Survive China’s English Training School Clampdowns: 5 Tips for Expat Teachers

China has rolled out policies aimed at curbing excessive schooling hours spent by children as young as three or four years old. These policies include placing strict restrictions on how late classes can be held and eliminating after-school classes for kids in the primary and junior levels. As a result, there is significant pressure on language training centers that have traditionally offered after-school English language tutoring services for kids in this age bracket. These policies also mean possible job and pay cuts for expats who work in these industries in mainland China. Read on for tips on how to survive this overhaul especially if you want to stay in China for work and play.

Move to a smaller city

Smaller cities tend to have more lenient policies compared to bigger cities, especially those that are directly controlled by the Central Government. Enforcement of important policies is often delayed in other cities because bigger cities are often used as test cities before a more widespread rollout. Foreigners can move to a smaller city where restrictions on English training schools are not heavily enforced and buy some time before they need to go home for good or they build up enough resources to switch to a new industry.

Work for kindergartens or international universities

Kindergartens and international universities that follow regular school hours are expected to escape the effects of education clampdowns. Foreign teachers can look for slots teaching English or literature or sign up for jobs in the foreign languages departments of big universities. Any position that does not involve after-school English tutoring is relatively safe from government clampdowns and can serve as the perfect next step for those who want to move away from the after-school language training industry but remain in the teaching field.

Switch to a different industry

Expat teachers who do not want to leave China just yet can start looking for job opportunities in other industries. Jobs in translation, media, and even entrepreneurship have proven lucrative alternative career routes for many foreigners living in China over the years.

Make do with pay cuts 

Many smaller tutoring schools are making drastic changes in their programs to comply with new restrictions and avoid total closures. Some are shifting strategies to include non-English classes to attract students, while still retaining smaller subjects that they can teach in English. To do this, teachers may need to agree to pay cuts to help tide the school over, especially since many schools anticipate a gradual loosening of policies once authorities determine how useful or harmful these initial restrictions prove to be.

Work from home 

Many schools are offering flexible work-from-home arrangements for their foreign teachers to ensure that students are still getting important instruction without needing to show up for class. These arrangements are also part of measures to cut back on operating costs at a time when they are seeing lower numbers of students that can sign up for after-school classes. Work-from-home opportunities in other industries also abound for native English speakers, which is helpful for many foreigners looking at shorter working hours and lower pay due to these restrictions.

Widespread restrictions on various sectors are not new for China. For expat teachers affected by restrictions on after-school English language centers, these options mentioned above can prove helpful if they want to keep living and working in China in the next few years.

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