Albert Rawlings

Teacn Enrich Empower

The Time of My Life with TEFL!

For the past 5 years I had the adventure of a lifetime teaching English abroad. It was such a great experience that I felt compelled to share it with you!

My name is Albert and I’m now 29 years old.

I received my TEFL qualification back in 2017 and quickly found a job offer teaching in Hangzhou, China. Before TEFL I felt I lacked direction, I had a deep sense of wanting to do something truly exciting and unique with my life. I believed gaining a TEFL qualification would allow me to do this and it certainly did!

Moving to China and teaching gave my life purpose and felt like this grand adventure. The idea of it felt quite daunting at first and I was certainly nervous during my first classes. The TEFL course gave me a great base of knowledge, an understanding of teaching techniques and classroom management. Not only was it required to get the job but it made the initial challenge of teaching so much easier. Working with young people was such a joy and every day my students found a way to make me smile! 

I’ve acquired a few tips and tricks for people when they first start teaching. These methods were covered during my TEFL course and fine-tuned when I started the job.

It’s good start a class with a warm up exercise also known as an ice breaker. This will grab the student’s attention and can be used to revisit content from a previous lesson. For example, you could use a provocative question to start a debate and get them talking. For younger children you could throw a ball to students and ask them questions if they can catch it – I found this got the class focused and ready to learn. 

One method I utilized in every class was an incentive system. It was a great tool for keeping control of the class. It rewards good behavior and discourages bad behavior. An example of this is having a competitive points-based system. Split the class into two teams and when the student answers a question correctly give their team a point. In comparison, when a student exhibits bad behavior you remove points. At the end of the class the team with the most points wins and receives a reward such as a stamp in their book that can later be exchanged for prizes. I found this the most effective way to have discipline while making the classes fun and competitive.

Be prepared to adjust to a new environment, food, language and other aspects life. It’s a big part of the TEFL experience that’s often overlooked. The great thing about TEFL is you usually already have a built-in network of people at your new place of work. I found it really useful to make connections with Chinese colleagues as well as more experienced TEFL teachers. Making these connections was useful as I had an instant support network and people to show me how to live in a new country. I found it didn’t take long to adjust and gain the skills required to live abroad. 

Although I didn’t plan to stay longer than a year or two, I ended up choosing to stay in China for 5 years!

Most schools offer generous holidays and this gave me the opportunity to travel. Being located in Asia meant my dream locations were so close! I ended up visiting Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Maldives! As well as the travelling the experience has given me financial security and a start to a career back in the UK! It sounds like it’s too good to be true but this was my honest experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially to young people wanting to broaden their horizons!

 

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