Kelly Diggle

Teach Enrich Empower

Kelly Diggle - Teaching in China

My name’s Kelly and at the age of 25 I decided I wanted to make a dramatic change in life – I got my TEFL qualification and headed to Beijing, China.

Before I decided to give teaching a go, I spent a few years frequently changing jobs, unsure of what it was that I truly wanted. What I did know however is that I loved travelling and experiencing different cultures, which is when The TEFL Academy caught my eye – what better way to merge the two alongside a new, challenging job?  Living and working in China had never exactly appealed to me, but after being offered a 1 year contract I thought ‘why not?’, and 4 months down the line I am having an incredible adventure in my new school teaching children between 3 and 8 years old. Beijing itself is a difficult place to settle – language barriers, staring, pollution, crazy traffic – but with the constant support of my new family and pure enjoyment for the job, I’m learning to embrace all of it. I am glad I took the time to complete a TEFL course. The weekend course in particular helped prepare me for a real-life classroom situation in a foreign country – when a class of 14 children talk at you in Chinese, it’s important to understand effective ways of communicating, other than through speech.

What I particularly love about teaching is that every day is different. Sure, sometimes you have to teach the same lesson, but the kids are what make the 40 minute slots unique. I have the opportunity to act like a fool in return for genuine laughter and the relaxed attitude in China enables me to form strong bonds with the kids through hugs, games and rewards (it’s nice to be able to give candy to support good behaviour!). This particular company teach American English and instead of learning Mandarin (it’s such a tricky language to pick up) I have developed an American accent – not something I envisioned happening in China!

“For anyone considering taking a TEFL course, I’d say go for it!”

For anyone considering taking a TEFL course, I’d say go for it! In today’s society there is so much pressure for young people to get a degree before they feel ready to take on the world. I don’t have a degree, but with the help of my TEFL qualification, I am on the other side of the world in a respectable, well paid and more importantly enjoyable, worthwhile job. It is a daunting prospect of course, but I’ve found a large expat community in the city who have all taken the same steps, and as a result this community comes together to support each other. As for the future I’m still not sure, but once my 1 year contract is up, I can either decide to work my way up in the company here in Beijing, or move on to another exotic country around the world. Deciding to become a TEFL teacher has opened up so many doors; the only difficult part is deciding which one to open next.

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