Here we interview our old teacher Elsie, on her time teaching in China with us, and what she has taken from the experience with York English! Elsie is from the USA and currently lives and works in Japan.
Hi Elsie, tell everyone a bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Elsie and I’ve been a teacher for the last 3 years. I was with York English for a full year and currently I am living and teaching in Japan.
What were your best experiences teaching in China with York English?
Getting to meet and interact with different kinds of people, try different kinds of food, learn the skills I needed to improve as a teacher, and travel. York provided lots of opportunities to travel with the company as well as around China.
How would you describe your time living in Fuzhou?
Different from the U.S. but strangely the same. Obviously there are some major differences culture-wise, but anything you can find in the U.S., you can generally find in Fuzhou cheaper. I think coming over in the beginning, I was expecting some kind of parallel universe, but I blame that on lack of information state-side. Fuzhou is no different than a western city and it’s really quite easy to adapt yourself to it.
What did you learn about yourself during your time here with us, both personally and as a teacher?
Before coming to York, I was a volunteer ESL instructor and a full-time test tutor. I knew I wanted to improve myself, so York English was perfect for me. They really help you get better at your craft and help figure out what kind of teacher you are. York taught me how to be confident, loud, and most importantly, control a room full of kids. Even though I mostly work 1-1 now, I still have the ability to command the room.
What have you learnt about the wider ESL field now you have more experience?
I learned that York English is very unique in its class sizes as well as it’s monitoring process. Many schools don’t really interact and help with teacher growth. Mostly those schools just expect you to teach, but York takes pride in making sure it’s teachers are at their full potential. There are many franchised ESL schools but you want to pick the one that makes it feel like each teacher is part of a greater family than just a worker. York makes sure you feel that way.
What advice would you give to new teachers looking to move abroad or more specifically, China?
For advice on moving to China, I would say be mindful of your diet. When I was there, it was easy to develop an unhealthy eating habit because the food is so delicious but very oily. That said, do not expect the food to be the same as Chinese food back home. I spent a year there and not once did I find a place that served Lemon Chicken! I would also learn the tones and correct pronunciation for common words and locations. The people wont know what you’re saying if you don’t say it correctly. But don’t be too scared, it’s actually pretty easy once you get used to it.
For moving and living abroad, I’ve only done it twice, but the running theme is that you have to be adventurous. You have to be the one to go outside and explore because even though there are invitations, no one is going to force you out. The best part about traveling abroad is that you get to figure out who you are as a person. Enjoy the adventure, in the classroom or on the road.
A big thank you to Elsie for answering our questions on teaching in China! If you are a teacher that used to teach at York English, we’d love to hear from you! Just pop a comment below and we will get back to you.