Top seven questions about teaching English in China!


Recently, many ESL teachers sent me emails about teaching English in China. There are top ten questions that ESL teachers may want to know about teaching English in China.


The first question is that whether I can teach English in China, if I am not an English native speaker but I can speak fluent English. The answer is yes. If you can speak fluent English, you can get an ESL job in China. But I have to say that English native speakers are more popular in China and they are paid more than non-native speakers.  When you are looking for an ESL job in China, you need to know the truth and may not get the same benefits as the English native speakers. Moreover, you also need to figure out that whether you can get a work visa in your place. Since the rules for work visa vary from province to province, it’s better figure out when you sign the contract with the school.


The second question is that whether I can get prepaid air tickets before I come to China. Many and many foreigners who are seeking ESL jobs in China has asked me this question, since they don’t have money to pay the air tickets to China.  Well, as far as I know, there are not many schools offering air tickets ahead, but most of them refund your air tickets at the end of your contract. Many foreigners asked me why, since they really want to teach English in China but need money to pay the air tickets. The reason that why the schools don’t want to pay air tickets ahead is that the contract can not bound the ESL teachers. Many ESL teachers who have signed with the schools don’t come the signed schools at last. They may sign with other schools after they have signed with one school.  Therefore, the schools won’t pay air tickets before they come to China.  I would recommend that you could borrow some money to buy the air ticket and pay back after you get your first month payment, if you really want to teach English in China.


The third question is that whether I need to have a TESOL/TEFL certificate.  The TESOL/TEFL certificate is very helpful for ESL teachers who are seeking an ESL job in China, especially for those who don’t have teaching experience.  I will highly recommend that foreigners who are looking for ESL jobs in China take TESOL/TEFL courses.  There is only one thing you need to know is that when you take TESOL/TEFL courses, you need to register courses over 100 hours. Sometimes, TESOL/TEFL can also make up the lack of bachelor degree. Therefore, you’d better take a TESOL/TEFL course.  There are many websites who are offering TESOL/TEFL courses and some also available in classes. Sunrise has a partnership with TEFL too. If you need more information about it, you can go or send me an email.


The fourth question is that whether they can bring their dependents to China. There are some foreigners who have married seeking ESL teaching jobs in China. They are willing to bring their dependents with them to China. I have inquired with many schools. They told me that it’s ok to bring dependents. The ESL teachers can apply visas for their dependents when they are applying visas for themselves. Some schools may assist them to find schools for their kids sometimes. ESL teachers can discuss the details with the school when they sign the contract.


The fifth question is that whether my wife and I work in the same school or same city. There are many couples and partners who are seeking ESL jobs together. They are willing to work in the same school or same city. If the couples and partners are from English countries, it’s very easy to get two positions in the same school or same city. If one side is not from English countries, it’s hard to work in the same school or same city. However, if you find a job through recruiting agency like Sunrise, Sunrise will help you make a good plan and try to help you two works in the same city.  But the truth is that if one side is from a non-English country, you two may need to make you expectation down a little bit.


The sixth question is that whether I can have a short contract such as three months or six months. In China, most of the schools will offer a one-year contract not three or six months. There are several reasons. One is that it’s hard to get an ESL teacher for some schools. The other one is that the schools prefer to have a stable ESL teacher working for them and establish a long-term relationship.  Therefore, you don’t see many schools offering three or six months contracts. However, there are summer or winter camps available. Generally, the summer or winter camps are shorter than one month. However, the schools prefer to recruit local teachers for the summer or winter camp. Therefore, if you are interested in the camp, you can always keep an eye at your local ESL teacher groups.  For how to find the local ESL teacher groups, I will discuss it later in other articles.


The seventh question is that whether I can jump out of the current contract to get a new one.  I think everyone should know that he/she should keep his/her words and finish the contract if there is nothing against the contract happened. However, the truth is that many ESL teachers have jumped out of the current contract to get a new one in China. That’s really bad to the schools and even the ESL teachers.  I don’t recommend the ESL teachers to do that. Since there is always good job available, you cannot work in one place and think another job in other place.  However, if the school does something against the contract, it’s another story. You definitely should get another job and give up your current one. Remember, if something happens like that, please contact with Sunrise. We are going to get a better job for you and make that school in our black list.


I hope the questions above I answered can give you some idea about teaching English in China. If you have more question, just send me an email to