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Teaching English in China

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

I can't lie, teaching was the part of moving to China that scared me the most! I could deal with selling everything I owned, packing my life in to a few suitcases, I could even handle a 16 hour flight with 2 small kids, but teaching TERRIFIED me.

When The idea of moving to China was presented to me, Drew was going to be teaching, and I was going to be staying home with the kids. I had some concerns about being lonely and stuck at home, but with Drew only contracted to work 15 hours a week I felt like we would be able to get out enough to resolve that problem. A couple months before our move, the College we teach at called and offered to double our salary if I would teach 5 hours a week. Naturally that was an easy "yes", but I couldn't believe how much anxiety I had surrounding the new plan. I felt under qualified and frankly not old enough to be teaching college classes! I worried I wouldn't be taken seriously or that I wouldn't be able to teach them anything.

When the first day of teaching rolled around I was so nervous. I got up early and got ready. I had a pit in my stomach. I didn't know what to expect. We were given little to no curriculum to base our lessons off of, and we wouldn't know our classes comprehension level until we were there in front of them! As soon as I walked in to class, the students gasped and gave me a round of applause (this happened literally every time I would walk in to a classroom, no matter how many times I had taught them). I began teaching my class and my nerves quickly began to fade. By the time class was over I couldn't believe how much fun I had! I always came home from work in a better mood, I loved going in to my classes and getting to share a piece of my life with them.

My classes focused mostly on American Culture. I got to plan lessons around my favorite holidays and hobbies and the students were always eager to learn.

One of my favorite lessons I taught was on Thanksgiving. We talked about the history and traditions of Thanksgiving and I was able to make a slideshow of picture of last years Thanksgiving with my family. I also made them mashed potatoes and it was so fun to watch the students taste them. For most of them, this was the first time they had ever had any kind of western food, and it really excited them.

I have over 800 students (That made for a lot of mashed potatoes)! Here are some of my students holding their little cups of potatoes...

I have 10 classes, and each class has anywhere from 25-50 students. I teach the same lesson every day for 2 weeks, so I only see each class once in a two week span. This made it difficult to really get to know all my students on a personal level, but I was able to get to know some of them really well. The student-teacher dynamic is much different in China than it is in the US. It is common for my students to hug, text and take selfies with me (they LOVE taking selfies)! I've had texts come in late at night about students with boy troubles, nerves about the future, and so many other things. It's been rewarding to not just be their teacher, but to be their friend.

I can't even begin to express how much I've enjoyed my time teaching this semester and am looking so forward to next semester!

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