How to Find the Right School?
06 Mar 2024

Teaching English in China, whether it’s your first time in a faraway land or you’re a seasoned veteran in a place you call your second home, you’ll surely want to be placed in the right school for yourself and avoid the nightmare scenario of being stuck in an incompatible working environment.  So how to find the right teaching job in the right school? We’ll go through what to expect and the things you should consider. 


School Type

TEFL teachers are very much in demand in China and there’ll be job options teaching at each age group e.g. kindergarten, primary school, middle school, high school, college, university, and training centers. Each age group presents their own sets of challenges, but all can be extremely rewarding and provide a rich experience. 


You need to be aware that usually teaching younger children at kindergartens and primary levels require longer working hours, more energy, and fun activities to engage the kids, not forgetting the naughty ones. Especially at kindergartens, it’s vital you deliver the target language via fun and games. Catching their interest in English at this young age is important and the best way to do this is to be their playmate. On the other hand, if you’re teaching at a college or university, you can expect larger class sizes although less working hours and a more flexible schedule, on campus you may also be required to conduct extracurricular activities such as English Corner and judge English speaking competitions. 


The popular consensus for first-time TEFL teachers is to lean towards teaching younger kids as you’ll typically be teaching basic and less complex English concepts. However contrary to this, naturally the older the students that you teach the better English foundation they have, the easier it’ll be for you to manage the class and communicate with them. Although likely speaking in front of large classes, teaching at a college or university will provide a more sedate teaching experience and add a social element to your work. Teaching at a kindergarten or primary school will provide a more fun and active teaching experience for those who love kids. 



The right school is one that pays you a salary that you are happy with. Generally speaking, salaries are higher the younger the kids you teach, lower the older the students you teach, although there are some exceptions. This is not an absolute rule but a common trend so you’ll also need to take this into consideration when searching for a job, it’s highly unlikely to see astronomical sums for university positions. Being a teacher is great though in that you’ll always get summer and winter vacation, some jobs offer full pay during this time, some half pay, and some zero, this is determined from a school-to-school basis and also something to think about with regard to the overall package. 



Where do you need to be? Many TEFL teachers only know or are more inclined to choose schools in famous metropolises, tier 1 cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou or Shenzhen. Other popular choices are Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou. And it’s easy to understand why these megacities would be first choice, they have better infrastructure, transport facilities and a more sizeable international community.  They provide an opportunity to be in the heart of modern China and to witness the vitality of its urban cities. However on the opposite end of the spectrum is to teach in schools at smaller cities, counties, in rural regions in the countryside – here you’ll be away from the noise, hustle and bustle of inner cities and will have the chance to experience more traditional aspects of Chinese culture and be closer to the beautiful nature that the middle kingdom has been blessed with. 



We’ve gone through three key factors that you should take into consideration when accepting a TEFL job in China: School type, salary, and location. Now it depends on you and the type of person you are. Are you a very outgoing person with a love of kids, lots of energy and don’t mind dragging the inner child out of yourself, then kindergarten is for you. Are you a more reserved and introverted person maybe more suited to university teaching? Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle. Or perhaps you’re looking to try something different? 


Whatever you decide, here at TeachDiscoverChina we’ll do our best to match you to the most suitable TEFL position for you. We have a 1-semester TEFL teaching internship or a 1-year TEFL jobs program. If you’re interested or have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]


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