- Public Schools: I’ve taught English in China for 5 years. For 2 of those years I worked in the public schools through a program called the Center for Teaching and Learning in China (CTLC), or the China Program. They got me over to China, and I’ll focus on what life and teaching English in China was like working for them.
- Training Centers: For 3 years I worked at English First (EF), which is the name that the multi-national education company Education First is known as in China. I’ve got a lot to say about them, and anyone thinking about teaching English in China should know what it’s like working at this well-known company.
- Tutoring: Off and on during those 5 years I worked at smaller training centers, usually over holiday breaks, in the evenings, or on the weekends. I also engaged in a lot of one-on-one tutoring, mainly done at the students’ homes.
These are the three main areas you’ll be engaged in when it comes to teaching English in China. Each is good in its own way, and each has its drawbacks. I’ll discuss them objectively, giving examples from my own experiences that will highlight what living and teaching English in China is really like.
Many of the posts that go up in the next few weeks will eventually be taken down. They’ll be expanded into fuller and more unified chapters and put into a book. The working title right now is English Last: How Money, Power, and Greed Destroyed English Education in China.
As you can see, I don’t have the highest opinion of what teaching English in China has become. For those employing teachers it’s often great; they’ll make a lot of money without having to do much work themselves. For teachers, this can mean poor working and living conditions, and students that are simply unable to learn because of the policies and aspects of teaching in one of the three areas mentioned above.
I hope that anyone already teaching English in China can find aspects they can identify with and perhaps learn from, and I also hope that anyone thinking of teaching English in China will know a little bit more of what to expect. Like most things, teaching English in China isn’t all it’s made out to be, but it isn’t as bad as some make it sound either.