Where we work / China
China is known for being the longest, continuous civilization on earth.
ELIC considers it a privilege to have worked within the education sector in China throughout the last few decades as the country has experienced tremendous economic growth and reform. Teachers in China enjoy living on university campuses where they spend their daily lives with students, colleagues, and neighbors. We work hand-in-hand with key partners within China to ensure that our teachers and teams thrive.
ELIC sent its first team of six people to China in 1982. It is unlikely that any other single country is destined to have such sweeping global influence in the 21st century. Work alongside and build friendships with the future generations of China both inside and outside the classroom.
How many hours per week will I work?
Teachers with a full, sixteen-hour course load will spend about 10 hours prepping/grading per week.
Teachers in China contract for a maximum of sixteen teaching hours per week (Monday through Friday). This allows time for additional responsibilities such as lesson prep, English corners (a time to conversationally practice English), and engaging with students. While prep time differs widely between teachers, prep/grading typically involves less time than that spent in class. This time tends to decrease as teachers gain experience or re-teach courses. Course materials and support are provided to help minimize the need for teachers to create content.
Typical classes include speaking, writing, and content courses such as the Culture of English-Speaking Countries and Journalism.
What is the working relationship like with other faculty and teachers?
There are many opportunities to engage with other colleagues, particularly among teachers in the English department who love to practice conversational English. Many positive friendships have developed in this unique setting.
What is the student demographic?
Teachers in China primarily teach university students, and they often find the students to be warm, curious, and engaging.
What will my first week look like? How will you help me get my life overseas started?
When teachers arrive at school, they first settle into their apartments (e.g., cleaning, setting up internet/phone services, etc). They will also set up bank accounts, obtain a campus ID card, and meet with the human resources, finance, and other offices. They will have the opportunity to spend time getting to know their team and with them exploring the campus and different areas of their new city together.
What does ongoing professional/personal development look like?
In addition to times of team encouragement, individuals are encouraged to grow personally and professionally throughout their time living in China. Each city team has many seasoned teachers who are eager to assist with personal and professional growth, as well as learning about life and culture in China. We place everyone in a group of peers from the city team to talk about their personal lives and to provide encouragement and accountability.
Once per semester, we conduct teacher observations in the classroom to foster growth as a teacher. New teachers are each paired with someone who will mentor them in teaching during their first semester, usually someone on the city team. Our in-city teaching specialist holds one city meeting per semester focused on professional development.
What is it like to raise a family overseas?
Teams love having a blend of families and singles, and there is a special bond that forms when they live life together. Families also love having aunts and uncles for their kids as they become a “tribe” loving on and influencing the team kids!
Raising kids cross-culturally may cause them to miss out on some things in their country of origin, but it gives them a rich experience learning to live in a different culture, to love their neighbors, and to make friends with those who are different from them. There are many fun activities for children and families as well. Most malls have play areas that are fun for kids (with jungle gyms, trampoline parks, ice skating, etc). Opportunities abound to learn music, art, taekwondo, and pottery. Additionally, most cities have parks with green spaces and even some fun water games in local lakes.
What are some things I might do to contribute to my team if my spouse is teaching, but I’m not?
What kind of housing will I have? How far away are housing options from the school and other teammates?
Housing is provided by the schools for singles and couples. These are one- or two-bedroom apartments with a living space, kitchen, and bathroom. They are basically furnished (double/queen bed, wardrobe, couches, table, chairs, desk, kitchen appliances, shelving/storage), but former teachers have left various items to help fill in some of the gaps (other appliances, decorations, lighting, kitchenware, etc.).
Off-campus housing is available for families, and is widely available within ten minutes walking distance from campus.
What are some surprising things I might learn after the first 60 days?
Teachers will quickly learn how to bargain, as natives assume most foreigners are tourists and will quote them tourist prices. They’ll also learn the basics of numbers and how to negotiate purchase prices.
Public transportation in China is amazing. There are buses, taxis, “Didi” rides (the Chinese form of Uber), etc., but these bog down in traffic. Bikes, on the other hand, are a great way to cut through it. Most places in the team’s daily or weekly routine fall within a fifteen-minute bike ride around town. If you’ve never ridden a bike for transportation, it is the most recommended form. After a few weeks, you’ll be a pro!
Teachers will also learn the basics of acquiring food and traveling to all the essential places they need to be, likely discovering that they like Chinese food way more than they ever imagined! The people are hospitable, and will think you are amazing after saying just a few words in Chinese.
What is the team structure like? How often are formal meetings, and what do they entail?
Formal meetings, on average, occur one to three times per week depending on the team.Team meetings often include fun activities and shared meals. Faculty meetings center around discussions of teaching-related topics, planning lessons, or professional development.