Teach English in a Public School

Teaching English abroad in a public school comes with unique rewards as well as its own set of challenges. As an English language teacher it will be your job to develop your students speaking, listening, reading and writing skills with a focus on developing their communicative and fluency skills as well as proper pronunciation. Schools will provide a set curriculum with course books and some supplementary material, so each class with have specific target language although you will be given some flexibility to incorporate your own activities and games.

The Students

Primary or elementary school students are aged from 5 to 10 years old. They will likely have a basic level of English from kindergarten and plenty of energy and motivation to learn. Middle school students are aged from 11 to 13 years old and at this age will be able to express themselves better in English and have longer attention spans and study skills. High school students are aged 14 to 18 and will have a much higher English ability. Classes will not be as high energy as younger students but will focus more on fluency, debates, expressing opinion and analytical writing.

Class Size

Class sizes can be large with 25 to 45 students per class, which requires a specific style of classroom management and lesson planning which looks to involve as many students as possible. There is an emphasis on pair work and small group work to maximize student talk time and it is important to keep lessons interesting and engaging to keep everyone’s attention. There will be a range of English abilities in each class so the teacher needs make sure the lesson is delivered to the weaker and stronger students.

Teaching Assistant

You will have a local teaching assistant in the classroom with you to help with giving instructions, setting up activities, classroom management and translation into students’ native language, although this is generally kept to a minimum.

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With over 10 years experience in the ESL industry in China, we put teachers in contact with the very best public and private schools across China.

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Is a public school teaching job right for you?

Teaching English abroad in a public school, whether it be a primary, middle or high school is a very rewarding job and an excellent opportunity to work in an ‘authentic’ school environment in a foreign country.

Students are generally better behaved than they will be in a private language school and there is more pressure on them to work hard and do well. You will have a teaching assistant with you which really helps, however the large class sizes and mixed levels require good classroom management skills and the ability to tailor your lessons to both weak and strong students.

As with any teaching, you need to keep it interesting and relevant to the age group, there is a big difference between teaching 9 year olds and 14 year olds, for example, so think about where your strengths lie. Public schools generally have less foreign staff compared with private language schools, so there may only be 2 or 3 other foreign teachers working at your school, compared with 8 to 15 in a language school.

Teach in Beijing
Student type - public school - students working in class

Heather – Qingdao, China

“Most days I have 5 classes of 30 to 32 students each class. Our classes begin with the date & questions warm up time. After our warm up time, we review phonics and old songs. We then dive into our reading books for 20 minutes. We practice reading, pronouncing words, and discuss the meaning of the text. The last 15 minutes of class, we typically work on oral English. I introduce new oral English topics every week. To practice these topics, I use games, songs & lots of practice.”


Salary & Benefits for Public School Jobs in China

  • Excellent salary: 11,000 – 24,000 RMB (1,500 – 3,400 USD) per month
  • Accommodation usually provided on campus
  • Flight allowance
  • Performance based bonuses
  • Legal ‘Z’ work visa and residence permits provided
  • 11 days national Chinese public holidays plus long holidays for summer and winter vacation
  • Health insurance
  • Airport pickup and welcome pack
  • On-going training and academic support
  • Promotion opportunities

This is an example of a typical salary package for ESL public school teaching jobs in China. We will provide you with specific package information for a selection of suitable schools once we receive your application.

Requirements to teach in public schools in China

  • Native English speaker or non-native with fluent English and a clear accent
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • TEFL certificate preferred (No TEFL? We recommend INTESOL)
  • New and experienced teachers welcome (full training provided)
  • Between 22 and 55 years old

A Typical Week Teaching English at a Public School

Classes run from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm with evenings and weekends off. Each class is 45 to 60 minutes and throughout the day you will teach about 4 or 5 classes. Lunch time is from 12 to 2pm during which time you will eat and plan some lessons.

Each class begins with a warm up activity and a review of the last class. The teacher will introduce new language in a controlled setting, giving examples, drilling and eliciting suitable alternatives. Students will then practice with some activities in the course book and then in small groups, with the teacher monitoring and correcting. Once the students have a good grasp of the target language they will be expected to produce the language in a less restricted setting, with maybe a short presentation or role play. The teacher will also include a listening activity and for homework set a writing exercise and something from the course book.

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Hundreds of teaching jobs in China, fully screened, updated daily.



There are no costs at all for you. The entire recruitment process is free of charge.
Students expect to get immersed in English during class and so speaking Chinese is actually discouraged in class. So not speaking Chinese is not a problem regarding the job. You will also have a Chinese Teaching Assistant in the classroom with you to help with setting up activities and giving instructions in Chinese.
Your school will organise all the necessary papers needed to obtain a legal 1 year work (Z) visa for you. This process can take between 4 to 8 weeks and the school will help you through the process.
Your initial contract is 12 months. Many teachers choose to stay for one or more years.
The school provides comprehensive medical insurance coverage for you. It will cover you in event of sickness and injury.
Salary is paid on a monthly basis, paid in local currency, Chinese RMB.
Yes. It is possible to exchange and transfer money to bank accounts around the world. Check with your bank to find out what their policies are regarding international transfers and fees. Many people find Western Union or PayPal to be the easiest way to send money.
Average class sizes are 12 to 25 students per class.

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