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How I Changed Careers From Being a Nurse to Teaching English in China

How I Changed Careers From Being a Nurse to Teaching English in China | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I might not have realized it before since I was busy studying and just trying to achieve my short term goals but I believe that my mother has been an inspiration for me to become a teacher. I could remember seeing kids at home being taught by my mom and she used pictures to identify certain shapes and animals. My mom was a regular housewife then. She taught only for fun and to make my brother and I be more engaged in learning things with the company of our friends, our playmates.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Marie M.

“I thought that I didn’t have what it takes to become a teacher.”

I remember how I strived hard to be able to be the best in my class when I was in elementary school. My mom would always prepare review lessons for me before my periodical tests. I was always the top 1 in my class. When I reached high school, I started to form an idea what I wanted to do in the future. Although there weren’t any specifics, a lot of factors made me decide to take up nursing as my degree. During my studies, I had believed that I couldn’t be a teacher because I felt that it was a very difficult task to do. I was so shy to be in front of people, to talk about a certain topic and explain myself in a group. I thought that I didn’t have what it takes to become a teacher.

“After two years, I tried to look for other jobs that I could apply for with reasonable pay.”

As I continued my studies in nursing, I learned that one of the roles of a nurse was to be an educator. Apparently, it’s one of the things we, nurses, have to be good at in order to help the patients be informed about their health. I was hesitant about it at first and it’s actually overwhelming to imagine myself to be in the position of an educator. I thought to myself, I probably could perform the other roles of a nurse but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should be a very good educator.

After graduating, I received training from the hospital and was able to work at a primary hospital. After two years of not being satisfied with the salary, I tried to look for other jobs that I could apply for with reasonable pay. Then, a friend of mine asked me if I could accept a job to teach English to Korean and Japanese students at a language school and, fortunately, got hired and trained.

“How am I going to teach others if I am not sure if I could use the English language fluently myself?”

I was reluctant at first, thinking that I was not that confident with my English skills. “How am I going to teach others if I am not sure if I could use the English language fluently myself?” This was the question that kept on and on in my mind, but it also became my driving force to spend a great time preparing my lessons. As a new teacher, I was assigned low beginners with books that matched their levels. The classes were 50 minutes for each student and I tried my best to follow the system of the school. 10 minutes for free talking, 30 minutes for classwork, and 10 minutes for review. I handled one-on-one classes for speaking and reading and time has made me become a better teacher.

“I started growing in this career and learned a lot of things from training, practice, and experience.”

As I have become familiar with the course and its contents, I have incorporated my own approach in the way I teach my lessons. I also learned from my co-teachers, as I attended some training given by the school. I also learned a lot from my students, as I conduct classes with them and assess how I could help them reach their goal in language learning. With hard work, I was noticed by the school’s administration and offered me to take training for becoming a group class teacher of high-level students.

From there, I started growing in this career and learned a lot of things from training, practice, and experience. These things led me to be promoted to head teacher for the listening department. I was able to take part in developing curricula with my colleagues and creating special courses for certain groups of students in the school. I was also handling training of teachers to help them improve how they conduct their classes and evaluate their performances as teachers.

“I was ready for a greater challenge and more experiences that I could refer to and learn from to be able to better.”

Four years of teaching and learning at the language school have gone by fast. I couldn't even imagine how that happened, but one thing I was sure of that time, I was ready to expand my knowledge in this career. I was ready for a greater challenge and more experiences that I could refer to and learn from to be able to better. I decided to take Professional Teaching units at a Teacher's College in my hometown to be able to qualify for the National Teachers' Licensure Examination.

After a year completing these units, I took my licensure examination and was able to successfully passed it. That didn't stop me from my goals. I wanted a new challenge, a new motivation, and a new reason for me to explore more things in teaching. That's when I decided to apply for a teaching job in another country, considering my experience teaching students from other countries, I would want to try to experience it out of my comfort zone and see what other countries have to offer. This led me to teaching English in China. I still have a long way to go, a lot of things to learn, and a lot of experiences to gain. I am ready for it and I am looking forward to it.

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