How to Teach English In China- Simple First Steps

“Mom, I am moving to China.”

I said this sentence to my poor mother one morning in May, about 7 years ago. I have not lived in the United States of America since my first move.

“Are you nuts? Kristina, please tell me you are kidding!”

I spent the whole night before researching different ways I can get to China. I used WorldTeach but there are plenty of over websites that offer a quality service.

How Should I Teach English?

While I worked in China, I always wanted 90 percent of my lessons having students speak. I usually liked showing a funny cartoon to get the kids laughing. Next, I would teach 5-8 new vocabulary words. Afterward, we play a game. I have the game modeled before we start. Finally, the students will have a normal conversation with a partner trying to use the vocabulary.

Let Me See That In Action?!


Key Vocabulary words: Train, Bicycle, Car, Truck, Bus, Limo, Moped, Motorcycle

I show these words with pictures via a powerpoint.

I supply a few sentence starters.

“Today, I came to school on a/the _______________.”

“I need to get my ______ cleaned.”

“My ______ needs to go to the shop. It is broken.”

“I need to ride the _________.”

“I took my ________ to work.”

They practice copying my sentences and putting in the different vocabulary words is extremely beneficial.


GAME: If I am teaching a smaller class, I enjoy playing memory. The students match a picture and the word. For more advanced students, I have them use the word in a sentence. I give extra sweets if they make their own sentences.

Another game which I found useful and fun is called hot potato. You play hot potato as normal. However, when you stop the music, whoever has the ball or “potato,” needs to use a vocabulary in the sentence.

For more advanced learned, I enjoyed playing 21 questions. I gave them a list of potential questions and ten to fifteen minutes to think of some more questions. They asked and tried to guess which key vocabulary word I was thinking about. As the students improved, I had students come up and pick the secret word.

As you can see, I just take basic games that we love to play and add a spin of language with it. The students in China highly enjoy learning through interactive methods. I know from experience, mainly older teachers are still using drill-and-kill methods and it is very hard for the children to love school.

TIMESAVERS for specializes in printable, often-used classroom forms, report card comments, spelling activities, practical teacher tools, worksheets and downloadable teaching materials designed to save teachers valuable time.


Would You Go Back Again?

In a heartbeat! There are some flaws in rural China, but I loved the celebrity status in these parts you get. Remember, many Chinese people have never seen or interacted with a foreigner, so it is very intriguing to them. I had many children asks me for pictures in supermarkets.  However, when I was in Beijing, no one cared that I wasn’t Chinese.

  • Interaction with Chinese students
  • Fun life experiences
  • Can save money
  • Living in another completely different part of the world
  • Locals are extremely friendly
  • Locals love when you try to learn Mandarin
  • In smaller cities, children use the street as a bathroom
  • Squatty potties
  • Loud spitting noises
  • Personal Space Issues

Ways To Get You To China

  1. Worldteach
  2. TeachAnywhere
  3. TIEonline
  4. TeachAway
  5. Search Associates
  6. Impact Teachers
  7. Ready to Teach
  8. Premier TEFL
  9. Love TEFL


Recruitment Agencies Worry Me, What Else Can I Do?

Other ways is to google for bilingual and international schools in China.

For example, these are the international schools in Beijing. I took this list from Wikipedia.

I sometimes research a city I want to teach at and apply directly to the school. Most of these schools will ask to apply through other means such as TIEonline or other application processes. During the interview process, you can tell a lot about a school if they are forward with the package and information they provide you.


Would You Go To China?

Want to be a blogger and earn extra income? Join in on the fun!



2 thoughts on “How to Teach English In China- Simple First Steps

  1. Leo

    It is always interesting if you can live in a different culture and especially more so when you are teaching English in the land of the Chinese! English is definitely uncommon in China, I have been there several times and despite the drastic major improvement made over the last ten years, there is still a large bulk of citizens who are still unwilling to learn English. Great work Kristina, hope to bump into you in China when I visit there (but it’s just so impossible as China is so damn huge, we know, haha)

    1. Kristina Hines

      I loved my time in China. I know many people did not want to learn but generally they were older or they knew that they were a farmer. I taught those kids and through games and laughter, I changed a few of their minds. It was hard work but at least they had a bit of fun during the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *