Teach For China

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Teach For China, Inc.
Teach For China Logo
Founded 2008
Founder Andrea Pasinetti
Type Nonprofit organization
Focus Eliminate Educational Inequity
Area served
Yunnan, Guangdong
Key people
Andrea Pasinetti - Founder and CEO
Rachel Wasser - Co-Founder and Advisor
Hu Tingting - Co-Founder and Advisor
Slogan Teach For China. Lead For Tomorrow.
Website www.tfchina.org

Teach For China (Chinese: 美丽中国; pinyin: Měilì Zhōngguó; literally: "beautiful China") is a Chinese non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate educational inequity in China by enlisting promising future leaders from China and the United States. The organization operates as a partner of the Teach For All network, a “global network of independent social enterprises working to expand educational opportunity in their countries by enlisting talented future leaders to the effort.”[1]

Teach For China recruits outstanding college graduates from China and the US—called “Fellows”—and trains them to serve as full-time teachers for two years in under-resourced Chinese schools. Fellows first undergo an intensive training program including pedagogy and Chinese language skills (for American Fellows). Following this training program, Fellows are placed in under-resourced schools in Yunnan and Guangdong provinces. At their schools, Teach For China Fellows are full-time members of the faculty and receive a salary commensurate with that of local teachers in their placement regions. American Fellows typically teach English language, while Chinese Fellows teach other core subjects such as science, math, geography, and ethics.


Andrea Pasinetti founded Teach For China (under the name China Education Initiative) at Tsinghua University in March 2008. Pasinetti studied at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. With a background in Chinese rural reform policies and experience as director of Princeton University’s Interact Program, he turned his attention towards rural China during a year of study at Tsinghua University. While there, he met Rachel Wasser, a graduate of Yale University with research experience in Chinese non-profit culture and governance, and Hu Tingting, a graduate of Tsinghua University with an advanced degree in History and experience in educational outreach and exchange. In August 2008, Pasinetti recruited Wasser and Hu to be members of the founding team as Teach For China was incorporated officially as an American 501c(3) nonprofit.

In August 2009, the inaugural corps of 20 Fellows arrived at schools in Heqing County, Yunnan. Soon after, Teach For China joined the global education network Teach For All in March 2010. Teach For China was registered as an official Chinese ‘non-enterprise unit’ in Yunnan Province in April 2010. In August 2010, the second corps of over 50 Fellows arrived at schools in Heqing County and Lincang Prefecture, Yunnan. In April 2011, Teach For China was recognized as an official partner in the 100,000 Strong Initiative to increase the number and diversity of Americans studying and serving in China by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Councilor Liu Yandong during the US-China People-to-People Exchange.[2][3] That same month, China Education Initiative officially changed its name to Teach For China.[4] To end the year, Teach For China signed a formal partnership with the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund in December.

Continually expanding, the 2011-2013 class of Fellows arrived at schools in August 2011—including the organization's first cohort ever to teach in Shantou, Guangdong Province—bringing the total number of Fellows teaching in classrooms to 150. In August 2012, the 2012-2014 class of Fellows arrived at schools, bringing the total number of Fellows teaching in classrooms to nearly 220.

Zhang Xin was recently elected as the chairwoman of Teach For China Board of Directors in September 2012.

In 2013, Teach for China hosted the 2013 Teach For All Global Conference In Baoshan, Yunnan.[5]

Recruitment process[edit]

Teach For China recruits recent college graduates from China and the US and trains them to serve as full-time teachers for two years in under-resourced Chinese schools. Teach For China utilizes a variety of channels to aggressively recruit candidates from top universities in China and the US. Applicants undergo a rigorous selection process prioritizing core competencies associated with leadership and effective teaching before receiving offers to join the Fellowship. For the 2012-2014 cohort selection process, nearly 2,000 applications were received.

To be eligible to apply to Teach For China, candidates must demonstrate:

  • A strong commitment to Teach For China’s mission and values
  • A track record of achievement in school, work, and extracurricular activities
  • Proven leadership ability
  • Exceptional problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication skills (Chinese language skills are an asset but not required)
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Humility and respect for the unique challenges of cross-cultural living
  • Flexibility and resilience when faced with the rigors of living in under-resourced communities


In its efforts to eliminate China’s educational inequality, Teach For China first recruits top talent from Chinese and US universities. Once accepted into the program, Fellows then attend Teach For China’s intensive Summer Institute, receiving intensive pedagogy training built off of the “Teaching As Leadership” framework first pioneered by Teach For America. A multi-week teaching practicum, during which Fellows teach a summer school class to local students, provides guided instructional practice. American Fellows receive additional Chinese language training. Following Summer Institute, Teach For China works with local government partners to place Fellows in under-resourced schools selected for demonstrated student need in Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.

Fellows work in cross-cultural teams of both Chinese and American Fellows, sharing cultural knowledge and educational approaches as they brainstorm solutions to local challenges. American Fellows typically teach English language, while Chinese Fellows teach other core subjects such as science, math, geography, and ethics. Once Fellows enter the classroom, Teach For China’s Training and Support team provides ongoing instructional coaching and support. Every Fellow is overseen by a Program Manager, who visits Fellow classrooms and correspond with Fellows regularly to provide guided feedback and support. Fellows also receive curricular toolkits developed by Teach For China including sample lesson plans, assessments, and standards tailored to their subject and grade level. Through monthly professional development conferences, Fellows identify challenges and share best practices with one another and with local educators.

In the short term, Chinese and American Fellows work to equip their students with the academic and life skills needed to overcome the challenges of poverty. Through this work, Fellows develop invaluable professional and leadership abilities and a deep understanding of China’s education inequality challenges. In the long term, motivated by the conviction that all children can achieve, these Fellows will form a bicultural corps of leaders working across many sectors to ensure that one day, all children in China will have access to an excellent education.

Alumni impact[edit]

As part of its efforts to create a long-term movement for educational equality, Teach For China operates an Alumni Impact program which works with former Fellows to help further their career development and position them as leaders in a variety of professional fields. In the long term, Teach For China seeks to foster a network of dedicated individuals working across many sectors in both China and the US to expand educational opportunity.[6]

This Alumni Impact effort works to build pathways by which Fellows can achieve positions of leadership in a range of professions following their term of service. This includes efforts to forge partnerships with universities, government, corporations, and civil society organizations to create opportunities such as post-graduate degrees, internships, professional recruiting channels and mentorship programs for Fellows. In 2012, several Teach For China alumni founded an independent nonprofit to provide students in need with free glasses.

As of year 2013, 40 percent of Teach For China’s current alumni corps work in the nonprofit or education sectors, while 30 percent are pursuing graduate study or other high-impact career pathways at top schools such as Teachers College of Columbia University, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Peking University, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In a survey of alumni from the 2010-2012 Fellowship, 86 percent of alumni reported that they maintain a deep commitment to Teach For China’s mission to end education inequality in China.

Organizational growth[edit]

Teach For China has grown substantially since its inception in 2008, with the aim of placing 1,000 Fellows in under-resourced schools by 2015. In 2011, the organization expanded to place Fellows in Guangdong Province, previously working exclusively in Yunnan Province. Currently, Teach For China deploys more than 300 Fellows serving 80 schools across the Yunnan and Guangdong regions, impacting more than 40,000 students.

The table below displays Teach For China's growth over its first 5 years working in schools. Each fellow impacts an average of 150 students.

Year Total # of Fellows
# of students reached
2009-2010 20 3,000 Yunnan
2010-2011 56 8,400 Yunnan
2011-2012 150 22,500 Yunnan, Guangdong
2012-2013 220 33,000 Yunnan, Guangdong
2013-2014 300 40,000 Yunnan, Guangdong

Key partnerships[edit]

Teach For China is a member of the Teach For All Network, which encompasses 32 social enterprises working worldwide to tackle education inequality through a similar model. Launched in 2007 by Teach For America in the US and Teach First in the United Kingdom, the network currently supports more than 11,000 teachers and over 30,000 alumni working to expand educational opportunity. Teach For All provides Teach For China with a global support network and resources to strengthen its organizational infrastructure and greatly accelerate our impact on students.

Teach For China is an official partner of the US-China bilateral 100,000 Strong Initiative to dramatically increase the number and diversity of Americans working and studying in China. This partnership was first recognized in April 2011 at the US-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Councilor Liu Yandong.[2][3] Teach For China is the only organization placing Chinese and Americans to serve together in a long-term service initiative.

Directors and advisors[edit]

Board of Directors [7]

  • Mr. Fang Fenglei,Chairman of Hopu Investment Management
  • Mr. Oliver Weisberg, Managing Director of Citadel Group Hong Kong
  • Ms. Mei Zhang, Executive Director of Goldman Sachs Executive Office, Hong Kong
  • Ms. Cai Jinqing, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of China at Christie's
  • Mr. Andrea Pasinetti, Founder and CEO of Teach For China
  • Mr. Hua Xinghong, Managing Director of Cerberus Capital Management, Asia
  • Mr. Neil Shen, Founding & Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China
  • Ms. Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach For America; Co-Founder and CEO of Teach For All
  • Ms. Dee Poon, Director of Esquel Y.L. Yang Education Foundation, Hong Kong
  • Ms. Lou Yunli, Founding Partner& Managing Director of Milestone Capital
  • Ms. Shao Qingxiao, Founder and CEO of SMC China Fund
  • Ms. Tamiko Lippit, Founding Member, Room to Read Asia Pacific Development Board

Special Advisors [7]

Affiliated organizations and programs[edit]


  1. ^ "Home - Teach For All". Teach For All. Teach For All, Inc. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "U.S.-China CPE Cooperation on the 100,000 Strong Initiative". U.S. State Department. The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Teach For China to Receive US$1.5 Million Donation from Li Ka Shing Foundation". PR Newswire. PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "May Newsletter 2011". Teach For All. Teach For All, Inc. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  5. ^ http://teachforall.org/news/teach-all-2013-global-conference
  6. ^ "Alumni Leadership - Teach For China". Teach For China Website. Teach For China. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Board of Directors - Teach For China". Teach For China Website. Teach For China. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 

External links[edit]