Published: 13 September, 2016  |  Last updated: 10 September, 2018

Teaching English in Qijiang, China


Report submitted on 20 Feb, 2016 by Dr. Laurence J. MacDonald

Teaching English in Qijiang, China:

How can teachers find teaching jobs in Qijiang, China?
Its becoming increasingly more difficult with the new policies of the CCP. However, I have several contacts as well. If my school increases its enrollment, I too will be looking for a foreign teacher to teach English as a second language.

The main English teaching jobs available are:
Full time English language school positions, part time English language school positions, agencies (send teachers to different locations), teaching at state schools, teaching at private international schools, teaching at colleges / universities, teaching at companies.

What are the minimum teaching requirements?
I hold a PhD abd, but have never required it even when I taught at University. Many high schools and middle schools require a teaching degree and B.A. in education. However some, in very small villages will take any foreign language speaker with TEFL, and some with nothing.

What teaching requirements would you recommend?
I’m a traditionalist, and would hope that most individuals seeking to teach in foreign countries have at least a degree in education or professional courses in TEFL. They should also be from a native English speaking country, without a strong accent. i.e. Canada, US, UK, Australia, NZ, I have heard teachers before from countries such as South Africa, India and the Philippines, where they speak English, teach, however, their accent is so strong, the students pick it up and this could lead to problems in the future.

What are the levels of payment?
Usually, most enterprises in the business of teaching English pay on a monthly salary basis. Depending where you are, the pay can be anywhere from 4,000 rmb(630.00 US$) to 10,000rmb..(approx. 1500.00 US$). Some provide housing some don’t. Many Middle Schools and High schools offer meals. The only hourly rate here is for private teaching. I command 200 rmb(35.00 US$) per hour.

How many teaching days a week is normal?
5-6 days per week.

How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
4-5 hours per week.

What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
The days and hours I have stipulated depend on where you are teaching. e.g. pvt English schools demand more of your time as they pay much more. High schools and middle schools pay less and try to demand more. I have been here several years now, and still have never understood how they set the holidays here. In China, you only borrow the holiday but must pay it back by teaching weekends. The only solid holiday is Chinese New Year and Spring Festival. If you teach in the public school sector, you will have off the summer but without salary.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Qijiang, China to teach English?
Pick up some basic language skills, be tolerant of some of the culture, be ready to relinquish many of your freedoms, ie. Facebook, You Tube, impartial news broadcasting. Spitting, smoking in public places, very poor drivers, very few driving rules. Further, many Chinese teachers resent foreign teachers because they seem to get more perks and higher pay but teach less hours. Remember, in China its what is NOT said that is important.

What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Qijiang, China?
I love the people, but mostly the kids, I am a former professional basketball coach from Canada and do many clinics with young kids for free here in my city. China is a provocatively interesting country and presently, there are many changes taking place. I am over 70 and am present to witness these changes.

What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Qijiang, China?
I think if you read my previous answers, you will see the negatives of teaching here.

What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
The most obvious is not knowing the language. In my small school, I hire an English speaking Chinese teacher to translate my words. However, insure you hire a good one because many things you say may get messed up in translation. Its is always good to learn some of the language. I would be classified as an upper beginner. Other challenges are of course the parents. The one child policy has populated the country with spoiled kids with a sense of entitlement. As China gets richer, you will now have to deal with spoiled rich kids.


Living in Qijiang, China:

Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in China?
Absolutely, to teach here, you must have a valid Z visa which allows you to work. However, they want you to get it in your own country but you must have a valid contract in order to secure one. Best bet, secure a position, get them to send you a contract, take this to the Chinese Embassy in your country and apply for a visa. NB if you acquire a Z visa (working visa), it will be registered to the company that offered you the contract and can only be used for that company or school. You can also acquire a 30 day visitor visa which could give you time enough to scout out a job, if not most times it can be extended.

What is the cost of living like in China?
Much much cheaper here than in the west. I will only site what I pay for here. Qijiang is a city of approx 1 million. My wife and I go out to dinner with the approximate cost being around 50-60 rmb (9.00 US$) that is for local dishes, ie. hot pot, meat dishes and veggies etc. However, many foreign restaurants and hotels are much pricier. I can buy a quart bottle of beer in a store for 3rmb (less than 1.00 US$) and if eating out it ranges from 5-10 rmb (just a little over 1.00 US$). Bars can be costly, 20.00 rmb (2.50 US) for a small bottle of local beer, or 30.00 rmb (4.50 US$) for imported beer. Beware of the alcohol here, its called Bi Jo made from rice, tastes horrible, and ranges in alc. volume from 50% to 61%. Nasty stuff.

What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
The company or school you work for will usually aid you in finding accommodation. Here I own a home, but rent my school space. The rent is 1300 rmn (200 US$) per month. For that I get three bedrooms, two bathrooms, but in an older building. My house cost us 2000 rmb (308 US$) per M2. The houses here are not like in Canada and the States. All are high rises you rarely see individual housing on a piece of property except in the country and on farms.

Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Qijiang, China?
I dislike the winters here, they are cold dull and grey with the sun showing about 10% of the time. However, the summer is extremely hot daily in the mid to high 30’s. As I love to travel to places of interest, from here it is very easy. Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, are easy and cheap to get to. I don’t drive here as I am afraid to do so. but the cost of transportation is very cheap. Taxis begin at 3.00 transportation (0.40 US$) and buses are 1.00 rmb (0.15 US$).

What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
Mostly I miss the food. Here in Sichuan Province, the food is so spicy I can hardly eat it. Also I miss being able to add to a conversation because of my limited language skills, that is difficult. Also I must be careful what I say here but I miss the freedom of speech, being able to criticise government policy openly. But most of all I miss Christmas, here its abused hostile and noisy.

What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave China?
I will die here, my father was with the Flying Tigers who fought in China during the second world war (1943), he was killed in Chongqing in 1943. I came here initially to coach but also to find out what the attraction was for him. A Canadian Indian fighting against Japanese aggression……for what reason?

What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country?
Other than the obvious, food items which you can’t get here but cannot bring in. You will need electrical socket converters as the plugs here are quite different than in the west. If you are a large person like me, clothing to fit. The sizes here are different I wear XXL in China but L to XL in the west. Get a good VPN on your computer as you are not allowed Facebook or YouTube bring enough money to live on until you find a position. I would recommend enough for six months. This all in US money….Housing for six months 6X300 US$ + 1800 US$, FOOD, 6 x400 US$ (for this amount you will eat well, Figure on bringing about 5-6000 US$ unless you have a guaranteed job here.

Any other comments (about teaching or living in your country)?
Although, in some of my answers I have painted a somewhat negative view of teaching here, it is not that bad. Once you get used to the culture, learn some of the language, meet new Chinese friends, things are quite normal and satisfying. My suggestion is don’t take things too seriously, go with the flow, don’t try to change things and stay away from the forbidden T’s, Taiwan, Tibet and Tienanmen Square, you will be fine. In public do not question the government or its leaders.


About Me and My Work:

My Name: Dr. Laurence J. MacDonald

Nationality: Native Canadian

Students I’ve taught in China: Toddlers (2-4 years), pre-school / kindergarten (4-6 years), elementary (6-12 years), junior high school (12-15 years), high school (15-18 years), university, adults, business.

Where I teach: Interpersonal TS, Qijiang. Working here for 5 years.  I also teach private lessons and volunteer with tourism board to edit publications

H.I.G.H.E.R. International English Academy, Qijiang.  Working for 7 years.

How I found my current jobs: This is my company. As stated earlier, I began coaching here in the CBA, however, once I turned 65, I was no longer eligible to gain a Z visa as they don’t allow you to work past 65. My wife is the Head Mistress of our school, I am merely a consultant that does not get paid.

My school facilities: Inadequate. Because the facilities, classrooms, play areas ARE mostly inadequate. It is getting much better however, when I began teaching here in the high school system, it was like teaching in Tom Browns School Days. In the winter, there is no heat in the classrooms so you teach with all your winter clothing on such as a warm coat and gloves. In the early summer, no air and it is very HOT.

Teacher support at my school: Teacher evaluations, none.



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