Public & International Schools
As a school teacher, expect to find that some schools may only need you to teach courses covering the English language, while others may require that you teach a wide range of subjects such as Math and Science, in English.
In a population of 1.3 billion, you'll most likely teach large classes of between 20-50 students at any school, whether public or private. International schools, though, tend to be very expensive in China, so you might find that the students are better behaved.
What's more, if you're taking teaching seriously as a career, working at a school is probably best. The workload will definitely be much harder than at a training center, but the pay is generally higher too, in addition to receiving other benefits such as insurance and paid summer and winter holidays.
Lastly, schools in China usually require a much more rigorous interview process for English teachers than at training centers. You may need to do an initial interview just to get in the door, then a class demonstration, and another interview with the principal or upper administration. But hey, every school is different.
Work Monday to Friday
Paid Summer & Winter Holiday
Large Staff at School & Chances to Meet More People
More Preparation Time
Large Class Sizes
Class sizes vary depending on a number of factors—anywhere from 12-30 students—and usually you will have around two local liaisons assisting you in the class.
You'll definitely need to put in more time for class preparation, and again, you may end up teaching a variety of subjects such as Math, Science, and P.E., in English. You'll also need to implement a lot of arts and crafts activities into the class, and you may need to teach songs and dance.
A kindergarten schedule is usually as follows:
9am-12pm: Teach classes. Each hour is a different subject.
12pm-1pm: Lunch Break
1pm-2pm: Prep time in the office.
2pm-4pm: Playtime & teach class.
4pm-5:30pm: Prep & go home.
Mon to Friday schedule.
Assistants in the class.
More preparation time.
ESL instructors at training centers in China usually make a decent salary and have 20-25 teaching hours per week, with classes ranging from 40 minutes to 3 hours. Furthermore, class sizes can range from anywhere between 6-20 students.
For content, training centers typically focus on building student's phonic, vocabulary, grammar, and oral and written conversational skills. You may need to play games, use props, teach chants and songs, and use interactive software in the class.
One of the biggest factors of whether or not teachers choose to work at English training centers in China is the scheduling. Training centers often require teachers to work Wednesday to Sunday, or possibly Tuesday to Saturday. On the weekdays, for instance, you'd need to work from the afternoon to evening, and on the weekend, from morning to evening. This can be problematic if you want to enjoy evening activities and like to go out on Friday and Saturday nights.
Another major factor to consider about working at an English training center in China is constantly being put on display. You will need to perform demo(nstration) classes in front of parents to recruit new students, and possibly do everything from participating in mandatory promotional events in public places to handing out flyers for your organization in front of schools. Sounds fun, right?
Engaging classroom environment.
Wed to Sunday Schedule (If you prefer Mon to Friday)
No summer holiday.
Demo Classes & promotional events.
Private Tutoring / 1-1 Tutoring
English lessons are typically done at the client's home or in a public space such as a cafe or library, if the company itself doesn't provide it. In this case, you may need to perform demo classes to showcase a potential client your teaching style.
As for content, companies tend to provide English learning materials at their offices, of which you'll need to create your own lesson plans from.
One to one English tutoring offers the most flexibility scheduling wise. Some companies, for instance, may only require that you work a minimum of 15 hours a week, or 60 hours a month.
The biggest cons of 1 to 1 tutoring, though, are that you'll most likely need to travel across town to visit your clients, and there's a possibility that you won't have very much interaction with colleagues. Additionally, your company may add more students to your 1 to 1 class. While they'll get paid for the extra student(s), you wouldn't receive anything.
More Free Time
Traveling to client's homes/meeting places.
Less interaction with colleagues.