After an extensive two years, China has finally announced the reopening of its borders to foreign workers. At long last, TEFL teachers can apply to teach in places, such as Shanghai, again. In this blog and YouTube video, we will introduce you to a TEFL teacher who now works for an English teaching company that is based in Taiwan and China. Check out the video below where our Managing Director, Rosie met with James from Giraffe Inspire to discuss TEFL opportunities in 2022.
Who are Giraffe Inspire?
Giraffe Inspire is a flagship school which offers after-school lessons to children aged 3 to 12. The business began in Taiwan in 1986 and branched off to Shanghai in 2009. They now have over 700 schools in Taiwan and over 140 across mainland China. This world-renowned company tends to hire TEFL graduates who are native English speakers.
We partnered with this incredible group to connect our graduates with Giraffe in an attempt to nurture the dreams of our graduates who wish to travel and teach in China, specifically Shanghai. With state-of-the-art campuses and facilities as well as comprehensive curriculums and freedom in lesson planning, who could pass up this experience?
An introduction to James
James was in your shoes not too long ago. After he finished his University degree, he decided he wanted to escape his small town in Yorkshire and travel abroad. While researching, he stumbled across TEFL. After further research, he opted to complete a TFEL course and began searching for a job abroad. After a brief search, James found a TEFL position in Mongolia and booked without thinking twice. He was ready and eager to leave!
After teaching adults English in Mongolia for a year, James decided that he wanted something new: a new challenge. So, he set off for Shanghai, China. Here, it was overwhelming in the beginning, and it took him a while to settle in. A major factor in helping him to immerse himself in the culture comfortably was through Giraffe Inspire.
While searching for part-time and extra work, James discovered Giraffe Inspire and thought he would apply. After successful applications and interviews, James received a position which would change his growing TEFL career forever. Ten years later, James is still working with Giraffe Inspire but now he is remote, working from home in Yorkshire while he raises his child.
Who can apply?
If you are thinking of applying to work in China with Giraffe, make sure you meet the following requirements to ensure you are employable in China. To start, you will need to own a passport from one of the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or Canada. Unfortunately, at the moment, applicants from South Africa cannot apply due to the embassy closure in China. Hopefully, in the near future, the embassy will reopen and South African TEFL teachers can apply and teach in China.
On top of this, you will need a bachelor’s degree to teach in China. A bachelor’s degree can be awarded after completing 3 or 4 years of study at a University. Under Government regulations, all native-speaking English teachers must have a degree to be considered for a teaching position in China. Luckily, the government does not require the degree to be a degree in English or teaching – it can be a degree in any occupation or expertise. This is to ensure that all teachers that will teach the children of China have a high level of maturity and are more sure of themselves. This is also why their typical age requirements range from 21 to 60 years of age.
Of course, to teach English as a foreign language in China, you will need a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training. Here at Premier TEFL, we offer a wide range of TEFL courses to help get you certified and employed. From the 120hr Advanced Level 5 course which covers the groundwork, to the Master 310hr Hybrid course which prepares you for all sorts of situations and job opportunities. Check out some of our courses HERE.
Before submitting your application, you should ensure you have your background and health checks completed and up to date. This can take a while, but the reward is definitely worth the wait.
As well as this, James recommends that all applicants should be passionate about teaching children. As an individual, you should be a team player, enthusiastic, confident, creative and open to receiving feedback. These are all key factors in building the ideal TEFL teacher to teach at Giraffe Inspire.
Why native speakers?
It is very frustrating that only native English-speaking people can teach in China, however, that is their decision to make. The most probable reason for hiring only native speakers is that they are perceived to be masters of the language. This is not always the case. Sometimes, non-native speakers can teach English more efficiently, as they have had the same experience as the children and can relate their own experience of learning the language to their teaching methods.
The goal of China’s policy change in relation to denying non-native speakers was to encourage more native English speakers to apply for jobs, thinking that hiring native speakers would improve the standard of teaching English in China. This is unfortunate, as they will miss out on some amazing TEFL teachers who are not native speakers themselves.
Once you have all of your documents in order, you will next need to organize your PU letter as well as your Z work visa. A PU letter is a confirmation that you are needed from the school that you wish to work at. You will also need a work visa to work as per China’s regulations. Giraffe will offer assistance in securing these documents and help you progress to the next stage.
After you have secured your PU letter and Z visa, the interview process begins. James informed us that he usually conducts the initial interview himself. It is essentially an introduction meeting, where both the applicant and the company get to learn about each other and ask any questions. Then, the applicant applies online for the job they choose with a demo video showing how they would teach set content to a class. This is to give Giraffe an insight into how you would operate within the classroom.
Finally, there is one more interview with the contract manager before you are accepted and sign your contract to join Giraffe Inspire’s incredible array of TEFL teachers.
What’s on offer?
Giraffe Inspire go above and beyond to ensure all members have the most comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here is a small collection of the amazing support offered to all successful applicants:
- Giraffe will pay for your flights to China as well as covering your entire hotel quarantine.
- They will offer you a 15-month contract. 3 of these months are solely for training teachers and helping them to settle into Shanghai.
- They will assist you in finding a suitable accommodation for your stay.
Did you know?
Did you know that Shanghai is called ‘The Pearl of China’? This is because it is the biggest city in the world! With a population of over 24 million people, it can be easy to feel unwelcome. However, Shanghai is also the most popular city in Asia for expats – so you most definitely won’t be alone for long. When you aren’t busy teaching your children English, you will certainly be visiting the astounding historical sights. There are so many things to do and see – you could visit somewhere new everyday and never explore the same place twice.
Must-have apps in China
When traveling to China and adapting to life over there, so many factors of life will be foreign to what you are used to. An example of this is the mobile apps that the majority of the population uses. We compiled a short list of some essential apps for you to download which are vital to living in China.
- WeChat – this is the WhatsApp of China, if you will. Not only is it the No.1 messaging and social media app in China, but it is also the biggest standalone app in the world. Here, billions of users exchange messages, photos, videos and GIFs.
- DD – When you are in no mood for public transport and tired of walking, DD offers a solution. DD is China’s answer to Uber or Lyft – allowing you to ride in another person’s car for a fee. You may need to brush up on your Mandarin before downloading this app though!
- Being an outsider in a new city trying to learn to use public transport can be hard. We recommend downloading the Shanghai Metro app. This app evaluates the best routes, journey lengths and prices so that you can always arrive on time for class.
Why should you apply?
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any individual who is seeking adventure and enjoyment from their career. If you meet the aforementioned requirements and you are interested, why haven’t you applied already? Application processes can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months from start to finish – so you better get started right away!