Tips for ESL teachers about how to pick up the city where you’re teaching English!


Many ESL teachers who plan to take ESL teachers’ job in China often ask me the question which cities they should go to teach. Yes, it’s getting ESL teachers confused when they get several offers from different cities. How should the ESL teachers pick up the city? I have some advice here.


When you are planning to teach English in China, you should figure out what important to you, salary, weather, location or the reputation of the school.

If you think the salary is the most important factor for the ESL job, it’s easy to pick up the city.  However, if the salaries are similar to each other, you may compare other factors, such as weather, locations.


First, we can talk about the weather here in China. As we all know, China is a big country. The weather varies from tropic to temperate zone.  You can have an idea that the weather you prefer first and then narrow down the options.  Nowadays, the factor of weather becomes more important for some ESL teachers, since the air-pollution is server in some parts of China.  The air-pollution in north of China is worse than the south, especially in winter. Moreover, the north of China is colder than south. However, there is “nuan qi” heater in north part of China. Although the outside is freezing, the temperature in the house is above 20 0C.  On the contrary, there is no “nuan qi” in south part of China. The temperature of the house may be lower than outside, and plus the humidity. You may feel really cold and have to wear the same coat when you’re in the room and outside.  The weather in Guangdong or south to it is hot. It is close to tropic zone. If you like hot weather, you can go there. Yunnan is a province that I’d like to mention individually. The weather of Yunnan is good, not too cold not too hot. The temperature of Yunnan is around 20 0C.  And the environment is nature. However, the salary for ESL teachers in Yunnan is not very high.


Second, the reputation of the school is also an important factor for ESL teachers.

High salary does not mean good reputation. There are some schools or training centers offering higher salary to attract ESL teachers to teach in their schools or training centers.  However, when you get there, the schools or training centers may break your contract and make you in dilemma. For this reason, sunrise has built an efficient system for the schools and training centers that we’re working with to help ESL teachers get a job from a high reputation school or training center and avoid the bad ones from our system.

As for as I know, when ESL teachers get offers from different schools, they always go to forum to ask their alumni or their friends about the reputation of the school. If there are negative feedbacks, the ESL teacher may turn down the offer. If the feedback is positive, then the ESL teacher may take the offer.  The feedbacks from other foreigners are worth to be considered. However, not all the feedbacks are. The reason is that although the branches have the same name, they belong to different owners and their manage are totally different.  For example, the Web International Language Training Center in Shanghai has different own with the Web in Nanjing. Therefore, if you get an offer form Web in Nanjing, you should not consider the feedback from Web in Shanghai.

You’d better get some feedback directly from Web in Nanjing or ask your friends who are living or teaching in Nanjing.  Your friends may know or hear something about the school in the same city. Or you can go to the local Wechat group to ask the reviews of the schools. Those feedbacks may help you investigate the school. However, if you work with Sunrise, you can skip this part since Sunrise has already done this part for you.


Third, the difference among tier one, tier two and tier three cities.

Most ESL teachers that I know would like to go to tier one cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. There are many reasons. One of the main reasons is that there are many foreigners in tier one city, you can always make some friends relieve your homesick. And the multi-culture environment is also an attraction for many ESL teachers. However, there are also some bad parts in tier one. The first one is the traffic. As we all know, the traffic in Beijing is server. Therefore, subway is always the best way to go out. You have to take the crowed subway when you go outside. Second, the consumption in tier one city is much higher than other cities. The cost of property in Beijing or Shanghai is higher than New York. And the rent is much higher too. ESL teachers told me that the rent took one third of their salary.  Therefore, if you get an offer from tier one city that provides free accommodation, I suggest you should take it.


Tier two city is a good option for ESL teachers who come to China at their first time.  There are also many foreigners living in tier two city, which can help you go through the homesick. There are foreign supermarkets where you can get what you want.  The traffic is better than tier one city and the air is better too.


Tier three city is not a bad option either.  If you want to learn Mandarin and experience the culture in China, tier three or four city is really good for you. Although there are not so many foreigners as tier one or two city, there are some foreigners.  And the language environment is really good for you to learn Mandarin. The people in small cities are more friendly too.  Plus, the public transportation widely covers almost every city in China. It’s very convenient from one city to another.   You can always go to a big city when you’re off.


As I said at the beginning of the article, figuring out what you want from the job is the very first and important part to solve the question.