Types Of Schools In China| 3 min read

Overview of the different types of schools found across China.

Teaching English in kindergartens is a common job in China, especially in the larger cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The working environment is usually friendly and foreign teachers can always expect to have Chinese teaching assistants in the classroom with them.  Flashcards and other similar resources are often provided, and there is minimal time needed for preparation.  Expect to be teaching songs and using many activities to ensure the young students aren’t wandering off during the lesson.   Classes range from 8-20 students, and can be between 15-30 minutes long.

Boarding Schools
Boarding schools are fairly common in China, and spread throughout the countryside and within most large cities too. These schools tend to offer housing on campus in teacher apartment flats, and may also use a curfew system. They often allow for travel, as students have many exams and also during the holidays. The age range of the children varies, from primary school up to high school, and levels of English within each class also varies.  Foreign teachers in these schools should expect to have large class sizes.

Private Language Institutions
Private language institutes abound in China; some are well-established while others can be small and short-lived.  Instructors in these institutes typically teach conversation- oriented classes, and occasionally teach writing as well.  Pupils range from grade school students to business people; consequently student skill levels vary widely. These institutions generally have a very high student turnover rateand tend to work nights and weekends.

University Departments
Many universities in China have a foreign language or English department. Requirements for teachers vary depending on the university and the level of classes taught. Undergraduate classes will be larger, while graduate classes tend to be smaller, offering more personal contact with students.  Most teachers will be provided an accommodation on campus, but this may not always be the case.  University students are always arranging extra activities, so expect to be involved in the student community with English Corners and extra study programs.

Private Teaching and Tutoring
Private teaching and tutoring are very common in China, and there is great demand for native English speakers, particularly in the larger cities.  However, in order to do so legally, written consent from a full-time employer is required. Teachers interested in giving private language lessons should include a stipulation in their contract allowing a certain number of hours per week for private teaching.

Other Options
Opportunities outside of the traditional English teaching sphere are plentiful in China, though not always easy to obtain.  Native English speakers have found work in a variety of industries, such as media (editing or writing for state-run foreign-language media companies or private companies), freelance writing, educational services (recording English dialogues, working for study abroad  enterprises, arranging language camps, etc.), and sales positions with companies with large expatriate client bases. .


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