Change is good.
If you had asked me two and a half years ago whether I would still be teaching in China, I would probably have said you’re joking. Back then, I was an artist for a video games company – it was a fun job, the people were nice and it was something I genuinely enjoyed doing. However there comes a point in your life where you need to break the habit and find something different to do. It wasn’t that I found my old job boring, I loved it; but I needed something that was more stimulating than sitting in front of a computer for forty hours a week.
The leap of faith.
I had done my CELTA and after a fair number of job interviews I decided to take the leap and move to EF in Tianjin. When I changed my job and moved to China, I had no idea what I was getting myself into – all I knew was that I was going to be teaching English to kids of various ages ranging between three and eighteen and everything would be provided, how hard could it be?
Leveling up my skills.
It was a very daunting task, I had to look after the future of ten little four-year olds one hour at a time, it was difficult to fathom. I had to develop myself into someone that these kids could rely on, to give them the skills they would need to understand and take on the world. It has been one of the most challenging, exhausting and fun jobs that I’ve had to date.
The Invisible Ice Cream Challenge
So, the question still remains, how could teaching change you? It can push you to be creative in ways you never thought possible. Whether you’re slithering your body like a snake, or pretending to lick an invisible ice cream in order to teach your students new words, you feel more connected with your students. When you have time off from work, you can go and explore what China has to offer and discover more about the culture, food and ways of life you may not have known about previously. When you have students who struggle to behave or understand the words and sentences in class, you have to learn to adapt and come up with solutions to develop and keep moving forward. When you have difficulties with ideas for your lessons or challenges that your team needs to overcome, you share ideas and support each other. You meet different people from a range of different backgrounds and forge new friendships.
To be or not to be… or to be more.
Being a teacher can change you in so many ways and everyone has their own opinion on what China and teaching has to offer, so how you approach it is up to you. I’ve been here for so long because I’m still developing and changing as a teacher, I’m still learning more about myself. Do you see it as a development opportunity or just a stepping stone to another job? Take the leap and find out.