The schools we work with provide the most lucrative compensation packages in the industry. Live great and save extra money!

Learn More 

Most options

Great schools nationwide with options for Professional, Experienced and beginner teachers in almost every subject!

Learn More

Outstanding Support

A personal placement consultant as your sole point of contact through the whole process.

Learn More

top rated

So you are contemplating an EFL teaching job or even better, have been offered one!  For many of us 21st century people, the next step is to research your school and where better to look than online forums.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negativity out there!  So, here’s where I want to caution you on what I call the Web MD effect: diagnosing an illness based on apparent symptoms.  What could I possibly know about any of this?  Well, I have been a teacher for many years including U.S. public school, and so my … gibberish … detector is pretty strong.  So read on, to see the true, the false, and the meaning of it all.

Many negative posts are written by fired teachers

While researching a school, I came across an EFL teacher who had only hateful things to say about his former school.  After a bit of inquiry into this former teacher, I found out that he was fired from the job for showing up for class after having been drinking.  Seriously?  Any teacher, anywhere, should be fired for that transgression.  Reasons include that you will not be able to give good quality lessons, and you are being a bad influence on your students.  But in my opinion, the main reason is you are responsible for the students you are teaching.  If you were impaired even the slightest, what would happen in an emergency?  As a teacher, your job is to protect your students, and there is no way you could ever do that. Another reason for negative posts from a teacher is because they got in trouble for showing up late.  It’s a big deal.  You are responsible for your students.  If you aren’t there, who is in charge? Reading the review for what it says vs. what it means. Of the biggest complaints I see on the forums about teaching abroad are salary, student behavior, and treatment of teachers by the school.  Let’s individually address:


I’m sure you will realize that the amount of money earned at some schools seems less than what you could make working, or even teaching, elsewhere.  Fact is, you can live very well in China with EFL teaching.  Think about where your money will go, and how your salary matches cost of living.  Trust me when I say you can stretch your hard-earned money here much farther than you can in other places.  Many EFL positions will offer either housing or stipend to put towards an apartment.  Even if they don’t, however, housing is inexpensive enough that you can find a place that is clean, safe, spacious and worth your money.  Need transportation?  Many jobs offer a service, and let’s not forget about the superb subway and bus systems that crisscross the cities.  None of these options are expensive.  All of them are worth it.  Additionally, I cannot begin to go on about how you can eat well for very little money.  In fact, just today a friend was raving to me about the delicious, filling breakfast she ate for 3 RMB (about USD $0.50!!!) While saving a bundle, your salary can ensure a fantastic lifestyle, complete with travel.

Poor Student Behavior

Whenever I see this complaint on forums, I laugh.  There is a behavioral standard that EFL teachers expect their students to have, especially over here in China.  Newsflash: kids are kids everywhere.  What I mean by this is, some days, your students will be angelic.  Other days?  Absolute terrors.  Often there will be no perceivable reason for this.  But it’s a fact of life.  Kids can be affected by something you don’t realize: from not having enough breakfast, to having an issue with a friend, to their sneakers being too tight!  Kids may have negative reactions to other parts of their day during your class.  It happens.

Treatment of Teachers

Earlier, I mentioned behaviors of teachers that can get them fired.  I want to go back to these a little bit, just to, again, reiterate that no matter where you work, if your boss were to catch you drinking alcohol while working or showing up late habitually, they will not be pleased.  They may yell.  They may not be as respectful.  They may let you go.  Just because you are providing a service abroad does not mean you have the right to act unprofessionally.  

Another complaint I see has to do with your employer being considered rude.  This is a common issue in EFL teaching when working in a Chinese-run school.  I think the main way not to feel insulted is just to keep in mind that communication and mannerisms are different here.  Also, don’t forget that your employer is speaking to you in English, which is not his/her first language, and therefore, may come across as abrupt, brusque, or impolite.  Try to listen more to what is being said than the inflection, and gather the message. If you are unsure, speak up to confirm.

I also observed EFL teachers feeling frustrated for being denied the allowance to teach from their own materials.  Some did anyway, and faced consequences.  Getting in trouble for this is not your boss being unjust.  Schools often have set curriculum that is expected to be followed.  This is true in schools the world over.  If this is how yours works, then you have to deal with it.  However, when you complete your contract and if you feel your top priority is an ability to utilize your own materials, then look for a school that allows it.  Don’t forget, when speaking with a school about an EFL job, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.  It’s okay to ask a question like that!  

In closing, I think it is important to be careful what you read.  So often, people will post negative reviews.  They are looking for a place to vent, and you just happened to read it.  Instead, ask the school if you can speak to other EFL teachers who are currently employed there.  Use your intuition when speaking to them.  In all honesty, what you hear will differ from the negative comments you read.


Written by:  Eileen Belluscio

Our blog

Teaching in Prison

Teaching in Prison

  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use...

22 Jul 2020

Teaching in a Hagwon - Things to Know

Teaching in a Hagwon - Things to…

  Depending on your experience with teaching English in South Korea,...

29 Jun 2020

Reverse Culture Shock - Expectations and Coping

Reverse Culture Shock - Expectations and Coping

  Whether you've already started considering the effects that reverse culture...

25 Jun 2020

Transferring Money From China to a Foreign Country

Transferring Money From China to a Foreign Country

  Many foreign teachers working in China are able to save a substantial...

08 Jun 2020

Coping with Culture Shock while Abroad

Coping with Culture Shock while Abroad

While you're preparing to move abroad for the first time,...

11 May 2020

Useful Phone Numbers in China

Useful Phone Numbers in China

  Moving to a new foreign country can be a great...

07 Apr 2020

Moving to China To-Do List

Moving to China To-Do List

  Moving to another country can be intimidating, so here is...

25 Mar 2020

How I Got Started Teaching English Online

How I Got Started Teaching English Online

  Learn what it's like being an online ESL teacher, how...

24 Mar 2020

Happy Teaching Nomads

  • Kimmi, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Kimmi, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I truly appreciate all the work that Teaching Nomad did upon arriving to Shanghai. Teaching Nomad helped with everything else once I landed, from paperwork to directions. Everyone at the agency is wonderful and extremely helpful and welcoming.
  • Rafael, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Rafael, USA Placed in Shanghai

    Teaching Nomad was by far the easiest process I have gone through. I was able to get all the information I needed to continue with the job application. It was quick, efficient, friendly, and effective (I got the job).
  • Andrew, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Andrew, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I didn't know what professionalism was until I started working with Teaching Nomad. They have always responded to my questions and comment promptly and in a friendly manner. With Teaching Nomad I have truly found my dream contract.
  • Elsie,SA  Placed in Shanghai

    Elsie,SA Placed in Shanghai

    Teaching Nomad helped me at a time in my life when I needed to make a positive career move. They helped me find a position in which I feel challenged, motivated and where I have the opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge as a teacher.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Teaching Nomad is your connection to teaching in Asia & The Middle East! We are a western owned and operated teacher placement agency with offices in Denver & Shanghai. We take a lot of pride in connecting teachers with great teaching opportunities.


Jobs on WeChat

wechat QR code

Reviewed on Go Overseas


Contact Us

  North Zhongshan Road No. 2000, Zhongqi Bldg., Suite 2501, Putuo District, Shanghai, PRC 200063

  3401 Quebec Street, Suite 9150, Denver, Colorado, 80207

 (+86) 21-8025-3905

 (+1) 720-531-6136

Authentications Hours:
8am - 5pm MST
Monday - Friday



Recover your password

Send us your email and we will send you instructions to reset your password

If you remember your password

*Required fileds