My last trip to China, I was surprised by the opportunities to make money teaching English.
I have been there multiple times now, since my wife is Chinese.
But this past trip, I was approached multiple times on the street asking if I was an English teacher.
One woman approached my wife and I, and offered me $30 per hour to teach English. We asked when did the class start? She said in 20 minutes!
Turns out her regular teacher flaked on her and she was desperate.
We were on vacation and I didn’t really want to work, but I thought what the hell, I will check it out, I had never done this before.
The woman had just started a new school and had new kids to teach. Asked what she wanted me to teach and it was ridiculously basic. There was no reason a Chinese person with basic English couldn’t teach this to a Chinese child.
But it is all about the prestige of having a genuine foreigner teach your child English.
Your passport will dictate your level of prestige and how much money you can expect.
People from western English speaking countries could expect to earn the most.
I met a fellow from Africa teaching English, but I don’t think he was making anywhere what they were offering me.
I was under the impression from previous trips to my wife’s hometown that I could make $1000/month which may be a lot compared to the locals salaries, but it is a waste of time compared to my salary back home.
The key is which city you go to. My wife’s hometown is a second tier major city, population of 6 million.
First tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc. have lots of foreigners and you probably won’t make as much.
But second tier cities, like the capitals of the different Chinese provinces, there are far fewer foreigners and your prestige value will be much higher.
You should apply for a work visa if you plan on going. I didn’t have a work visa, but they were quite happy to pay me under the table.
That job actually never happened for me because the kids flaked too. So any Chinese visa officers reading this, I didn’t work and didn’t break my visa.