English to school-aged children, so you’ll find work with ease. This may be as a private tutor, or as a teacher in their public schools. The job you’ll take will depend on your qualifications and your own preferences as to working.
To teach English in China, you’ll need less than you’d think to qualify. The requirements include:
- A Bachelor’s degree in any subject
- A TEFL certification
- Two years work experience in any field
- Being aged between 24 and 55
- Being a native English speaker
As you can see, becoming a teacher can actually be more accessible than you’d think. Revieweal teacher Fiona Morgan says, “It’s perfect for those who are recent graduates and want to see more of the world. You can get involved once you gain the right qualifications, and it looks amazing on your resume.”
As a teacher, you may also be entitled to some helpful living perks. They will depend on where you’re living and the program you’re teaching through, but they can include:
- Meals or meal allowances
- Airfare reimbursement
- Housing or housing allowance
- Completion bonus
So if you want to teach abroad, then you may want to look into teaching in China. There’s a lot of benefits even before you get into teaching itself.
The Grade System In China
If you want to teach in China, you’ll need to understand how the grading system works. Language tutor Aaron Jenkins from the Huffington Post and Best Australian Writers say, ” It’s very similar to the American system in some ways, as it’s broken up into primary, middle, and secondary sections. Students move through the system as they age up. They are required to pass minimum standards in order to progress, though.”
All citizens of China are required to undergo 9 years of teaching. In most areas, teaching is done in Mandarin Chinese. In areas where ethnic minorities take up the most of the class, the language may be different. Education is mostly funded by the government.
Teaching starts at age 6 or 7, depending on the area. They’ll be required to take part in school five days a week. Primary education at this level lasts for 6 years, until the student 12 years old.
Then, they’ll move onto middle schooling. This will last for three years until the student is 15. This is usually referred to as Junior or lower Secondary schooling.
Once they’re finished with this level of schooling, Chinese students have a choice in their education. They can continue on to higher Secondary education, or they can leave school and go into training for 2 to 4 years in an industry.
Tertiary Education In China
Once students finish their secondary education, they have the option to continue on to university. There are three levels of tertiary education: Bachelor’s degree, Masters degree, and Doctorate. It’s interesting to note that if a student wants to pursue a Masters, they need to be no older than 35 years old.
To get into university, a student needs to pass the National Higher Education Entrance Exam. In 2015, 9.42 million students took the exam.
In recent years, Chinese tertiary education has been improving at a rapid pace. That means that a degree from a Chinese university no longer has the same prestige attached to it as it once had. Now, the amount of Chinese students applying to study in other countries has increased tenfold. A lot of prestige is placed on universities such as Harvard and Oxford University, as they’re seen as some of the best places in the world to study.
What To Know When You Start Teaching
Once you gain your teaching place and make it to China, there’s a lot you’re going to need to learn. It’s a whole new culture, so at first, you may feel out of your depth. Don’t worry though, with a little self-education you’ll soon be able to fit right in.
- Respect the ‘face’ of the country: The concept of ‘face’ is the idea that you may feel negative about something, but not directly criticizing it. This most often refers to the country of China itself, but it’s also relevant in the school setting. Be careful not to be too direct with any criticisms you may have, as it can be seen as off-putting.
- Know the difference between types of jobs: Both job titles may say ‘English teacher’, but the way you’ll be expected to teach may be very different. For example, at an ESL academy, you’ll be teaching smaller classes, especially on the weekends as students study in their free time. At an ESL school, you may be asked to teach pre-schoolers all the way up to adults.
- Get help where you can: You should always ask for help when you need it. There are plenty of sites and tools online that can help you out with teaching materials. Try sites like Class Base and China Highlights. These sites are designed for ESL teachers and will help you give your most to the job.
- Enjoy yourself: Whatever you’re doing, make the most of it. Enjoy every experience, and your enthusiasm will come through in your teaching.
This is just scratching the surface of the Chinese education system. Research how the system works before you start applying for teaching jobs in the country. You’ll be amazed at how much it’ll prepare you for the experience of teaching in such a different culture.
Rachel Summers is dedicated to helping students with their studies. She works with them in many different capacities to help them get the most from their education. Get her most recent work is with education writing service UK Top Writers. This experience informs her writing, so she can help students around the world.