If you are keen to find out more about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) online, or if you are already a TEFL teacher looking to shift to an online environment, you might be thinking about what your next steps might be.
For decades, China has been one of the most popular choices among TEFL teachers due to its economic importance worldwide. More recently, teaching English to Chinese children has become one of the most lucrative industries, with almost 100,000 US American and Canadian teachers and around 600,000 young learners for one online school alone in 2019. The reason for this popularity was a combination of advanced technology that allows remote learning and online teaching, an educational system that focuses on children’s academic success, and strategies like encouraging students to use learning resources more efficiently.
Teaching children online
In 2021, the country’s government passed a legislation that prevented international TEFL professionals from teaching online from outside China. Despite this, and with a population of
over 10.6 million children, the English language teaching industry continues to grow, and China remains a popular TEFL destination.
Whether it be in-person or online, teaching children is not for the faint-hearted. It requires heaps of energy, lots of patience, and the ability to be flexible. Wherever you are in the world, children will occasionally misbehave and can get distracted during the lessons, but their are usually great fun to be around.
If you think that online teaching children in China is for you, this guide has everything you need to know about teach English in China and have fun in the process. There are some fundamental points that you should double and triple check before jumping into this great adventure:
● Accommodation. Whether you choose to stay in one location or travel across the country, choosing a suitable accommodation for your online lesson is crucial. Your teaching space should be quiet and free from distractions and well-lit. Although natural light is preferred, some lamps can also work just fine. Your internet connection should be fast and reliable: that’s what your students count on!
● Technical equipment. While expensive equipment is not necessary, you need to choose your laptop very carefully, depending on your needs. Get a pen drive to store go-to materials and lessons when everything else fails, and invest in a good quality headset, to avoid background noise and distractions.
● Online school. If you decide to teach online, you will be delivering your lessons through a platform provided by the online school. Choosing the school you will be working for is extremely important, as their requirements should meet your needs. Is their hourly pay sufficient to maintain your lifestyle? Do they give teacher’s support? Are lessons ready to use and teaching materials available? Is there a minimum teaching hours that you are required to guarantee? Reflect on these questions and answer honestly – it will help you select the best online school for you.
Living in China
Stretching for over 5,000 km east to west and north to south, China has something for everyone. You can enjoy the Himalayan snowy peaks, golden sandy beaches, vast deserts, dense forests, and never ending rivers – all this in one country. If urban life is your thing, there are 102 Chinese cities with a population of over 1 million people: you will be spoilt for choice!
China is a vast country that offers a wide range of opportunities, both on a personal and professional level. There is an incredible variety of landscape to suit any taste and plenty of choice for online TEFL professionals. Nevertheless, moving abroad is a life-changing experience: do your research before booking that flight to ensure that your adventure runs as smoothly as possible.
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