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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

My wife (Shanghainese) and I (American) plan to move to Shanghai at the end of 2104. Looking to trying to get my career path back on track, I'm currently trying to look in possible options in Shanghai.

I have an MS in Biology and previously was involved in research and teaching on the university level, but I've also considered English teaching positions might be a good option as well.

Does anyone know of good resources for looking up available positions in the sciences and/or English teaching in Shanghai? What sort of qualifications do English teaching businesses look for in a candidate? Should I start working on some kind of TEFL or TESOL certification?

My niece currently is involved with Disney English, and she seems to enjoy it. Does anyone have any insight about teaching for them?

Thanks for any help anyone has to offer!
 

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Hi,

Slightly off topic, because I don't know much about Disney English in particular. Hopefully a little general advice won't hurt.

I've been living and teaching in northeast China for 3 years now. I've never taught in Shanghai, but I've read lots of job postings for that city.

What makes the hottest markets (Shanghai, Beijing, and Dalian, for example) tougher to get into is that many employers require previous ESL teaching experience. It's quite common to see positions in these cities requiring 2 years teaching experience. (What makes them "hot" is that they are international cities with good living conditions for foreigners, and/or by the sea :) Salaries are higher than in other centers, but rent and other expenses are also higher. Beware of offers that don't include accommodation unless they include a generous allowance (2000 RMB?? per month or more) to cover this expense.

Schools may specify 1 year or more of teaching experience, but that's only the job postings speaking. When they have more positions than they can fill, I'm sure they make exceptions.

You've got the university degree, which is necessary in order for any school to get your Z(work) Visa/Foreign Expert's Licence. Those are both requirements for living/working legally in China. Getting an ESL teaching certificate would certainly be an asset. Cambridge CELTA is a well-recognized certificate. The course is available in many countries, France being one of them. The format is 4 weeks of intensive study. If you're in a competitive market, it can give your application more impact. You might also learn a thing or two about teaching ;)
[Most ESL certificates, like CELTA, are primarily for teaching adults. Most foreigners end up teaching children, but this doesn't seem to be a problem. I've never met anyone with a CELTYL (young learners certificate)]

Your wife, her friends, and her family could be your biggest assets. Connections count -- in China as much as anywhere else. If you make your name known to enough schools, and if you have local people willing to vouch for you, I think you can probably find something.

Disney English is hugely popular. If you enjoy working with young kids, it's worth a try. I don't know if it's a franchise or a loosely affiliated chain. It would pay to have someone local check out any particular school you might consider.

Generally speaking, there are more positions available than there are teachers to fill them. This is partly because many young people (fresh graduates) only commit to a single year of ESL teaching. Annual turnover is huge. This may be less true in Shanghai than in many other regions, but it's still a huge market.

I can't recommend any particular place to look for postings. There are too many to keep track of. Google is a good a place to start. raoulschinasaloon.com is a discussion site where you can read a lot of good advice, and even post an employment contract to get feedback from experienced teachers.

Lastly, don't deal with recruiters. Only deal directly with the school that will employ you. This last point is critical. There's plenty more about that on Raoul's website.

Good luck!
Ian in Shenyang
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hopefully a little general advice won't hurt.
Not one bit and is very, very much appreciated!

I'll look into some kind of certification here and starting contacting programs now to see exactly what they're looking for. I might end up asking my cousin in-laws to ask the Disney English center my niece goes to inquire directly; like you said, in China, guanxi goes a long way ;)

Again, many thanks!
 
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