What are the teaching options?
There are several programs. (1) The one-year program that involves working as an ESL teacher at a Chinese University for one academic year. (Usually September to July…but starting in March is also possible.) (2) The one month summer program (mid-July to mid-August) that involves teaching nursing and medical students at a summer English camp on the campus of Jilin Medical College in Northeast China. (3) Short term volunteer tutoring that can be arranged at different times during the year. Short term volunteering should be for at least one month.
What are the basic requirements for ESL teachers in China?
ESL teachers must have a Bachelor’s Degree, be over 21 years of age and not over 60 years of age. If you have TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate and/or any teaching experience, it helps the acceptance process in China. Please consult with us if you would like to obtain a Certificate program. The Maryknoll China Teachers Program only accepts applicants who are part of the US Catholic Church.
What type of accommodation is provided at the university?
The Chinese institution is responsible for housing. This can be in an apartment, a furnished dormitory or small, single rooms. Single rooms are usually rudimentarily furnished, heated and air-conditioned (depending on location) with a private bathroom. They are usually in a foreign housing complex on the campus. Simple cooking facilities are generally available (there may be a microwave but not an oven); the institutions’ dining halls are open to all faculty.
How do I get paid? How often? Can I get an advance when I arrive?
Your salary is determined by the host institution, based upon your academic background, work experience, and other factors. Salary is paid monthly, and the host institution will give you an advance when you arrive. Foreign teachers generally receive a salary of 6000-8000 Chinese Yuan per month. The exchange rate in China fluctuates. Currently 1 USD = approx. 6 Yuan. You should estimate a salary that is the equivalent of US$928 – 1,237 per month. Your salary is adequate for buying food and other necessities in China. Extensive travel requires additional funds that you must bring with you into China. Your housing and basic medical care are provided by the host institution.
What subjects will I teach?
You probably will teach any combination of English speaking, listening, writing, reading, film and contemporary United States culture. If you are qualified, you may teach literature, business or communication. Foreign teachers may be asked to advise students on their theses and dissertations. English grammar classes are not usually taught by foreign teachers. Each teacher is responsible for the classes assigned to him/her.
What is the level of English of the students?
The level of English varies with each student. Most have basic reading and writing skills but need remedial work with speaking/conversational English. Chinese students usually begin studying the English language in junior high school. They will have several years of English knowledge by the time they reach the university level.
Are teaching materials provided or should I bring my own?
Although textbooks are usually provided, you will want supplementary materials as well. Some stories, pictures, maps, snapshots of your family and American life and games are useful. You can find many teaching apps. on the Internet. Teaching conditions in China are quite basic and require a great deal of flexibility on the part of the teacher.
How many hours of teaching are required per week?
You will be asked to teach up to 16 hours with students, exclusive of preparation, grading, office hours or other activities that may be required by your host institution.
Are classrooms in China different from those in the US?
Yes. In most cases, classrooms in China are rudimentary in their facilities. Having said that, all schools have at least one classroom with a projection screen for use by all the teachers, but you will need to reserve this room in advance. Most likely you will have a blackboard or whiteboard (w/markers).
How large is the class size?
The class size varies between 30 and 50 students, sometimes more.
Do I have any other duties than teaching?
Foreign teachers are often asked to participate regularly in the English Corner, an extra-curricular group of motivated members of the college at large who wish to improve their language. The atmosphere is slightly less formal. It is possible that you may be asked to substitute for another foreign teacher. There are also occasionally opportunities to judge English speaking/talent competitions held on campus.
Can I teach for longer than a year?
Yes, you can. Although the initial commitment is for two semesters, you may negotiate with your host institution to extend the contract. However, please notify us in advance before you begin negotiations.
Who am I responsible to at the College/University in China?
The waiban (Directors of the Foreign Affairs Office) is the person with whom you interact. As a foreign teacher, you come primarily under the Foreign Affairs Department. They in turn work with the English Department and other departments to sort out details of accommodation, teaching hours and duties. If you encounter any problems on campus, the waiban is the person you need to speak with regarding any problems.
Is there time for travel in China?
There is usually a Spring Break in January/ February coinciding with the Lunar New Year. This lasts approximately 4 weeks and is a paid vacation. In addition, the Chinese National Holidays are October 1 (National Day), May 1 (International Labor Day) and January 1 (International New Year). Chinese institutions often plan for you to have a day off for Christmas.
What transportation needs will I have?
Usually your accommodations will be within walking distance from your classes. However, most foreign teachers choose to purchase a bicycle while they are in China, these usually cost between USD ($10-50). In addition, there are plenty of buses and taxis. Bus fare is around 1-2 yuan (US$0-US$0) and typical taxi fare cost is about 6-8 yuan(US$1-US$1).
Can I bring and use a laptop computer, as well as, use Internet and email?
You can, of course, bring your own personal portable computer but repair and maintenance can sometimes be a challenge. There are some restrictions on the use of the internet, but connecting to a local server and sending and receiving email is possible.
How many other foreign teachers does the university employ?
This depends on the institution. Some colleges have two foreigners; others have five or six. This is dependent on the number of students who are English majors.
Are there any restrictions placed on the teachers regarding topics for discussion with the students?
It is not so much the topic of discussion that matters, but rather the sensitive handling of comments and views. A good deal depends on how well you know the individuals concerned and considering how they would react to a difference of opinion and view.
Is there any restriction on practicing one’s religion in China?
Personally, no. In fact, religious affiliations of foreigners are protected.
During my stint in China, what happens to the student loan that I have taken?
Maryknoll China Teachers Program will write a letter to the loan company to defer your loan payment. Simply give us the name and address of the loan company and the name of the official to whom this letter should be addressed. Note: Most volunteers have this letter sent out once they have started teaching in China – either in the middle of the academic year or toward the end.
Red is the Chinese national color and represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune.
Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers
Unit 3004, 30th Fl. Saxon Tower
7 Cheung Shun Street
Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
Hong Kong (S.A.R.)
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The Chinese or Lunar New Year celebration began February 5th. In the Chinese Zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Pig.