As many foreigners take up employment as a teacher in China, the question many ask is teaching English in China still worth it? If so, how can you make the most out of your experience?
Teaching English in China can be a challenge for many foreigners coming to China for the first time. Sometimes it's not as amazing as expected, but how do you know if it's for you? Moreover, how do you know if it's worthwhile?
If you've never worked abroad or been to a country as far away as China, you'll almost definitely get back more in experience than any monetary gain you may receive. This experience, is always good; Some teachers get far more out of teaching in China than they would care to express to their peers, and if you're already looking into teaching English abroad your already half-way there - If you decide to teach English in China you'll never look back on it and treasure the experience for the rest of your life.
First and foremost you can throw most of the way you've been taught back at home out of the window, it's time to experience something new, and you're going to love it.
You don't need experience even to enjoy teaching English to Children or Adults for the first time. We do recommend you have good communication skills and are naturally chatty and easy to get along with to fully excel in teaching. But, don't let that stop you, if you're looking at this page you're already the out-going adventurous type and with a bit of training from some of our fantastic schools in China almost any one can totally succeed at teaching.
A BA Degree is highly recommended If not essential to succeed in China without teaching experience. Yes, there's plenty of work for those without a BA degree, but it is Standard across the country, A Working Visa can only be issued if you hold a BA Degree. Even if your buddies have 'somehow' got working visas without a BA degree, we really do not recommend going into teaching English in China with the mentality you will be given a working visa and everything will be rosy when you arrive if you do not hold a BA Degree.
Teaching English in China without a BA Degree should be looked at under a different light. Even without a BA Degree you can still thoroughly enjoy your experience and have a wonderful time, but you do need to be far more grounded, common sensual and realistic about your approach to working in China if you fall in this category. Do not expect a Working Visa to be provided without a BA Degree, Prepare yourself fully with your own Business/Tourist visa (1 year is highly recommend) in your home country and ensure your teaching is, or can quickly get up to a decent standard (or you are exceptionally handsome!) because without the correct paper-work schools can quickly drop your contract if you do not perform to their standard, and this can get messy.
On the flip-side, if you get a working visa, things can be much easier as the schools are generally very capable of training any type of personality to teach English to a decent enough standard to work as a teacher in China. With a working visa you have peace of mind, schools follow contracts exceptionally well in this case, and you'll have plenty of support to get you through your contract.
Choosing a location is a consideration but not essential. Generally speaking, most cities in China are very similar; If you like the sea, a city like Guangzhou, Zhuhai or Shenzhen is recommended. If you're not into the busy side of culture, you'll be far more suited to a small city like Foshan, Zhaoqing, Xiamen. Beijing and Shanghai are quite tough places to work in terms of teaching requirements and competition, if you've never taught abroad before or been to China before; we recommend visiting Beijing or Shanghai before choosing to work there. Before you choose a location we recommend checking the population out on Wikipedia, any cities around the 1-2 million people mark is going to be very Chinese, few foreigners, extremely cheap and an amazing experience. Cities, hitting the 3-5 million people population mark (And located near the sea) are going to be far more international, coffee shops, foreign supermarkets, bars etc.
Cities exceeding 5 million will be just a few notches below a super-international city like Hong Kong in terms of international acceptance, foreign restaurants, bars, services etc. In a city of 5 million people+ you'll quickly get into the swing of things and find many foreigners enjoying the Sino-Foreign lifestyle on offer but you'll find your salary is quickly spent as living costs are significantly higher in the larger cities in China.