As with every teaching job anywhere globally, international school jobs in Beijing offer plenty of pros and cons. Here’s a quick overview:
The pros: Where to start?! As a prominent international school teacher, you’ll have the expat world at your feet. Salaries here are among the highest in the country, and the array of perks alone is worth the considerable workload. You’ll be working in a state-of-the-art facility with all the mod-cons any teacher would dream of most of the time.
Your salary package will be impressive. Teachers in these positions in China take home between USD 2,500 and USD 5,500 a month – jobs in Beijing will invariably all be on the higher end of that salary range. If you’ve perfected the art of negotiation, you will also score a housing stipend and, in some cases, even a return flight home to visit family once a year. Plus, you’ll be in the enviable position of being highly regarded in your local community, and this, in Beijing, is another big deal.
The cons: Teaching in a prominent international school is never a walk in the park. In Beijing, even less so. When you consider that school fees here are akin to college fees in the US, the pressure placed on teachers makes sense. Parents want to know their children are getting a top-notch education for their yuan. Teachers often bear the brunt of students’ shortcomings. Yes, even if the student is a dimwit who refuses to do any work. Politics plays a huge role in international school teaching in China. This is one of those ‘compromises’ teachers accept to work in one.
Your role as a teacher in an international school in Beijing will involve more than just teaching. Curriculums are chock-full of extra activities, and you’ll have to supervise or partake somehow. There’s bound to be a weekend commitment now and then, long (primarily useless) meetings, and late nights. You can bet on also having to attend the odd recruiting function. As a foreign teacher, your presence is enticing to potential parents, so trust that your employer will require you to show your face at various events throughout the year.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? According to most foreign teachers working in international schools in Beijing, ABSOBLOODYLUTELY! The financial and professional gains far outweigh the drawbacks.
So, now that you know more about teaching in international schools in Beijing, you’ll be better placed to decide if it’s for you. One thing is sure: if you manage to get a posting at a prominent school in China, your CV will inarguably receive the most potent boost of all.