No matter what your profession, it’s only natural that you want your work to be recognized, appreciated and respected, and certainly it’s no different for teachers.
Whether you have been teaching for 20 years or if it’s your first stint in the classroom, receiving respect can make your teaching experience far more enjoyable. From serving as punching bags for politicians and receiving the brunt of budget cuts to working in sub par conditions, many teachers in the U.S. and elsewhere unfortunately do not receive the respect they deserve from their employers, students, and parents despite providing one of society’s most vital functions.
So where are teachers actually revered and held in high public esteem the way that firemen and doctors are in the United States?
Where can you teach English abroad and expect to be treated well? CHINA!
According to an extensive study conducted by the University of Sussex in the U.K. that examined public attitudes towards professional status, trust, pay and the desirability of teaching as a career, China topped the charts leaving many European nations and the U.S. far behind.
"Teachers are revered," said Professor Peter Dolton, who conducted the study, to the BBC.
The good news for English speakers seeking to teach in an environment of respect and for those searching for the international adventure of a lifetime, is that China boasts a nearly insatiable demand for native English-speaking teachers. In fact, according to former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, 300 million Chinese (nearly equal to the entire population of the U.S.) are taking English classes.
Benefits of Teaching English Abroad in China
From nursery schools and kindergartens to high schools and universities, tens of thousands of foreign English teachers are hired to teach English in China each year. In addition to respect and high esteem, teaching English in China offers an arrays of great benefits and advantages, including:
- Great pay – Most foreign English teachers in China make enough salary based on the local cost of living, which is typically quite lower than in the U.S. and Western Europe, to save $500 - $1,500 a month or more after expenses.
In addition to great salaries, many English are able to substantially boost their income by giving private lessons on the side. The Chinese commitment to education is such that millions of nouveau riche and middle class Chinese are willing to spend the equivalent of tens of thousands of a year on private lessons, and many English teachers can make as much as an extra $10,000 a year by engaging in private tutoring.
- Excellent benefits – Most foreign English teachers in China receive benefits like free or reimbursed airfare airfare to and from their home country, and/or free furnished housing. Many teachers also receive health insurance and paid vacation.
- Fantastic history & culture – From the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City in Beijing and the terra cotta warriors of Xi’an to the unforgettable sights of the Great Wall, China offers an unparalleled heritage of history and culture to explore.
- Great travel opportunities – Living and teaching English in China provides great travel opportunities both within China itself and throughout Asia. Travel in Asia is typically convenient and affordable – especially since English teachers make good money and get paid vacation – so when you get time off, you have opportunities to explore fantastic destinations like Vietnam, Thailand and Japan that you won’t enjoy if you are living in New York, Dallas or St. Louis.
- Delectable cuisine – From Beijing duck to Shanghai dumplings, authentic Chinese is world beyond the kung pao chicken that you ate for lunch last week at Panda Express. Not only that, in major Chinese cities, many varieties of international cuisine are also available, and if you’re ever jonesing for a Big Mac or a bucket of fried chicken, major American fast food outlets like McDonalds and KFC maintain some of their largest operations in China.
- Fun & friends – Living and teaching English abroad provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build friendships with people across the globe. Not only will you be able to meet and befriend Chinese citizens from all walks of life, but you will likely encounter other expatriates from across the globe. Major cities in China like Shanghai and Beijing are home to huge communities of English speakers, including thousands of English teachers, so it is typically quite easy to tap into English-speaking network of friends and colleagues. From great nightlife to sports leagues, most cities throughout China provide many avenues for making friends and meeting people with like-minded interests.