Teaching English is a sage choice for westerners or fluent English speakers interested in living in Shanghai. For many it is simply a stepping stone to other opportunities and for some it can lead to a rewarding life-long career in teaching. Many people come to Shanghai to teach English to avoid unemployment in their native country or for the decent wages. Luckily, to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in China you don’t need to have any knowledge of Mandarin.
There are many options for teaching English in Shanghai ranging from boarding schools, private language institutions, universities, kindergartens and private tutoring. For people who don’t want to commit to a contract or are not interested in Teaching English full-time, private tutoring is the best option. However, teaching for a company or a school is suggested for people who would like to receive medical benefits, a visa, decent wages and possibly a stipend for housing.
The requirements for teaching abroad vary greatly from country to country, but to teach ESL in Shanghai the expectations are generally consistent. According to Reach to Teach, a teaching placement agency, and the United States Embassy, one must be at least 24 years old to attain a position as a teacher in schools or private companies in Shanghai. One must also have one year’s worth of teaching experience, a Bachelor’s degree and a 100+hour TEFL certificate. Although it seems that these requirements are generally followed throughout China, some schools or private companies may be more lenient about adhering to the guidelines.
If you are under 24 years old, or you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, don’t fret! There’s no need to create fraudulent birth documents or spend thousands of dollars finishing up that college degree. Many people turn to private tutoring as there are a plethora of teaching opportunities throughout the city. As a freelancer a person often enjoys the liberty of planning one’s own schedule and dictating one’s pay. Posting an ad on Craigslist, China Daily and EChinaCities can be an effective way of finding students. Creating flyers or simply passing the word can also ensure jobs throughout the city. Let your Chinese friends know that you are available to teach English to their friends or friends’ children. The opportunities presented to you will be plentiful.
For those who meet the requirements suggested by their embassy and most schools in the area, Reach to Teach and Dave’s ESL Café provides information and posts jobs available throughout Shanghai. Oxford Seminars also offers placement assistance to TEFL students who have completed their course.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing a life-long career in teaching or you are trying to save money, teaching English in Shanghai can be a great introduction to this wondrous city. If you are a fluent English speaker and you have a sense of adventure, teaching ESL could open up a world of possibilities for you in Shanghai.