By Nicole Comer, Primary School TEFL Training teacher, Beijing 2018/19
My name is Nicole Comer, and I am a primary teacher in the Shijingshan District of Beijing! I’d like to share what my first month here in China has been like. In this post, I’ll talk about the training camp, TEFL exam, and placement locations.
I came to China from Boston, Massachusetts in the US. I was picked up at the airport by CEAIE staff, and taken to a hotel where we were given information on what to expect for the following two weeks. The next day, we left for our assigned training camp locations. I was assigned to the Yunhe Middle School in Tongzhou. At the school, the training teachers shared rooms with another trainee of the same gender. We were also assigned partners who would teach with us for the 10 days of camp. I was fortunate in that my partner was also my roommate, so it was quite easy to plan lessons together. We taught every day from around 8:30-11:30, and 2:00-5:00. Though deciding who would teach when was up to us, my partner and I (as well as many other pairs) chose to assign one half of the day to one teacher. During the times we weren’t teaching, we were either eating or lesson planning. It was an intense experience. Yes there was a lot of work involved, and yes it was very time consuming. But all of the hard work paid off at the end when I saw how prepared I felt to start teaching! It was absolutely worth it, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be involved in the camp.
After camp, we were taken back to the same hotel we stayed in our first night. Though we were all pretty exhausted from our intense teaching practice, we had little time to think about that as we were shuttled straight into TEFL training! This part of training involved lecture-style classes throughout the day. These classes were extremely helpful, and helped prepare us mentally for what we were about to get into. They also gave us some ideas for activities to use in our future classrooms! On the fourth day, we took the final exam. Showing up to class, doing the reading, and taking notes were essential for passing the exam. But, again, it really wasn’t bad. I personally felt very prepared after our classes.
After we took the final exam, we packed up our belongings and got ready to set out to our placement locations. Many teachers had to take trains or planes as they were placed outside of Beijing. Those of us that had Beijing placements were picked up by our personal representatives and brought to our apartments. I’ve had to do my fair share of running around since arriving (like registering with the police and getting a residence permit), but as long as I remind myself that this is not the US and things are just done differently, I’m able to calm down. Flexibility is key in the first few weeks of your arrival. Be patient, make use of your contacts should you have an issue, and breathe. Trust me – it will be fine. Now I’m settled in, and have been at my school for two weeks. I have a routine down, and have started taking Chinese classes on the weekends. Things are going great. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring me!
Want to teach in China but don’t want to go alone? Our TEFL Training Programme is the ideal way to start your adventure fun and comforting way with many other likeminded people!