Now is the perfect time for your career revival in China. If you are an excellent teacher coming from an ESL background, and if you have the ability, the determination and willingness to learn, Dipont Education has opportunities for you to take your teaching to the next level.
In the past three years there has been a huge decline in the ESL private education market in China. COVID, policy change, and general economic shrinkage have placed enormous pressure on this once lucrative and booming industry. As a result, a lot of ESL teachers are facing the end of their China dreams.
At the same time many international and bilingual schools in China are now filling the last of their vacancies for an August 2022 start.
Here are some tips on making the leap from training centers to the big league.
1. Align with your subject knowledge
If economics was not your major at university, don’t apply for an economics teaching job. You do not want the stress of trying to learn the topic between classes. Like a predator’s instinct to smell fear on the hunted, most students can detect a knowledge gap within the first 15 minutes of a course. A bitter victory it would be to bluff your way into such a classroom.
You will need subject knowledge. What was your major? Literature, History, and, to a lesser extent, Political Science are fields that are applicable to an English subject teaching role, and should be highlighted in your CV.
Look into options to undertake a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education), which effectively upgrades your qualifications to be classroom ready. Enrolling in a PGCE will also demonstrate your commitment to career development.
2. Emphasize your unique strengths
You may have been an awesome ESL teacher, but there are a lot of awesome ex-ESL teachers flooding the market these days. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Brushing up your CV is an opportunity to reflect on your achievements and your growth, and also to articulate the benefits you can bring to a new employer.
What is it about your classroom management style that supports autonomous, student-centered learning? Have you any experince with safe-guarding protocols? What have you learnt about the unique perspective of Chinese learners? What experience do you have with cross-cultural communication? Have you ever organized an extra-curricular activity? What made it great? What did you learn from it?
3. Be prepared to move
Back in the day you could throw a rock* in downtown Shanghai and it would bounce off a couple of ESL schools before hitting the ground. There were a lot of training centers. The daily commute was a breeze. You could live in the thick of the CBD, taking your pick of workplaces. It was easy to find a job.
These days it is not so easy. You may need to change cities to find a position that matches your qualifications. This is not to say that any reputable school will accept inadequately skilled teachers, but there is a greater likelihood of being accepted into a non-ESL academic role away from the extremely competitive job market in top tier cities.
If you have the ability, the determination, and the willingness to grow, a second or third tier would be the ideal place to launch your career renaissance.
*note that this is a metaphorical rock. It is never a good idea to throw stones in the inner city.
4. Prepare a killer demo lesson
You may not always have the opportunity to use it, but preparing a demo lesson is a good way to focus your intent and refine your pitch for the job. In addition, many classes are being taught online these days, albeit temporarily, so preparing a great demo lesson in this format could make a huge difference to your application.
You should aim for a snapshot of your teaching persona that highlights your mastery of the medium as well as your comfort in the subject area. The question for your audience is: Is this person able to deliver a curriculum with confidence and discernment? Charisma is not king in this situation.
5. Persevere or perish
Failure is inevitable on the road to change, but the road is long and forgiving if you give yourself the chance. Every application is an opportunity to hone your message. Every interview is a chance to practice delivering your brand to the market.
China has always been a land of opportunity for teachers. The difference now is that the stakes are higher, and the rewards are greater. The end of your ESL days need not be the end of your China life. You could make it the start of your education career.
Dipont Education has had a few last minute positions open up for teachers currently residing in China for an August 2022 start. Now is the time to get started on your career revival.