ISAC Program Q&A

Before You Apply

International School Alliance of China or ISAC is a government certified recruitment firm. We work with public universities, public schools and education bureaus to hire foreign language teachers to work in public settings.

Through the ISAC Teach in China Program, teachers around the world are invited to teach at one of our partner schools (called host schools) for one academic year.

What we do:

  1. Recruit foreign teachers for ISAC partner universities and schools
  2. Conduct preliminary interview with foreign teachers
  3. Put teachers in direct conversations with interested schools
  4. Provide assistance on visa application, medical check, airport pick up, resident permit application, settle in etc;
  5. Organize activities including orientation, field trip, food tour etc.

What we don’t do:

  1. ISAC does not work with the private sector including training schools or language centers. We receive funds from government budget, thus we only work with public institutions.
  2. ISAC does not decide teacher’s salary: your employer does. Your salary and benefits are NOT affected wherther you are introduced by ISAC Program or by others;
  3. Contract signing: contract is signed between foreign teacher and your host school, not with ISAC

The ISAC Teach in China Program is a sum of teaching programs ISAC run to recruit teachers at our partner schools including:

  • University Teaching Program
  • Hangzhou Program
  • National Teaching Program

ISAC is working to improve the standards of our program to attract more quality teachers to public classrooms in China.

  1. ISAC is certified by SAFEA (State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs);
  2. ISAC is a well-perceived by our partners including Hangzhou Education Bureau, Fudan University and Zhejiang University etc;
  3. ISAC is commited to provide the most transparent recruiting process. ISAC send your application directly to the hiring office of each university/school you are interested in;
  4. ISAC makes the process easier for qualified teahcers: after you pass the first interivew, you will speak directly with one or more universities/schools who are interested.

One issue the ESL industry in China is having is that many schools and agents do not have or provide enough information for foreign teachers to make the most advised decision.

With ISAC program, we believe all the information should be made clear. ISAC provide as much information (salary, accommodation, city location, class size, school location, street view etc) for teachers so that they can decide which positions to pursue; so that you have an idea what to get from the school.

The public school and university (public education) setting is different from that in the private sector, teachers do not get paid on student sign ups. They get extra for extra hours of work. ISAC hope to build trustworthy relations with every teacher in the program. We hope that ISAC and our partners can provide teachers with some unforgettable, valuable experience while in China.

So if you are looking to make a western salary, then our program may not the best match. But if you are looking for something serious and something you can add to your C.V., our program would be ideal.

You are hired by your host school. You will sign your contract with the school. ISAC is only responsible for providing as much job information as we can (salary, accommodation, etc), taking in C.Vs, screening and conducting the first round interviews.

We only provide the following types of jobs:
1, Language Instructor (English, Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, Japanese etc.)
2, Subject Instructor (Mechanical Engineering, Software, Computer Science, Math, Music, Medicine etc)

  1. Submit an application to ISAC;
  2. C.V. screening and a 15-20 mins first round interview with ISAC;
  3. Second Round Interview with interested schools;
  4. Receive job offer and contract for visa application purpose;
  5. Apply for work visa (Z visa) at a Chinese Embassy; arrange a flight to China;
  6. Fly to China and attend ISAC Orientation before the semester starts
  7. Start work

*Note that for Hangzhou Program applicants, ISAC conduct the final interview on behalf of Hangzhou Education Bureau, and reach a decision based on your performance.

We have two terms for each academic year. ISAC program starts in September and February of each year for the two terms including

  • the Fall term (Sept-Jan) and
  • the Spring term (Feb-July)

ISAC also have sporadic openings during a term. You can check updated Job Vacancies and apply.

1. School:

Your ISAC experience would help you apply for a position at a more prestigious institution.

For example: One of our foreign teacher Teresa taught English at a middle school and after a year of experience and positive feedback from the school, she was referred by ISAC to teach at Hangzhou Normal University.

2. City:

Move from a smaller city to a more international city.

For example: Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics (JUFE) is in Nanchang, which is a more in-land city. After teaching in Nanchang for a year or two, you can apply to universities in Shanghai;

3. Role:

There is no deny that your experience working for a university makes your C.V. more interesting and appealing. Whether you decide to pursue teaching career at your home country or to switch to another field like international relations, politics or business, your experience in a higher institution helps.

There is no fee on teachers during the whole application process. The only fee you need to pay for is the authentication fees of your degree and background check, and the visa application fee paid to the Chinese embassy.

During your first round interview, you will be asked for a self-introduction and some generic questions about your experience, degree etc. The second interview you will face more specific questions which may include classroom management, teaching methods etc.

You will also have time to ask questions you may have on ISAC and the school. It’s advised to prepare your questions beforehand. For any specific questions regarding accommodation, cost of living, size of classroom etc, please have them ready at the second interview with the school.

For each intake we recruit about 20-30 new foreign teachers; new teachers will be able to meet up with each other during the orientation before each term starts. The next orientation will be held in Aug, 2019 in Hangzhou.

 

Application

After the preliminary interview, we will get back to you with a decision in 1-2 days. If you pass the interview, you will proceed to the second interview with a school; it usually takes about 2-4 days for a school to make a final decision.

If you pass the second round interview, expect a job offer sent to your mail box in a week’s time.

No, you can not get a work visa without a university degree. You do not wish to work illegally in China; it’s not worth the risk.

Yes, new graduates make a good part of our foreign teachers team. As a new graduate, you still need to meet the general requirements to be eligible to work in China.

ISAC encourages teachers to teach their mother languages. For example, if you are from France and grow up in a French speaking environment, we think the best option would be a French teaching position.

 

Most of the university teaching positions require a teaching experience of 2 years or more. However, exceptions are given to those with Master’s degree or degree in the education field.

For some universities in a smaller university or college, the requirements are lower. That means if you only have one year of teaching experience or TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, you will still be considered. Please double check with your interviewer during your first round interview.

That is due to government fund regulations on teacher’s hourly pay. The overall monthly salary for university positions is lower. However the hourly pay for those positions is higher because university teachers have less teaching and few/no office hours. University positions are one of the most popular job types among foreigners in China because of the fairly good amount of working hours and benefits (you could expect a good private apartment during your employment); it is also a good experience to write in your C.V.

Honestly it all depends. We provide as much information as you need to make a fully-informed decision.

For example, Nanchang University, a very good university in China and the best in Jiangxi Province, but it is lesser known to the foreigners because Nanchang is not Shanghai (about 3 hours by high speed rail). If you are looking more on academics and students quality, NCU is definitely better than many colleges in Beijing and Shanghai. But the city is less international, less westernized. If you choose NCU, then you should expect a less westernized but still convenient life in Nanchang. (Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province, a city with 5.5 million people, 2 subway lines and 3 more to come, but still it is an inland city and has fewer foreigners)

For primary and secondary schools, you need to work from Mon-Fri. For most university positions, you will work about 3-4 days a week.

Yes, but only upon satisfactory feedback from your current employer.

Yes, but the cost needs to be covered by the teacher. We do have teachers who bring their partners and children. However, it really varies case by case. It is possible especially if your partner will be teaching at the same school or university.

Other Questions

Yes. You will know which city and which school/university you will be teaching before you accept or deny a job offer.

For many ISAC teachers, your employer may not be in Hangzhou. But as an ISAC teacher, you are still part of our community even if you are not in Hangzhou. When you visit Hangzhou, we will have our staff to pick you up and be your tour guide. We have various activities for ISAC teachers to participate for each semester. Activities include field trips, group meet-ups etc. Remember that whenever you visit Hangzhou, please let us know. 🙂

Yes as long as you have a satisfactory feedback from your host school.

Most positions are for 10~12 months. 6 month is the minimum length, and pleasse note that 6 month positions are very limited.

1. Sign a contract directly with your employer, not with an agency. 
2. Compare salary. If it goes too high, that could be a scam; if too low, that could be a position where agent takes a portion of your salary.

Common Public School Salary Range:

  • University: 6,000-10,000/month;
  • Primary, Middle & High: 12,000-14,000/month;
  • Subject Teachers: 14,000-18,000/month;

Please note that the range above is a general guide for public sectors in China; It can vary depending on your qualification. (e.g. If you have a Doctoral Degree, then you could expect a better renumeration from a university or academic position)

For most teaching positions, if accommodation is not included, a housing allowance of 1,000-3,000 is usually provided depending on which city you are in. (RMB 1000 for tier 3 cities and RMB 3000 for tie 1 cities like Beijing and Shanghai)

Starting from July 1st 2019, we start to provide referral reward to encourage teachers to recommend their friends to teach with ISAC Program. Our incentive is $60 for non-ISAC teachers and $100 for ISAC teachers. You will get your reward after your friend’s arrival at their host school.

Visa Document

No, you don’t have to, but it is advised you have them ready or at least apply for them while applying for a position with us.

Admittedly teachers who have the documents (criminal backgroud check and diploma authentication) ready have advantages over those who do not, especially when a semester is going to an end. That’s partly because schools think foreign teachers who have them ready are more willing and dedicated to work in China than those do not (which sometimes may not be true). Plus it excludes the possibilites of delays and uncertainty.

Unfortunately no. China has a more strict regulations on age limit now than a few years ago, which was possible then, but not any more.

Being Truthful

We have to be very honest on this. Yes it does, in a way or another. ISAC does NOT judge one’s teaching ability based on skin color. But unfortunately many schools in China do. What ISAC can tell you is that universities tend to be less judgemental, some universities do not care about the skin color at all.

Private sector and public sector are different, and one of the difference in ESL education is if public schools/universities do not find teachers in time, they stopped hiring. Many universities in a more remote area they want foreign teahcers, but they do not want irresponsible or illegal foreign teachers. Admit it or not, there are many foreign teachers in China working illegally, but never with ISAC.

There are many bad/unlicensed recruiters in China. Just use your common sense. If you see salary ranging from 8,000-22,000