As a classroom teacher for over 20 years, it was my privilege to spend the first 8 years teaching overseas. I make it a point to recommend to anyone going into education to spend the first few years teaching in another country if possible. It gives valuable insight into the culture and customs of people and literally broadens your horizons. Having visited three times, I can honestly say China would be on the top of my list. The Chinese culture is one of the oldest in the world and yet they are rushing headlong into the modern age. In the global economy, the two most powerful countries interact with each other continuously. Just as we want to learn from them, they want to learn from us. The friendships and experiences will last a lifetime. So if you ever have an opportunity to teach in China, I strongly urge you to take it.
Half a billion people speak English as a second language, which indicates the remarkable success of English as the lingua franca of business, travel, and international relations. When English and Chinese people tie the knot in all areas of cooperation, we see China, the largest population in the world, provides plenty of growing opportunities for English teaching on this land.
As a Chinese-native speaker and a TESOL teacher, I personally experienced the journey of English learning; as well as the excitement of teaching others whose first language is not English. I assure you this process is fun and meaningful, because you are not just applying your skills but also making friends, exploring the world and strengthening your visions. It is a win-win situation for you and your students and a wonderful life event if you are given the opportunity.
I view the English language and English teaching as synonymous with opportunity. I personally see the need of learning this language in China, and the need of welcoming quality English teachers in this country.
Four Benefits of Teaching English in China
My family and I have been living and working in China for over ten years now. There are several benefits of teaching English half-way around the world.
The first benefit would be experiencing another country where the people are really friendly! China is a relatively safe place to be, and we can honestly say Chinese people are some of the most generous and amiable people you’ll meet! The teacher-student relationship is a very special one in this country, too.
A second benefit is the ESL experience you can gain. The things you learn here will be valuable in the ESL market around the world.
A third ‘pro’ to being in China as a teacher is the enhanced world-view you’ll gain. You will be able to touch, taste, and hear the real China with its unique culture, food, and language.
And meantime, the fourth benefit is that rewards for your labor here are not only intangible, but there is monetary reward awaiting those who are willing and capable of passing on their mastery of the English language. Many hungry learners are waiting . . . for you!
—Yusef A. (Shandong Province)
Working in healthcare for six years, I was apprehensive at first about switching careers to teach English in China. Now, I wouldn't change it for the world. Every day in the classroom and outside of the classroom with my students, I am learning something new. Though every teaching position is invaluable and an honorable profession, there is a special status offered to English teachers in China. The relationships I've built and experienced as a result of teaching at my university are worth their weight in gold and are rewarding of themselves. The Chinese university that has become "home" for our family has gone above and beyond to make us feel welcome, find our place here, and to help make my teaching as effective as possible. To quote the cliché pop song, "there's no place I'd rather be" right now, and we expect the students, coworkers, and faculty-staff here to make us want to remain teaching here in the long-run.
As I'm sure is true for you, life seems to always be just one decision away from being the scariest adventure you've taken. For me, I was satisfied with my career in healthcare and ready to advance in full-time Nursing. Unexpectedly, my then boss gave me the best career advice I've followed. She said, "Tim, you can become a nurse any time when the kids are grown up. Go to China now while you have the chance; you won't regret it."
She was right.