First and foremost, I would like to say teaching is a noble profession. After graduating from my education degree, I had a desire to share the skills I learned in school. I decided to take a leap of faith and explore a different part of the word. This decision then motivated me to enrol in OnTESOL’s courses, which prepared me to become an ESL teacher.
About the author: Steven Oyeinbonoghan Clerk is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate + 20-hour Teaching English to Young Learners course. He currently teaches in Jingmen, Hubei, China.
The Benefits Of Teaching and Living in China
There are many benefits and rewards I can easily pin point, here are a few of them:
Teaching and living in China provides the opportunity to learn the local language and more about the culture. The financial rewards from my teaching position are also much better than back home.
Living and teaching English in China has given me an opportunity make new friends and learn different perspectives on life from both friends and colleagues. Teaching and living in China has helped me to understand, in depth, the differences in educational systems especially from my country of Nigeria. This perspective has helped me to adopt different teachings skills and to transfer new knowledge to my students.
The Challenges of Teaching and Living China
There is a popular saying that goes “there is no place like home” that applies to my situation greatly.
As an expat living in China, it is easy to lose connection with the outside world due to the infamous “Great Firewall”. Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Google and YouTube, are not accessible in China. Many news websites, Netflix and even WhatsApp are censored by the Chinese government. This can make it really difficult for an expat to connect with the world and life back home.
Dealing with the language barrier feels like an awesome adventure, until yet another person at a front desk tells you that you aren’t in the right place. It’s also challenging and exhausting when speaking to people who don’t understand English very well. These challenges were more apparent in my first year living in China.
At the outset, it also wasn’t easy gaining respect from the children I teach. I had to learn tricks and methods to help me blend in. I also had to learn methods to show the children how jovial I am and how fun it is to learn the English language.
Why Live and Teach English in China?
I have always loved the idea of working in China, as a teacher, the income is high and the career offers quick growth. The standard of living is extremely comfortable here. The housing is high-quality, spacious, and affordable. I also live in a very friendly neighbourhood.
How OnTESOL’s Courses Prepared Me for the Job
I must confess, OnTESOL’s courses did a great deal to support my teaching career in China. The program provided me with a deep understanding of teaching, especially in the areas of lesson planning, teaching approaches and methods. It also has a strong grammar focus. The course helped helped me to use the right terminology in the classroom. The 20-hour TEYL course was in-depth as well and it showed me how to manage kids in a classroom setting. I must say OnTESOL’s courses fine tuned me to be the teacher I am today!
The Greatest Lessons Learned While Working Abroad
Working abroad teaches you to appreciate each day more—even the bad days. It’s a great lesson in letting go of expectations, embracing challenges, and making the most of the moment you are in.
I started to understand that the most important thing in life is to appreciate diversity, especially in order to succeed at work.
Once I began to trust are my own abilities, skills and perceptions, I started to form my own opinions based on my own experiences, while remembering that people are diverse. What may be a norm in my case, can be very different from what others may believe and experience.
Why I Chose to Teach With Jingmen Hubei Foreign Language School
Honestly speaking, I did not choose school I am currently working with, a friend connected me to the school. However, the school is the one the best in the city and is the only school that employs more non-native English teachers than others in the city. The school has a very unique tradition of learning about foreign cultures by engaging students with activities such as English Speech Competitions and an Inter-class English Singing Festival. In addition, the school has fostered good relationships between the management and the Chinese teaching staff.
The Concerns I had Before Working Abroad
I was extremely concerned about discrimination, communication, language barriers, life style difference, and the culture.
Advice To Someone Considering Teaching Abroad
Teaching and lesson planning is easier than you think!
While teaching is definitely not the easiest job on the planet, managing a class and creating lesson plans isn’t as hard as you might think. There are plenty of resources online. Getting your TESOL certification is also a really great way to prepare yourself for teaching abroad. TESOL courses, such as OnTESOL’s 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate, will give you the skills you need to manage a classroom. Even if you don’t require a TESOL to obtain a visa in the country you choose, I still recommend getting one.
Patience is Key
Whether it’s teaching rowdy students, or dealing with confusing administrative policies, patience is key. One of the qualities you’ll need most as a teacher is patience, and it’s important no matter which age group you’re teaching.