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China Seeks American Teachers

Got teaching experience and a taste for adventure? China is calling.

The just-launched Teacher Ambassador Program is recruiting retired, laid-off or currently employed teachers ages 21 to 65 to teach English-speaking high school students in China starting in September.

See also: Great jobs for retired teachers.

Teachers will receive a salary, benefits and free accommodations or a housing allowance. "We're looking for teachers who see life as a journey, are adventurous about lifelong learning and have a calling to act as an ambassador for cultural exchange," says John Braman, director of global outreach for United World College-USA in Montezuma, N.M. Braman's organization, a network of international schools and colleges, is collaborating on the project with the nonprofit Ameson Education and Culture Exchange Foundation.

In the initial phase, the program seeks at least 30 American teachers to teach Advanced Placement and regular courses in chemistry, English, math, physics, social sciences and English literature. "The Chinese want subject matter the way it's taught in the States," Braman says. Fluency in Mandarin is not required because the Chinese students, ages 16 to 18, speak English and hope to attend top-tier universities in the United States or other countries.

A cultural exchange

China is hungry for American teachers to help prepare their students to attend college in the United States, says Deborah J. Stipek, School of Education dean at Stanford University and an Ameson Foundation advisory board member. She adds that some Chinese also believe that Americans can assist students in becoming more innovative and critical thinkers.

American teachers can introduce Chinese students to more interpersonal, project-based learning, says Braman. "There's a multiplier effect when an American math teacher mentions something about life back home in Iowa. Besides a math lesson, the students get some geography and exposure to the English vernacular."

The ideal candidate, Braman says, is between ages 45 and 65 and may be a teacher in transition or on sabbatical who wants to contribute to cultural understanding. "The program is also perfect for couples who want to travel and work together," he adds.

Although Allen Glick of Uvalde, Texas, isn't part of the new program, living and teaching in China suits him. Three years ago Glick, 65, rejoined his ex-wife, Janet, who was teaching at an international school in Suzhou, near Shanghai. He quickly found a job teaching English literature and composition at an Ameson Foundation school. "Janet and I decided to try life together again, and we're having a wonderful time," says Glick.

Teaching in China is Glick's third career. A Vietnam veteran and a novelist, he gave up his small contractor business in 2001 to earn a master's in English and teach at a Texas high school on the Mexican border. "I was tired of being a carpenter — it had worn me out," Glick says. "My students were mostly poor kids from Spanish-speaking families but they were great fun to teach."

Next: Want to be a teacher in China? See the perks. >>

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