Teaching English in Hong Kong.
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Teaching English in Hong Kong can be a very memorable experience that you will never forget!


My neighbour's daughter, Joyce, is currently teaching in Hong Kong and I had the opportunity to interview her (via email) about it. Here are her answers to my questions.

My Question:

What did you do to find a job teaching english overseas? Did you investigate or consider any other locations besides Hong Kong?

Joyce's Answer:

Initially in my search I looked at the websites for different schools and then sent in my resume. One of the schools then had their recruiter contact me. The school did not have any openings for me, but the recruiter informed me that another school he recruited for had openings and asked if I was interested. I replied yes, and was interviewed by the other school.

I did not really consider any other places besides HK. My main interest and goal was to go to HK because I have family and friends here and knew that I would not be completely on my own if I came here.

My Question:

Language Issues - Did you have any problems speaking with the local people in English? Did many of them speak English? How did you communicate with them otherwise? How much English did your students speak? What about the other teachers, did they speak English too?

Joyce's Answer:

Since I was born in HK and speak Chinese, language is not really an issue for me. Most of the people do not seem to speak English (very well) but in some areas there are more English-speakers as well as Westerners.

The school I teach at is a bilingual school, so teaching is conducted in both Chinese and English. Some of the students speak English very well while others have not had much exposure to English and do not comprehend it very well.

It is the same with the Chinese teachers, some of them are able to comprehend and communicate in English while others have a much harder time. And of course with the other English teachers communicating in English is not an issue.

My Question:

Can you briefly describe your typical day teaching English in Hong Kong? What could or did you do on the weekends?

Joyce's Answer:

English teachers are required to be at school from 8:15 to 4:45. The day is typically split into morning session and afternoon session. Each session is three hours.

The morning session officially starts at 8:45, but students start arriving at 8:25. The afternoon session officially starts at 1:00 but students start arriving at 12:40.

There is also the option of teaching on Saturdays to earn some extra money, but I prefer to have the whole weekend to rest and relax.

My Question:

Income - What currency were you paid in? How frequently did you get paid? Can you give us some idea of the typical pay for different types (senior vs junior) of teachers, or did everyone get paid about the same? Was there any vacation or vacation pay during or after the contract was over?

Joyce's Answer:

I am paid in HK dollars once a month. The school has a salary grid to determine pay based on your qualifications and years experience. There is one month paid vacation during the summer.

My Question:

Contract - Did you have to sign one and for how long are the contracts? Are there different length contracts? Is there a bonus when you complete your contract?

Joyce's Answer:

I signed a two-year contract. I believe there is a bonus when the contract is completed.

My Question:

Cost of living - Did you have to find your own living accommodations or was one provide(teacher's quarter's etc)? Did you buy and cook your own food or was there a cafeteria or did you usually go out to restaurants? Compared to what your income was, how expensive is the food at restaurants or that you bought yourself?

Joyce's Answer:

Living accommodations are not provided. Right now I am living with relatives and have plans to find a place with a friend for next year.

The price of food depends on what you want to eat. Chinese food is usually very cheap but if you want Western food it is much more expensive.

My Question:

Medical - Was any type of insurance provided or did you have to pay for? Did you need to get any shots beforehand?

Joyce's Answer:

Insurance was provided. I did not get any shots beforehand.

My Question:

What countries did many of the other teachers come from?

Joyce's Answer:

The organization has English teachers from many parts of the world. Many of them are from Europe and North America.

Joyce's answers to my questions about teaching English in Hong Kong are based on her experiences at her school. She pointed out that she was not sure what the conditions are like at other schools in Hong Kong.

Teaching English in Hong Kong at other schools may differ in the things they offer, the programs they provide, and the way they operate.

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