Teach English in Suzhou
ESL Jobs in Suzhou
Suzhou is one of those cities, where you can easily find a job in education, whether it’s teaching English as a second language or subject teaching at an international school. This place offers plenty of ways to boost your curriculum while immersing yourself into the Chinese culture and cuisine.
Although jobs for foreigners in Suzhou are very diverse and always well-paid, most of the professionals from abroad seek TEFL positions, because they prove to be the most convenient, beneficial and numerous. Even in such a “small” town as Suzhou, there is no shortage for education jobs: over 150 state and private schools, plus 70 international institutions and language centers.
Many clients recommend this city as a first Chinese destination for those, who want to see what living and working here is like. It’s one of the places you can teach English abroad without certification and get the training online for free, which makes it ideal for fresh graduates without experience and enthusiastic debutants.
What Makes Suzhou Unique?
- Language: Mandarin + local dialects
- Population: 10,6 million
- Public transport: international airport, 3 main railway stations, subway (3 lines), bus routes, taxi
- Climate: subtropical with cool and relatively dry winters and warm summers
The Suzhou city is often referred to as the “Chinese Venice” as nearly 42% of its surface is covered with winding canals and waterways. Actually, it’s one of the rare places you can have a glimpse of ancient China. This 2,500-year-old town once used to be as rich and developed as Shanghai (which is very close, by the way!).
It might not be the very first one that comes up when you think about China, but it’s surely very well-known and popular among foreigners.
Here are a few reasons why living in Suzhou may make you happy:
The Suzhou climate and air quality are remarkable: there are no extremes in temperature during the year and air pollution level is low most of the time. This means fewer health risks and sinus infections even in winter. However, it’s advisable to use an air purifier at the apartment, especially if you tend to be sensitive or allergic.
Despite all the traditional culture, you won’t be overwhelmed with the Chinese language during your adaptation period, because there are lots of expats, teaching English in Suzhou. You can meet them at Western-style restaurants, bars, cinemas etc. Speak Mandarin is a useful and recommended skill, but if you don’t feel like it or you’re bad at language learning, don’t worry, you won’t feel lonely or lack for English-speaking practice.
It’s old and traditional
It’s not difficult to find traces of the past here: many old streets and buildings have kept their original aspect. This sometimes gives an impression of time traveling while taking a walk around the old city quarters.
There are over 60 local gardens, worth visiting, especially the Humble Administrator’s one. Enjoy your picnics on the bank of the enormous Taihu Lake and go on a trip on one of the fisher boats. When you live in Suzhou, China seems amazingly different from the idea you tend to get watching modern documentaries.
There is more history, tranquility, and stillness here than anywhere else. Even though it’s a tourist city, there are days, when its streets are deserted and places like Jinxi or Han Shan temple are very quiet. This town is the right place for history lovers and collectors of antiques!
A strong economy and career options
It’s easy to find jobs in Suzhou no matter how experienced you are. If you opt for a mentor career and wish to settle down here, you’ll get promoted fast to become a senior teacher or coach. After a few years of teaching som,e foreigners shift to different fields, especially those with a relevant university degree, because English speakers are in high demand everywhere.
Travel opportunities are endless
After you’ll have seen every beautiful street in the city, you’ll be able to travel outside, see water towns or go further by bullet trains or plane. Don’t forget, that Beijing is only 5 hours away and it only takes 27 minutes to get to Shanghai. Korea and Japanese destinations are not that far away either, so your days off can be as full of new experience and traveling as you prefer.
Extremely cheap living
Although it’s hard to find a really expensive place in this country, there are statistics for each big city and Suzhou is very cheap compared to many others, which makes it one of the best places to teach English abroad.
It’s 34% less expensive than Beijing or any other, so you’ll put by more. If you work in Suzhou as an English teacher, you will earn around 7,000 – 13,000 RMB ($1,000 – $2,000) monthly and be able to save at least $500 on a regular basis.
A 45m2 apartment costs around $450 per month and the rent is covered by the school, so you’ll exclude housing expenses. Average expats spend around $340 per month on food and entertainment.
It will suit your lifestyle
No matter what kind of person you are and whether you like parties or peaceful and slow life, you’ll fit in just fine. As teaching jobs for foreigners in Suzhou always give great flexibility and freedom, you’ll have enough leisure time to make friends, go out and entertain yourself.
For many people teaching English in Suzhou is an opportunity to visit China and try local food – and in fact, it’s one of the best regions to start with. As the city is situated on the lake shore, most of its specialties are fish dishes, like the squirrel-shaped mandarin fish with sweet and sour sauce or Fengzhen noodles.
They also make the traditional sweet semen Euryale soup and other tasty things. Eating out at Chinese restaurants is a great way to discover regional cuisine and to save money too because Western-style places tend to be much more expensive.
Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Suzhou
- Public institutions
- International schools
- English courses
The city is full of opportunities for those, who want to work with young learners and school children. Students, inexperienced educators, non-native and native speakers are all welcome here. Unfortunately, you can no longer start teaching English abroad without a degree – at least not in China, so you are expected to have completed a minimum of 4 years of studies in any field. Good news is that you are not obliged to be a professional teacher – a standard 120-hour TESOL/TEFL course will suffice.
There are two main options on the education job market: state schools and training centers. If you look for a vacancy for teaching English in primary schools in Suzhou, you’ll get dozens of offers, but beware, that public schools have larger numbers of students per class – 30 on average. Sometimes you get to handle groups of 50 people, which can be quite challenging!
On the other hand, in such cases, you always have a Chinese teaching assistant to help you out. This person usually becomes the very first friend of a teacher from abroad: you can practice your Mandarin with him/her, ask for everyday life tips, advice or even go out together. It makes your adaptation faster and easier.
Schedules for public school jobs in Suzhou are usually very typical: you start at 8 am and finish by 5 pm Monday-Friday and are free on weekends. Plus you have extra 15-20 days off per year when you can do whatever you like.
Language courses have limited numbers of students so you will deal with 8-20 people at once. The working time might be different and depends on the school policy and your contract: either you have days off on weekend or you work on weekends and have your days off on workweek. Another bonus is that you get to start a workday later – at around 1 pm or 3 pm.
By the way, it’s the ideal option for those foreigners who wonder ‘Is it possible to teach adults in Suzhou?’, since not everyone is good with children or likes it.
Wages differ and depend on your schedule, qualifications, and experience, and range from 7,000 RMB to 19,000RMB. Bonuses can boost your pay up to 30,000 RMB ($4,400)!
What to expect from your role as an English teacher in Suzhou
- Flexible schedule: Monday-Friday till 5 pm and weekends off / work in the afternoon + Saturday-Sunday and have days off during the week
- Around 20 hours of class work
- From 0 to 15 office hours (depends on the school where you’ll be teaching in Suzhou)
- Teach 8-20 or up to 50 students in a class
- Plan lessons
- Work together with Chinese staff
- Attend social events, meetings, training, and presentations
- Use interactive whiteboard and video during the class
- Be creative, use up-to-date approaches
- Develop speaking and listening competencies
- Provide written feedback, correct homework and tests
- Help with placement testing
Compensation and salary
As there is no fixed teaching English abroad salary, offers may vary greatly. Browsing through Suzhou teaching jobs, it’s easy to see, that wages start at 6,000 or 7,000 RMB ($900-1000) and can attain 15,000 or 19,000 RMB ($2,800) per month. Big international centers usually offer decent salaries and bonuses on top. So here is what you normally get:
- Airport pickup (before you are ready to move to Suzhou)
- Free accommodation or 2,000-3,000 RMB allowance
- Bonuses for contract renewal
- Flight reimbursement: 6,000 RMB per contract
- Monthly bonuses up to 1,000 RMB
- 12+7 (10) days of vacation per school year
- Hep with Visa application
- Health insurance for all employees
- Initial 3-day instruction
- Help with a bank account, taxes, paying bills, interacting with officials and doctors (if needed)
- Coaching, workshops, class reviews and mutual observation
- Pre-job training
- Assistance on getting any legal documents you might need
- Health insurance
- Free accommodation
- Free TEFL certification
- Workshops, class observation, and regular teacher training
- Free annual staff trips
The best part about Suzhou international school jobs is that housing is free, which means, that you get the possibility to save the extra money and spend it on travel, gifts, and delicious food. Most centers provide you with an apartment, while some give you more freedom and assure a monthly allowance of $300-$450 to help you with rent and bills.
- You get to choose the place to live in both cases. An estate agent and school assistants will assure, that you rent a cozy apartment to your taste.
- The school will deal with documents and help you arrange everything.
- If you feel like it, you can ask for a flatmate. These are usually fellow foreigners teaching English at a Chinese school you work for. It’s a great way to save a little as well.
- Apartments are usually situated in the city-center or another safe district, close to the school, local supermarkets, and some tourist attractions.
- Until you can move in, you’ll live at a hotel at the school’s expense.
Qualifications & Skills
Unlike other ESL recruitment agencies and schools, we do not require you to have a TEFL/TESOL certificate or teaching experience. If you are fluent in English and want to teach kids or adults in China, you are welcome to apply and we will find you a teaching position in more than 60 cities around China.
- No bachelor’s degree needed
- TEFL certificate (120 hours) will be a plus
- Teaching experience preferred but not required
- Ready to teach at a school in Suzhou for at least 12 months
- Native or non-native speaker/candidate with fluent English and good accent
- Team player, patient, hardworking, creative in class
Apply Now to Teach English in Suzhou
If you want more details or have decided to apply, send us the following information and we will contact you within 24 hours:
- Cover letter
- Your recent photo
- Preferences about the age of your students (if you have any)
- When you are ready to start
Apply today at [email protected] (clickable email to write us right away) or fill out the form below.