ESL Teaching – Chinese Language Centres
If you are considering to come teach in China, you may have stumbled across schools called “Language Centre’s” or “Training Centres.” Teaching at a centre like this would be a great start to your ESL Teaching career.
These schools are established to provide additional education to students outside of their regular school hours. Many of these schools have their own curriculum, their approach to education and preferred teaching methods.
What I would like to talk about are some of the perks of working at a language center. From my experience of working at a language center in the past, I’ve outlined for you some of my favourite things about working at a language centre.
#1 You can sleep in
Working at a training centre, you won’t have to get to work until the afternoon (most days). This means you can spend your precious morning time sleeping in or if you’re a morning person, use this time to work on your personal projects or get some chores done.
Take comfort in knowing that you can take your precious time in the morning while everyone else is rushing to get dressed to cram themselves onto public transport. The same goes for the evening rush!
#2 You avoid the queues and crowds
I just mentioned avoiding the morning and evening rush. You will also have the benefit of a non-traditional weekend- meaning that your days off will probably not fall on a Saturday or Sunday.
Knowing that over 1.3 billion people live in China, it goes without saying that crowds and queues are something you will have to get used to.
Now imagine how crazy the lines and crowds will be when you want to see a movie, go shopping or just do anything fun when EVERYONE has off the same day as you. In my opinion, there is where having a non-traditional weekend, especially in China, is a perk.
Not to mention your colleagues and work friends will have the same weekend as you, so you’re not really missing out on much.
#3 You ESL teach to a smaller class
Until you teach in a public school, you will find yourself taking smaller classes for granted. Don’t. A smaller class in China is indeed a blessing because you get to really know your students, are able to do a diverse of English learning activities with them that you couldn’t work with a classroom of 60 students; not to mention that managing a smaller class is less of a headache.
Try managing a classroom of 60 students without wanting to pull your hair out.
That’s not to say managing a smaller class is easy; it certainly still does require patience and tact, but you will get through to the students much easier.
If you are worried about ESL teaching to big classes then this would be a great place to practice your ESL Teaching Skills.
#4 You get to see more of a student’s progress
Seeing progress ties in with language centres having smaller classes. Most will have a maximum of 18 students for a lesson. These students may have 1-2 lessons with you in a week, for anywhere between 2-4 hours and maybe more. In public schools, you will only see a class once a week for 40 minutes. Now, remember how large the classes are.
In a language centre, you will find many opportunities to interact and build a relationship with your students. You will also have tests and homework for your students. This is a great way to see their progress. Over the course of teaching them, you will be able to assess much better, how effectively they are learning in your classroom and allow you to implement new strategies moving forward.
One of the most rewarding things about being a teacher is to connect with your student and see their progress. That is something that is difficult to observe from a student when you have to spread your focus over 60 students in a 40-minute lesson.
#5 You have opportunities to develop ESL teaching skills
In a language centre, you will have a lot more opportunity to develop and hone in on teaching skills.
With smaller classes and continuity of a student staying in your class, you will be able to adjust your teaching style, implement new strategies by witnessing, over time, what works for your students and what doesn’t.
The best part about teaching at a language centre is that you will be exposed to a wide range of ages as well as English levels. This will give you experience teaching all age groups and help break the monotony of teaching that may occur teaching in a public school system.
#6 You have curriculum and material support
Language centres may feel a bit busy at times, but you will have a curriculum set out for you to teach. Now the curriculum may not always feel perfect or fit your style of teaching but having something ready for you will give you more time to focus on perfecting your lesson rather than trying to create one from scratch.
Having this time freed up from creating curriculum on your own will give you plenty of more time to reflect on your own teaching, and also allow you to get creative with your lessons rather than just spending all your effort trying to think of what the heck to teach your students today. Not to mention finding material and making a lesson out of it.
#7 You are part of a team
Coming to China can be a bit isolating. Having a group of co-workers that you can rely on, have and joke around with will make your experience much better. At language centres, you will be working in a team setting that won’t exist in many public schools.
At language centres, you’ll most likely be working with a team of foreigners as well as locals. You’ll form a bond with them, both through good and bad experiences, that will turn into good friendships.
With all this being said, there are many perks of working at a language centre. From being able to sleep in, skip lines, develop professionally and seeing your students progress; you should add language centres to your list of considerations when looking for a new opportunity.