During the next few weeks, I will be sharing my experience as an English language teacher in China. Let me give you some background. I am Chinese-American; both my parents are Chinese, but I grew up in America. And yes, I speak Chinese. I only visit my relatives in China once every four years or so. This year, I am staying in a small city in China for 6 weeks. Lastly, I am 17 and am going to be a senior in high school.
Ok. Cool. So now into what I have experienced so far. Before coming to China, I knew that teaching English over the summer was something I wanted to pursue. After contacting multiple English schools here, I finally decided to go with Victoria English School, which is about a 15 minute bus ride from where I am staying.
For the month of July, I am teaching a total of 8 classes, and of these classes, each day I teach two 40-minute classes. These class sessions all start at different times each day, and my classes can be anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I teach grades 2, 4, 5, and 6.
In the beginning, it was quite difficult gaging the ability of the students in each grade level. There was no set book or list of vocabulary words; I was allowed to teach anything I wanted. Initially I was a bit stunned by how each class was incredibly different from the other. In my classes with older kids, I have taught a very loud class that won’t stop talking, a class that doesn’t talk at all, and a class that is somewhere in between.
It’s strange, since technically, I am considered a “foreign teacher” even though I look and am Chinese. The kids all seem to be amazed when I tell them that I live in America. Some have even asked me questions about life in America after class. Seeing the smile on their faces as we carry on an authentic conversation in English… I think these are the moments that make teaching worth it.
Though there were a couple of rough patches in the beginning, I think I’m slowly getting the hang of this whole teaching thing.