Then perhaps you should start thinking about ESL jobs that are offered around the world. It’s pretty easy to find a job teaching English as a Second Language these days, and you don’t even need to be very good at English to do it! I know many people whose first language isn’t English, but they get by just fine at their current ESL jobs.
- Nationality: It really matters what country you come from when you want to find ESL jobs in China. The hot nationalities right now are American, British, Canadian, and Australian. I’ve known several other people from countries like South Africa, Israel, Ghana, and other locations that many in China have never heard of, or don’t think speak English. They usually do fine, but I think if you come from one of the Big 4 countries for ESL jobs, you’ll be making more money than if you didn’t.
- Race: Probably the most important thing is being white. I know it sounds bad, and a bit racist, but that’s what I’ve noticed in my five years working and teaching in China. But don’t worry too much; if you’re black, you can get a job, even if you’re from Africa, which a lot of people teaching in China are. I think the worst to be, from the standpoint of getting ESL jobs, is being ABC. What’s ABC? Well it stands for ‘American-Born Chinese,” and a lot of Chinese parents don’t want to pay big bucks to have their student taught by someone who looks like them. Well, hold on, I guess in China the worst would be being a Japanese ESL teacher. Chinese people really hate Japanese people, especially right now in 2013 with the Diaoyu Islands being such a cause of contention between the two countries.
- Experience: Having experience that you can point to will always help you get a job, especially in the competitive ESL jobs market. However, it’s hard to get experience working in China, at least more than one year at a time. It’s very difficult to jump employers here, mainly because your visa and residence permit is tied to your current employer. After all, the only reason you’re in the country, for the majority of people, is because your employer did all the paperwork to get you over here. Still, it can be done, and you can get lots of experience quickly that way. Many other employers will be willing to help you with visas and paperwork if you show that that you are talented, reliable, and fun. And you can always do extra tutoring work under the table and in your free time. Lots of people also moonlight at training centers in addition to their public school or kindergarten day jobs.