Thinking about escaping the boredom and mundane-ness of your home town, village or city? But not sure where to go? Here’s a piece on how YOU can move to the skyscraping metropolis of Hong Kong and teach English! A quick guide to teaching English in Hong Kong, all from four years of my personal experience living and breathing in the Kong where I worked as an English teacher in kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools and to many private adult and teenage clients.
First things first – what do you need to teach English in Hong Kong?
Let’s go for 3 easy answers:
1. English to be your main/native language (even this is NOT essential as I found out – met Spanish, Peruvian, German and Austrian guys all teaching English here!).
2. Be enthusiastic.
3. Be legally allowed in the country.
Do you need anything else? Not really. I had the above 3 the day I started teaching English in Hong Kong and that was enough, I’d say the most important one was number two – BE ENTHUSIASTIC. That’s how I got the job, I was eager to teach, I was enthusiastic and I showed I wanted to work hard and do the job. In fact showing enthusiasm is pretty much something you should have for any job interview, hence how I have managed to live away from my home country for 10 years now: my travel timeline. I’d also recommend buying Matt’s e-Book on How to Teach English Overseas! This is a detailed expert guide delivered straight to your inbox.
I’m sharing with you an overview here of the ins and outs of the job, and a general impression of what it is like to teach English out here in Hong Kong, easily one of the most liveable places in Asia for a foreigner. If you’re thinking about moving to Hong Kong to teach English – what’s stopping you? It’s a great place to live and work. You can e-mail me or comment below.
I have experience of teaching English to children and adults. I have taught children on three levels:
Hong Kong is littered with Primary Schools. They are immaculate. Neat, clean, tidy and all consist of at least a few floors. There is a constant need for Native English Speakers. Hong Kong is a global city and lives up to its promise. Local families want their children to be successful globally and the old ideals of sticking to Chinese and simply embracing their own country’s culture are changing. The children and adults in Hong Kong want and need to learn English. The children actually enjoy it.
A typical Hong Kong Primary School will consist of over 30 classrooms. You will more than likely be assigned to one classroom with the children coming to your room.
You have all the materials you need provided. The Primary schools in Hong Kong are extremely well equipped. Photocopiers, air conditioning, books, blackboards, pens, chalk, computers, internet, teaching materials. They have everything you need here. And if you do happen to get thirsty in the heat, schools even have their own drinks machines (which accept Octopus cards for purchases).
The rate of pay is excellent and varies depending on the school. You can live a luxury lifestyle on what you can earn out here in Hong Kong. All of my Primary School work has been through an agency, and through them I have worked in 6 different Primary Schools, the main one being St. Francis of Assisis Primary School in Shek Kip Mei. The standard of the pupils there is high.
I have taught a range of topics from Classroom Phonics to Cambridge English (Starters, Movers, Flyers) to even Interview Techniques and Extensive English Courses. The children’s behaviour is generally impeccable, especially if you come from a place like Northern Ireland.
The materials for teaching are all provided and the teaching hours are regular and consistent.
My main job has been working in Kindergartens, the Primary Schools have been extra work for me away from my normal contract. This proves there is also an abundance of part-time English teaching to be had in Hong Kong. If you fancy working full time in a Hong Kong Primary School, I have friends who have done that for a few years and love it – salary increases year on year and they become eligible for some additional money towards accomodation due to the fact they are living away from their natural home.
Please note that this type of work is aimed at Caucasian people only – local Asian English teachers are not in a niche. It’s the “western face” that most agencies look for! As racist as that sounds!
So in short, if you’re thinking about teaching English in Hong Kong – go and do it. You’ll earn good money, have decent students, all equipment provided and enjoy the vibrancy of living in Hong Kong.
How much can you earn? – 20,000 HKD per month and above.
What Visas do you need? –
If you’re under 30 and come from one of the listed countries, you can secure a one year Working Holiday Visa for Hong Kong. Read my full guide to getting a working holiday visa for Hong Kong.
If you’re British you can go there as a tourist and stay for 6 months (180 days). If you’re sponsored by a company they sometimes offer to sponsor your working visa (normally 1 year)
When to go? – Hong Kong term times generally begin in September, so arrival in the Kong in July and August gives you plenty of time to scout about for a teaching job.
What qualifications do you need? – a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and a University Degree certainly help your cause though in some cases neither may be totally essential. You can just “wing it”.
Where to live? – To start with you could try staying in the notorious Chung King Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui (which despite having the word mansion in its title, is hardly The Ritz) – once you get a network of friends, flat shares can easily be organised. Your schools or agencies may be able to help with setting up your accomodation. Gumtree is also very reliable and I often use it for sourcing new flats.
Good social life? – You bet – there are hoardes of foreigners and locals mixing here on nights out, particularly in Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui!! It’s not cheap but if you want to party at weekends in the Kong you most certainly can!
Anything to do? Are you kidding!! Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant, busy and diverse cities in the world. It has hiking, biking, shopping, drinking, eating and fishing. Even if you do get bored, Macao is only an hour away on the ferry and is a hot bed for Casinos, while Hong Kong of course borders China!
Anything else you need to know? Well you might have guessed I’m a very approachable, people person so if you have any questions on travel, teaching, the Kong etc. just e-mail me – jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net, or get connected through my social networks:
– Like Don’t Stop Living on Facebook
– Subscribe to Don’t Stop Living videos on YouTube
– StumbleUpon Don’t Stop Living
– Follow Don’t Stop Living on Twitter
– Buy the book “How to Teach English Overseas”
In the meantime, enjoy my website, enjoy life and don’t stop living!!