Taught English in China August 2014- June 2015
Current Job Title: PGCE Student
Careers after the placement
Our teachers gain lots of skills through their work in China, like communication skills, leadership ability and experience with public speaking.
Prospective employers value initiative, and the ability to take yourself out of your comfort zone and thrive.
It means that you have lots of careers options upon completing the programme.
A number of our recent teachers pursued a career in teaching, while others now work in finance, the civil service or for NGO’s.
What did you do after teaching English in China?
From my experience in China I found that teaching was something that I really enjoyed and I could see myself doing it in the future. Because of this I decided that I wanted to further my prospects by studying a PGCE in primary school teaching. I applied for a place at Cumbria University in Lancaster and was enrolled on to the General Primary with Modern Foreign Languages course.
How did teaching in China help you make a career decision?
For me it never felt like a job. The fun of getting to know the children and how rewarding the learning process was, made me realize that it was something that I wanted to keep doing. No two days are the same and I liked that. However I realized that I still had a lot to learn when it came to teaching. I really wanted to be able to enhance my teaching in order to give the best possible learning opportunities for the children, therefore doing a PGCE for one year seemed worthwhile in the grand scheme of things.
What skills did you gain on the programme that helped you in your career?
It has put me in good stance for becoming a primary school teacher as it gave me experience that is required to get on to the PGCE course. When being interviewed I was able to give numerous different examples from my experience to every question given.
As a result the university put me forward to study modern foreign languages (MFL) alongside my degree. In England there is a high demand for MFL teachers and from knowing zero mandarin before entering China I am now qualified as a subject specialist (something my younger self would never have thought possible). This will put me in a good position for finding a job in the near future.
It also gave me a great confidence boost when starting placement as the whole idea of standing up in front of a class was not an issue. I also had resources already made that I was able to use within my teaching. Throughout my placements I was able to teach mandarin which was something new for the children and therefore a lot of fun.
I have also used my skills gained from the programme in unlikely situations in the UK such as calling a parent who didn’t speak much English, to advising those who are considering business opportunities out there.
What’s your advice in terms of boosting your career through teaching in China?
It’s been 8 months since leaving China and it’s still the one thing that stands out when I go for interviews, placements, work or even just everyday life. People will be very interested in it and it will make you stand out from other applicants. Therefore use every bit of it to show that you are a strong candidate. You will have demonstrated leadership with your English expertise as well as your teamwork with colleagues and your bravery. To have those skills is very admirable. The experience becomes such a big part of you that it shows great personality and therefore it develops you in both work and social aspects. This includes understanding people within different cultures and having friendships within a country that can help you with whatever it is you need. My best advice is to use all those experience resources gained to maximise your opportunities and utilise your quality understanding of China within your future career.
There are also great opportunities to make use of this programme during and after your time in China through social media. Take any opportunity you can to get involved and be creative whether it’s blogs, videos, travel advice, mandarin or anything you can think of. There are many of us who have gone on to exciting opportunities such as teaching new foreign teachers at numerous different events, working for magazines and assisting with creative ideas and concepts simply by talking about our experiences online. A skill that is useful in the modern environment of work.
Check out this video to find out how the year in China helped Anthony progress as a teacher
Anthony Ward (2014-2015 programme). Career after China: teaching