Tips for Teaching English in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an attractive destination for prospective English teachers. It was once a British colony and still is more Western in nature than many places in the region, which can provide expats with an easier transition to life abroad than they would have if they were headed anywhere else in Asia. After all, you don’t really have to speak the local languages here in order to be understood. And, like most places in the region, the students also tend to be well-behaved and respectful.
Although the schedule isn’t particularly demanding, teaching English in Hong Kong is still close to a full-time job. Teachers will need about 25 to 30 hours per week to conduct their lessons and around 10 hours per week to do their lesson planning, depending on where they end up teaching. Sick days and public holidays are mandated by law. However, teachers probably won’t be able do much exploring outside their assigned city, unless they don’t mind fighting the holiday crowds in various spots.
Hong Kong is also a good option if you’re hoping to save a little cash. After all, teachers in Hong Kong can generally save around $500 per month if they are careful with their spending habits. Monetary bonuses are also common around the holidays. In some instances, accommodations and airfare will even be included in your employment package. Or there might be a stipend tacked on to help pay for housing. Just be sure that you do your research in this regard, because finding a place to stay in Hong Kong can be quite costly.
There are plenty of teaching jobs available in Hong Kong. However, there is a lot of demand for these positions and one-year contracts are common, making it somewhat problematic for travelers who don’t want to stay in the country for long periods of time. Prospective employees will also need to be fluent in English and need to have a 4 year college degree. You will need a work visa and possibly a Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL or TESOL) certificate. However, the latter requirement can be avoided if you have already had two years of prior experience teaching English as a foreign language.
Most job interviews are conducted via Skype and/or over the phone prior to one’s arrival in the country, which is great if you don’t have the means to get to Hong Kong to search for a job. It’s best to start looking around the Chinese New Year in February, when there’s a good selection of employment opportunities and enough time to sort out the paperwork before the next term starts.
Prospective employees should be aware that most jobs working with young children are generally held by female teachers and make their plans accordingly. Travelers approaching the local retirement ages of 60 for men and 55 for women may additionally find it hard to obtain a post here, because there is a preference for younger workers. However, it’s still possible for these individuals to find jobs in the area.
Good luck and happy travels!
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