Teaching English Through Music in China

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Teaching Location: Chongqing (China)
Type of Teaching Job: Kindergarten, Music
Student Age Group: Kids
Monthly Salary: 5000RMB ($720 USD)
Monthly Rent: 0
Living Arrangement: Shared, 2-bedroom flat
Monthly Savings: 0
Contract Bonuses: Airfare at the end of contract and lesson commission

Teaching in Chongqing - Birthday
Me, my class and assistants on my birthday on the stage where the children perform

⋯ By Jonathan Race ⋯

Ok, this was essentially my first job teaching English (besides a couple of online lessons after I finished my TEFL). I love Asian culture and there are a ton of jobs in China, so naturally I was drawn in! This school taught English through music and as I was a musician it felt like the perfect fit.

After the flight (which was so long from the UK!) I arrived to find both my boss and another Brit meet me at the airport. I immediately felt welcomed. We drove to my new apartment where I found a welcome basket of various foods and toiletries, which I felt was such a heart-warming thing to do!

I immediately went to bed (not sleeping in 36 hours had worked up quite a sleep deficit!). The next day they said I should come into work late so I could get a nice lie-in. My first day was a Saturday and instead of dropping me in at the deep end they simply told me to hang out, speak with some parents and play some instruments (not bad for a first day of work!).

Over the next few weeks, we went through lesson plans, practising the routine for our trial classes as well as giving me a chance to learn how to perform the songs. As the teaching there relied on music a lot it meant I found myself performing quite often.

Getting set up was great and they helped with things like:

  • Setting up a SIM card
  • Giving advice on getting a bank account / gym membership etc.
  • Giving me directions to get to certain places

In fact, any time there was any thing I needed help with, they were more than happy to help me settle in.

With regards to payment, we had a basic payment of around 5000rmb a month which is lower than the standard but… we would get paid bonuses for every lesson we taught. It was around 200rmb per class. For example, if we taught 40x classes a month then that is an extra 8000rmb + 5000 which brings it up to the 13000rmb average that most English schools pay in China.

I stayed here for a year and then moved back to the U.K. for a quieter job teaching English online. Although it was quite exhausting it was a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Teaching in Chongqing - Ukugrammy
Teachers performing a song together as a band at an award show

Things That I Loved About This Job

The Accommodation

This was free for me; even if it wasn’t… it would cost 500rmb a month, peanuts! This city is so cheap to live in and you can save a lot!

The Variety of Things to Do

This city is hugeeee, it had anything I could want. Add to that the fact that I lived next to one of the biggest shopping centres in the city (if not China), it means I could never run out of things to do.

Fairly Language Friendly

Although you won’t get English speakers everywhere, it is still pretty easy to get by with basic Chinese.

Things That I Hated About This Job

The Heat and Noise

At first, it’s ok, but over time this started to become quite draining for me.

The Hustle and Bustle

This is a BIG city. It can be very busy wherever you go. Not so bad if you don’t mind busier areas but it can be hard finding a quiet spot to unwind.

The Hygiene

Most of my friends and people I knew are very hygiene conscious but you do see some things (Google gutter oil and you’ll get an idea).

Just be careful where you eat, never drink tap water (unless it’s boiled) and be prepared to hold your breath in some public toilets (this being said, the toilets in the shopping centres are usually kept to a very high standard so use these as often as you can!)

Contact Jonathan Race

Website: http://englishxp.co.uk


Teaching English in China - Chongqing Nightview
Chongqing Nightview | Image Source: pxhere

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