experience of teaching English in China has been fantastic and I
would like to take this opportunity to thank TEIC for being there
in the beginning and making it all happen.I loved my year with TEIC
so much I have since stayed in China for a further two years.
I was initially placed in Xiangtan, Hunan and had only one, small
problem with dirty accommodation and a lack of a computer. This
was quickly remedied after one telephone call and as such is testament
to the support offered by TEIC and the Chinese affiliate CEAIE.
Apart from that I had no major problems or negative culture shock.
I completely immersed myself in Hunan-living; eating great spicy
food every day, talking with locals and drinking rice wine with
my boss and his friends. Xiangtan locals were so friendly and Chinese
hospitality is second to none— you will literally be taken
out for dinner every night!
You will also feel somewhat of a celebrity if you are placed out
in the provinces. From my first day to my last the same people,
despite knowing my face, would still shout “HELLO!”
from across the street. It annoys some people but for me it shows
just how friendly and happy Chinese people are to see you and have
you in their country. Living in the relative countryside was also
great for my Chinese. I learnt basic Mandarin much quicker than
I had ever expected. Every day provided new opportunities to practice
and people are very patient and mostly very encouraging.
As for teaching, my classes were initially a bit rocky. In fact
my first class was terrible! I completely forgot I had a blackboard
and couldn’t control the students—the result being 60
young Chinese kids going mad. Do not let this put you off, you will
quickly learn and as long as the kids are speaking English and having
fun it’s all good.
I have now been teaching for three years and things still go wrong.
My best advice for a new teacher is; always have a contingency plan,
a good reward/punishment system and have FUN. Teaching will be challenging
but its well worth it when your students begin to use phrases you
have taught and you really begin to build bonds with them. I found
that the more effort I put in and the more experience I gained the
better my teaching became.
Another excellent benefit of working with TEIC is the holidays.
As a result of being placed in a state-school, I must have had at
least 2 or 3 months paid holiday. Impromptu holidays due to exams
or festivals happened frequently and with the competitive wage offered
you can travel wherever you like. In that one year, I travelled
to Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangxi, Chengdu and South East Asia and had
some of the best times of my life.
Ultimately teaching with TEIC is a great way to begin teaching
in China. You will benefit greatly from the security and support
of the organization, gain valuable teaching skills, make a difference
with your students and have an excellent time!