Teaching salaries in China can vary greatly. Teachers have been known to earn from as little as 2000RMB/month to well over 15,000RMB. So how can the value of an ESL teacher be so different from school to school?
The questions we would probably ask are these;
1) How many hours are you teaching per week?
2) What are your qualifications and how much teaching experience do you have?
3) Where is your school located and what type of school is it?
4) Have you found a job through an organisation or agent that is skimming their bit off the top every month?
So 1 and 2 are quite self explanatory. You may think that your salary in places like Shanghai and Beijing would be higher than in much smaller cities or in distant suburbs away from the city centre. Although this is sometimes true it is not always the case.
As China’s wealth has filtered from her 1st tier cities into 2nd and 3rd tier cities and even some quite rural pockets there is a demand for ESL teachers and quite simply a lack of supply. While schools in Shanghai have an abundance of teachers to chose from, an international school in a 3rd tier city does not have such the luxury. So simple economics shows that yes you can sometimes earn a higher salary in more remote areas or in smaller cities where living costs are much much lower. This
If you have landed a job in China and are earning 2,000RMB-5,000RMB per month then there is a good chance that the company you have come out with are taking a nice chunk off the top! Some are up front about this and some are not, There are of course also charity style projects which is a different case entirely and remember you should never pay an agent to find you a job in China!