When you arrive you will be provided with accommodations for your first 30 days. Generally it is an apartment style hotel or weekly furnished residence. Then we will help you to find a place during your first month.
These example teacher apartments cost around 2000 RMB per month. If you want something in a more posh area or you want a number of rooms, then the price goes higher. Larger cities, like Beijing, would be more but also have more options for foreign teachers and for sharing.
Some teachers also get a roommate to save money and sometimes that may be an option as well.
China holds a history going back 5,000 years. Whether you want to learn Mandarin, history, travel the world or be a part of the future, China is the place you want to be. China has long been looked at as third world by the west through the media and views of communism.
After spending time in China, people will clearly tell you that it is far from that. In many ways, China’s development exceeds the west and is safer than most American cities. It is the new land of opportunity and exciting exploration.
No, you do not need to speak Chinese in order to teach in China with us. The classroom environment is 100% English only. However, we encourage our teachers to learn some Chinese if they are interested in doing so. It is quite useful in everyday life. There will be many opportunities to practice Chinese in the cities where we teach. We will be able to help you with find lessons and resources for learning quickly. To start, one popular study site is www.chinesepod.com. Depending on the interest of teachers, some locations also set up Chinese lesson groups for the teachers.
There is only one currency inside the mainland. RMB, REMINBI, YUAN, KUAI; these are all basically the same thing.
This really depends on the lifestyle you live. As accommodations are provided, Chinese locals live off an average 2500 RMB per month, which means eating local food (rice, noodles, vegetables, fruit), western food once and a while, a foot massage here and there, taking a taxi when you need it, etc. The average foreigner can live a comfortable life with 6000 RMB, but if you are into designer shopping or want to drive a nice car, send your children to international schools, etc. then you would need a lot more. Compared to cities like Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou, the money goes much further.
Although this may change, currently taxes are 9% and health insurance fee payment by the teacher is 200 rmb (20%). Approximate water and electricity is 250 rmb per month. One month of internet for your apartment is around 110 rmb (you have to pay some fixed costs for the wifi/internet set up). Phone depends on your plan, it is cheaper than most western countries though.
In China, many teachers are expected to stay later without overtime pay. For M.E.F. teachers, we do things differently. We try to make everything as transparent as possible. Instead of just telling a teacher that they need to work a later shift, we make it clear for them and break them into three different schedule categories with different payments. Meaning that the teachers that are expected to work a later shift or work a Saturday morning, are paid more. All teachers have the same total maximum number of inclass hours but when the schedule is split more or weekends come into play, we make sure those teachers are paid more.
Here are the three different schedules: (remember there is an additional accommodation amount paid on top of these salaries, plus bonuses)
Schedule A is the same as Schedule B except it includes Saturday morning or full day Saturday work. Sundays off. In the case Schedule A staff works a half day Saturday, they are given another half day off during the week, in the case they work a full day Saturday, they are given a full day off during the week.
All schedules are for 30 teaching hours/week. Schedule B is a Monday to Friday position. Schedule A and B includes more split shifts (morning and evening work with larger breaks in the afternoon). Schedule A and B teachers generally need more time for preparation.
All schedules are for 30 teaching hours/week. For example, Schedule C teachers starting work at 8:30am, finish working by 4:30pm (no Saturdays or evenings). Monday to Friday position.
Teachers may also be required to join occasional meetings, school event planning, playground time and saying hello and/or good-bye to children and parents.
NOTE: We definitely try to take teacher preferences on which pay schedule is preferred. Even if teachers work some evening shifts their schedule cannot go over 30 teaching hours per week. Most of the teachers would be in schedule B with some split shifts. In many cases (in other companies) there are teachers that prefer to work some extra hours or some work on Saturday morning for extra money, so in the case with the M.E.F. payment schedule system, the teacher would get a higher rate and they still do not need to work more than the maximum 30 teaching hours per week.
This system is set up for clarity for the teachers and to make for a fair system.
When M.E.F. is hiring for multiple locations, will I have a choice in which location I will go to?
We definitely take preferences and try to accommodate to the best of our ability.
For example, some teachers would love to live in a tropical Island like Hainan (Haikou), while other people may feel that it would be too hot.
Some people love the nature of Hangzhou while other people don’t have as much interest. We try our best to match teachers with their preference and also work together with the areas and availability.
Some kindergartens also have playground English or group activities with multiple classes once or twice a day and teacher’s are also asked to run these activities with the help of other teachers. Most homeroom classes in China are around 30 students. Some less, some more.
For the morning/full class program, there is generally around 30 students in each class between the ages of 2.5 to 6. Our teacher is the head and the focus of the children as the teacher directs and teaches the class. Although some homeroom teachers are more helpful than others, each class has a homeroom teacher in there to help with playing music, being the example for games, helping children to participate, handling small or big accidents if they were to happen.
The M.E.F. program has a very well laid out program with a long history. It offers a lot of fun and is easy to get into. It is high energy and comparatively repetitive making it possible for teachers to learn what we do well and see their skills grow quickly. If you have not seen the M.E.F. video, then it is best to go to the main page and watch the video. The M.E.F. core program is what teachers are trained on.
M.E.F. teaches the core training and teachers are expected to also learn from, and adjust what they teach, depending on the kindergarten’s preferences.
The M.E.F. system consists of mainly vocabulary flashcards, songs and dances, games and races, and conversational phrases and goals.
Teachers arrive up to a week before starting the position for training.
Training is broken up into:
Many teachers start without prior experience controlling a kindergarten class, but after a number of classes teachers are usually always able to adapt, get comfortable and enjoy their lessons.
Each schedule is different and it will depend where you decide to live. Generally teachers try to live as close as possible to different kindergartens, but then some teachers also take a preference over being closer to friends or closer to the city, subway, etc. so there is a balance.
Generally teachers should expect to be inside a bus or metro for at least 30 minutes. Some locations might require that you are on public tranportation for 15 to 20 minutes, while others may require around 40 or even 45 minutes on public transit.
Living in a big city any where in the world, one should expect some commuting. Many teachers find this the perfect time to study Chinese.
Generally teachers will not need to travel more than an hour to get to any of their kindergartens. It is a balance though. Usually, if there is a teacher with a school that is farther, we make sure other schools are closer, etc.
We offer two weeks paid vacation every year during Chinese Spring Festival, one week paid vacation in October, all Chinese official holidays, and two weeks unpaid summer vacation.
Generally the whole process takes 1 to 2 months.
Teachers must have their Z-Visa before they go to China. We help you to get the Z-Visa. The costs for processing inside China, courier costs of sending the documents to you, and your residency permit inside China will be covered by the company. Teachers need to pay the costs of their Physical Exam/Blood Test (if there is a fee charged by their doctor), fees for getting documents notarized/authenticated, passport photos, and the fee charged by the Chinese visa processing office in their country when they put the visa in your passport.
First, we will sign a contract with you for the position.
Next, we will send you the details for applying for your work permit:
Copies of these are sent to us by e-mail. (The original physical exam documents need to be shown once you arrive in China)
The Work Permit will then be processed in China. (This generally takes a week or two)
As this is immigration, police and government, they are always able to request more documents during the process and this can delay the processing time.
Once the work permit is ready, we will send it to you by courier (with tracking).
Once you receive these, you will visit your nearest China Visa processing office in your country. Most can process the visa as quickly as 24 hours if needed, but the general process is 3 or 4 business days.
For this you will need:
The visa processing office will give you a temporary visa (usually it is good for the first month you are inside China). Once you get to China, you will visit the hospital for any further testing needed, and we will bring you to the different government offices in order to apply for the residency permit. The residency permit is good for usually the period of the contract and has multiple entries (you can leave and go back into China during that period).
Note: Like any government visa processes, these can change at any time. This information was updated on March 28th, 2017.
The standard contract will run until the end of the following August. Which means that if you are hired to start September 1st, it would be a 1 year contract. If you are hired to start earlier, in the year, then it would be one year plus a number of months. At the end of the contract, we generally offer new contracts to teachers that have worked well with the company, so long term employment is possible.
When entering or being at kindergartens, all teachers are required to wear the company t-shirts that we provide. In the case it is colder, these t-shirts can go over your own long sleeve shirts. Casual pants, khakis, comfortable sports pants or normal length shorts are all appropriate.
Wearing a suit or dress (unless it is a special event) would be too formal and not appropriate. On the opposite end wearing jeans, short shorts or pants with rips in them would be too casual or inappropriate as well. For women we would strongly advise against wearing a skirt or even dresses while teaching.
This is really a matter of preference. Not all food will match a teacher’s preferences but most teachers are amazed at the options and are able to definitely find enough tasty dishes that they can enjoy. The menus are generally three or four times the size of what would be normal in western countries. Rice, noodles, vegetables, and meat are generally what is available in most Chinese restaurants with many different varieties and flavors to explore. There are also things like pizza, bread and western or foreign food options, which are usually not too hard to find.
Teachers will not be staying in any poverty-type regions of China. Most teachers are surprised how modern China has become and it would probably be 50/50 on whether extra vaccinations are needed above what most advanced countries already require everyone to have. That said, to be safe, please check health websites for the latest updates or recommendations on vaccinations before coming to China.
Most people do not. This depends on what you bring with you. The voltage is 220V in China. Generally all new computers and most electronics will have 100 to 220V input written on them. The plugs in China generally allow you to use different/all ends, but North American teachers may have a three-prong plug that needs an extension that can easily be bought here in China for a few dollars.
Arriving with some cash is advised. Generally $500 or $600 worth of RMB would be enough.
This is generally enough for most teachers spending habits before they get their salary. That said, for comfort and peace of mind, we suggest making sure your debit card works at ATMs in China. Most banks cards are compatible.
Credit cards can be used in some places but generally cash is accepted more in China.
The standard company payment system in China is monthly between the 10th and the 15th of the month. This means that you will receive money for the first week of month-end training (if your training period is the last week of the month), by the 15th of the following month.
To set up the bank account in China, you need to have the residency permit. When you arrive they will bring you to the different offices and do more paperwork for that. (Generally it takes around a month to get the residency permit). Once you have that, the Chinese office staff will bring the new teachers to the bank to help them set up the account. The current teachers are using the Bank of China.
Due to the delay, your first payment from the company would normally be in cash.
Yes, BUT there are VPNs that seem to work well so that teachers can easily use their computers and phones for all of the apps and sites that they are used to. The price seems to be around $100 per year. We can help you set that up.
Without the VPN you will generally have issues with anything google, dropbox, facebook, messenger, youtube, netflix, and many of websites that wont come up.
The most problems teachers have had is with android phones (google play store doesn’t work for downloading even the VPN app) and some problems downloading the VPN on Windows computers. It is fine to wait until you arrive in China if you prefer, but some teachers will recommend that you download and install your VPN before arriving to China.
VPNs are not all the same. If you want to download before arriving, let us know and we can recommend what is currently working best for the teachers.
Here are the requirements we have for our teaching position:
Some Chinese companies put age the max. age restriction of 34 years of age, as the visa is more difficult to get if you are older. This is case by case, and not official, but if you are older you may want to choose a different country with lower visa restrictions.
First, check that you meet the requirements written above under “Am I qualified to teach at M.E.F.?”.
Next, please record a one-minute video introducing yourself, any related experience and why you are interested in teaching children in China. (Computer may be better but taking this with your phone is also fine)
Please send your resume to the contact details below. If the video file is small enough it can be sent by e-mail. If not, you can drop it into the Skype textbox, send a Dropbox file download or a Google drive download link.
M.E.F. works hard to overcome the common problems that can be found in many of the Chinese companies hiring foreign teachers.
First, our system addresses most of the common problems. We strive to offer a very clear understanding of exactly what to expect before you start, to avoid surprises.
Our teaching system makes it so there is not a need for much preparation time if any, the system allows for teachers to teach well and then go and enjoy China.
We try to separate the Chinese kindergartens from the teachers to avoid the problems most teachers have with cultural differences, misunderstandings and complications between schools and teachers. We strive to remove the complications and make it so teachers can just teach and enjoy what they do.
The kids usually love our teachers. It is not like teaching grammar or testing. Our teachers get to be the fun teachers that the kids love.
Please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be glad to answer any questions you have.
Lindsay from Canada “...I’ve been in China about a week now...I am really excited that I chose M.E.F. It has been awesome so far!”
Jay from Canada “...First, I was a bit hesitant because I could not find a lot of information...they were very helpful...everything went well...”
Ashlan and Jefferson from America "... It has been awesome. It has been so much fun. M.E.F. has taken such good care of us..."