Some notes for South Africans looking for ESL positions

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Recently, quite a few South Africans are applying for ESL positions in Asia, especially in China. I’m not sure what is happening there. All of them want to come to China as soon as possible. Most of them don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but want to get a legal working visa. I understand everyone wants to be legal in China, but first you should be qualified to be legal for working as a foreign teacher. If you don’t have the requested documents, you should follow what the agents suggest and find a school that can help with your visa. There are indeed a few schools that can do something magical to help you apply for a working visa, but these schools are very few and in smaller cities or cold areas, some cities that many foreigners don’t like to live in. As long as you think the z working visa is the most important thing for you, you should not adhere to other things. No job is perfect especially when you are not that “qualified”.

Another thing about South Africans looking for ESL positions is that many of them are hoping to arrive soon and prefer to work in a public school or an international school, this is contradictory. Since public schools and international schools have a specific semester start date, like March or September. Therefore, if you want to come immediately, language training centers is a better choice.

One more thing I want to mention is that many Chinese schools don’t regard South Africans as native English speakers, and they think some of them don’t have a good English accent. My suggestion is recording a self-introduction video before you apply for ESL positions. That saves both your and our time, if schools don’t want to schedule an interview after watching your videos, we don’t have to waste the time to arrange anything and try some other schools. If more than two or three schools don’t want to talk after reviewing your videos, then I’m afraid we couldn’t help then. You may try other countries. Some schools do request a video before they decide to interview or not. If you even don’t want to spend one minute to record a video for the schools, you might lose many good job opportunities or delay receiving interview notices.

Suppose you are a qualified foreign teacher with a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, years of teaching experience and other qualifications, you deserve a good pay, but not an exaggerating pay scale. Usually high-paid jobs are at kindergartens, international schools and big cities or a few training centers. If you don’t like to teach children, you will miss some good offers, so you will have fewer choices. If you don’t want to work for a language training center, you will miss some more good offers or good pay. So only international schools are available. International schools have a higher standard for recruiting foreign teachers. Even though you have all the basic qualifications for general schools, and are qualified to apply for a legal working visa, international schools might not admit that. They can pay 20, 000rmb or higher, so they need extra qualifications, such as PGCE and related teaching experience at an international school. Besides, age limit is also a problem for some schools. In China, not the elder you are the more pay you get. Someone over 50 years old are not very welcomed by schools, unless you teach subjects like AP or A-level math or physics and etc.

China has more ESL positions, and the pay is lower than subject positions. Location is also a concern. Foreigners prefer to work in the south, but they never know some schools in the north pays higher. If you are a little flexible, more options will be sent to you. You want a good location, a good students’ age, a reputable school, a good pay, you want everything, but you don’t consider there are many native English speakers, I mean Americans, Australians, Canadians, British, New Zealanders, applying for ESL positions in China, just like you. They have the similar qualifications with you and maybe higher than you, and they also want to go to the cities you would like to go to. It’s actually the same case for schools. All Chinese schools want native English speakers with all the qualifications, but if they don’t have any special advantage, why those foreigners go to work for them? So you must have your advantage that makes a school eager to hire you.

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