China has an insatiable thirst to learn English. It is one of the leading employers of English language teachers in the world. Pioneer and Beyond help schools and centres in China to hire English teachers. Once posted to teach English in China, you can teach in three types of institutions. These are K-12 schools, colleges and training centres. This article focuses on training centres as avenues to learn and teach English in China.
What is a training centre?
A training centre is a kind of school with the sole goal of providing English lessons to its learners. Training centres are mostly operational when regular schools are not in session. Normally, students attend extra English lessons in training centres when they break from school. They are open to learners of all ages. They have fewer classes compared to normal schools. Training centres offer superior English lessons than public schools. Most hire foreigners who are native English speakers to teach English in China. Training centres are well equipped with teaching and learning materials. Those located in large cities like Beijing have invested in advanced technology for learning. They make use of tablets and smart boards to enhance learning.
Students in training centres
Training centres are slightly more expensive compared to regular schools. Bearing in mind that training centres offer extra English lessons, a little commitment is required from the learners. Students in training centres cut across all ages. Classes have about 5 to 10 learners. The size of a class is determined by the age of learners. The number of students per sessions may differ. This is not a normal school programme. The ages of students in training centres are as follows:
- 3 years to 6 years-Kindergarten or pre-school students
- 7 years to 18 years- middle school and high school students
- 18 years plus- adult students
Middle school and high school students are the highest populations in training centres. Learners’ lessons are designed according to the learners’ level of study in regular school. Teachers in training centres will, therefore, engage students as if it were a normal school. They give individualised attention to learners. Sometimes, a training centre may offer home-based lessons to its client at a higher fee.
When it comes to content, training centres focus on listening, writing and speaking. Teachers try to build on students’ grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and spelling. In some cases, you will be required to use props, play games, and teach songs and chants. These help to boost understanding of content taught.
Nature of classes/lessons
Classes in training centres range from 40 minutes to 3 hours. This depends on the age and number of learners being taught. A class could have anywhere between 6 to 20 learners. Most training centres are busy throughout the week especially from late afternoon running late into the evening. Weekends are equally busy because regular schools break. Learners use a few hours of their weekends to learn English.
All training centres are fully operational during winter and summer breaks. This is the period when regular schools break from their normal programs. Most parents enrol their children in training centres. Training centres will experience an influx of students during this time. Teachers, on the other hand, maybe handling slightly larger classes.
Training centres can hire you to teach English on a full-time basis. You will be required to be at the centre 40 hours per week although you may only be teaching for 20 to 25 hours. Alternatively, you may be hired on a part-time basis to assist full-time teachers.
Working hours and Holidays
When teaching at a training centre, all your evenings and weekends are taken up by work. You may be scheduled to be free on some weekends, but you will be working on most. Try to get two off days back to back and use them as your weekend.
Training centres observe all national and public holidays. However, winter and summer breaks are not observed. Students enrol for English classes during this time.
Salaries in training centres vary from city to city. The average salary is 10,000-20, 000RMB per month for full-time teachers. Part-time teachers are paid per hour.
Teachers in training centres enjoy huge bonuses too. Most are given for student retention and good grades earned by learners.
In conclusion, teaching at a training centre has its pros and cons.
You will enjoy having smaller classes with fewer learners. You will enjoy more interaction with learners as you give individualised teaching. Their salaries are highly enticing and the huge bonuses even more motivating. If you are an inexperienced teacher, apply to teach at a training centre. You will gain experience sooner than expected. This is because you teach different content to different learners thereby widening your scope.
On the flip side, teaching centres require you to be committed to your job. You will be required to work late into the night, on weekends and during school holidays. You will also be required to conduct demo lessons. These are demonstrations by teachers in order to convince parents to enrol their children at the school. If you are the kind of person who loves some time to themselves, you could opt to teach in a regular school.