Well, I got a comment asking for more information regarding teaching in China and since I rarely get any comments, I will reply to that comment with a whole entire entry.
In general, getting a job as an English teacher in China is pretty easy, provided several conditions which I will get into later. There are a lot of sites on the net listing jobs in China, but the best place is Dave’s ESL Cafe. It’s probably one of the main places people go to when they are first looking for a job in China. There’s a large job listing and a forum where you can get a lot of questions answered, though I must admit that I must disagree with some of the generalizations about China that’s often made on that site. Another way to find a job would be to just fly to China and look for a job there. In most of the International Youth Hostels, there are English-teachers-wanted fliers as well as foreigners posting their own advertisements.
Of dangers, there are quite a few scam schools out there that make lots of promises but come through with none. The best way to avoid this is to first ask at some online forum if anyone has ever heard or worked for the school before. If no one has, it’s generally best, especially if it’s your first time in China, to avoid it and work for a well-known school with a good reputation.
So different jobs require different qualifications. Some require you to have the TESOL or CELTA certificates, which basically proves that you’ve been trained as an ESL teacher. Others have experience requirements, almost all require native speakers, but most importantly, you have to be white.
Ok, that’s not really true, but it’s much easier to get a job, especially one with a high salary, if you’re white (blond hair blue eyes tall pale skin is a plus). Blacks, Hispanics, and Indians tend to have a much more difficult time finding a good job, though in southern China, it is more open and acceptable. Being Asian is the worst, especially yellow-skinned Asians (which excludes some Filipinos and other Pacific Islanders). I’ll give a few examples.
In my previous university in Guangdong, there were all sorts of different types of foreign teachers ranging from white to black to even Chinese-Americans with very Chinese names like myself. However, this school hired 80 foreign teachers a year, so they can’t afford to be picky. Besides, as long as at least half of those 80 were white, they can show off to potential students the number of foreign teachers.
Now you look at another school that hires only one or two foreign teachers. If those foreign teachers were Asian, how can they use them to attract more students? Foreign teachers in China are used by most universities not to teach English, but to attract students. My English, after getting a 4-year degree at Berkeley might be better than some white high school drop out coming to China to get some ass, but that white skin makes him much more desirable than someone like me.
With all that said, I was still able to work in China. And in Microsoft. Why? Because I had connections. I knew people who knew people who knew people and in the end, the people you know can get you past almost any boundaries in China.
So my advice to people coming to China to teach for the first time? Well, first see if you know anyone who has been to China and can hook you up with a good job or knows someone who can. If you have no friends or connections because you’re anti-social, then you can look on the Internet and send a few resumes to well-known schools/programs. If you’re colored (red, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, black, and everything in between), then I would try to find jobs in the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but especially cities in Guangdong. If you’re Asian with no connections, experience, or teaching certificates, then I would say apply to Guangdong Peizheng University.
Finally, if you’re hoping to get a job in Beijing during the summer so you can watch the Olympics without paying rent, good luck. Lots of people have this idea and Beijing is going to get flooded with potential foreign teachers. With the supply of white folks in Beijing exceeding demand, getting a teaching job will be much harder and much more competitive.
So yeah, that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope this is semi-useful to someone. Adios.