Jemma (Teaching Review)

JEMMA GALBRAITH

TEACHING ENGLISH IN CHINA, VIA THE CHINA TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Before arriving in China, the thought of teaching English was daunting especially since I had no previous experience and I didn’t speak a word of Chinese!

The China Teaching Experience prepares you for every possible outcome. The TEFL course provided by the company gives you an insight into what teaching will be like in China. The end result of the TEFL allows you to have a significant amount of knowledge about teaching in China and the Chinese culture. At the end of the course you achieve the TEFL certification. There is also a practical element that takes place in a Summer Camp in Beijing. This allowed me to have a first-hand experience of teaching in a classroom before heading off to the project school where I would be teaching for 10 months. Attending the Summer Camp was the best way to begin my time in China, you were thrown in at the deep end and were asked to teach classes English from early in the morning until late at night. Although at first it was challenging, looking back it played a vital role in finding my feet and my teaching style within a Chinese classroom.

On average I teach around 50 students in each class and each lesson lasts 40 minutes. Every lesson I have done has always been different. It is the type of job that you have no idea what to expect each time you step in the classroom. However this all adds to the excitement and enjoyment of teaching in China. The students are always eager to learn and are very attentive in class. Activities in lessons can range from learning new vocab to singing songs and playing games. The students enjoy learning English and are always interested in what you have to teach/say.

I have the freedom in my school to teach whatever subjects I like and how to teach them within the classroom. Each topic has always been received well and the students really enjoy it when you show them something different – especially if they get to watch a video! After I figured out how to lesson plan things became a whole lot easier. Myself and other applicants on this programme are always swapping lesson plans and/or ideas. It’s a great way to find new ways of teaching or to see what will and will not work in the classroom.

After each lesson I find that students are always coming up to me wanting the chance to speak to me, take photos or ask various questions in English. They are enthusiastic and make teaching a million times easier and more enjoyable. The students are always wanting you to join in activities outside the classroom too.

Looking back it seems silly to think that teaching in China would be daunting. After teaching for 7 months I realise that as long as you are prepared for lessons and are willing to accept that things might not go to plan, teaching in China can be an extremely rewarding and an unforgettable experience. After each class I find myself leaving the students with a massive smile on my face and knowing that this is the type of work that I love doing.