5 Reasons to Teach in China

My husband and I have been teaching English in China for 3 years now, and it’s been a mind blowing experience. We were supposed to come here for only a year, but the year turned into three and we will be starting our 4th year in August.  A lot has changed since we came here. Our beautiful city of Hangzhou is growing rapidly and it’s becoming more and more international by day. There is Starbucks around every corner. Nowadays I can buy almost anything online and get it delivered to my door. We can afford to live quite nicely while we save money.


Reasons to teach in china

1. Good Salaries

Salaries for teachers in China vary hugely depending on the city you work in and what kind of school you work for. Teachers at private and bilingual schools in Hangzhou and Shanghai generally make around 15-30k RMB/ month ($2,200-$4,400). Teachers at training centres generally earn 8k-22k RMB per month. Principals and coordinators usually earn a lot more. On top of that teachers usually get their rent paid for or they get a living allowance. In China it is customary to give bonuses for Christmas/Chinese New Year or sometimes just for work well done.

A lot of the teacher’s tutor kids privately on their free time at their houses or at the student’s house. You can make anything from $40-140 (300-100RMB) / hour (maybe even more) tutoring one or a few kids at a time. During my maternity leave I taught 2 sets of 2 kids on a Saturday making $180 for 2 hours of work.

2. Cheap cost of Living

The salary may not seem like a lot, but even $2,2 k in China goes a long way. The average wages here for the local people are around 4-8k / month. With $15 you can get a week’s worth of vegetables at a local fresh market. $20 feeds four people at a restaurant including beers. Even western restaurants aren’t all that pricey. There are promotions at many western restaurants throughout the week. Our favorite burger spots sells 2 burgers for a price of one and they have happy hour from 4-8 every night. The cost for a meal for two with drinks is about $20.

Rents vary a lot depending on the area and the size of an apartment. I have friends who pay about $300 for a pretty nice two bedroom apartment at an older compound. We pay about $650 for 2 bedrooms in a brand new compound right by The Grand Canal. Our compound has a beautiful garden, indoor swimming pool and a gym.

Taxi rides are cheap and uber even cheaper. 6 mile uber ride would cost you about $4. Not bad if you ask me. Subway fare is less 40 cents to a dollar depending of the city and the distance.

We can afford to dine out most days of the week, travel 2-5 times a year and we are still saving money. One year we paid for a wedding, traveled to Macau, Los Angeles, Korea and Finland on one person’s salary (I was on maternity leave) and we were still able to save.

3. There are plenty of jobs out there

For native English speakers with a teaching license there are plenty of good paying jobs available in larger cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. There are jobs around the neighboring cities too.

For native English speakers with a Bachelor’s degree in ANYTHING and a TEFL certificate, there is a jobs galore in English Training Centers like EF or similar. Some Kindergartens are also happy to hire teachers without a license but they often prefer those with a degree in psychology or child development or something of that kind.

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4. You get paid to travel

Your everyday life in a new country will be an adventure. Once you have explored and got familiarized with your own neighborhood you might want to explore more of China or Asia can be found throughout the year. If you plan in advance and take advantage of the budget airlines you can book your flights super cheap.

The speed train network in China is extensive and the prices are cheap.  A 50min train ride from Hangzhou to Shanghai costs about $11. Whenever we feel like some action we make a weekend trip to Shanghai and enjoy the huge expat scene.


5. Holidays

If you get hired by an international school, usually you get, a week in October, a week or so for Christmas and New Year, 2 weeks to a month for Chinese New Year, and a few days for different festivals in the Spring Semester. Not to forget the normal 2 month summer break.

At Training Centers teachers get a little less paid holidays. They get at least 11 days per year, but most of the employers are happy to give you a few weeks off (unpaid) here or there if you want to travel around Asia or visit your family back home. Most employers even give you a yearly flight allowance for trips back home.






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17 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Teach in China”

  1. I have been playing with the idea of virtually teaching English to children in China. Going there for a year sounds so amazing!

    1. That is great! I actually taught online classes for a little bit too. It’s very easy and the pay is good. They provide the lesson plans and training and all. It’s a great side hustle.

  2. Wow, this is a great resource so those wanting to teach abroad. Sounds like you are really enjoying your teaching job in China. Great that you can travel and explore the world while doing what you love! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Be a lot of fun! Great for new grads, adventure seekers, new teachers struggling to find jobs here.

    1. I do. To be honest I was a little worried about raising a child in China, but it has actually been quite awesome. She gets to go to a great bilingual nursery and she is learning 3 languages now.

    1. I would recommend this to anyone who is fresh out of college. What a great way to pay off that debt.

  4. What a great experience. My husbands aunt taught English when her husband was stationed in Japan and she loved it just like it sounds you are loving it. It sounds like the possibilities are endless if you feel up to the challenge. It definitely sounds like your family is coming out ahead and experiencing some great adventures. Congrats!

  5. I can really relate to this article ad I was going to do this in Thailand! It’s awesome that you would still get a wage where you could live comfortably on.

  6. This was a very interesting post! I am a high school teacher here in the United States, and I have heard so many good things about teaching English in places like China and Japan. This would be a wonderful opportunity!

    1. I highly recommend it, if even just for a year. There is a huge demand for skilled professionals 🙂

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