A common misconception about teaching English in China is that your job will be difficult to find and difficult to perform. Both of these are incorrect! We created New Life specifically to alleviate the first concern – now finding a job in China is easier than ever.
As for the second, being an ESL teacher is far different from what most people expect. You aren’t expected to drill grammar rules, a serious professor or even be an authority figure.
As long as you can take feedback, be willing to learn and have an open mind, you’ll be a great fit!
What Exactly Are Your Responsibilities?
Every grade level will have specific differences, however, they all share the same general responsibilities. Your general responsibilities are:
Make Learning English Fun. Your primary job is to ignite a passion for learning English within your students. Most students in China treat learning English the same way you probably treated learning anything in school. However, just like your own experiences, there’s always that one teacher who brought history alive or made learning physics a treat. Your goal is to be the English teaching version of that. Take this responsibility seriously and you will change lives. If a student becomes passionate about English and sticks with it, they will have a very marketable skill once they enter the workforce.
Be Engaging and Likable. This is really just another aspect of the first one. You might be the first non-Chinese teacher that your students have. You’ll probably be the only one they currently have. If they are engaged in your class and like you personally, they are more likely to enjoy English and have a positive view of Westerners. That might sound like a lot of responsibility, but hey, it’s also a great chance to make a positive first impression on behalf of your home hemisphere.
(I’ll let Monica take it from here.)
Don’t be Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: I’ve passed by some classrooms before and have seen students with their head down on their desk…sleeping. I’ve also been that student myself back when I was in school. Change your voice up a bit. If you’re teaching youngsters they love it when you can talk in a really high pitch or a deep voice while doing something as simple as drilling vocabulary. They’ll start to mimic you which is a great way for them to remember words.
If you’re teaching adults, avoid saying things like, “Okay?” And “Understand?”. I prefer asking for examples and dialogues. This stops you from doing all the talking. Which brings me to my next point.
Golden Rules: There are two pieces of advice that have stuck with me throughout my teaching career; the first is the 80/20 rule. Your students should be doing 80% of the talking and you only 20%. Whether you’re teaching kindergarteners or adults, you should do your best to stand by this. If you’re working with kids, use vocab drilling games and short dialogues to get them speaking. If you’re working with young adults or older, ask questions about their day to day life or for examples and dialogues of what you’re currently practicing with them.
You are an Entertainer. The second gold rule to understand that you’re really not just a teacher, you’re an entertainer. The first time I heard this it actually frightened me a little bit. I had really never had to entertain anyone and had also never planned on it. For those who love to work with kids, this will come easy for you. If you have your own child or a niece or nephew, you’ve probably done a lot of silly things just to get a smirk out of them and have a great satisfaction upon seeing it. If you’re working with adults, let them get to know you. You’ll find that a lot of your adult students join classes strictly to meet a foreigner. Give them a few minutes to jot down five questions for you and tell them they’re are no limits to what they can ask. This shows that you’re not afraid to be open and they’ll quickly open up to you as well.
If you’re unsure how to enter a classroom on your first day, read my article here about why I like to goof around for the first few lessons. Be easy going and gain your students trust. I can’t possibly stress that enough to pave the way for an easy year of teaching.
Time to Get Started English in China
Now that you understand you don’t have to be a serious, boring, grammar master of a teacher, are you ready to get started? Of course you are. What’s next?
Buy your plane ticket. Seriously.
Well, almost. Begin the process by filling out this form and one of our recruitment specialists will contact you. Once we have all proper documents, we’ll contact our partner schools and find the best fit for you. Then, buy a plane ticket and get over here!