Career Advice Education and Training

Things No One Tells You About Teaching English in Hong Kong

Published on Saturday, 14 May 2016

By now, many people have heard of the lucrative opportunities that teaching abroad in cosmopolitan cities like Hong Kong can offer. The prospects open include making high wages, the chance of a lifetime to live and explore a new part of the world, and to make a positive impact on young minds. However, what gets little mention are some of the less positive aspects of an  English teaching job search in Hong Kong. To help future English teachers get a broader picture of what it’s really like to search for an English teaching job in Hong Kong, here are some things to keep in mind. 

The job search can, and probably will, take time. It doesn’t matter what type of English teaching role you are looking to apply for, or what certifications or experience you may have, every job application process takes time, even, or perhaps especially English teaching. Education is a booming industry in Hong Kong that has created a job market that is extremely saturated. The result is a long and exhaustive selection process for the right teachers who can appeal to both the school and the parents. If the job search is taking longer than you anticipated, don’t lose hope. Follow up with your interviewer to remind them of your interest in the role, and reiterate how your skills align with their requirements.  To help your resume, consider obtaining a teaching certification. If you already have one, you may want to broaden your job search parameters and think about teaching and applying to a wider variety of institutions.

Uncertainty and sadness. During the long job search process, it’s very common to feel down about yourself and doubt your abilities as an English teacher and your strength as a candidate. Don’t let the feeling consume you. Continue to pursue your dream and think of different ways you can get the job. Remember to take a break from the hustle from time to time. Taking your mind off the job search to do what you enjoy is important to keep your spirits up. The key is to remain positive and yet, realistic. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and work to improve them.  If you feel your teaching experience has gaps, do some research or a short education course. If you feel your resume could be improved, try something different and develop a video resume. If you think you just need more exposure for your teaching career, enlist the help of your friends and network to expand your reach. 

Anxiety over your interview. You spend so much time fretting over not getting a call for an interview and when you finally do, you’re suddenly filled with stress. Getting the interview is the first major step in the right direction and you it’s normal to feel the pressure  to perform perfectly to show how great a candidate you are for the English teaching position of your dreams. Don’t let the pre-interview jitters get the best of you. Go over some common interview questions and practice your responses until you feel comfortable with your answers and your ability to deliver them. 

Deciding if the job is right for you. And when you’ve aced your interview and received a job offer , there is another decision to be made. While your initial reaction may be to accept the offer immediately because you want the job search to be over, keep in mind that no matter how certain you may behave been that a particular school is the right choice for you, you should always consider the offer carefully. Is this institution truly a right fit? Can you see yourself happy teaching English here? Does the school’s methodology align with your ideas on education and learning? If the answers to these questions are not favourable, it is worth holding out for a job offer that will really drive you. There’s no point in accepting a job offer solely for the sake of ending job search only to be back on the market a few months later. 

Salary negotiation. Some schools and institutions may proffer a generous wage along with the job offer, but unfortunately there isn’t a salary standard across the board for English teachers. And with nearly every school trying to cut costs, you better be prepared to negotiate for a higher salary. First off, ensure you know your worth.  This can be determined by a wide number of factors including qualifications, years of experience, level of teaching and many more.  See if you can find out the salary range of other English teachers who have similar backgrounds to know what you should expect. Don’t be afraid to ask for more money if you think you’re justified in doing so. If the school is quite rigid in terms of their salary offer and cannot go any higher, ask them to offer other benefits in return, such as more days of leave or better healthcare. 

In your quest to becoming an English teacher in Hong Kong, you are sure to come across the above. The key to success in your job search is to be 100% prepared in every aspect of the process, and the CP Jobs Guide to Getting An English Teaching Job  can help by giving you the most comprehensive set of tips to get the English teaching job of your dreams.