Teaching in Mashan, China

Teach in Mashan in south China at kindergartens and primary schools in rural villages. The Teach In China program focuses on listening, comprehension and speaking ability.

The culture shock is very real with this program. So we only accept into this program volunteers who are extremely independent, resourceful and capable of functioning in a remote rural environment where there are no other English speakers. Potential volunteers will undergo a comprehensive phone interview and complete a written questionnaire before being accepted into the program.

The schools in Mashan are located about 90 minutes by bus from the city of Nanning (pop. 1.5 mil) which has daily flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hanoi. Our local Coordinator for south China lives in Nanning and is available 24/7 for any emergencies or other support you might need.

Requirements for Volunteers

  • Native speaker of English
  • 21+ years old on program start date
  • TEFL* Certificate
  • Chinese Visa for teachers

*Teaching English as a Foreign Language

In Mashan, we place volunteers at kindergarten and primary government schools where students range from 6-12 years of age. The majority of students are from farming families in Mashan. Each school has a full-time English teacher. The average class size is about 40 and classes are typically 40 minutes long. The students speak a minimum of English. A typical primary school has 400 students, 11 teachers, the principal and assistant principal.

Teaching Role
You will teach 3-4 classes per day, at 40 minutes per class, with the option to take on more classes. You have the choice to serve as an assistant teacher or lead a class on your own.

In both capacities, you will mostly follow the students’ normal curriculum in their standard English books. However, especially with the younger children, you can bring your own ideas, lessons, creativity, and materials like flash cards, into the classroom. A good book to help you with ideas is Lessons From Nothing.

The assistant role is more common in classrooms with Chinese students from 6-12 years old. The full-time Chinese teacher is needed to provide instruction and guidance to the students in Chinese, while the volunteer teacher works on the students’ lessons and pronunciation.

Volunteers can stay from one to ten (10) months. The program schedule varies at each school, although you must arrive at the beginning of the semester for your teaching program. Keep in mind that school exams take place at both mid term and end of term which will affect your teaching schedule.

The annual school schedule:

• Spring Semester: March 4 – July 16
• Summer Program: Mid July to early August
• Fall Semester*: September 2 – January 10

*With option to return home December 20 for Christmas.

The Summer Teaching Program consists of teaching English, and extra-curricular activities such as sports, games, hiking and excursions.

Volunteers accommodations are at the schools. You will live in a private modest room with your own bathroom, shower, and refrigerator. All bedding and pillows are provided by the school. You also have the option to live with the family of the principal or one of the teachers.

Volunteers have three meals per day, seven days a week, in the teachers’ office. There is a wide range of food in the village, including vegetables, beans, rice, fish, chicken, beef, fruit, and and eggs. You can also walk to small shops in the village for snacks, instant coffee, and soft drinks. You can find larger grocery stores at nearby towns which are about a 20-minute ride from the villages.

There is an Internet shop in each village. You can use the Internet for about 20 cents per hour, and there are also landlines to make calls back home. We suggest that you buy a mobile phone in Nanning (approx. $40) to stay in touch more easily with your family and our local Coordinator in Nanning. You would buy prepaid phone cards which are widely available in shops in Mashan. You can also receive phone calls for free from home or our Coordinator on the landline phone in your private room.

Free Time
When you are at school but not in class, you can do things like assist the phys-ed teachers with sports activities like basketball and kickball, play games like jump-rope with the students, and of course just talk and spend quality time with the students who are always eager to practice their English and learn about you.

At night, the options are limited. You can go to the nearest town and shop, grab a bite to eat, and talk to locals who will undoubtedly be fascinated by your presence and eager to interact with you. You will also get many invitations to teachers’ homes for dinner and socializing.

On weekends, you can travel back to Nanning where there is a vibrant nightlife of clubs, restaurants, bars, museums, and cultural sights. The bus ride is about $7 USD one way. For even longer weekends, you can fly to Shanghai or even Beijing to do some sightseeing.

China Teaching Mashan Group Photo