Yes – that’s right 10am, and this is on a work day and no work for another 6 hours, this is the life! Training school ESL teachers typically start work during the mid-afternoon. Why? Because training schools are language centers solely dedicated to teaching kids and adults ESL after their day of school or work and at weekends. A typical schedule for this kind of teacher is Wednesday – Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am to 5:30pm.
Just 2 minutes’ walk from my apartment block is a small, authentic back street selling all kinds of delicious breakfasts type things. My favourite delicious breakfast thing is JianBing which comprises a thick wad of dough slapped onto a skillet and spread out, my very talented vendor cracks 2 eggs at a time (using just one hand!!) on to the pancake without the tiniest piece of shell splashing down with the egg, talent! Then there is some coriander, scallions and chopped mustard pickles tossed into the equation. It is then folded in half like a fan, we are in China after all, when hoisin and chili sauce is slapped on before a sheet of crispy wonton and lettuce for extra crunch. All for 3.5 RMB!
I have a private tutor to come to my apartment and teach me Mandarin at a very fair price of 100 RMB an hour. The moment Amy steps into my apartment the rule is ‘No English!’. In the beginning this was obviously tough but total immersion is great for learning any language. As time goes on you steadily see yourself being able to speak to the very talented JianBing vendor and actually ask for her not to put so much numbing chilli in your JianBing! Result! AKA Wǒ xiǎng zhǐyǒu yī diǎndiǎn làjiāo/我想只有一点点辣椒. You will be able to read that in no time, but your brain is going to hurt first…in a good way!
I take the metro which is a 4-minute walk from my apartment. The most amazing part of taking the metro at this hour of the day is you can actually civilly walk onto the metro and have some personal space. Whereas, those 08:00am commuters are going to get pushed onto the metro and be an uncomfortable distance away from a Chinese person’s face and if the train jolts to a stop you run the risk of kissing your neighbor.
In a kids training school environment one of the best things is that you teach a wide age range of students from 4 to 13 years old. The ages of the students in your class highly influences your style of teaching, the activities you plan and the energy in the classroom, meaning there is always variety. A class of 4-6 year olds is going to be high energy and a lot of fun with a lot of high-fives and cute smiling faces! Flash cards are often used as well as games, smart boards and songs. In a class of 11 – 13 years olds there is more discussion and the content is more complex and this makes for an interesting cultural exchange. There is freedom for you to create PPTs, set interesting activities and play competitive games. Every 6 months there is a parent’s day for each class which allows you to get creative and develop a presentation of the classes progress by letting your students show off their new skills. The parents are really impressed and it’s the most satisfying feeling to see how your students have grown!
Being a training school ESL teacher is very sociable, contrary to what the work schedule may suggest. This training school concept is HUGE in China, therefore there are tons of teachers on this same schedule and a once or twice a week my colleagues and I head to a bar and meet other ESL teachers! Best bit – no rush to get home because I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow! But don’t drink too much BaiJiu AKA 白酒!
By Priya Parmar, Personal Placement Consultant @ Teaching Nomad.
About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!