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What is the purpose of this program?

The program serves the needs of U.S. K–12 schools and districts seeking to initiate new Chinese language and culture programs, as well as those seeking to expand existing Chinese programs. By participating, host institutions can create new programs and classes, lay the foundation for future AP Chinese classes, and promote international exchange between the United States and China.

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Who sponsors the Chinese guest teachers?

This program is made possible through a partnership between College Board and Hanban in China. In addition, College Board collaborates with NCSSFL (National Council of State Supervisors for Languages) to review applications, interview, select, and train the guest teachers. The Institute of International Education serves as the J-1 visa sponsor for guest teachers in the program.

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What is the timetable of the program?


Early August 2020 Guest teachers arrive in the United States.
August 2020–July 2021 Guest teachers teach Chinese classes and fulfill other approved assignments.
Fall 2020 Guest teachers invited to attend professional development workshops.
December 2020 Current host institutions apply to renew the program.

New host institutions apply to host guest teachers in the 2021-22 school year.
Spring 2021 Guest teachers invited to attend the National Chinese Language Conference.
August 2021–July 2022 Guest teachers may continue working in the host school/district for one or two additional years, pending annual renewal by both parties.

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What are the benefits of hosting a guest teacher?

Benefits of hosting include:

  • Students have the opportunity to learn authentic Chinese language and to be taught by a native Chinese instructor. Participating schools have the opportunity to be part of an international exchange program and bring more global perspectives to their community.
  • The guest teacher's compensation is partially subsidized by Hanban, so participation in the program is a cost-effective way to start or expand a Chinese language and culture program.
  • The guest teacher can serve as a cultural resource in subjects such as social studies, Chinese history, geography, music, art, and physical education.
  • Host institutions can build a pipeline of students to enroll in AP Chinese classes in the future.

If a school or district already offers Chinese classes, the guest teacher can expand the program by:

  • Initiating new classes in other school(s) in the district, or
  • Teaching new classes and levels in the same school(s).

If a school or district does not offer Chinese classes yet, the guest teacher can start a new program by initiating classes in one or more schools, e.g., a middle school and a high school.

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What are the guest teachers' qualifications?

Teachers participating in the program all possess the following qualifications:

  • Chinese teaching certificate; licensed to teach in China.
  • Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) certificate.
  • Bachelor's degree (or higher) in education, Chinese, English, international studies, or a related field.
  • Two or more years of teaching K–12 experience.

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What subjects can guest teachers teach?

The Chinese guest teachers' strength and expertise is in language teaching. They are most qualified to teach Chinese language and culture classes. Those assigned to immersion programs will require additional support and appropriate materials to teach other content areas. Guest teachers may also serve as cultural resources to facilitate other subjects such as social studies, art, music, international studies, etc.; however, they cannot be assigned to independently teach subjects for which they are not trained.

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Are the guest teachers certified to teach in the U.S.?

The teachers in the program all have teaching certificates in China issued by the Ministry of Education and have been interviewed on their pedagogy and experience. They are not certified in the United States, and the program does not provide certification services because requirements and procedures vary from state to state. However, College Board assists the host institution by providing the guest teacher's credentials. Host institutions are responsible for following the certification procedures of their region/state and for any related costs.

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What institutions are eligible to apply to host a Chinese guest teacher?

Accredited, full-time, public K–12 school districts or independent schools are eligible to apply. Individual public schools interested to host teachers should obtain district-level approval for their application.

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Can colleges and universities apply to the program?

No. This program is designed to help K–12 schools and districts start or grow a Chinese language program. Colleges or universities may assist host schools or districts by providing professional development opportunities.

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If host institutions partner with local colleges or universities, can the guest teacher teach there as well?

No. Participating schools and districts, under contract with College Board, serve as host sites. In compliance with J-1 exchange visitor regulations, guest teachers can only be assigned to teach K–12 students in accredited primary or secondary schools.

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What criteria are used to evaluate host institution applications?

Host institutions with current Chinese programs are evaluated on the quality and growth of their current program, as well as their three-year program plan. Host institutions starting new Chinese programs are evaluated on the strength of their planned Chinese program. The host institutions are expected to implement proficiency-oriented Chinese programs. "Exposure" programs in which students learn Chinese once a week or less are not encouraged.

Host institutions must provide detailed, appropriate schedules for all planned guest teacher positions, as well as a plan for mentoring and support of the teacher. Host institutions are expected to provide evidence of commitment to building a sustainable Chinese language program that will continue after the departure of the guest teacher.

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What are the host institution responsibilities?

  • Sign a contract with College Board in April 2020, agreeing to the terms and conditions for the Chinese Guest Teacher Program.
  • Pay an administrative fee for visa processing and health insurance during the contract period.
  • Assign a temporary full-time teaching position to the guest teacher. Responsibilities may include: classroom teaching (not to exceed five periods/three blocks and two teaching sites per day), curriculum and materials development, program development, and/or cultural enrichment activities.
  • Compensate the guest teacher consistent with the pay of similarly situated teachers at the institution. Such compensation will be subsidized by Hanban in the amount of approximately $13,000 per year, and the remainder will be provided by the host institution as salary. The compensation package cannot violate an existing collective bargaining agreement. For more information on compensation, please see the following question.
  • Issue a letter of appointment to the guest teacher, outlining their teaching assignment, duties, and compensation package (using program templates).
  • Designate a program coordinator who serves as the primary contact and liaison to College Board.
  • Assign two types of mentors to the guest teacher: a professional mentor and a cultural mentor.
  • Make available professional development and job-related training programs commensurate with those provided to other full-time teaching staff.
  • Submit semiannual guest teacher observation and progress reports to College Board.
  • Attend the Host Institution Orientation for an overview of hosting Chinese guest teachers.
  • Ensure that the institution does not recruit or train guest teachers for permanent employment in the U.S.
  • Confirm the institution's intent to continue offering the Chinese program beyond the appointment term of the guest teacher.

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How are the guest teachers compensated by the host institutions?

Host institutions must compensate the guest teacher consistent with the pay of similarly situated teachers in the specific independent school or school district. Such compensation will be subsidized by Hanban in the amount of approximately $13,000 per year.

The teacher's total commensurate compensation package = Hanban stipend ($13,000) + partial salary from school/district.

Explanation: Pay a partial salary to the guest teacher. When the partial salary is combined with the $13,000 subsidy from Hanban (paid directly to the teacher), the total value of the compensation package should be consistent with the pay of a U.S. teacher with similar responsibilities and similar education teaching full-time at the same institution. The host institution is required to provide complimentary housing and transportation to the guest teacher for the first month of their stay, and provide assistance to the guest teacher in obtaining housing and transportation for the remainder of their term.

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Do host institutions need to cover health benefits for the guest teacher?

The administrative fee paid by host institutions is used to cover the guest teacher's visa processing and medical insurance costs. The program insurance provided to guest teachers meets J-1 visa requirements.

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What is the total cost of this program to host institutions?

During the contract period host institutions are required to:

  • Pay an administrative fee of approximately $3,600 per new teacher for visa processing and J-1 visa required health insurance ($2,700 for teachers renewing in the program). (Fees are subject to adjustment by the insurance provider.)
  • Provide the guest teacher with compensation consistent with the pay of similarly situated teachers in the same school district, subsidized by approximately $13,000/year stipend from Hanban (paid directly to the teacher). 
  • Prepare a reasonable budget to cover the cost of instructional materials for new Chinese classes, i.e., textbooks and necessary teaching materials and supplies, and allow for attendance at professional development events.

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What teaching schedule do guest teachers follow?

Guest teachers should be assigned a full-time teaching assignment, in accordance with the standards of the school/district and program rules. The assignment must be primarily classroom teaching, not to exceed five periods/three blocks and two teaching sites per day. It may also include curriculum and materials development, program development, and/or cultural enrichment activities, as long as sufficient time is built into the teacher's schedule for these responsibilities. Guest teachers should be assigned adequate planning time for different grade levels (elementary, middle, or high) and course levels (Chinese 1, Chinese 2, etc.). The program strongly recommends one prep period per level. Guest teachers cannot be assigned to teach in early childhood programs or levels as their primary teaching assignment.

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Can host institutions apply for more than one teacher?

Yes. Such applications will be reviewed and evaluated by College Board and if accepted, more than one teacher can be assigned to the host institution. School districts are encouraged to consider hosting more than one teacher to work in different schools in the district; this approach enables the district to expand its program quickly and gain greater cultural resources.

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What are the responsibilities of the designated program contact?

The designated program contact is the primary person at the host institution responsible for coordinating arrangements for the guest teacher. On behalf of the host institution, he or she serves as the first point of contact for College Board. This person is most familiar with the policies and procedures of the program and coordinates its administration among supervisors and mentors at each school site and among host families and others in the community.

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What are the responsibilities of the assigned mentors?

Host institutions are required to assign both cultural and academic mentors to the Chinese guest teacher. The purpose of the cultural mentor is to help the teacher get oriented and settled into the community, and to check in regularly with the teacher. The cultural mentor can be a teacher, a Chinese member of the community or an American with interest in Chinese culture. Cultural mentors will help the teacher get settled, show them important and useful locations, arrange social and cultural outings, and help explain local culture. The cultural mentor should be in frequent contact in the beginning, and at least once a month the remainder of the teacher's stay.

The academic mentor, who can be another world language teacher or teacher in the school, should introduce school rules and practices and involve the teacher in school activities. Throughout the year, the academic mentor should expose the teacher to new American teaching strategies and guide the teacher in reflecting on their work. The importance of an academic mentor at each school site the guest teacher teaches at cannot be overstated: The guest teacher needs to have on-going support to provide a strong learning experience for students. Thus, the mentor and guest teacher should have guaranteed time to meet over the course of the school year.

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What are the expectations of the host institution regarding the guest teacher's housing? Can he or she live with host families?

Host institutions are required to provide complimentary housing and transportation for the first month (that month's housing and transportation benefits are not to be considered part of their compensation package). Housing must meet minimum program requirements, be furnished and have basic utilities; teachers must have their own bedrooms, access to a bathroom and kitchen facilities. Apartments, houses, campus dormitories, and host family arrangements are acceptable forms of housing.

Often, this first month's complimentary housing is a host family arrangement. This is an ideal opportunity for cross-cultural exchange while simultaneously easing the teacher's adjustment to the new community. During this one-month transition period, the teachers are expected to make their housing and/or transportation arrangements for the remainder of their stay, with assistance as necessary by the host community.

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What are the expectations of the host institution regarding the guest teacher's transportation? Can he or she drive?

Host institutions are required to provide complimentary housing and transportation for the first month (that month's housing and transportation benefits are not to be considered part of their compensation package). Transportation should cover home to school transportation, as well as regular trips to grocery stores and occasional leisure transportation. Walking, bicycles, public transportation, carpooling, and taxis are acceptable forms of transportation as long as it is safe and appropriate per local conditions.

Although some teachers are licensed drivers in China, all teachers must be issued licenses from the host state before they are legally able to operate a vehicle unaccompanied in the U.S. This typically requires that they pass the local driver's road test. License requirements vary; we recommend host institutions assist the teacher in the process and with interim transportation.

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What support is provided during the program?

  • Guest teachers take part in an extensive orientation and professional development program before going to work in U.S. schools. First, they attend a month-long Hanban predeparture orientation, with a focus on teaching Chinese as a foreign language and skills for teaching Chinese culture.
  • College Board also organizes a predeparture orientation for the guest teachers. It introduces them to living and working in the United States, the U.S. education system, and cross-cultural communication.
  • College Board and NCSSFL organize a 9-day professional development summer institute that covers topics related to curriculum development, teaching methodologies and practices in U.S. K–12 classrooms.
  • Hanban and College Board provide ongoing support to the guest teachers by offering professional guidance, resources, and professional development workshops.
  • College Board maintains on-going communication with all the guest teachers through email and by phone, and also conducts site visits in order to provide support and assistance to both guest teachers and host institutions.

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Do guest teachers bring teaching materials? Does College Board recommend curriculum and resources?

The guest teachers may bring some resources and materials of their own choice from China. Before teachers arrive, host institutions are encouraged to connect with the guest teacher to seek their assistance in identifying suitable teaching materials for their program. The host institutions should prepare a budget to purchase textbooks and materials for students in the Chinese classes. College Board does not provide or endorse any textbooks. Please note that the guest teachers are most accustomed to the Chinese simplified character writing system.

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How long can the guest teacher stay?

The guest teacher will work at the host institution from August 2020 until the end of the contract period (no later than July 2021), with an option to renew the agreement for one or two additional years (2021-22, 2022-23), if both parties agree. When a teacher departs, the host institution may apply for a new, replacement teacher. The maximum length of stay in the U.S. for any individual guest teacher is three years, which is a J-1 visa requirement.

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Can guest teachers continue to work in the United States after completing the program?

No. Guest teachers are not allowed to stay in the United States for more than three years; they must return to China after completing the program. This program is designed as a short-term solution to the shortage of Chinese teachers in the United States and as a way to promote exchanges between the U.S. and China. Participating schools are required to certify that the teachers will not permanently replace full- or part-time employees, and that the program is not designed to recruit and train noncitizens for permanent employment in the United States.

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I am a teacher of Chinese. How can I apply to become a guest teacher?

College Board does not accept individual applications from teachers. Hanban collects the applications from teachers in China. All the Chinese guest teachers participating in this program need to be approved by their home institutions and provincial government, selected by Hanban, and then evaluated and approved by College Board and NCSSFL. College Board only collects applications from U.S. schools and districts to host the teachers.

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