It’s true that people decide to move to China for many different reasons. Perhaps to learn Mandarin and get to know the culture, or because life/work balance is a decent 60/40. Life as a ESL (teach)er is great; it pays well, it’s super fun and you get tons of free time. If you don’t take my word for it, carry on reading for an insight into a typical day in the life of an ESL teacher in China!

Breakfast time – 4:00pm = FREEDOM

Just quickly then, let me highlight the standard working hours; 16:00-20:00 Wednesday-Friday and 9:00-19:00 Saturday&Sunday. It works out that a weekend is 66hrs, just 6hrs short of 3 days!

So, if you can drag yourself out of bed at a reasonable hour during the week – optional because there is nowhere to be at 9am (woohoo!) – you can use the free time to do the things you enjoy in life.
What are your options? Let’s see; go to the gym, visit a museum, hit the park, grab some lunch with friends, visit a temple, take Chinese lessons – the list is endless!
No longer will you be exhausted from five solid days of work and prone to sleeping away the weekend.

Shaolin temple, Luoyang (7)

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture with all your free time

During work hours

So you arrive to work after a fun-filled and/or productive morning and perhaps feel a little tired. Never fear! As a First Leap-er you are given sufficient office time to properly prepare for upcoming lessons. Classes don’t begin until 5pm (excluding weekends) so you have time for that much needed coffee and computer use.

The best part of life as an ESL teacher in China is of course teaching the children. Lessons are designed to be fun and interactive; dancing, games, music and crafts being the main focus. Each lesson is between 35 and 40 minutes, and time speeds past. An average teacher has 15 lessons a week.

One or two days a week you will be expected to lead a demo class. Aimed at future-enrolling students, the 30 minute demo is the same every time. Have fun and perfect your demo – it’s a wonderful feeling when that crying child finally speaks to you at the end of the lesson.

When you’re not teaching, you can watch others’ classes, attend that all important graduation ceremony (at the end of a 8 month stage), make decorations and join in weekly activities with the kids. No doubt your centre will also arrange some team building between foreign and Chinese teachers – great!

Kids love the craft at the end of art lessons