Teaching in China

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Teaching in China

Hi there, my name is Rachel and I'm 22+7 years old (see I'm so used to teaching now, I bring it into everything) New Year’s Day 2016, my partner, Kay, and I went for a country walk in the puddles of Hampshire.

The content we learnt from The TEFL Academy has been invaluable

We talked about our resolutions and our first was to teach abroad. One month after that, we signed up to The TEFL Academy and by July 2016, we had completed our 120-hour qualification and were already applying for jobs teaching in Asia. The course was ideal for us; we were able to work on the online part, from home in the evenings and on weekends, and the 20 hours in a classroom, meant we could put the theory into practice. 

It is now August 2017, and I type this from our apartment in Beijing. We applied to several companies, and at first, we liked the idea of a beach location (who wouldn't), but then we heard back from a company called First Leap, and to be honest the rest is history. 

As a little disclaimer, visas to China are a pain in the neck and due to this, our departure was delayed by a few months, but we arrived in December 2016. We have now been teaching for 8 months, although it really feels as though we have been in this job for years. 

I think the biggest difference between schools in England and over here in China, is the relationship between teacher and student. We were encouraged from day one to cuddle the children, pick them up, and basically treat them like a niece or nephew, all the while teaching them of course. 

I teach mainly children aged 3-8 years old, through an array of subjects, such as; Music, Art, Reading, Science, Virtual P.E, Logical Thinking, Global Leadership and World Culture. The lessons themselves are prepared for you, but with this job, I really feel the more you put in, the more you gain. The company does a lot of the work for you, but teaching standards are so much higher if you put your mind to it, and try and create your own activities, games and goals, the results of the children's learning is then that bit more rewarding, and a lot more fun. Our hours are from 2.30-8.30 Wednesday - Friday and 9-7 on Saturday and Sunday's. Monday's are Tuesday's are our weekend, so while everyone at home turns to Instagram on a Monday morning, to moan about Monday blues, we are sleeping, or travelling around this amazing place we now call home. 

Kay and I studied Drama at university, and after graduating, both got stuck in the mud, we were working in an office job, with which neither of us wanted to start our real careers. Both being creative people, we really wanted something that would allow us to put our mark on, whilst being able to have adventures. The content we learnt from The TEFL Academy has been invaluable, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to move abroad to teach English. 

Our experiences have not all been like a Disney film - although we visited Shanghai Disneyland recently, and it’s a must for the bucket list! Although, a lot of young people here speak basic English, living in an area which is not touristy, there is a large language barrier. *A tip for anyone thinking of coming here: learn some basics early. 

We now take Chinese classes with a friend we've made over here who is from China (always helps) which is extremely useful, but we only wish we had started this sooner.  Learning the numbers, basic greetings, and how to order in a restaurant will be the most helpful.

I won't ramble on for too long, but I shall end on a little anecdote. I have a favorite class, I shouldn't, they always say teachers shouldn't, but who cares eh?! I teach this class once a week and I honestly do not stop smiling the entire time. One of the little boys, James, ends each week by helping me to collect any bits of realia I've brought to the classroom, and picks any crayons off the floor. The rest of his class (4-6 year olds) are already down the corridor, going to the bathroom, singing songs in English, whilst he remains with me, helping. Each time, he gives me a hug, then runs after his class, and shouts "See you Rachel!" 

After finishing our year contract, Kay and I are going to see some more of Asia, then return to England, early in 2018. Our next step is to start our own Arts Education company, devising our own theatre, to take to schools around the U.K, and work with the students afterwards to develop their own creative ideas. 

To anyone who even has a small dream in their mind, of moving abroad to work with children, what's stopping you? It's worth it, trust me. 

Thank you TEFL Academy.

The content we learnt from The TEFL Academy has been invaluable

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