Hello! I’m Lauren, and I took part in the Teach English In China TEFL Training Programme in 2015-16 in the capital of Shandong Province, Jinan.
I first visited China back in 2013 on a short-term study programme, and I instantly fell in love. Soon after returning home, I began making plans to go back to China after I graduated to teach English. I found Teach English In China through the internet, and I was instantly impressed by the amount of teacher generated content on the website. It helped me really get a good impression of what teaching in China would be like from the teacher’s perspective, rather than just the company’s. The application process was really straightforward, and within a couple of weeks I had been accepted onto the programme. The Teach English In China team were very helpful throughout the whole process, assisting with queries, concerns and the visa process, which made the prospect of moving to China a whole lot easier to cope with!
I took advantage of the TEFL course and the Orientation Day offered as part of the package, and these were great additions as they took away the pressure of finding a suitable qualification on my own, and the concern that it would be hard to make friends in a less expat heavy city. After meeting fellow participants at the Orientation Day and spending 2 weeks in Beijing training with them, I felt well prepared and supported before going to my city.
In Jinan, I taught in a new primary school, which was hard work but extremely rewarding. I taught grades 1 and 2 and had 15 40-minute lessons per week, which I had to plan during the remaining office hours. It was really great to see the progress my students made over the course of the year as they gained more knowledge and confidence. My school was a branch of a larger Foreign Language School, so although I was one of two foreign teachers there, I had plenty of opportunities to meet the wider teacher community from the Middle and High schools.
I was very nervous about teaching before I left, but I soon got the hang of it, and planning lessons became second nature. Looking back, I can safely say that I gained a number of important skills that have helped me in my career post teaching.
Working in a state school, I was able to take advantage of a number of national holidays to explore other parts of China, and Asia. I travelled to amazing places such as Xi’an, Zhangjiajie, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Beijing to learn more about the different regions of China, as well as further afield to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. The best part of all of this was that I was paid for the time off, making it very affordable and worry-free!
Teaching in China was an incredible experience that helped me discover a love for China and travelling that has shaped my current career.