What is it Like Teaching English in China?
I’ve been teaching for almost two years in China as an English teacher. At first, I was only assigned to teach preschool children, due to the sudden leave of their last teacher. I was nervous and didn’t know whether I would be able to teach them. They were very young and were absolute beginners. I had to teach letters with paired vocabularies every lesson. But as soon as I got to know them, all my worries disappeared. They were supportive and eager to learn.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate CONNIE L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Beginning of the lesson
I would start my class with the greeting part, by asking students their names and how old they are, then I drew a little figure next to their names, so they would know they are special. Then I would play a warm-up song, so we can dance and sing with it. This is a nice way to start teaching, it helps the students to be comfortable in the room, and are more relaxed for the following learning lesson. Like it said in the TEFL course, children are one of the most rewarding of all classes to teach. They are willing to learn more, and they can be excited once you reward them with some stickers for their good work. That will influence you, and inspire you to become a better teacher. I had a really hard time saying goodbye to them.
Also Read: English Speaking and Writing Errors made by Chinese Primary Students
After that, I started to teach students from elementary school. As for right now, ninety-nine percent of my students are from elementary schools. They are similar to pre-school children, but they would consider themselves to be much mature. And instead of flashcards and fun cartoons, now I have to use course books and workbooks in classes. We do have some cool smart boards which had the applications for all the Pearson course books, it decreased a lot of preparation time. So I would use the time and prepare some fun activities for students to practice. If teachers only use the course books to teach, students are more likely to get bored and their mind might just wander off from the lesson. It’s important to keep class interesting and challenging, let the students know that every goal they achieve, or every work they have done, they will get the award and it means a lot to me that they are getting further. I believe encouragement is one of the best ways to build confidence in students, and a lack of confidence is not a good sign for studying anything.
Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?
To be honest, teaching in China is not easy.
All of the students are buried in their school works, and all the other lessons with instruments, dancing, sports, robot, programming, etc. Even listening to that makes me feel stressed. Most of the students won’t have any day off in a week, even at the weekends. Not only do they have schools right after school, but they also have to rush to all the institutes. Their schedules are normally fully booked. And the parents expect great things from the children. I can’t understand how they don’t crack under that pressure. They have to learn many courses when they are little, and it seems like they don’t have any problems with that. Maybe because everyone around them lives like this, and not having a fully booked schedule may be considered “weird”. Because of these reasons, sometimes I would feel bad for leaving them homework because I don’t want to put any more burdens on them.
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I guess it’s not easy to teach English in any country. We all have our obstacles. But teaching is the best choice I have ever made, and I enjoy it every minute.
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