Mike Cairnduff from Hello Teacher!

Updated September 28, 2020
By Mike Cairnduff

Three English teachers at a bar in China.

You often hear about the experiences of people who are teaching English in China. But what about the recruiters who do the hard work getting the teachers over there?

To get an insight into the recruiter’s world, I interviewed Jane Qin, an experienced recruitment manager in Zhejiang province, China.

This is part 2 of the interview with Jane. You can read part 1 here.

What do you think is needed to become a successful teacher abroad?

The first thing is attitude.

Schools want teachers with the right attitude. With the right attitude, you can be a successful teacher anywhere.

Even though you may not have much teaching experience to start with, or you have other disadvantages, an open-minded and positive attitude will help you get a job.

It will also make you popular in the school, and open up the door to getting more experience and a higher salary.

The second thing is qualifications.

To teach at my school, you need a bachelor’s degree, a police record check, a health check and a clearly written CV.

Providing these documents upfront means we can apply for the teacher’s China Z visa.

How important is a teacher’s personality?

A bubbly personality is important because it impacts on the students.

When recruiting, we assess the teacher’s personality during a Skype interview.

A bubbly personality is important for teaching in China.

ESL teachers in China should have a bubbly personality, according to Jane Qin.

How should a prospective teacher prepare for a job interview?

You should make sure you have a good internet connection or phone connection to ensure we can see or hear you properly. If this doesn’t happen, the school won’t be able to make a quick decision regarding your employment.

The second thing is to focus on your professionalism.

If you’re applying for a position to teach kids, always remember to relax and smile in the interview. Kids don’t like angry or boring faces so a recruiter will choose those who smile and are active during the interview.

When applying for a university job, find out what they’re looking for and what they expect you to teach. That way, you’ll be better prepared for the interview.

Is having lots of teaching experience necessary for teaching English in China?

Having lots of experience isn’t necessary.

However, it can give you an advantage if you’re looking for a job with a relatively high salary and good promotion opportunities.

Why do Chinese students enjoy being taught by Westerners?

Westerners speak the best English!

It’s the same as Mandarin students in the West wanting to be taught by Chinese people.

How can a prospective teacher choose a good location to work in?

China is a very big country and it can be hard to know where the best places to teach are.

The southeast provinces close to the ocean are richer and more populous than the inland provinces. And the capital cities in the southeast provinces are usually better equipped and richer than elsewhere.

In the northern part of China, people are quite bold and direct. The climate there can get very cold.

I think people in the south are nicer and the weather is warmer, but it can be miserable without a heater in winter!

All over China, there are beautiful and ancient cities to teach in.

However, if you’re not teaching in one of these cities, you could find yourself in a place where there are only a few foreigners.

You can still have fun in rural areas – it depends on how you adapt!

What do Western teachers do for fun in their spare time?

They drinks at bars!

I actually find it strange that the teachers at my school don’t go hiking during their spare time. I guess they’re either too tired or too lazy!

ESL teachers in China often drink at bars, according to recruiter Jane Qin.

ESL teachers in China drink at bars in their spare time, according to Jane Qin.

Teachers here also love Taobao, an online shopping website, which has everything you can imagine.

There is an app for it too so it’s easy to spend your money.

Many male teachers love going to the gym, too.

What advice would you give someone considering teaching in China?

Find a school before you come to China for the sake of the right visa. It’ll save you money and trouble.

Try new things and complain less. You’ll enjoy it more this way.

Finally, stay in contact with your recruiter. They’re a wealth of knowledge and will be able to answer all your questions about teaching in China.

Do you agree with Jane that the key to being a successful teacher is having the right attitude? Please comment below.


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