Teaching English in China is one of the most exciting as well as accessible experiences one can avail. In fact, China has emerged as a global economic hub and with its position as the most populated country in the world, the need for a proficient English-speaking community has been realized. It’s for the same reason why China has seen an increase in international schooling in recent years.
Teaching in China has become an opportunity for ex-pat teachers due to the tantalizing pay packages and thrilling living experiences. Most ex-pats prefer the low tax and high-quality living experience China has to offer.
Many international schools have emerged, some of which being American schools. Currently, there are around 500 English medium schools which is a huge increase compared to two decades ago when there were only 22.
These schools offer curriculums in English and their increasing numbers create more and more opportunities for aspiring teachers. Some of these schools offer curricula from a multitude of international countries, Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan, and Korea to name a few. Among these international schools, there is a good amount that offers American Curriculum.
Development History of American Schools in China
Before we discuss the established history of American Schools in China it’s important to note that there are different types of international schools in China. With their emergence, the government of China introduced a law to regulate the rise of international schooling. The law bans Chinese national students from enrolling in these private schools. Additionally, private schools are to incorporate Chinese history, geography, and politics into their curricula.
Despite these government regulations, there has been a steady increase in the private education sector in mainland China. Currently, there are around more than 10 American schools in China, some in the main cities such as Suzhou, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. The American International School of Guangzhou and The Shanghai American School are some of the few mainstream American Schools in China.
Mainly middle-class Chinese parents have realized the importance of proficiency in the English language and are now interested in sending their children into schools offering a Western-style of education. Parents are more inclined in paying for private schooling than they are in sending their children to public schools where the education is free. It is due to this reason there has been a huge increase in K-12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) enrollment and many institutes are being inaugurated to fill that demand.
American Schools and Their Curriculum
The main difference between the American curriculum compared to the alternatives such as the British curriculum or the International Bachelleuerete (IB) is how the American curriculum boasts a balanced education with extracurriculars on the side.
Similarly, the American curriculum is based on granting every student a high sense of achievement and the curriculum is accepted by some of the biggest universities in the world. Many international schools around the world teach the American curriculum thus providing students with diversity and flexibility. The curriculum is also accepted and recognized worldwide, therefore, stressing international learning and networking.
A lot of prestigious universities such as Harvard and MIT accept the American curriculum at entry-level. This makes American schooling appealing as it means to be one step closer to getting into one of the top universities in the world.
Benefits of Teaching in American Schools in China
Here are just some of the few reasons that may interest you in acquiring a teaching position in an American School in China
- Travel Opportunities and Flexibility
As a lot of American Schools are expanding into other cities of China, you will be given a lot of options to travel and transfer over time to enjoy the full experience of living in one of the largest cities in the world. Similarly, China has an extremely developed infrastructure and very efficient railways that make inter-city commutes both fun and quick. You will be able to enjoy your time as both a tourist and a teacher in the country.
- Salary Packages
At a glance, the salary packages for teachers don’t seem very appealing, however, the average cost of living in China is very low when compared to the USA. Moreover, many teaching packages come with a stipend as well as other bonuses that give you more disposable income.
- Teaching Opportunities
To be able to land a teaching job in China is very accessible due to the fact there is an ever-increasing number of Chinese students that require English teachers. Similarly, international schools opening in every city of China not only increase opportunities but also options in terms of residency.
- The Opportunity to Learn Mandarin
As a foreign educator in China, you’ll be required to achieve some level of proficiency in the Chinese language itself. Now for a native English speaker, it may seem a challenging feat but there will be special courses available to assist your learning. One advantage of learning Chinese is the fact that you’ll be able to learn one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
Requirements for Teaching in China
Finally, if reading through helped you create an interest in the idea, you may want to acquaint yourself with the requirements expected of an ex-pat teacher when applying in China.
- Be a native speaker or have a TEFL certification
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Under 55 years of age
- A clean criminal record
- Commitment to a 1-year contract
These are the main requirements you would be expected to have as an applicant. The Bachelor’s degree is preferred if you’re applying as a subject teacher, however, due to the high demand to be considered as an English teacher you may only need a TEFL certification or in some cases, not even that. Hence, when applying for any position make sure to check their respective requirements as they differ from place to place.