How TEFL can adapt to China regulations 


Being a TEFL teacher means you’re always at the mercy of governments around the world, who may decide to pull the plug at any given time.

For those teaching English to students in China, this was always a possibility and, unfortunately, last summer it came to pass.


Let’s take a look at the recent laws passed by the Chinese government this past summer and find out what it all means for TEFL teachers.

What are the new changes to the ESL industry in China?

In July 2021, China passed a new law that puts much stricter regulations on extracurricular activities for children. Here’s a list of the changes made to extracurricular education in China:

  • Online lessons must be no more than 30 minutes long
  • No online lessons can take place after 9pm (Beijing time)
  • No online classes can take place during weekends or holidays
  • Teaching outside of the public school system will no longer include overseas education courses
  • Foreign teachers who live overseas can no longer teach in China

It’s that last regulation that’s the real kicker. 

What are the implications?

The implications are very serious. Early indications are that it could well be the end of the TEFL industry in China. While some TEFL companies are remaining confident that they can overcome the problems, many TEFL schools operating and teaching online in China have already closed down.

Even some of the biggest language schools, like VIPKid, have pledged to stop selling foreign-based tutoring to students in China. 

Where else can I teach now?

With so many TEFL companies in China shutting down, finding a job teaching English in China will now be extremely difficult.

Many of those who have been teaching English in China will already be looking elsewhere, as will those who were hoping to start teaching English in China. Luckily, there are still plenty of options available for TEFL teachers.

One of the best places for TEFL teachers at the moment is Spain. Whether you’re from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or the U.K. (yep, even after Brexit), teaching in Spain is a great option. While there are still challenges (obtaining a visa, finding a work placement etc.) there’s plenty of help available through the right TEFL school.

Why teaching in Spain is a great alternative 

At TEFL Iberia, we offer our students full help and guidance when it comes to relocating to Spain. Everything from getting that all-important visa and securing the right ID documents to finding the perfect place to live and helping you settle into the culture. 

We have courses tailor-made for those coming from outside the EU, as they meet the requirements that enable you to obtain a visa and earn while you learn.  

The cherry on top? We’re based in Barcelona, so you’ll be surrounded by sun, sea, spectacular architecture and fantastic food. What more could you ask for?

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