Hong Kong Needs English Teachers
Native Speakers Are in
Kong, as seen from the peak.
Now is an excellent time to teach in
Hong Kong. The SARS outbreak, now long since contained,
caused a flight of teachers out of the territory and created
a huge demand for both experienced and inexperienced teachers.
When I first moved to Hong Kong I heard
that it would be nearly impossible to find work because
I had no formal experience as a teacher. But I found that
if you are a native English speaker there is a job for you—and
not only as an English teacher. I knew an Olympic swimmer
who landed a high-paid job as a swimming coach, several
musicians who gave lucrative music lessons, actors who taught
drama, and painters who landed art teaching jobs that paid
three times the amount of a similar job would in the U.S.
Hong Kong has some of the highest wages
for English teachers in Asia. Part-time teaching can bring
$30-$50 per hour. Full-time jobs in a center can run around
$2,000-$3,000 per month. English teachers brought in as
part of the government’s English program start at
$4,000 plus room and board. International school teaching,
which may or may not require teaching credentials but does
require a Bachelors degree, starts at $2,300 at the low
end and averages around $4,000 per month. Many international
schools also supply housing or a housing stipend.
The Asian financial crisis, from which
Hong Kong has never fully recovered, combined with the severe
economic damage caused by SARS, means prices have gone down
considerably, making it more affordable to live, but rent
is still expensive.
English is an official language in
the territory and is dominant in the business sphere of
this busy financial capital. Many adults seek to improve
their English for business purposes; many more want their
children to grow up bilingual so they have opportunities
to attend school overseas or excel in business. The prevalence
of English in Hong Kong makes the transition to living there
easy. In fact, though this is not suggested, many expatriates
in Hong Kong never learn to speak Cantonese because English
is so widely spoken and understood.
Most of all, Hong Kong is an exciting
and fascinating place, with many of the comforts of home.
Its dynamic East-meets-West atmosphere means you can go
to exotic markets for dinner ingredients or find comfort
food at an American-style eatery. It’s extremely easy
to navigate, with a superior public transportation system.
It is busy, vibrant; around every corner there’s a
new spectacle to behold. And the students are a dream—education
and teachers are highly respected, and students tend to
be extremely well behaved.