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Teaching in Beijing

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by leewooding, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. leewooding

    leewooding New commenter

    Hi, I am looking for advice and experience just to ease my worries.
    I love my job but I want something different, I'm not getting any younger, I've finished a long term relationship and really want to use this opportunity to do what I want without any guilt. I am looking at relocating to Beijing and would love to hear what people's experiences and thoughts are.
    I would also like to know from any full time teachers who have taught in the UK.... Are the working hours with regards planning and marking any better?!
    Are the lessons set and ready to teach or are you required to plan them?
    Are there any schools people recommend looking out to apply for or any that you recommend avoiding?
    Many thanks in advance.
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    When I was teaching in Shenzhen, a female colleague landed a new job in Beijing. I asked her, in my usual gentle and tactful manner, "Are you crazy? What about the ghastly levels of pollution in Beijing?"

    And her reply? "Well, yes, but they are going to pay me nearly three times what I am getting here."

    Anyway, let's try to answer some of leewooding's questions. My guess (and it is just a guess) is that some schools in Beijing are very "British", with lots of staff from the UK and a curriculum that copies just about everything from the UK. In schools of this kind, yes, things will be pretty similar to what you would find in a good school in the UK. On the other hand, there will be loads of schools that are more American, international or Chinese, with many that are a weird mixture or a hybrid.

    I am NOT an expert on Beijing, as I have never even been there. As regular readers of the pachyderm's online ramblings will know well, Mr. and Mrs. Hippopotamus were in Shenzhen for five years. (SZ is just round the corner from Hong Kong.) However, I have sent you one of those TES Conversation things, leewooding, and perhaps I could be of some help.
  3. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    There was a useful and informative thread on Beijing not too long ago:


    We have lived/taught in Beijing but our experience is getting pretty dated.

    As for your questions about working hours, lessons, etc., it will vary widely from school to school. The schools generally considered the "best" schools in Beijing are IB but there are several large and successful British schools as well.
  4. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    From what I hear from friends and colleagues in Beijing the pollution levels are way down these days. The 'bad old' days of dust storms and yellow air seem to have been addressed by the govt. and blue skies and sunshine are much more common.

    My personal problem would be the general climate - freezing cold in winter, hot and sticky in the summer - but that's just me
  5. Teachallover

    Teachallover Occasional commenter

    Please feel free to PM, particularly with schools to avoid. This is my fourth year in Beijing. makhnovite is absolutely right, my friends who’ve lived here more years than they care to remember say, compared to years ago before the days of AQI readings, the terrible days of pollution are long gone. Certainly, we still have bad days and if you get 3 consecutive days it can feel like unbearable cabin fever in a school. Also, I absolutely agree, some winters are colder than others but they are all LONG (usually on the whole snow free as it’s incredibly dry here and that ruins your hair and skin), whilst it rapidly jumps into Summer with scorching heat. Some schools expect more than others with regards to planning and all schools have different expectations. Many have an unwritten rule of staying all hours into the evening and weekends whilst other schools lock the gates... One big factor about Beijing: I would ask yourself, as there are so many schools out of the city in an expat bubble, do you mind having the commute to the centre or do you want to live in the downtown area...? Check the housing allowances as these vary significantly between schools. Some have compulsory living on-site accommodation. The rental market is sky high in Beijing and your rent fees depend enormously on which area you choose to live.
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I'm in Beijing - feel free to PM if you want.

    Essentially, pollution is better than it was a few years ago I'm told - the AQI is now rarely over 250 which is still high but better than 500+!

    With regards to your points about workload, this will depend very much on the school and even the subject / year level. In my case, everything was pretty much ready and I could just walk in, but in others it was completely different. Most of the primary / lower schools seem to have adopted at least some of the bad practices of excessive planning from the UK, at least in the British schools, though nothing like at home. Can't talk specifically about schools on here, though, but if you PM I can give you my thoughts.
  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I have sent you a PM.
  8. sidekick125

    sidekick125 New commenter

    This is my third year in Beijing and I absolutely adore it, I have just signed a new contract to stay for another two years.

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