Since arriving and teaching in China, the teaching life has played such a huge role in my day to day time here, I thought 12 months down the line it was about time to finally fill you all in on the day to day life of Louise the teacher!
Now, having never taught before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when teaching in China. I remember on my first day my stomach was flipping like never before and the thought of standing in front of a group of non-English speaking Chinese children terrified me. My first week consisted of observing other teachers and learning about the way things work at York. Looking back, I couldn’t be more thankful for getting stuck in as quickly as possible. My first few weeks were a whirlwind of getting to know the teaching course, attempting to somehow communicate with my very confused children and slowly learning the ins and outs of ESL teaching. And I think I can now safely say that I know what I am doing (kind of).
It’s absolutely crazy how much you learn from being an ESL teacher. I went from attempting to control a group of 12 hyper 4 year olds who didn’t speak a lick of English (and sometimes struggled with Chinese) to being able to sign language and speak in the simplest way possible to teach them phrases like “Thank you”, “you’re welcome”, and “I’m sorry”, “That’s okay”. Now this may sound like nothing but I must tell you there’s something quite rewarding about a small Chinese child accidentally nudging another child and saying “I’m Sorry”, and hastily waiting for the “that’s okay” response. Obviously I teach a range of different ages so things do get more advanced than a simple how are you? But nonetheless, the youngest are almost more challenging in that respect as they literally have no idea!
Anyway carrying on from that, I have been so lucky with my different sets of classes. Although they are all relatively young I have managed to enjoy myself and hopefully entertain and teach them something in the process. The weekly schedule is also pretty good with the normal working hours being from 16:00 – 20:30 on Wednesday and Thursday (although I would normally be in from around 2pm), 14.30-20.30 on Fridays, and 8:30 to 17:30 on Saturday and Sunday. This also means we are able to avoid the normal busy rush hours, and having our weekends on Monday and Tuesday means public parks and weekend spots aren’t jam packed with the rest of China. My normal week would be made up of 2 classes on all the weekdays and then 2 classes in the morning of Saturday and Sunday and one class after lunch. Each class lasts for 90 minutes except for the kinder classes which are an hour as they are literally falling asleep by the end of it.
Now I won’t bore you with too many more details but I must say I have found the teaching process a lot more rewarding than I ever imagined. I am absolutely dreading saying goodbye to my children especially knowing that they will probably forget me as soon as the next teacher takes over! But it has been such an incredible experience teaching in China, watching my kids grow and learn more and more as the months have gone by. So as our leaving date creeps up closer and closer here are some photos from the past year with my amazing students (p.s a fair few seem to have an inability to smile for a camera!)
Louise is from the UK and has recently completed a one year contract teaching English with us. She is now travelling Asia!