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 http://www.chinesepod.com. Depending on the interest of teachers, some locations also set up Chinese lesson groups for the teachers.
MEF also offers free online group lessons as teachers prepare their documents. Just let us know if you would like to join the free lessons.
Do you all speak Mandarin now? Lol, I guess I’m asking, how much do you need to know in order to get around, live, etc.? And I guess also, how many of you that haven’t left yet are learning Mandarin or already know it…?
I learned everything here in China, so don’t stress over becoming a master linguist before coming. You will learn the necessities quickly. Of course if you are fluent your life here will be so easy. But the required language level is quite low.