The capital city of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is known for its structural rigidity, both physical and political. However, there is a Beijing beyond the monuments of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, and it is full of adventure and opportunity for both locals and foreigners! English teachers have remained in constant demand in Beijing schools, and those will TEFL course training will stand out. Enjoy your time in this industrial, though thrilling city, as you meet people from all walks of life and help individuals in their language and long-term goals!
Depending on your level of experience, and general preferences of travel and accommodations, there are a number of TEFL courses to choose from in Beijing. Aside from logistics, such as course dates and fees, consider which course will best suit your post-course needs and aspirations as an international educator.
TEFL + Teach:
Several TEFL course providers now offer the popular combination program, which allows teachers to take their standard 4-week course and then receive job placement in Beijing (or surrounding cities). This is a great program option for beginner teachers, with little to no experience in the classroom or traveling abroad, as program staff offer great guidance and support throughout the whole process. Once you’ve completed the TEFL course, staff members will act as recruiters essentially, and contact local schools about open positions.
Aside from teaching English as a full-time teacher, there are options to teach as an au pair, in a homestay, or teach part-time at a language school. Additionally, some programs will hold their TEFL courses in other locations (often in Asia) and then provide placements in China. This is an excellent way to see another part of the region, and receive your TEFL degree while doing so.
4 Week TEFL Courses:
In Beijing, teacher trainees can enroll in the standard 4-week TEFL course before going on to job interviews and placements around the vast country of China. In addition to covering the basics of teaching, the course will go over grammar, pronunciation, classroom management and a plethora of related topics. In addition, students will have the opportunity to witness a live session of teaching. With all of this, trainees will also arrange a collection of teaching materials that will be useful in the ESL classroom (including music, games, worksheets, etc.).
When and Where to Look:
While TEFL courses in Beijing are offered year-round, there is a surge in the summer months. Many schools will begin hiring in August, as school starts in September. Thus, it is advisable to take your TEFL course in the early summer weeks, in June or July. This allows some time to settle in your new city and begin interviews or other necessary steps to secure your next teaching job!
The only strict requirements, to take your TEFL course in Beijing, are that you are over the age of 18, a native English speaker and a citizen of an English-speaking country (i.e. USA, England, Australia, etc.). While a bachelor’s degree is not required, it does help to receive higher-paying jobs later on. However, there is a strong market for teachers without college degrees in China.
Once you’ve completed your TEFL course, it is time to decide what type of teaching job you’d like to have. In Beijing alone, there are plenty of options for the expat, English teacher. If you enjoy teaching youngsters, there is the option to teach at a public or private school. Generally, teachers at local schools will instruct a total of 25 hours per week. In addition, many of these schools will provide accommodation for their foreign teachers. Note that if your TEFL provider offers job placement, you will most likely work in a local school - be prepared to teach eager, younger students!
For those who do not wish to teach young students or go the standard school route, you can either volunteer teach or work freelance. In Beijing and many other cities in China, volunteers are needed to help improve the standard of English education. In many parts of the country, English education is minimal and there is a strong demand for native speakers - volunteers play critical roles in the students’ language education and later on, their confidence and chances to enroll in a top high school or university. With this, many teachers will offer freelance, private lessons. Many students, both young and old, look for extra assistance to improve their spoken and written skills, and turn to private tutors for help. This is less stable than a typical teaching job, but the pay is hourly and set to your own price.
Cost of Living:
In Beijing, the cost of living is low in comparison to major cities in the U.S. or Western Europe. While not as costly as Shanghai, Beijing has its pockets of high-priced real estate and restaurants. Though, your teacher’s salary should be more than enough to live comfortably and you will find that food and transportation can be quite affordable. Avoid eating at foreign-owned, international restaurant chains and opt for a small family-owned joint instead! On average, $500 USD (or about 6000 RMB) should be enough for your monthly purchases.
As for housing, many schools will provide accommodations for their teachers. However, if your school is one of the few that does not, your rent in Beijing will greatly vary depending on the location. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost about $850 USD per month. For an identical apartment outside of the city center, you will spend around $500 USD per month. ()