To begin your journey, you need to …
What the teaching in China experience is like? I’ve been asked about this question more than 10 times …
Before you pack your bags and move off to China (or any country for that matter) to teach English, you’d be wise to read about the tales of other who have done it before you.
It’s not to say that you’ll have the same good experiences (or even bad ones too), but it gives you some idea of what you can expect.
For my experience in particular, I had a wonderful time teaching in China. I wasn’t even a teacher before I began, but suddenly, there I was teaching cute little kindergarten kids. It’s still so far one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life!
On the other hand, I also had friends that taught at universities who constantly complained but not my case! I mostly loved my job.
My favourite part: the kids
Apart from amazing trips and a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, the things I loved the most were that I got to inspire kids at an early age.
I had kids who were learning how to read. Watching them go from not knowing anything beyond how to say “hello” to reading level 1 books moved me to tears every single year.
That look of realization on their faces when they realized they were reading in English AND understanding it was why I kept accepting a new contract year after year until we secured a green card for my Chinese husband and moved back to America. If we’d stayed in China, I never would have left my school.
If we’d stayed in China, I never would have left my school.
That’s not to say that things didn’t annoy me from time to time, though.
Sometimes, there was a lack of communication between the Chinese staff and the foreign teachers. And I’d say most people would experience that at one point of their teaching in China journey.
You need to find a way in your style that deals with this gracefully. I found that being proactive and making my presence known was the best way to prevent being left in the dark.
It’s also helpful to remember that even if the Chinese staff at your school speaks English, it’s not their first language. Things can get lost in communication and by having a gracious attitude about it and coming together for the greater good, which is teaching kids and instilling in them a positive outlook on life and education, it benefits everyone.
Teaching kids and instilling in them a positive outlook on life and education, it benefits everyone.
Are Chinese parents nice?
When you’re teaching younger kids, you should also keep in mind you’ll likely have some interference from parents.
Some will be great and really on board with everything you’re doing while others will want you to pander to their kids or make excuses for poor behavior. Kids are quite spoiled by their parents in China.
Kids are quite spoiled by their parents in China.
Overall though, I found most of the parents to be fantastic and some of them I still keep in touch with to this day. They share photos of their kids who are now so much bigger than the last time I hugged them goodbye.
If you ask me if had it to do all over again, would I teach in China?
The answer is a DEFINITELY yes.
It was an experience that taught me so much about myself and gave me a new perspective on the world. And a place I met the most important person in my life, my husband.
Though challenging, it was totally worth it.
You never know what would happen if you never dare to start anything.