Kay Emma Burdon

Teach Enrich Empower
JANUARY SALE 01/25/2022

Teaching in China

My name is Kay, I am 23 years old and I come from England. I had my 23rd birthday in Beijing, China and about 10 months ago, I would never have believed that I would write that sentence

The TEFL Academy provided me with skills which I use every day in class

Last year, I was working in insurance in a stuffy office after graduating from university with a BA hons degree in Drama and dreaming of something other than answering phones and typing until my hands were numb. As a drama graduate, I did not picture myself stuck in a job that had almost no connection to my degree. Myself and my partner, Rachel, both needed a break, so we chose the TEFL course with The TEFL Academy as a step into a new life.

Now we have been living in Beijing for 9 months and feel like we have been here for a lifetime. We have settled in, learning the language and enjoying seeing our students’ faces every week. I currently work at a school called First Leap in Beijing, and I teach children from the ages of 3 years to 11 years old. At my school we teach children English through a wide curriculum such as; Art, Science, World Culture, Music, Drama and many other subjects. For me, this is the perfect way to teach, it means I can use drama games as a way of encouraging my students to speak English. If they are having fun whilst speaking English, then I think it makes it worthwhile going into work 5 days a week. All lessons are provided for you and all you have to do is bring the lesson to life. It seems an easy task but it has been a challenging one. Over time, I have learnt so many things about preparing properly for a class and ensuring that, not only do I provide my students with a good class, but also that I provide them with a fun release from the pressure and work that many Chinese children face from their parents and main schools.

Beijing was a bit of culture shock, mainly for the reason that I did not speak any Chinese aside from ‘ni hao’. This has proved a little difficult at times, especially when the first meal I ordered in China was a case of close your eyes, point at the Chinese symbol and hope you end up with something edible. Since then, I have come a long way and things that used to daunt me, do not make the same impact anymore.

This experience has taught me three main things so far:

  1. Chinese people are very interested in foreigners and children love having foreign teachers.
  2. In China, it is okay to eat a lot of food. There is no judgement here, eat 5 dishes, 6 if you must. It’s okay as long as you like rice.
  3. Family is important here and there is always time to chat to your family over a bubbling hot pot.

The TEFL course provided me with skills which I use every day in class, from how to properly prepare, to how to deal with unexpected situations in class, all of which add to this amazing experience to date. So many people here are caught up in the ‘Beijing Time’ where before you know it, you have been in this country for years and rather than an excuse to travel it becomes a life career. Is it the same for me? My plan is to remain in China and complete a year with my school and then see more of Asia with my partner, Rachel. This opportunity has allowed us to see so much of China whilst doing something that we love and we look back and cannot believe we ever had a doubt in our minds 10 months ago.

My advice to anyone who has considered teaching abroad, whether it be Asia, Europe or any other continent, is to just do it. Stop thinking about it and writing a pros and cons list and just do it. You won’t regret taking the risk and to have your students run and give you the biggest hug after only a week of not seeing them, is something that is worth taking a leap for.

The TEFL Academy provided me with skills which I use every day in class

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