Chara Watts

Teach Enrich Empower

Exploring, Dreaming & Discovering

My name is Chara and I am a 24-year-old TEFL teacher in China. Prior to teaching I worked in education recruitment in London where I interviewed teachers for teaching posts on a regular basis. I would always ask 'Why did you want to become a teacher?' and a very frequent answer would be 'because I don't want a boring office job. I want a rewarding, fun and challenging job!'

It wasn’t long before this mentality rubbed off on me and I decided that I also wanted a rewarding job that would put a smile on my face. In April of this year, I undertook the 120 hour TEFL course to get a feel for what teaching would be like. I can honestly say teaching English is the best decision I have ever made!

I am now working at one of the top high schools in China, which is in a medium-sized town about 70 kilometres away from the nearest city. I have 18 classes and teach the top 1000 students in the school, the average class size is 65. There are minimal behaviour management problems and my students are very friendly and enthusiastic! I am lucky to have complete control over what I can teach my students and I endeavour to make my lessons as engaging as possible to encourage them to speak. Chinese students are very shy but after teaching some fun and controversial topics, I have seen the classes transform from silent ones into loud and chatty ones. I recently taught a lesson on Superheroes and asked the students to create their own superheroes and have a class battle. They were so competitive that they forgot their shyness and all participated in speaking. It felt incredibly rewarding to see students arguing over who could speak first when a month ago they would not speak or look me in the eye.

“I can honestly say teaching English is the best decision I have ever made!”

Next week we have a school sports day and I am competing with other teachers in the school, my students and colleagues are keen to help me train and I spent 2 hours today playing basketball with them! Everyone at the school is incredibly hospitable and kind and always help to make sure that everything inside and outside of school runs smoothly. The school pays for my accommodation and pays me a very good salary, and even imported some iron tablets from overseas when they found out that I was anaemic!

I have been in China for 2 months now and I have had a smile on my face every day and have not in the least regretted my decision to leave London and move overseas! If you are thinking about doing a TEFL and teaching abroad, do it! There are so many wonderful places waiting to be explored, with wonderful people and students who want to succeed. Just last month I watched the sunrise over the famous Yellow Mountain and it was indescribable! As Mark Twain once said ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’

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