Teaching English in China or That Time I was an Illegal Immmigrant16 December 2012
So, I've alluded to it in the past but I've never talked in depth about my summer internship in China. Yep, all those pictures I've shared of myself jaunting around China were taken in between working for the company New Oriental, teaching English to high school students. Are you considering running off to Asia to take advantage of the English teaching market? Here's what you need to know:
|After class snapshot|
If I wasn't co-teaching, then I was doing functional classes which means I led a class all by myself. Talk about pressure! It was really scary at first to stand up in front of all those people (many my age or not much younger) and tell them what to do but it ended up being a great learning experience for me. I found that I truly could be confident and lead a class, successfully teaching lessons and sharing ideas. Suddenly a new career path had opened up to me that I had never previously considered.
Other than co-teaching and functional classes I would also partake in 'English Corner'. This was different each week; sometimes we would just sit and chat to practice English, other times we would sing (side note: why do the Chinese love to sing so much???)
Also falling under the 'good' is my students! They were all so sweet and such diligent workers. I've never seen so many kids dedicated to their studies. I mean, these were optional, summer classes! They were all so nice! I would often spend my days off hanging out with students, going to museums or having meals. And they bought me lots of presents! I'm still in contact with several of my students.
Also, my schedule was very tough. For the first month I worked every other day for 12 hours a day (permitting lunch and dinner breaks). Later my hours were reduced but they also lost their structure and pattern. Sometimes I'd be out clubbing and get a text saying I had to be in for work at 8 am. Needless to say, I was not a very effective teacher on those days.
Oh, yeah, also I was an illegal immigrant for the first month I lived in China. Yeah, my company didn't want to do the extra paper work for hiring foreigners so they told us to get tourist visas and not mention to anyone that we would be paid while we were visiting China. Too bad their scheme didn't work this year because one morning I woke up to an e-mail saying the Chinese government had become aware that we were working without the proper visa and that we had one week to correct the situation or we would be deported.
In case you don't know, Chinese visas are not cheap. I argued with my coordinator and eventually they agreed to pay for our new visas (only after several interns quit, though).