Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in China has always been a lucrative business. In the last decade, however, this industry has developed even further, with technology becoming an integral aspect of most people’s everyday life.
As a result, China opened up its borders to TEFL teaching online, allowing international TEFL professionals to teach children from the comfort of their own homes or while travelling. In a country with over 10.6 million children born in 2022 alone, and a competitive educational system, this convenient remote way of learning became extremely popular very quickly.
Although in 2021 the Chinese government changed the legislation regarding international TEFL teachers working from outside China, it is still possible to teach online, as long as the teacher resides in China. This, in combination with the country’s effort to increase the number of births in large cities, could ensure a thriving and prosperous future for the online TEFL industry.
Is teaching online for you?
If you are familiar with classroom-based teaching, you need to be prepared for a few changes. On the other hand, if you are new to TEFL teaching altogether, get ready for a great adventure. This guide has everything you need to know about teach English in China as your next career move.
Like all great adventures, however, online teaching needs some preparation to run smoothly.
- Choose your equipment carefully, as the quality of the video call relies on this. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on the latest gadgets, but a reliable laptop with lots of storage is a must. Invest in a good quality headset to avoid annoying background noise. A pen drive can also be very useful, to have a go-to emergency lesson at the ready.
- Make sure your accommodation set-up is suitable. Find a quiet and well-lit area for your lessons: natural light is best, but a strategically placed lamp can do the trick too. Keep the area free from distractions as much as possible – remember that this can have an impact on your teaching performance. Last but not least, ensure that your internet connection is stable and fast.
- Decide which platform you would like to work with. Research every online school/platform you are interested in: the hiring process, the support available, the hourly rate, pay rise opportunities, and whether the lesson materials are ready made for you or not. While having lessons planned for you is very convenient and saves prepping time, it may limit your freedom to be creative. Ultimately, every online platform will have its own requirements, so choose the one that best suits your needs.
Is teaching children for you?
Wherever they come from in the world, kids will be kids. They might bring their favourite toys to the lesson, they might get distracted by whatever is happening around them (or you!), they might just want to doodle on the screen. Teaching children requires lots of patience, flexibility, and the ability to include fun elements to the lessons, without making them less effective.
Is living in China for you?
China stretches over 5,000 km from top to bottom and from east to west, offering an extremely wide range of landscape, from high mountains to sandy beaches, from remote villages near the desert to ultra-modern urban areas. Living in China is a constant surprise – there’s never a dull moment with thousands of years of history, culture, and cuisine to experience.
All in all
From 2021, you need to live in the country to teach English as a foreign language to Chinese children, but don’t let that put you off. China is a wonderful country to explore, with such a variety of landscape, cultures, and traditions. Before moving abroad, doing your research is crucial for a successful and smooth transition.