Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Suzhou
- Public institutions
- International schools
- English courses
The city is full of opportunities for those, who want to work with young learners and school children. Students, inexperienced educators, non-native and native speakers are all welcome here.
Unfortunately, you can no longer start teaching English abroad without a degree – at least not in China, so you are expected to have completed a minimum of 4 years of studies in any field.
Good news is that you are not obliged to be a professional teacher – a standard 120-hour TESOL/TEFL course will suffice.
There are two main options in the education job market: state schools and training centers.
If you look for a vacancy for teaching English in primary schools in Suzhou, you’ll get dozens of offers, but beware, that public schools have larger numbers of students per class – 30 on average.
Sometimes you get to handle groups of 50 people, which can be quite challenging!
On the other hand, in such cases, you always have a Chinese teaching assistant to help you out.
This person usually becomes the very first friend of a teacher from abroad: you can practice your Mandarin with him/her, ask for everyday life tips, advice or even go out together. It makes your adaptation faster and easier.
What is the schedule like?
Schedules for public school jobs in Suzhou are usually very typical: you start at 8 am and finish by 5 pm Monday-Friday and are free on weekends. Plus you have extra 15-20 days off per year when you can do whatever you like.
Language courses have limited numbers of students so you will deal with 8-20 people at once.
The working time might be different and depends on the school policy and your contract: either you have days off on weekend or you work on weekends and have your days off on workweek. Another bonus is that you get to start a workday later – at around 1 pm or 3 pm.
By the way, it’s the ideal option for those foreigners who wonder ‘Is it possible to teach adults in Suzhou?’, since not everyone is good with children or likes it.
Wages differ and depend on your schedule, qualifications, and experience, and range from 10,000 RMB to 18,000 RMB.
What to expect from your role as an English teacher in Suzhou
- Flexible schedule: Monday-Friday till 5 pm and weekends off / work in the afternoon + Saturday-Sunday and have days off during the week
- Around 20 hours of class work
- From 0 to 15 office hours (depends on the school where you’ll be teaching in Suzhou)
- Teach 8-20 or up to 50 students in a class
- Plan lessons
- Work together with Chinese staff
- Attend social events, meetings, training, and presentations
- Use interactive whiteboard and video during the class
- Be creative, use up-to-date approaches
- Develop speaking and listening competencies
- Provide written feedback, correct homework and tests
- Help with placement testing
The best part about Suzhou international school jobs is that housing is free, which means, that you get the possibility to save the extra money and spend it on travel, gifts, and delicious food. Most centers provide you with an apartment, while some give you more freedom and assure a monthly allowance of $300-$450 to help you with rent and bills.
- You get to choose the place to live in both cases. An estate agent and school assistants will assure, that you rent a cozy apartment to your taste.
- The school will deal with documents and help you arrange everything.
- If you feel like it, you can ask for a flatmate. These are usually fellow foreigners teaching English at a Chinese school you work for. It’s a great way to save a little as well.
- Apartments are usually situated in the city-center or another safe district, close to the school, local supermarkets, and some tourist attractions.
- Until you can move in, you’ll live at a hotel at the school’s expense.
What is it like to live in Suzhou?
Suzhou is one of those cities, where you can easily find a job in education, whether it’s teaching English as a second language or subject teaching at an international school.
This place offers plenty of ways to boost your curriculum while immersing yourself into Chinese culture and cuisine.
Although jobs for foreigners in Suzhou are very diverse and always well-paid, most of the professionals from abroad seek TEFL positions, because they prove to be the most convenient, beneficial and numerous.
Even in such a “small” town as Suzhou, there is no shortage of education jobs: over 150 state and private schools, plus 70 international institutions and language centers.
Many clients recommend this city as a first Chinese destination for those, who want to see what living and working here is like.
It’s one of the places you can teach English abroad without certification and get the training online for free, which makes it ideal for fresh graduates without experience and enthusiastic debutants.
What Makes Suzhou Unique?
- Language: Mandarin + local dialects
- Population: 10,6 million
- Public transport: international airport, 3 main railway stations, subway (3 lines), bus routes, taxi
- Climate: subtropical with cool and relatively dry winters and warm summers
The Suzhou city is often referred to as the “Chinese Venice” as nearly 42% of its surface is covered with winding canals and waterways. Actually, it’s one of the rare places you can have a glimpse of ancient China. This 2,500-year-old town once used to be as rich and developed as Shanghai (which is very close, by the way!).
It might not be the very first one that comes up when you think about China, but it’s surely very well-known and popular among foreigners.
Extremely cheap living
Although it’s hard to find a really expensive place in this country, there are statistics for each big city and Suzhou is very cheap compared to many others, which makes it one of the best places to teach English abroad.
It’s 34% less expensive than Beijing or any other, so you’ll put by more. If you work in Suzhou as an English teacher, you will earn around 7,000 – 13,000 RMB ($1,000 – $2,000) monthly and be able to save at least $500 on a regular basis.
A 45m2 apartment costs around $450 per month and the rent is covered by the school, so you’ll exclude housing expenses. Average expats spend around $340 per month on food and entertainment.
It will suit your lifestyle
No matter what kind of person you are and whether you like parties or peaceful and slow life, you’ll fit in just fine. As teaching jobs for foreigners in Suzhou always give great flexibility and freedom, you’ll have enough leisure time to make friends, go out and entertain yourself.
For many people teaching English in Suzhou is an opportunity to visit China and try local food – and in fact, it’s one of the best regions to start with. As the city is situated on the lake shore, most of its specialties are fish dishes, like the squirrel-shaped mandarin fish with sweet and sour sauce or Fengzhen noodles.
They also make the traditional sweet semen Euryale soup and other tasty things. Eating out at Chinese restaurants is a great way to discover regional cuisine and to save money too because Western-style places tend to be much more expensive.