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January 3, 2019

Is Teaching English in China Finished?

Dear Aunt Elsa,

I keep reading all these articles about teaching English in China being a dead-end job, that AI will replace foreign teachers and ESL jobs are becoming harder to find. Is it true? Is my job in danger?

From – Scared of the Bots


Dear Scared of Bots,

Firstly, let’s take a nice deep breath and calm down. Most of these articles are genuine….genuine click bait that is!

The truth is that all business in China, and not just ESL teaching, is about to go through a bit of a rough patch. The Chinese economy is slowing, businesses are closing and families are looking at their budgets. The regulations in the Education market are getting tighter – and as they should. For too long the Chinese ESL market has been treated like a Wild West gold rush. Many companies that have no experience in education have loaded up a wagon full of pre-packaged textbooks, promotional backpacks and a Western faced ‘teacher’, hung out their shingle and raked in the spoils.

The Chinese Government has seen these fly by night snake oil sellers for what they are and have unloaded the regulation shotgun to bring everyone in line.

Will there be changes in the ESL market in China? Yes.

Will you be affected by it? Highly likely.

What can you do about it? Actually, there’s a great deal you can do.

  • Find out if are you working for a reputable education provider.
  • Ask to see your school’s license from the Bureau of Education. A genuine employer has no issue in providing this information.
  • Improve yourself.

The biggest step you can take is to look at yourself and your teaching. Where can you improve? Is there an additional skill set that you could be teaching or learning how to teach? Are you bringing value to your employer or are you just there for the paycheck?

And finally, China has traditionally placed a very high value on education. This is not going to change. Technology has been transforming classroom already. But teachers have always and will always be needed to provide what A.I. and technology cannot – a classroom where individuals are nurtured, valued and respected, and their differences are shown to be strengths!

Stay strong! Don’t be scared of the Bots! Learn how to program them!

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