Teach English in Baimangpu Zhen - Yongzhou Shi

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I started teaching English as a foreign language teacher in my second year of university when I was a Bachelor’s Degree student in Xi’an, China. My reason for doing so was to earn extra cash every month. I was a China/ Guyana government scholarship student and I lived on a fairly low stipend which wasn’t sufficient for a foreign student to live on. For a couple of years, I had been hearing that students could earn extra cash by teaching English on the weekends or one on one classes for a pretty penny. I asked around and got in contact with an agent. The next Saturday, she called me to her office and asked me a few questions about where I was from and what age group I would prefer to teach. After some back and forth chatter she demonstrated to me how to teach and said she would give me a call in a couple of days. A few days later she called and said there was a school who was interested and they wanted me to do an interview for them. I quickly accepted and prepared as best as I could. On the day of the interview I was sweating and nervous. They directed me to a small bright room that had seven teachers who were sitting staring at me. They told me to commence. I felt like a circus animal who had to dance and perform for the audience. Simply put, the interview was a disaster. I exited thinking I would never teach and told Tina; my agent; that I didn’t think it was a suitable part time job for me. That night Tina called and told me not to worry and that I had done well and she was sure that I would get a job. A few weeks later I was teaching English to kindergarten students in the northern outskirt of Xi’an. The students were aged four to six years old. My job was pretty easy in my opinion. I would go to the kindergarten at 8:30 am and would teach from nine to twelve and was paid hourly. I soon realized that I enjoyed teaching English and that teaching came easily to me. My days of teaching were frequent and I would teach at every opportunity in order to earn as much money as possible. While on the job I learnt many things about being a teacher and also about myself. I learnt that students can mirror their teacher’s energy and mood. Whenever I was stressed, tired or uneasy my classes would be chaotic or boring. On the other hand, whenever I was happy, energetic or enthusiastic my classes would be fun or pleasant. I learnt that I had a knack for improvising and that I could quickly come up with new games and methods to teach new content. Being a teacher had its rewards and difficulties as well. I followed the advice given by my co-workers and my agent and taught classes the way they advised me to. The class had four steps: • Step one was warm-up: I would play an active game with the students in order to engage them. • Step two was introduction: Students would either make a circle and introduce themselves or I would play short games like throwing a ball to them and whoever caught the ball would stand up and introduce themselves. • Step Three: teach the day’s content, this could consist of games and songs along with the repetition of words or sentences being taught. • Step four was wrap up: revision of the day’s content or previous day’s content. When it came to disciplinary actions for the students, I always allowed the teaching assistant (local) to enforce these punishments which I ensured were always lenient but just. I learnt that experience and good preparation teaches class/time management and that repetition is one of the keys for teaching a foreign language to students. I taught English for four years while studying for my Bachelor’s Degree and never thought I would end up being a full-time teacher afterwards. After graduation I returned to my country and worked as an Economist for the Ministry of Business for three years as per contract. The job was unfulfilling and I worked long hours. I now teach English in Xiangyang, China for Babywill English School and find it very rewarding and fulfilling. I am now able to earn a healthy salary and provide for my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and wife. I am thankful for the opportunity given by the Chinese Government and see this in some way as me giving back to China.