Teaching ESL: 5 Things You Should Know About Teaching In China
Did you ever wonder what it’s like to teach English in China? What are some things you should know about regarding culture, needs and differences? In this article, we share tips for teaching in China whether you are on land or online.
Prepare to be homesick the first few months! Everything will seem so different and if you are not with your family or loved ones, you will find yourself wishing you were. Embrace the adventure! Send pictures home and let everyone know what you’re doing. Maybe you will get a visitor or two!
Unless you are a size 10 or smaller, be prepared to have a hard time finding ready made clothes. Malls and clothing stores abound in China but they cater to Chinese sizes which are small. A size 12 would be about an XX large. If you have a larger body size bring clothes from home. You can have clothes tailored for a reasonable price but how reasonable will depend on your skills at bargaining.
Prepare to walk! Even if you master the bus lines and subway routes, you will need to get from one stop to another and then on to your destination. Leg cramps are quite common the first few months as you all of a sudden start using those legs far more than you have in the past. Drink lots of water and stretch those muscles before heading out the door! Also, have some good walking shoes! Recently there has been a big surge of public bike systems. These are another great way to get around if you prefer it to walking.
Get the “WeChat” app on your phone. Everyone in China uses “WeChat” for communicating, paying bills, renting bikes and buying items online. Wait until you get to China though before you add WeChat. The bill paying aspect is not complete when you add the app from the US.
If you tutor someone in English be prepared to make a lifelong friend who will be a great help to you if you ever need it. I have made my best Chinese friends while teaching them English and they have been life savers in many situations from translating documents to getting my electricity turned back on in the middle of a hot humid summer night.
Thank you to Brenda Lewis from Shanghai Livingston American School for sharing these tips.
Teaching ESL Online from the States
Here are some tips from teachers who work for 51Talk. Below, you will find education and cultural differences among the different populations.
Teacher Catherine Manis Rivas:
“Parents are very involved in their child’s education. They teach them at home in addition to school. Most of the children can play a musical instrument at a young age, especially, the piano.”
Educator Delores R. Peaches:
“I had a student who learned the word competitive during our lesson. She then stated the following sentence: My mom is very competitive about educating me. Education is a lifestyle that is not up for negotiation, and the entire family takes on the responsibility of educating their children. I believe many children in America respond to their education as if it is a choice. The education system in America is designed to teach all students the same. With that being said, I recognize that all children do not learn the same, and I wonder if that is the big difference. These values could potentially explain the flaw in the American education system which would present the idea that education is a choice. Kids become deflated with failure to learn like others.”
Teacher Jacqueline Di Falco Gamilde:
“I find that kids are the same in terms on how they learn to speak and read English, because all kids have to start with the basics. However, one big difference is having their parents next to them. When I was teaching in a classroom some kids would be crying because they miss their parents, and we would need to teach the kids to let them go. The presence of the parent next to the child makes them feel more comfortable when speaking to a foreign teacher because they know they are not alone, and that mommy or daddy is there to help them.”
Thank you to the 51Talk educators who shared their experiences and knowledge. Interested in teaching for 51Talk? Please read more at this link.
You may also like the following articles:
This Is What It’s Like To Work For A Chinese Company In America: Podcast
Online Or Overseas: 4 Important Tips To Keep In Mind When Teaching ESL Students From China
The Best Teachers Teach From The Heart, Not From The Book