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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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Jack Ma, China's richest man, once said, "Before 30 years old [and after 20 yrs. old], it’s not which company you go to, it’s which boss you follow." I arrived in China at 25 yrs. old, young and still very much impressionable. On the opposite end of the world and on my own, my new journey could have went any direction. I could've complained lots here, could have got into tons of trouble there, or I could have hated every bit of it.
Over the years, tons of people have often asked, "Just how do you teach English to Chinese ESL students anyway?" My response? “Eh, it’s a lot easier than you think.”
I’ve been nearly 4 months removed from my awesome 7½ year experience teaching English abroad in China, but even now, I still find myself reminiscing on the incredible journey I’ve had living and working overseas.
Prepping for an ESL oral competition? Worried your students are going to fail so hard you’ll be left hiding your face, sneaking past parents, and dipping out of the building hoping to not get fired?
Moving back home to the USA after living abroad in China for 7 years feels ... strange, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong—there are things I absolutely love about being back in the States, but at the same time, less than a week in, there are millions of things I’ve already missed from China.
“Don, what’s the process like teaching English abroad in China? From finding jobs, getting visas, and working at schools, to getting an apartment, traveling ... everything!?”
It’s been a wild 7+ years teaching English abroad in China—I know, I can’t believe it either. I’ve had ups and downs, highs and lows, experienced the good with the bad, and … yada, yada, yada. Who cares? Look, in the span of those years I’ve come to notice two genuinely important things: One, I don’t know who was/is a cooler president, Barack Obama or Xi Jingping? What do you think? Ah, that’s a tough one. Damnit!
After 7 long years, I’m over it—I’m done teaching English abroad in China. At least, that’s how I’d want it to be.
Teaching English abroad is one thing, but managing ESL teachers from around the world? Whoa, that’s tough! Me? I served as a manager for 4 out of the 7 years I’ve been teaching overseas in China. Was it challenging? Sure, but don’t be fooled, it was also one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. Here are 15+ awesome tips for managing ESL instructors while teaching English abroad.
Curious as to how young ESL students celebrate Halloween in China? Although Halloween isn't widely celebrated in China, it is a popular Western holiday observed by most international schools and English training centers across the country. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect on Halloween as an ESL Teacher in China:
I know what you're thinking: "I wish I could drop everything and quit my dead-end 9 to 5 job to travel across the world, experience different cultures, make new friends, fall in love, gain different perspectives, and rack up a bunch of unique adventures and memorable experiences before settling down and life gets serious."
While teaching English abroad your inevitably going to encounter disruptive and shy students that will have you thinking twice about this profession you’ve entered. So, to help counter these behavioral problems, I’ve provided some useful techniques that'll help manage your classroom. Let's take a look:
I think I want to teach English abroad, but just what exactly are the job responsibilities of an ESL teacher? Well, let's see:
Interviewing for a potential job teaching English overseas overseas? Wait! Before you get to it, check out my 11+ tips that every prospective ESL Teacher should know before doing an interview with an ESL employer.
You're set. You've finally decided to take a leap of faith and teach English abroad. You know which region of the world you'd like to live and work in, but there's just one quintessential question eating you away: Which ESL job should I choose?
Ok, ok, so you’re in search of an English teaching job in China and have not a single clue as to where to look. Or, you know to hit up the notorious Dave’s ESL Café, but is that really the best website to find English teaching jobs in the country?
When it comes to teaching English abroad a lot of people often ask, “Why China?” Why China over more US favorites like Japan and Seoul? Well, it’s simple actually. There were 3 specific reasons why I chose China to teach English abroad.
I had just started a new ESL teaching job at an English training center in Shanghai and I felt on top of the world. Shanghai had always been a city I wanted to live and work in after 4 years of residing in Kunshan—a significantly smaller municipality of Jiangsu Province—and I couldn't believe that I was finally carrying out my dream.
As an ESL teacher in China, sometimes I can't help but feel like a dancing monkey in a zoo, hurled under the blinding stage lights to sing, dance, and "wow" the masses for a hefty batch of fresh bananas each month. And frankly, I'm getting tired of this s**t.
You did it. You've finally chosen China as your intended destination to teach English abroad but you're still unsure about which situation—school, kindergarten, training center, or tutor—will be most suitable for your schedule and role as an ESL teacher. Well, let’s take a brief look at what you can expect:
I was working as an English teacher for a training center in China. On one particular day I had prepared my classroom half an hour before class and returned 10 minutes later as parents rolled in with their children—ages 4 to 6—as was the normal process.
Thinking of teaching English in China but aren't sure about which city is the right place for you to live and work in? Well, check out my list of the 15 most popular cities to teach English in while in China.
My first week teaching English in China was very interesting, to say the least. I arrived on Friday, January 13th, and to my surprise, would start teaching by the next Tuesday. Oh China, how I love thee! But let's backtrack a little.
My first experience as an ESL teacher in Seoul, South Korea was a blast, hands down. However, this time around my eyes were set on teaching English in Japan, specifically in Tokyo.
Teaching English in Seoul was a blessing for two reasons: For one, it was an exciting travel adventure and I was exploring this popular South Asian region like I've always wanted.