This is a follow up to my previous blog "Why is there a preference for native speakers?" I would like to share my job hunting experience for the past two months. I must first qualify that when I said "non native", I meant non Caucasian and there is no racism or color discrimination intended.
So, you are a non native speaker of English and you want to teach English in China. There are quite a number of things you need to consider before you embark on that journey.
1. Unless you speak very good English with little accent, I mean you should not be speaking with your own native accented English, it will prove difficult because during the Skype interview, they may not understand what you are saying. The best way to find out is to compare your spoken English with those on English television programs.
2. You will have better opportunities if you are degree qualified from a UK/US university. Failing that, an Australian/NZ one will still help. If you majored in Education, it's even better. If you majored in business or marketing, the chances of getting hired as a subject teacher is quite good and the pay is also higher.
3. If you are not in China already then your chances aren't great. It helps if you are already here in China ready to go.
4. Get TEFL, TESOL, CELTA qualified as soon as possible.
5. Be prepared to be disappointed, many times. I have on a few occasions had the contracts on my table but at the last moment the schools rejected me because someone up the chain of command decided that they want a Caucasian. Also, you may be rejected the moment they see your face on Skype. This is very normal. So don't assume that the moment they send you the contract, the job is in the bag. Until and unless you get your visa, FEC and residence permit in your hands, anything could happen. PSB may not approve your residence permit, FEC may not grant you approval or you may not even get the Z visa at all.
6. During interviews, speak slowly and clearly. Interviewers' command of English is intermediate at best.
7. If you speak Chinese, it may score you some brownie points but not always.
8. Have your resume completed 100% on whichever job board you use. Be truthful about your work experiences, qualifications and intentions. If you lie, you may find yourself covering up with another lie that doesn't quite match the first lie.
9. Be patient. All you need is one door to open for you.
10. Ask for help. There are a lot of old timers out there who can help you. Asking is free. There's nothing wrong with asking.
11. Be humble. Don't go picking fights, arguments etc with people in the community. Accept the way others think because you also want them to accept your ideas/thoughts.
12. Keep sending out your CV, regardless whether they are asking for natives or not. Someone will notice and call you. I sent out close to a thousand and got about 20 replies and 8 interviews. Like I said, you only need one.
13. Don't expect to be paid the equivalent of what you get back home. As a guide, universities pay around 6,000RMB for an ESL teacher, subject teachers get about 10,000RMB.
14. You may end up being an entertainer or a standup comedian with kids below 5 years old as your audience.
15. You may get scammed by dishonest agents or recruiters because you are new to the industry and don't know better.
If you are still reading this, then perhaps you really do want to be a teacher here. The above isn't meant to intimidate you. They are just the realities in China for non native speakers.
I have 2 contracts on my table and receiving more offers as I write this blog. It looks like the rush to put somebody, anybody in front of the class when the new term begins has started. The first 2 are pushing me to sign but I want to see more before I decide. It's been a restless two months for me but I finally see some results. Still, this isn't over until I am actually in the school, visa, FEC and residence permit in my bag.
So, if you are still keen and ready to go through with it, I only have one advice - DON'T GIVE UP! Don't depend on luck because there is no such thing as luck. My definition of luck is the corner where preparation meets opportunity. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, just make sure that light isn't a train coming right at you!
Tags:Teaching & Learning Business & Jobs Expat Rants & Advice
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