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Instructing English in Guangzhou: Interview With an ESL Instructor

In this interview, we’re speaking with Ted who is a full-time contributor here at Goats On The Road. He’s been a professional ESL teacher for almost 20 years now and is currently teaching English in Guangzhou, China.  In this article, you’ll learn first-hand what it’s like to teach English in Guangzhou, how to find jobs, […]

The post Teaching English in Guangzhou: Interview With an ESL Teacher appeared first on Goats On The Road.



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This post is originally published at Goats On The Road blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!

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

On this article, you'll be taught first-hand what it's like to show English in Guangzhou, the way to discover jobs, the professionals and cons, the wage, and far 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 USA, and I haven’t lived there in all that point. I’ve been in a position to journey to many locations on the planet, typically for prolonged durations of time.

teach english in guangzhou

I’m additionally a author, and together with here at Goats on the Highway and different locations on-line, you'll be able to 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've gotten any prior expertise?

I turned 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 might find yourself turning into my profession.

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

I had no earlier expertise as a trainer. I realized on the job, and I acquired quite a lot of assist and good recommendation from a extra skilled trainer who was introduced on as headteacher just a few 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, finally working my approach as much as instructing in universities.

You're presently instructing English in Guangzhou, China. What’s it like residing there? 

Guangzhou is a incredible place to reside.

It’s extraordinarily fashionable and likewise has lots of historical past. It has a novel tradition inside China – Cantonese tradition, which incorporates the meals and language – and likewise has a global vibe with neighborhoods like Xiaobei, the place a big group of African immigrants reside.

teaching English in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is also called 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 previous metropolis palace from 1800 years in the past.

You may see remnants of the varied historical metropolis partitions from totally different durations below glass beneath the pedestrian road Beijing Highway, which runs in entrance of the museum.

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

A standard kind of instructing job is at a small English academy the place folks research English of their spare time. In China, they’re known 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 faculty I labored at in South Korea. They’re the most suitable choice for folks with no expertise. The hours are lengthy, as much as 40 hours every week, both instructing or workplace hours, however the pay is nice.

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

I favor 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 aspect. Additionally, the scholars are extra mature and extra taken 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 precise web site—there are numerous good assets for instructing jobs in Guangzhou, and typically you could find hiring data straight on college web sites.

I imagine that I looked for “instructing English in Guangzhou,” “college jobs in Guangzhou,” and so forth, after which I compiled a listing of e 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 concerning the job, such because the working hours and pay. Then I had just a few on-line interviews, utilizing Chinese language video communication apps like Tencent Assembly or DingTalk.

It’s additionally frequent for folks to make use of recruiters to get English instructing jobs in China. This can be a good choice in the event you don’t have instructing expertise and wish to work at a training center.

As all the time, test your contract rigorously. In some circumstances, you’ll be employed by the recruiting company, not the varsity you’ll be working at, and also you’ll subsequently 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 faculty the place I’d be instructing, I could possibly be moved to every other faculty 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 faculty, one thing I positively didn’t wish to occur.

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

Are you able to inform us a bit concerning the firm that you just work for?

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

The Courses

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 every week, which implies eight totally different courses. Every group meets solely as soon as every 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 residence is included in my contract.

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

My on-campus residence 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 reside in an on-campus residence ought to ask to see images first — or higher but, view it in particular person.

Faculty Occasions and Neighborhood

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 taken with fostering a group, with many occasions that my spouse and I have been inspired to take part in, similar 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 fully left alone, which in some ways is an effective factor, though there are particular advantages to feeling such as you’re a part of a group.

Did it is advisable have any {qualifications} to get a job instructing English in Guangzhou?  

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


Every faculty has its personal necessities, which can embody prior expertise, Bachelor's diploma and a TEFL/TESL certificates.

College jobs require at the very 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 entails a sophisticated course of.

Beneath I’ll describe the necessities for college academics. I imagine that they’re the identical for academics in different varieties of faculties, and I believe that they’re the identical or much like the necessities for different varieties of jobs in China.

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

Earlier than you signal a contract, an individual from the corporate’s human assets 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 troublesome, anticipate some critical complications.

Some corporations will reimburse you for the numerous bills of this course of, and others gained’t. If the corporate can pay, it must be clearly said within the contract.

Paperwork for a Residence Visa in China

You’ll want originals of your highest diploma (at the very least a bachelor’s diploma for instructing, and lots of universities require a grasp’s diploma) and a prison background test.

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

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

When you arrive in China, you’ll most likely need to get one other at a particular hospital for a majority of these checkups.

In case your job requires earlier expertise, similar to college jobs like mine, then you definately’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 attainable), 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, ensure your boss indicators it with a blue pen. My unique 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 delivery certificates translated, and so they’ll must 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 appear like? 

Between instructing, exploring Guangzhou and finishing my different online work, right here's what a day/week would possibly appear like.

Instructing at College

As a college trainer, I solely educate courses three days every week, however I find yourself working principally on daily basis. Apart from instructing, I spend lots of time planning lessons. The college gave me a e-book to make use of, however nothing else.

That is typical for universities in China—you'll be able to educate no matter you need, roughly. Lecture rooms have a projector, and each trainer I do know makes use of a PowerPoint presentation on daily basis.

At practically all coaching faculties, then again, academics should observe set lesson plans which might be ready prematurely. Deviating from this plan can imply large hassle for the trainer.

I favor making my very own lesson plans. It could take fairly a little bit of time, however you'll be able to reuse (and enhance) them in the event you educate the identical courses in a later semester.

I educate studying and writing courses, so I additionally spend lots 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

Apart from instructing, I additionally do freelance writing, copywriting, and translating work. The writing and copywriting is fairly regular, so I often know what number of hours every week I must dedicate to these.

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

Translating, nevertheless, could be completely random.

As an illustration, just a few weeks in the past I used to be contacted to translate a protracted journal article by a tutorial in Mexico who writes to me just a few occasions a 12 months. When that occurs, it’s like, effectively there goes my weekend. I favor 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'd go climbing at Baiyun Mountain on the north aspect of city, wander by way of previous 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 in the event you determine to show English in Guangzhou, you'll be able to anticipate to economize 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 numerous extra working hours and solely every 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 in case you have 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 faculty academics might add many cons to this record.

Con: Extra Than One Campus

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

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

In Chinese language it’s merely known as “College City,” and in English, it’s the Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center.

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 have been constructed on the outskirts of cities. Some universities closed their unique campuses, however not those in Guangzhou.

Regardless of repeated guarantees about the place my courses can be, I ended up residing on the new campus however instructing on the previous one. The island is definitely a pleasant place to reside, with numerous 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, nevertheless, and when it doesn’t, it takes me one hour and 40 minutes on public transportation—insanely crowded public transportation, by the best way.

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 collaborating in school very a lot. It will probably 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 creating errors. It’s the trainer's job to reassure them that errors are a part of the educational course of.

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

Professional: Type Individuals

China is a enjoyable, dynamic, fascinating place, and Guangzhou is one among my favourite places in China.

Individuals listed below are typically sort and cheerful. This consists of the scholars. Most of my college students are respectful, hard-working, and wanting to be taught.

They’re additionally keen to show a foreigner about China. I’ve realized quite a bit from my college students, similar 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 understand what you want, it’s simple 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 alternative Chinese language dishes, I can say that Cantonese meals is one among my favorites, if not my favourite.

Two frequent dishes are dim sum and barbecued pork, and you could find them all over the place right here.

Professional: Day without work for Journey

There are a lot of extra execs to instructing English in Guangzhou that I might record, so I’ll give a ultimate one about instructing at a college. The lengthy summer season and winter holidays are an important alternative for journey.

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

The COVID-19 outbreak was below management, however most individuals have been nonetheless staying house, so locations in China which might be usually crowded, significantly in summer season, have 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 way of the mind-boggling scroll-painting surroundings of Zhangjiajie.

Any ultimate recommendation for an aspiring English trainer?

Contracts for English instructing jobs final one 12 months. For those who completely hate instructing English in Guangzhou, it’s just for one 12 months. However chances are you'll find yourself loving it.

Both approach, you’ll nearly certainly save money, so you can begin a brand new life afterward.

If you wish to attempt it, I say go for it. However come ready. Lower your expenses 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 exhausting. No person is an effective English trainer from day one, even individuals who took a TEFL/TESL course. A number of weeks of distress, when you don't have any thought what you’re doing, would possibly instantly give approach to a job you take pleasure in.

It's possible you'll find yourself with an entire new profession. That’s what occurred to me.

The submit Teaching English in Guangzhou: Interview With an ESL Teacher appeared first on Goats On The Road.

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Goats On The Road blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!