Hello everyone! I’m one of the teachers who’ll be starting the placement at the end of February. I’ll be based in Jinshan District, one of Shanghai’s southern suburbs. I plan to periodically share some of my experiences via this blog and hopefully provide some comfort and advice for those who are imminently flying over to China or who may be interested in applying to work with Teach English In China.

I’ve been living in central Shanghai for three weeks now, having left early to settle in before starting to teach. My time has been spent mostly travelling around Shanghai, seeing as many of the sights and tasting as much of the food as possible. I’ve had intermittent meetings with my employers to complete the final steps of the visa process, but I’m certainly still in holiday mode right now. Upon starting my placement on the 21st February, I’m sure the reality of living in a completely new place will begin to phase in.

I’ve been to Shanghai a couple of times before (as well as to a few other cities in China) which has meant I’m a little oriented to life here already, but living here long term will be whole-new kettle of fish, I’m sure. Like many starting the program, my teaching experience is limited, and starting to teach can be daunting anyway without the hurdles of culture and language differences.

Why teach?

After leaving college, I had absolutely no idea what to do next. My grades were good, but I never felt happy in the classroom. I applied for a few universities, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to re-enter education. I was creative-minded and enjoyed writing stories, but I could certainly be described as a “bad student” (now I’m not sure there is such a thing). This all sounds contradictory, but I feel this is what has motivated me to try my own hand at teaching.

I dabbled in various manual labour jobs during my gap year, before deciding that I’d be happier pursuing a job related to one of the few things I was actually interested in – the English language. I wanted a fresh start and to focus on things that I enjoyed, so I rejected the offers I had at universities in cities and moved from Birmingham out to the Welsh seaside, to Aberystwyth University, where I studied English Literature and Creative Writing.

While at university, I rediscovered my passion for writing and realised that I actually still enjoyed learning! I also met a friend who would eventually offer me a part-time job to work for a small company that produces educational resources for schools in the UK. After graduation, I was working as a full-time editor and desktop publisher, working with teachers across the country as well as international clients such as the Ministry of Education of Singapore.

I’m enjoying my work in the production side of education, but I feel that classroom experience is the vital next step to truly grasp an understanding of modern-day teaching.

Why China?

China is a great country that is certainly reaching new heights on a global scale, and it’s a country that I’ve always had an interest in – Romance of the Three Kingdoms is one of my favourite books and I’ve always been partial to a Chinese takeaway (albeit completely dissimilar to real Chinese food).

My girlfriend, who I met during university, is also Chinese and currently working in Shanghai. We’ve travelled together to Chengdu, Suzhou, and Nanjing, to name a few places. China is huge, and it always feels like you’re discovering something new when moving from city to city. I loved my time in China, so relocating there rather than attempting to maintain our relationship through long distance made sense.

Why Teach English In China?

Having Teach English In China there as a crutch has made my move much smoother than if I was to look for work directly. I like the community element and the constant support has eliminated much of the hassle of relocating. The network of former teachers and content such as blogs and videos are all very reassuring and paint what I feel is an accurate picture of what it is like to teach through Teach English In China.

If you’re passionate about teaching or are fresh out of university and looking to buttress your CV, then there aren’t many better options than to move to China, a hotbed of culture and opportunity, while improving your skills.

If you’re debating whether to teach abroad then I’d say definitely bite the bullet as the change can be invigorating. If you’re due to start your placement soon, then have no fear and good luck – I hope you appreciate the chance to live in China as much as I do. I’m still yet to start my placement, but I’m feeling very positive about the months to come.

Until next time,