Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Depending on your experience, style, and preference, we offer positions with Kindergartens, Training Centres, or Public Schools. Here is what you can expect from each:
Public schools have fairly large classes – around 40-50 students – with student ages ranging from 6-18 years old. While this may sound daunting, public school is actually the easiest introduction to teaching in China, as the schools operate with the standard working hours of 8/9am-5:30/6pm, Monday to Friday, with short teaching hours adding up to only 18-20 per week. Some schools don’t even require office hours, meaning you only work during your lesson time (usually 40-60 minutes).
Public schools also provide thorough support, training and materials for their teachers, as well as organising field trips and activities, and most contracts will come with time off for Chinese public holidays, paid annual leave, plus summer/winter vacations during school holidays. While teaching, you will be given teaching resources such as a classroom fully equipped with a computer, projector, board, and microphone.
Kindergarten classes are comprised of young children aged 3-6 and usually have no more than ten students per class – although the number is commonly around five students. The hours are similar to public school (8/9am-5:30/6pm, Monday to Friday), with a two hour lunch break, and no more than 20 hours per week teaching time. Kindergartens also commonly provide half-paid winter vacations on top of Chinese public holidays, although the precise details will vary from kindergarten to kindergarten.
Due to the age of the kids, it is required that teachers be outgoing and cheerful, and comfortable maintaining an interactive atmosphere with songs and games, as well as being prepared for differing behaviour and confidence levels in the students. Kindergarten teachers are also helped by Chinese teaching assistants and given a full curriculum to follow in their high-tech classroom, equipped with interactive whiteboards and various teaching materials, toys and games.
Training Centre – Child students
Training Centre positions will usually require weekend and afternoon/evening shifts, with your two consecutive days falling midweek. This is because these are privately owned institutions where the parents will pay to enrol their child, meaning they usually are supplementary to the child already attending kindergarten or public school. Therefore, it is common for a training centre teacher to work weekday afternoons (say, 2pm-8/9pm) and then a regular 8/9am-5/6pm on weekends.
These positions have no more than 20 teaching hours per week, with the ages ranging from 3-12 in most places. The class size can vary from 5-25 students, although most will fall in the 4-8 students range, and so a classroom with up-to-date technology will be provided.
Like kindergarten, training centre teachers need to be outgoing and cheerful due to the young ages of most students, with songs and games playing a large role in the learning process. During classes with older student classes, songs and games are still used, however there is more of a focus on bookwork and applicable learning.
Training Centres offer Chinese Public Holidays and paid annual leave, but operate all year round otherwise with no summer or winter breaks.
Adult Training Centre
Training centres for adult students – aged 18 and up – operate on a similar schedule to training centres for children, due to the students having to work around their day job to attend classes. Class size is also similar, although more intense courses are offered with students of varying skill level being able to enrol in 1 on 1, 1 on 4, or 1 on 10 sized-classes.
The teaching style is different – due to the students being more mature and usually more experienced – however, when teaching those of low-level English it is useful to employ more practical methods such as games, without making the students feel like a child.
Adult students may also expect to see more visible signs of progress and therefore come across as more demanding, but likewise they should also be easier to manage in terms of classroom etiquette and discipline.
Both adult and child training centres compensate for the unusual schedule by providing teachers with the opportunity to teach demo classes aimed at enticing new students to enrol, with financial bonuses on offer for every new student who joins afterwards. Training centre contracts also usually include further bonuses and higher salary than other kinds of institutions, because their profit depends on enrolment and so quality teachers are required.