Teaching in China for History Buffs

This is the beginning of a multi-part series highlighting the types of teachers that you will find in China:  the bookworms, the history buffs, the philosophers, the vagabonds, the language lovers, the adventurers, the warriors, the spiritual seekers- you’ll find all types teaching in China, and all are living their own, different adventure.

Not everyone has to fit into these boxes.  Some are combinations of many.  Some may come to China for different reasons and shift to find themselves seeking a passion that they never thought they would have.  Some may come as a vagabond and leave (or stay) as a history buff and lover of language. 

As teachers ourselves here at TDE, we all had our own reasons for going abroad and we have encountered all of these types in the vast country, pursuing their own goals, passions, and hobbies.

For the history buff, there is much to love about China.  We are going to highlight a couple of the great historical sites of China that help you explore and learn the history of China.


The Great Wall (长城) 


One of the most recognizable symbols of China, the Great Wall (长城) is an obvious inclusion on any list of historical sites in China.  There are four main sites that you can visit at the Great Wall today, but you can explore for miles and miles in some of these sections.  Built over a period of 2,300 years, the wall was started in about 220 BC in the Qin Dynasty.  The wall continued to be built upon throughout the dynasties, up through the Ming Dynasty.  The entire length spans over 5,500 miles and is an amazing piece of history that you can walk across, touch, and feel.   


Forbidden City (紫禁城)


The Forbidden City (紫禁城) is a massive complex of structures, with history spanning from its construction in the Ming Dynasty and ending its reign in the Qing Dynasty.  The structures within the city were built from 1406 - 1420 and contain over 980 buildings. This site held 24 emperors for almost 500 years in China and now houses the Palace Museum, full of architectural treasures, art, and artifacts.  


Terra Cotta Warriors(兵马俑)


The Terra Cotta Warriors (兵马俑) were built by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Over 8,000 life size army figures were built to accompany Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. Although these warriors were hand carved more than 2,000 years ago, they were only discovered in 1974!  Many archaeologists believe there are still pits of soldiers that have not yet been uncovered. 


Shaolin Temple (少林寺) 


Founded by Buddhist monks over 1500 years ago, the Shaolin Temple (少林寺), or Shaolin Monastery, is located in Henan Province and is the main temple of Shaolin school Buddhism today. The temple is also known for its history of martial arts and its warrior monks.  Many martial artists have come to learn and study the Shaolin Kung Fu that originated within the temple walls. 

These four historic sites are just the tip of the iceberg. As a nation with thousands of years of history, there are simply too many great places to mention on this list. China is a truly massive country, with history and ancient sites in any city you visit. A quick search of any city in China will give you ideas of numerous places to see and things to do. 

Happy traveling!  

Getting Documents Authenticated for Your China Z Visa

China’s regulations have been tightening up in recent months to increase the quality of teachers and others that hold work visas in China. It is now required to authenticate your diploma and a criminal background check to receive your work visa.  One of the most complicated parts of the policy is that there is no easy standard to follow.  Each country has its own procedures to follow in order to authenticate the documents.  For those in the United States, each state will also have its own procedures. 

Overall, these new changes will be a positive for China, but one that can be difficult for new teachers to navigate.  The good news is that all of TDE’s partner schools will provide information on how to properly secure your visa, and we will be there to help you with any questions along the way.  

In short, authentication of your documents for China boils down to three simple steps:

1- Obtain and Notarize Highest Received Diploma and Criminal Record Check: 

The criminal record check depends on your country, but this will be a local or national document that states your criminal record, or lack of a criminal record. Depending on your country and the state that you live, you should verify with your school what level of Criminal Record Check will suffice. For instance, a US citizen may obtain a local or state check, or an FBI criminal record check.  An FBI check will only report federal offenses and your local city or state report will show local offenses.  It’s recommended that when you request this document you state this is to be used for a China visa and must be used for authentication.  

You must also obtain a notarized diploma from your university. You university should be able to provide you with a notarized copy providing a declaration that the the diploma is a true copy and an acknowledgement that the document was signed and affirmed in the presence of a notary and stamped with a seal. 

2- State Authentication:  

This second step is done at the local or state level, and adds a seal to certify your documents at the state level. You should check with your secretary of state to find the correct procedure to authenticate in your jurisdiction.

Authentication in the following states must be further authenticated by the US Department of State: Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Washington DC.

Your documents should all be authenticated in the state in which the document was executed.  

3- Consulate Authentication: The documents should then be sent to the Chinese embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over the region or state in which the documents were executed and authenticated.  

For those in the US, check this link to the China Embassy for information on which consulate should receive your documents. 

Resources- http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/ywzn/lsyw/gzrz/rzcx/ 

For most, it will be more convenient to use agents and service providers than to drive all over the country authenticating documents. While we don't partner with or endorse the following sites, we have provided a list of service providers in each country that may assist you further:

United States- Visarite

Canada- International Documents Canada

UK- Chinese Visa Direct

Australia- Visa Link

New Zealand- China Visa

South Africa- Document Attestation

Please feel free to contact our team at TDE for more information regarding getting your visa to teach in China.  We have great schools that can help you through and agents that we work with to help you through the process. 



How to Prepare For Your TEFL / ESL / TESOL Interview

Interviews are a part of any job application process and interviewing for a job to teach English in China is no different.  To help make this experience as painless as possible, we are going to give you some pointers to help ace your interview.  During the interview process with TDE, you’ll have an initial call with our placement consultant, and then typically another interview or two with the school hiring manager.

Here are some helpful tips to prepare you for your online interviews:

Before the Interview

Initial Communication-  You will most likely have initial email correspondence with school hiring managers to set up a Skype interview. Most schools will want to have a Skype session just to get a look at who they will potentially be working with.  This will be a professional line of communication, so make sure your profile picture and any profile descriptions are something you don't mind a future employer seeing.  

Get Your Time Zones Straight- When interviewing for jobs abroad, remember to check your time zone and verify with the school to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding interview times.  You don’t want to miss your interview due to a simple time zone mistake.  

Interview Preparation- Look up the school and any information you may have received regarding the employer. Go over some sample questions and prepare answers to make sure you are ready.  Also, have some questions prepared to let the school know you are interested and engaged and also for your own benefit. 

Here are some questions that you may be asked:

Can you tell me about yourself?

Why are you interested in this company?

Why are you interested in teaching?

What is your greatest strength? 

What is your greatest weakness?

What are your hobbies? 

You will also most likely receive specific questions related to the job.  Even if you may be new to teaching, your interviewer will at least want to know how you think you may handle various situations and scenarios.  For example, the interviewer may ask you a question about how you would handle a student acting up in class. Even though you may not have direct experience with this, you can probably come up with ways in which you may handle the situation. If you can draw from direct experiences, that's even better!

Organize your surroundings- For a Skype interview, you’ll want to be in a quiet place where you can easily hear and concentrate on the interview.  Coffee shops are not a good idea for Skype interviews, as they can be distracting.  Also, pay attention to your background and surroundings. Straighten up the room and make sure that anything visible looks nice and presentable.  

Lighting- Make sure you will be in a well-lit area.  Due to time zones, you may be interviewing at night, but you don’t want to appear to live like a vampire.  Turn on the lights! 

Dress- No matter when and where you are interviewing, you want to look your best.  You don't necessarily need to throw on a nice suit for a Skype interview, but at least put on a nice top and not your old worn out T-shirt. Impressions count, so make sure you put your best foot forward. 

During the Interview

Smile- This is just a good tip for life.  Smiling makes you feel more confident and it will show the interviewer that you are engaged and enjoying yourself. No matter how nervous or unexcited you may be about an interview, smiling sends a message to your brain that you are having a good time. Forcing yourself to smile will signal to the interviewer that you are excited about this new position and opportunity.

Ask Questions- Asking questions lets the interviewer know that you are being thoughtful about this position and helps create a dialogue instead of a one-sided interview.  You are free to ask them questions just as much as they ask you questions. This is also your chance to interview them.  

Demeanor- It’s tempting to say “act natural” but we all know that is easier said than done. The main thing you want to come across in the interview is your enthusiasm and excitement for the job.  The easiest way to achieve this is to think about the positive aspects of why you want to do this.  Looking forward to moving abroad and living in an exciting culture?  Love working with kids? Enjoy helping others learn?  Whatever it is that excites you about making a move abroad, it’s helpful to express that enthusiasm in your interview. If you aren’t excited about making a big move across the world to China, then it is probably best to consider other options! 

Post interview

Follow up- It’s customary to send out a thank you to your interviewer.  You can do this via email and use it as an opportunity to bring up bits of your conversation to remind them who you are and allow your interview to stand out among the many that the HR manager may have.  


At the end of the day, an interview is just a chance to see if the position and the candidate are a good match.  It's not always fun, but it's necessary to find the right fit for both the teacher and school. Just remember to stay positive and enjoy the process.  After all of the interviews, you will be rewarded with an amazing experience abroad!



Guide to TEFL in China

What is TEFL?

Let's start from the top. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are also other acronyms such as TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and others that all mean about the same thing. Each of these programs has its own philosophy, methodologies and training courses, and they are all preparing you to teach students how to speak English. 


Who is qualified to teach English in China?  

Requirements can vary from province to province in China, but to keep things simple, we require teachers to have a passport from a country that speaks English as its native language. More specifically, these countries are the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Every candidate must have a Bachelors degree from an accredited university with any major.

Regulations on requirements for who can receive the proper Z visa to teach English in China can change often, but across the board, it is becoming more common for a TEFL certification to be part of the requirement for employment. A candidate with 2 years experience in education would generally be exempt from becoming TEFL certified.

What kind of TEFL certification should I take?

A simple search online will reveal a number of different options for TEFL programs. The options range from free, short classes online to more expensive, longer in-person classes in foreign countries.  The short, easy answer is that the 120 hour TEFL, with an accredited program, will meet requirements across the board for teaching in China. This could be online or in-person, or some combination.  The difference is that the in-person class will give you some actual experience getting up and practicing the material that you are learning. Online, you won’t receive the same interaction or training, but you will learn the theory and techniques.

An online class is great for those that are busy and would like to get certified in their free time, without devoting weeks or months to getting certified full time. If you'd like to devote your life to teaching English abroad, or if you've got time and money to spend, an in-person TEFL course can be a great investment. 

A TEFL certification can be viewed as a passport to the world, allowing you to go just about anywhere and teach English. 

 What can I do with this certification?

In China, and many other countries around the world, doors will open up.  You can teach children, teens, and adults (everyone!) with this certification, as the theories and principles for learning the language are the same.  

What do I learn in a TEFL course? 

Covers all the things you’d want in learning classroom instruction: reading, writing, speaking, listening, as well as classroom management, discipline, and our course offers a bonus unit for those who will be dealing with young learners.

How long does it take? 

For the online 120 Hour Course, a diligent student should be able to finish in about a month, and at a slower pace could take as much as three months. It's self paced, so the timing is up to you!

How much should I pay?

Courses can range from around $200 and go up over $1,000, depending on whether it is online or in-person and what the course is offering. 

For those looking for an introduction to teaching and the right credentials needed for the job, we recommend our course with INTESOL, one of the best prices out there, at $215.  

We have never had a TEFL graduate who could not find a job upon graduation.  Rest assured that you will be able to find employment with us after completing your course. 

This all sounds great, where do I sign up??

For more information, please take a look at our TEFL Certification program with INTESOL.  Also, feel free to reach out through our Contact page with any questions you may have regarding TEFL or teaching in China.

Getting started today with a TEFL course prepares you for the adventure of a lifetime as you will learn the skills and acquire the credentials to teach and travel abroad.  

How to Teach English Online with VIPKID


At TDE, our primary goal is to actually send teachers abroad to China. However, teaching online can be a good alternative to actually picking up and moving abroad, or it could also serve as a way of dipping your toe in the water before making the move abroad.  Teaching English online is also a convenient way to make a living from home, without the move abroad.  No need for visas or travel, simply log on from your chosen location.

There are many sites today offering online English language jobs.  One of the leaders of the pack is VIPKID.  They’ve just recently raised $100M, been profiled in TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and raised money from Kobe Bryant. It is one of the fastest growing online education companies and also one of the most well-respected.  

VIPKID is hiring thousands of native English speakers to teach its online students in China. As great of an opportunity as this is, it is also not suitable for everyone, as there are specific requirements to apply. You must have a bachelor’s degree, teaching experience and qualifications. This is to ensure quality on the platform, which is what distinguishes it from some of the other platforms out there. 

The great thing about VIPKID is that the curriculum is already built in.  You simply log in before the class to prepare with the given lesson plan. While there is flexibility in the teaching, VIPKID does not leave you hanging to develop your own material.  This makes it one of the easier programs to jump into. 


VIPKID provides an international learning experience to Chinese children – teachers will teach students one on one, all from the comfort of their homes.  This platform allows you to make a living from home, or supplement your existing income by taking on some classes on the side.  

VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.

The Requirements

To teach on the VIPKID platform, you must be a native English speaker from the US or Canada.  You must hold a Bachelor’s degree in any subject and have some background or experience teaching children.  This could be basic tutoring, babysitting, or other experience showing you can work with children.

How much money will you make?

Base pay ranges between 7 USD per class to 11 USD per class. Initial pay is dependent on your interview and demo class. Classes are 25 minutes, so pay will be between 14-21 per hour.  There are also incentives to lift your base salary and bonuses.  

After completing a certain number of classes per month and showing up on time to class, you can easily raise your base salary up to over $20 per hour. 

What equipment is needed?

1) A desktop or a laptop with a webcam (our platform does not work on phones or tablets yet).

2) A headset with microphone

3) Chrome browser

4) High-speed internet

The Process:

The process is simple and straightforward:

1. Submission of Resume:

Send your resume, so VIPKID can screen for basic requirements and teaching experience.

2. Interview + Demo Class:

30-min session where you showcase your teaching skills to a VIPKID recruiter.

3. Introduction to Teaching:

Watch videos to learn about the VIPKID technology, standards and curriculum.

4. Mock class:

Practice teaching a full-length class with one of the VIPKID teachers.

5. Sign Contract and Upload Docs:

Send your information so VIPKID can create a profile for students and their parents to get to know and to book you.

6. Full-Fledged VIPKID Teacher:

Put your timeslots on your portal so that VIPKID students can start booking you. Get ready to teach!

TDE has officially partnered up with VIPKid to provide applicants. If you qualify and would like to learn more, simply click the button below to get started. 




5 Ways Teaching in China Helps You Become a Better Leader

Teaching in China is not only an experience of a lifetime, but there are also many skills to be gained and ways to move your professional career forward, whether that is in the world of education or even other areas of business.  If you’re looking for a challenge that can help turn you into a leader and move your career forward, teaching in China will leave you with these new leadership skills for your resume. 

1) Communication- Few jobs can create an effective communicator like teaching.  To be placed in front of a classroom of students that may only speak a few words of your language,  you learn to engage the students by using your voice and body language to clearly get your points across. Whether it’s teaching a group of youngsters to say “Hello” in English or a presentation in the board room, the skill set is the exact same. Teaching will help you develop the skills to present a clear, effective, engaging presentation in front of a group of people. 

2) Motivation - Teaching gives you insight on what truly motivates people, and you can see it from the most basic level. You see what happens when you discipline for poor behavior and when you reward for positive behavior.  You learn through trial and error what makes people tick and how people will respond in certain situations.  This transferable skill allows you to assess individuals of all types and figure out how to get them excited to complete a task. 

3) Flexibility- It hopefully goes without saying that you should always go into class prepared.  But sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.  It is probably fair to say that there will be many times when things won’t go according to plan.  You may have to slow things down, or try something different, and learning this skill in the classroom transfers into greater flexibility in real life professional situations.  You learn to not only be prepared, but you learn to adapt on the fly when things don’t go according to that plan.  

4) Confidence - In order to get people to listen, you have to have confidence.  Students can sense whether or not you are confident in your presentation, and if you are lacking,  they will tune out and lose interest very quickly.  In the professional world, if you don’t have confidence, no one is going to buy what you’re selling.  Whether that is a lesson plan, a service, a product, it’s all the same. Confidence is the name of the game and getting in front of a class every day will teach you to snap into a mental state that exudes confidence in order to get the job done.   

5) Creativity- “Thinking outside the box” is one of those over-used business cliches, but teaching students that don’t speak your language forces you to constantly test different methods and think creatively.  Often words just don’t get your point across, so you have to draw a picture, or show an object, or maybe design an activity to help students understand different concepts.  Teaching English as a foreign language requires constant creativity that can be applied to all facets of life. When one tactic doesn’t work, a leader will have the ability to shift gears and try something different, and teaching helps hone this skill. 

How to Teach English in China with No Prior Experience

There are many different types of teaching jobs available in China for native English speakers, but for those with no teaching experience, it can be a headache to determine what you are qualified for and which jobs will meet your needs. 

The first thing to pay attention to when looking at schools in China is to make sure you can receive the Z working visa.  This means you qualify as a foreign expert and it’s the only visa you may use to legally teach English in China.  If a school promises you a tourist visa or a business travel visa, OR if they promise that at some point they will get you a Z visa after entering on an alternate visa, they are operating outside the law and it’s a good idea to stay away. 

The two qualifications that you must meet in order to qualify as a foreign expert are that you are a native English speaker and have a Bachelor’s degree. This means you are most likely a passport holder of an English speaking country and hold a Bachelor’s degree in any subject.  If you have these two things, you are well on your way to finding a teaching job in China.   

The final requirement is a little less defined- most schools will require that you have two years working experience OR a TEFL/TESOL certificate.  Different schools and recruiters have different standards in handling this in order to get the proper Z visa, and it is best to use a school or recruiter that errs on the side of caution and gets you properly certified. For those with no experience teaching, it can be a good idea to get a TEFL or TESOL certificate to learn a bit about teaching methodology and how to conduct a class. There are many different TEFL and TESOL schools, both online and offline, and we generally recommend the 120 hour TEFL course to make sure you are properly certified. For those that work with us at TDE, we have partnered with providers to offer discounted classes, and many schools we work with will reimburse the cost. 

In terms of available jobs, the most in demand job for new teachers will be private English schools working with children from about 3-13 years old.  These jobs range in salary from about 10,000RMB to 13,000RMB (about $1,500-$1,900 per month), and many will have contract bonuses and monthly housing allowances on top of that.   Teaching hours range from about 12 hours to 18 hours per week.  The monthly salary is more than enough for most to live in a nice place, eat out often, travel, and save or pay off student loans. The salary typically varies from city to city, and your pay will go further in a smaller city than it will in Shanghai or Beijing. 

For any other questions or concerns regarding teaching English in China, please contact us at TDE for further assistance at info@tderecruit.com. We’d love to find a place for you teaching in China today and will help ensure a smooth transition.