[photopress:Sara_Moss__English_degree.jpg,full,alignright]Amy Johnson graduated with a degree in education and then came to Harbin, in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, to teach English.
Amy, who now teaches at Telford Bilingual and International Kindergarten in Beijing, said, ‘I think it’s probably the easiest job for a foreigner to get, especially since everyone in Beijing is trying to learn English with the Olympics coming. Even if I quit my job today, I think I could find another job at the end of the day.’
The wide availability of jobs across China usually means that anyone — even those without teaching experience, training or a degree in a related field — can find a school or recruiter to make them an offer.
Some foreign language experts and observers believe the industry is in critical need of government intervention to impose a minimum standard for foreign English teachers.
There are no reliable statistics, but some published reports put the number of foreign teachers across China in the thousands. Most come from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia.
Critics say most teachers are dedicated, career-oriented and experienced, but the growing industry could become disreputable unless it’s standardized. And English teachers have become the subject of hot debate on websites and blogs and among college instructors and Chinese students.
Yang Changju, director of the cultural and educational experts department at the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said that the administration is working with the Ministry of Education to develop a qualification system for foreign language teachers in China to better regulate the market.