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What position should I apply in China?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by feathers21, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    Hi, I am looking for some advice here for teaching posts in China ISs next year.
    I am originally from China, lived and studied in the UK for over 20 years. I've gained my PGCE in primary last year but have gone into teaching Mandarin instead. The programme my school is offering allows me to teach in both secondary and primary schools, so I am experienced with kids from key stage 1-4.
    In my NQT year, I have been helping out the SEN department regularly by providing support to students of EAL and SEN using my PPA time.
    I have been managing a supplementary language school on the weekend for several years and just been appointed to be the headteacher last month.
    China is my only choice at the moment as my mother has fallen sick with perhaps a few years to live (cancer). Since I am the only child, my instinct is to go back and spend as much time I can with her.
    However, I don't know what position I should apply to, what opportunities do I have with my experience?
    I suppose I can be a primary school teacher with bilingual skills ( I also speak Cantonese if that's any help). But my post-certification experience only lies with teaching Mandarin not primary. My bachelor is not in Chinese, so I am not in a good position competing with local Mandarin teachers.
    Any advice appreciated. Thanks
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Just find jobs in the city your mother lives in and apply, teaching vaccines are very open at the moment. I would look at nursery, kindergarten and Primary in the Expat schools and Chinese Bilingual schools where I think would fit in nicely.

    I will pm you some job agency details that specializing in China teaching jobs.
  3. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    vaccines or vacancies febster - a very Freudian slip!! :D
    infernus31 likes this.
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Sorry new mobile and I can't switch off the predictive text, words change before your eyes!
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I was very sorry to read your post, feathers21. I know that Chinese people take their responsibilities and duties towards their family very seriously. (Perhaps the UK would be a better place if we Brits followed your example.)

    I wish that I could help you. When Mr and Mrs Hippopotamus were in China, we experienced so much kindness and friendliness from many Chinese people.

    When I was teaching at an international school in Shenzhen, my TA told me that my school paid the TAs a salary that was about the same as a teacher's salary at most local schools. Maybe you might not want to become a TA, but this might be a sensible (and temporary) option for you to consider. The bad news is that you will not find TA posts advertised on the TES. No, you have to apply to each school separately. Send off your CV and hope that something turns up.
    Wannabsupawoman likes this.
  6. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    That's very kind of you. Thanks, I will keep an eye on primary jobs.
  7. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    Hi Hippo,
    Thanks for your kind words.
    Do you think I will struggle to find a primary job? I have British passport, hopefully some school will consider my advantage of being bilingual. My husband teaches maths, he is on his NQT year so we will look for posts together.
  8. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    My school in China had two payscales - one for local teachers, and one for international teachers. Anyone who had studied a PGCE overseas, regardless of passport, was entitled to the international salary. So, ignore the advice to apply for a TA role - you're a qualified teacher, so apply for primary school teacher roles, and get paid what you deserve.
  9. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely look for teachers roles first.
  10. Chinawox

    Chinawox New commenter

    There are more opportunities than ever before for Kindergarten and Primary teachers with the background you describe, and salaries are higher, especially in bilingual schools, as mentioned by feb31st (this would be for homeroom style positions). These can be up to 20,000 per month in the bilingual places, compared to 6,000 to 7,000 for TA positions, even in the leading International schools. Where in China will you be based? That will make a big difference as to what is available. The huge growth area seems to be the Greater Bay area (including Hainan).
  11. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I think Hippo's advice about taking a TA role was meant because they might be easier to find and be less competitive, and as a qualified teacher the OP would have a better chance of finding a job. That said, the TA roles are definitely paid less than teachers.

    However, with a Maths teacher husband, that does change things in your favour a bit. As others have said, don't go for the big international schools, but focus on the bilingual ones where your native Chinese will definitely help, especially in primary. They won't be too fussed about the fact that your training is in secondary, and also won't be too fussed about your husband's lack of experience (provided they can get a visa.) It might also work in your favour, as - assuming you get a job near to your family - the school then are getting someone with close links to the area therefore more likely to stay long term, which is a consideration for many.

    There are a growing number of bilingual schools - some badged with the logo from a UK private school. There are some jobs now on TES which might be available to you and which - assuming you are a Chinese passport holder - should mean they don't need to go through the visa process, although not sure how the houkou thing would work.
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, of course teachers are paid quite a bit more than TAs. As a trained and qualified teacher, the OP should be trying to get a job as a teacher. However, sometimes we have to cut our coat to fit our cloth. Due to other circumstances and family pressures, I am sure that many of us have had to take a less well paid job at some point in our careers.

    Yes, I am sure that blueskydreaming is right to say that some international schools in China will give you an "international" salary, if your teaching qualifications are from overseas. Alas, I wonder how many schools do this.

    I do hope that it works out for you, feathers21.
  13. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I would think that TA roles, as they apparently pay very well compared to local salaries, would be extremely competitive, so I don't believe it would be easier for her to find one. Alas, I wonder how many schools in China actually pay a decent salary to their TAs. It has never been my experience, in 6 years living in China, for the local staff to be paid very well at all. The OP has stated above that she has a British passport, so technically she's no longer a Chinese citizen, as China doesn't allow dual nationality, therefore she'd have to be offered an international salary. If she kept hold of that Chinese passport, she needs to put it away safe and not take it out while in China.

    I don't think China is especially competitive for teaching jobs. There are so many schools, depending on where the OP is from, and of course right now lots of them are desperate for teachers. As the CCP continues to behave in an aggressive way, and western governments begin to kick back, I'm sure many foreigners will reconsider their plans to go or stay there. The only problem she'll face is that some local parents won't want a Chinese face teaching in the medium of English, but at the end of the day they'll have no choice.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, blueskydreaming, I think that you have hit the nail on the head. Many Chinese parents will not be happy with anything less than a laowai teacher. They will say, "We are paying a lot of money, so we want a proper foreign teacher." It is very sad and it is wrong, but my guess is that the OP will come across this attitude.
  15. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    We are flexible about locations. My parents can access their medical care all over the country, we will then rent a place for them near our accommodation. I am from Beijing originally but there is no relative that we can depend on anymore. I would prefer to live down the south such as Zhejiang or Guangdong provinces. I noticed there are a few new schools sprouting in those areas, means more job opportunities. Thanks for your recommendation, Hainan would be a nice place to live for a few years.
  16. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    It seems that bilingual school would be a good fit for us though my husband would prefer to work in a 'proper' international school. I've done my PGCE in primary but not worked as a primary school teacher since graduation.
  17. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    At least one of the British branded schools in Zhejiang has an international and a bilingual school and a kindergarten all close by. I imagine any one of them would gladly have you due to your much more advanced communication skills.
  18. shazzamac

    shazzamac New commenter

    I think many international schools would consider you a good fit. Many now are not so international anymore, with a large number of, 'Chinese' students. It's been a big shift. My class went from maybe 20% Chinese speakers, 2 years ago, to 75% now.
    (I say 'Chinese' , since technically they can't be Chinese for an international school. Many have second passports. Or from Hong Kong or Taiwan, who are allowed.)
    feathers21 likes this.
  19. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I wouldn’t rule out the “proper” international schools. I worked in two different schools in different cities, both were international rather than bilingual and both employed overseas born Chinese teachers and Chinese teachers who had done a PGCE in the UK and were fully fluent in English.

    Yes, there were only a handful at any one time but these teachers were regarded as an asset as they possessed an insight into the country the likes of myself simply did not have.
  20. feathers21

    feathers21 New commenter

    That sounds promising. Thank you.

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