This is an update on my TEFL job search in China. I am a non-native English speaker with an Asian look, so from the start I knew it would be an uphill task.
At the beginning, I did not have a TEFL certificate as I thought with a Bachelors degree and 3 years teaching experience, I should be able to secure a TEFL position. I started sending out my CV to many schools and language centers and did not get a reply. Though a few replied, but it was negative, stating that they needed a native English speaker from the big 5-6 countries.
This did not deter me from continuing my search for a TEFL job. I then took up an online 120 hour TEFL course and some extra specialized modules. Once I completed my TEFL training, I started my job search again, and this time, the results were very different. I found that more schools were interested in me. Though, still there are many schools and language centers that only recruit native English speakers, I am happy that I managed to secure a few job offers, one of them from a big language center in Beijing.
I have already accepted an offer from a school in the South, and this was after going through the various contracts and doing my research by getting reviews from former teachers from these schools.
The school has just started to process my work permit application. Prior to that, was asked to do a health examination and I had it done with the Exit-Entry Health and Quarantine Bureau, which was suggested by my school's FAO.
So to all those non-native English speakers wanting to get a TEFL job in China, yes, it is more difficult for us, but it is not impossible. If you really want to teach, go get a TEFL certificate. It will help us in our job search and also most importantly, gives us the necessary skills in teaching English as a foreign language.