primary school teaching jobs

Becoming a Primary School teacher is a fantastic opportunity to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) or your subject you’ve learnt to teach. Primary school students are energetic, engaged and all have unique personalities shining through.
Primary school is the first schooling engagement for a lot of students, as many of them wouldn’t have gone to Kindergarten. In large urban areas of prosperity, typically Tier 1 cities, most children would have been to Kindergarten from ages 3-7 and are well versed with the schooling systems.


At the age of seven, primary school begins for all Chinese students. Most of their time will be focused on learning Chinese and mathematics, known as “The Big Two”. Alongside subjects within the Chinese education system (Art, Music, PE & Society), you’ll be able to teach the students not only English as a Second language, but your culture, perspectives that will allow them to grow their global perspectives. Primary School education is compulsory education, and lasts for 6 years, ages 7 to 13, before they move into middle school.

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Start your journey as a teacher in China

Is Primary Teaching Right for Me?

Standing up in front of a class of 30 students plus in a typical classroom format, you’ll need to be a teacher that enjoys engaging the classroom with activities. Mostly using Powerpoint, you’ll be driving home the school’s curriculum of key areas they want you to focus on. The support and infrastructure from schools is constructive in a primary school environment and you’ll be communicating that to a diverse range of English abilities. Be patient, be loud and set your classroom environment expectations with your students from the start of the year.

Shanghai Private School Primary School Homeroom Teacher (2)

ESL Job Board

Access all our Teaching Vacancies in China on our ESL Job Board

What is the salary for a Primary School Teacher in China?

1. 12,000RMB to 22,000RMB per month before tax
2. Accommodation Provided or an allowance included in your salary
3. Reimbursed Flights to come to China and to go home
4. Z-VISA support throughout your application, so you can come to China and teach legally
5. Fully paid public holidays throughout the year
6. Private Health Insurance
7. English speaking colleagues who can support you
8. Training and Development Opportunities

All the provided benefits are general benefits, and we’ll let you know what your Kindergarten offers before you sign a contract

Requirements for Teaching ESL in a Primary School

  1. Fluent English speaker with a clear and audible accent
  2. Bachelor’s degree or above (non-native English speakers need to have theirs from a native English-speaking country)
  3. TEFL certificate, OR 2 years of teaching experience, OR English related degree
  4. Below the age of 60 years old
  5. No criminal record

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A Typical Week Teaching in a Primary School

To start the day strong, the students all stand proudly to attention while they sing the national song for their flag-raising ceremony. Chinese students are very patriotic and are taught this since Kindergarten. You may probably do this with your Primary School students too if you’re a homeroom teacher, or if you’re teaching a specific number of classes each week, you can join in voluntarily. The primary school students then progress to their daily schedule, where they mostly stay in the same classroom. As a homeroom teacher you’ll be with them throughout the day, doing different activities such as art and exercises. Routine morning exercises usually occurs with music that keeps everyone in sync, and sometimes the primary school students run laps. If you’re going from classroom to classroom teaching English as a second language (ESL), you’ll just be with the primary school students for when they need to learn English.

Expect to have a daily plan for your English lessons, and time to prepare (office hours). Your lesson planning may be orientated around a syllabus or curriculum the schools provides, so it’ll be your job to make this learning criteria come alive and inspire all the children to actively engage and enjoy learning English.

Primary School follows a Monday to Friday schedule, so you’ll be guaranteed to have every weekend off unless there is a major school event.

Shanghai Private School Primary School Homeroom Teacher (3)

ESL Job Board

Access all our Teaching Vacancies in China on our ESL Job Board

Your FAQs

We’ve put together a Resources Page to answer your most frequent questions. From Saving Money, to Getting Your Z-VISA, we have gone into detail there.

Your school will apply for your VISA for you to work directly for them. We’ll be with you every step of the journey. We’ve created our own VISA Support Page. Remember, the VISA you’re applying for is a Z-VISA.

You will have a minimum of a one-year contract, that will be full-time. You can save a lot of money teaching in China, and we’ve put together more information for you to read.

When you are directly employed by the school, they will offer you insurance. This means private level care. Be sure to check your contract for sick days.

You will have to go through your bank to legitimately send money home. To do this, follow the steps they give you. Your school will help support you and will be able to translate anything you need.

That is fantastic news! Not speaking Chinese is great for your students, as you will be able to immerse them in English more. We’ve also put together an Essential Mandarin Guide, and Benefits For Learning Mandarin when you’re exploring.