Teaching in China

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Teaching in China

My TEFL journey started two years ago back in 2015, when I was 25. I finally had the courage to quit my 9-5 job as a digital editor in London and focus on studying for my TEFL qualification.

Once I found out about TEFL I knew it was the answer.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good graduate job, related to my degree. However, I’d been there a couple of years by that point and I couldn’t help thinking, “So, is this it?”

For me, job satisfaction was low. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything particularly worthwhile. I was desperate to travel and see the world, but I was unable to save any money on my graduate wage and with London rent and prices.

Once I found out about TEFL I knew it was the answer. Finally, a way to travel AND earn money. It seemed too good to be true. To top it off, shortly after, I met my boyfriend, who had also decided to get his TEFL qualification. So, we did it together!

Our first TEFL job was 3 months in Moscow, teaching students 1:1 in their own homes. We were thrown right in at the deep end, navigating the Metro on our first day, locating student’s homes with Google maps and a Cyrillic address. At times, it was a little daunting. Nonetheless, it was such an adventure. Moscow was an incredible, beautiful city. We went during its coldest months, which was definitely a shock to the system. On our day off we would explore the city, but it was so cold we couldn’t be outside for more than a few minutes at a time. One of my students, a businesswoman called Elena who barely spoke any English, used to give me a shot of Schnapps after class before I left her apartment to keep the cold at bay!

We then moved to China for 18 months to work in a middle school. We were immediately given so much responsibility and it was a lot of hard work. I got told on my first day I would be teaching dance class during break times. I couldn’t offer little more than ‘The Robot’, but just got on with it, something you get used to in China. Teaching classes of up to sixty students often made you feel like a stand-up comedian as you retold crazy stories about your travels to a group of giggling teenagers. We initially signed on for a year but were offered promotions and enjoyed a significant pay rise for our final six months.

Now we are both teaching English online to Chinese students aged 5-15. It’s a totally different challenge and a much more energetic style of teaching than what we are used to, but it’s great fun. Working online from home is also so convenient, and the good thing is we can keep this job wherever we are in the world.

Our next plan is to gain our CELTA qualifications and then find a job in South America for next year.

TEFL for us isn’t just a gap year choice, it’s a lifestyle change. It has enabled us to travel the world and be immersed in different cultures. We have met some lifelong friends, learnt so much and had masses amounts of fun doing so.

For me, teaching is such a creative, practical and rewarding profession. The TEFL course and consequent teaching experience has improved my confidence and ability to think on my feet. The amount of times I had to improvise on the spot in China is uncountable! For anyone thinking about doing a TEFL course and teaching English overseas, I say 100% do it! Whatever you are worried about, don’t be. You will meet amazing people. You will have people to support you. And you will come away from it with the most amazing stories and life experience. Don’t settle for a mediocre life. Get out there and see the world!

Once I found out about TEFL I knew it was the answer.

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