Good Timing to Applying for International School Positions in China
There’s nothing worse than searching for a teaching job when schools aren’t really looking. If you’re putting time and energy into an application – you want to know there’s at least a potential job at the other end of it.
China has several types of teaching institutions which hire foreign teachers: primary schools up to universities, public and private schools, international schools and private education academies and training centers. Most of them run on a system of two terms per year. The fall term, which is usually the biggest time for hiring, begins late August or early September. The spring term, which brings with it slightly less hiring, begins late February or early March. There are a few exceptions to this, especially with training centers, whose hiring seasons are constant and not going to be problematic.
Public School/Private School/International Schools
A lot of times schools won’t even know how many teachers they’re going to need until they find out which of their current teachers are renewing contracts. So it’s a wise move to apply between semesters when you can. You should apply for teaching positions as early as April or May for the fall term, and as early as November for the spring term. By this time, schools have already heard from most of their teachers about whether they will return, and the hiring departments know how many teachers they have to search out. Three to four months may sound early to a lot of ears, and it is certainly possible to start finding a job later, but when you consider that you’d probably like to shop around and compare location, salary, benefits and even do a bit of negotiating, then the more time you give yourself the better. You probably don’t just want to sign a contract with the first institution that offers you one. Ideally, you want to be looking over several possible contracts, and learning more about the position and the institution itself.
Similar to the school system, large academies advise applying four months in advance also. This is not just for the sake of deciding if you want the job, but also because with a multi-franchise school you can choose which city you want to work in. Four months in advance, you may be able to choose between all of those cities as your destination. By about six seeks in advance, the pickings are slim. Academies also offer positions during winter and summer breaks, which range between six and eight weeks. Academies need fewer teachers for these shorter programs, but many local teachers choose to go out of town during this time, leaving some positions open.
While your immediate concerns may be with the time involved in researching and applying for jobs, another important factor in the hiring process is that you will need to get your work visa. This is usually shortly before the semester begins, but in some cases schools will help you get it earlier. If it’s simply a renewal, and you’re in China already, it will often take only a week. However, you should leave yourself at least two weeks just in case of bureaucratic problems, or in case a public holiday falls on a visa-processing day (as it might during Spring Festival). Getting the work visa for the first time in China can take as long as a month. At home, it generally takes two to four weeks. To avoid overstaying or other problems while acquiring your visa, make sure you have time during this period to visit the necessary offices (most of which are only open during work hours), and check to make sure public holidays won’t reduce the number of business days, making it impossible for you to get it processed in time.
If you already have a visa, you can sometimes negotiate higher salaries when applying at the last minute. The school will also be short on time, forcing them to agree to contracts they would’ve turned down several months out. This is obviously a dicey tactic, especially when it involves a move, and can result in complications on the visa front.
After all, early start will definitely give you more options. It will also allow you to review more schools, examine more contracts and compare more offers. You may already be very confident in your credentials, but with the added advantage of proper timing, you’re in an ideal position when it comes to landing the right job and the best salary.
Don’t hesitate to register and fill your profile in toptutorjob, you will soon have an assigned recruiter who will help you to make your job seeking much easier and remind you of the best timing of application for teaching jobs in China.