International Teaching Placements in China

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Note: International teaching placements in China were offered from 2014-2018. This page provides information about the partnership with Maple Leaf schools in China and the teaching placement opportunity. Please note that teaching placements in China are currently not available. Click here to see current International Teaching Placement Opportunities.


Through this opportunity, students gained valuable teaching experience at a Maple Leaf school in China, working with English language learners, and exploring the Chinese culture and educational system. For more information about teaching placements in China, please see the following resources:

Testimonials of Students who Completed a Teaching Experience in China

From 2014-2018, select teacher candidates and graduates of the BEd program travelled to China to participate in teaching placements at Maple Leaf schools in Dalian and Wuhan, China. For more information about  students' experiences, please see the following:

Partnership between Lakehead University and Maple Leaf Schools

In 2014, Lakehead University and Maple Leaf Education Systems established a partnership that enabled Lakehead University BEd students to complete a teaching placement at a Maple Leaf School (subject to availability and the selection process).

About Maple Leaf Schools

Maple Leaf Education Systems is China's largest public international school system, with over 15,000 students across high schools, middle school, elementary schools, preschools, and foreign nationals schools. It is accredited by the Ministry of Education, British Columbia. Maple Leaf schools are currently located in numerous cities across China, including:

  • Dalian (1995)
  • Wuhan (2007)
  • Tianjin –TEDA (2008)
  • Chongqing (2009)
  • Zhenjiang (2011)
  • Inner Mongolia-Ordos (2012)
  • Henan-Luoyang (2012)
  • Shanghai (2013)
  • Tianjin – Hua Yuan (2014)
  • Pingdingshan (2014)
  • Yiwu (2015)
  • Jingzhou (2015)
  • Pinghu (2016)
  • Huai’an (2016)
  • Xi’an (2016)

Maple Leaf schools offer a western academic orientation, blended with the richness of Chinese educational traditions and culture. The schools feature "western style" classrooms, labs, gymnasiums, libraries, cafeterias, dormitories, and teacher housing. Classroom sizes generally range from 20-30 students per class, and students complete the same courses, meet the same learning outcomes, and are assessed in the same manner as Canadian students. Maple Leaf schools offer many extracurricular activities such as drama, film club, soccer, baseball, kung fu, cooking classes, and more.

To learn more about Maple Leaf schools, see their website.

Teaching Experiences in a Maple Leaf School: Overview

Teacher candidates who completed a teaching placement at a Maple Leaf school were paired with an Associate Teacher and completed a field experience similar in length and responsibility to the teaching placements in the BEd program. Efforts were made to match teacher candidates with assignments within their division (P/J or I/S) and teachable subjects (as applicable). Maple Leaf Associate Teachers were qualified with a minimum of two years of successful teaching experience, and were recommended by their principals in recognition of their abilities.

Teacher candidates' responsibilities during the placement included observing classes, teaching up to four classes per day, lesson and unit planning, assessment for/as/of learning, and participating in/supervising extracurricular activities as appropriate. Teacher candidates were also responsible for familiarizing themselves with Maple Leaf school culture, complying with its regulations, maintaining standards of professionalism throughout the placement, and acting as a positive ambassador for Lakehead University while in China.

Benefits of Completing a Teaching Placement in China

Travelling to China to teach at a Maple Leaf school offered an amazing, unique opportunity. Some of the benefits of this experience:

Is this Opportunity Right for You?

Teaching in China is an incredible opportunity for professional and personal growth, but also a challenging experience that pushed students out of their "comfort zone" as they experienced differences in cultural norms, customs, language, transportation, learning styles, cuisine, and environment. Therefore, teacher candidates who applied to complete a teaching placement in China needed to possess the following qualities:

  • Maturity, professionalism, and diplomacy
  • An openness to new and unfamiliar experiences
  • A willingness to be challenged
  • An ability to work well under pressure
  • Independence
  • Self-reliance
  • Perseverance
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Curiosity
  • A non-judgmental attitude
  • Empathy and warmth
  • Realistic expectations
  • A sense of humour

Applying for a Teaching Placement in China: Requirements

Individuals who applied for a teaching placement in China met the following criteria:

  • The successful completion of all previous teaching placements
  • The successful completion of all BEd courses
  • Be in good health: individuals applying for this opportunity were to have no major health concerns and no history of asthma or respiratory problems (because air quality can be a concern in China, especially for individuals who have asthma or other respiratory issues)

The following courses and certifications were highly recommended for individuals applying for this opportunity. Preference was given to students who completed any of the following:

How to Apply

Individuals who applied for the opportunity to complete a teaching placement in China completed an application form and submitted it, along with their resume, to the International Initiatives Coordinator by the date listed on the application. All individuals who applied were contacted by the International Initiatives Coordinator for a structured interview in person, by telephone, or via Skype.

Selection Criteria for Teaching Placements in China

There were a limited number of assignments for the opportunity to teach in China, which was determined each year in conjunction with Maple Leaf schools. The selection process was made by the International Initiatives Coordinator, in conjunction with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, according to the following criteria:

  • Available teaching placements at Maple Leaf schools
  • Applicant's submission of application form and resume
  • The successful completion of previous teaching placements (reports from previous teaching placements were reviewed)
  • The successful completion of all BEd courses completed to date (term marks were reviewed)
  • A structured interview with the International Initiatives Coordinator
  • Favourable reference checks
  • Personal characteristics and suitability for the experience. See our Is this Opportunity Right for You? section
  • The completed of courses or certifications as listed above.

Following the selection process, all applicants were notified of the final decisions. Applicants who met the selection criteria but were not selected were placed on a waiting list.

Trip Preparation for Selected Applicants

Applicants who were selected to complete a teaching placement in China were guided by the International Initiatives Coordinator through the process of preparing for their trip and assignment at a Maple Leaf school. This included:

  • Obtaining necessary documents to travel to China (e.g. visa, letter of invitation)
  • Obtaining health insurance and necessary immunizations for travelling to China
  • Developing a budget
  • Booking plane tickets and arranging other transportation in China
  • Arranging placements and accommodations at a Maple Leaf school
  • Participating in Chinese language lessons and cultural and educational training workshops
  • Gaining familiarity with Maple Leaf schools and educational culture
  • Gaining familiarity with the British Columbia curriculum
  • Preparing to work with ESL/ELL students at a Maple Leaf school
  • Preparing for the experience of travelling, living, and teaching in China

A significant portion of the preparation took place via preparatory meetings and workshops held in the months leading up the trip. Attendance and participation in the preparatory meetings and workshops was mandatory.


Applicants who were selected to complete a teaching placement in China were responsible for the costs associated with the trip to China, including airfare; obtaining travel documents, health insurance, and necessary immunizations; accommodations while in China; food and tourism expenses. A stipend was provided to each individual from the Faculty of Education to assist with the costs of this opportunity. A detailed budget was provided.

Need More Information? Contact the International Initiatives Coordinator

For further information about the teaching in China at a Maple Leaf school, please contact Dr. Jan Oakley, International Initiatives Coordinator.