We spent some time with our new TEFL in China candidate Wayne. He has only just joined the SDE team of TEFL Teachers. Wayne arrived in China during April 2021.
How are your feelings coming to Shenzhen?
I haven’t had much time to explore Shenzhen so far because I have been busy with the 2-week quarantine, my new placement in a new school, looking for a new house, dealing with permit applications, lesson plans, and more. But I have had some time to visit Shenzhen Bay Park and a bar at Coco Park. Both were nice places. I am looking forward to find more hiking trails in Shenzhen and to visit Dapeng area.
2. Do you have any difficult coming to China? If any, what are they?
Coming to teach TEFL in China was difficult because of COVID 19 protocol. There were many medical checkpoints and going through all of them could be overwhelming. Doing the medical tests in Canada and timing the flight according to the medical test, on top of the visa application at the China Consulate that had unpredictable business hours due to the pandemic could cause stress and frustration.
3. How are your onboarding / quarantine experiences in China?
Quarantining in the hotel for 14 days was not easy, especially if your hotel placement is left to random chance and you could receive a bad room. I had a nice looking room, but it smelled like cigarettes, the room was dusty, and the food was just cheap take-out food. I did my best to be productive by exercising a lot in the room for passing time,
4. How’s your Chinese school?
My school is good. Nice area and the school’s design was to blend in with the natural environment. Sweet students. Good, free food. Nice and funny teachers. TEFL Classes are a little bit large though with an average of 40-45 students per class. So classroom management is a challenge and my throat feels exhausted at the end of the school day. I appreciate that I can play basketball, go jogging on the track, play the school’s pianos, and take afternoon naps when I need the time to rest and recharge.
5. What are the educational differences between your country and being a TEFL Teacher in China are?
I think in Canada, our education system encourages more individual creativity and thinking while in China, it teaches more about fitting with the group.
6. What’s the biggest challenge you face in the classroom? How do you overcome this challenge?
The biggest challenge I face in the classroom is keeping the students engaged, disciplined, interested in the class. I try to overcome this challenge by individually taking the time to know each one of them, to build rapport with them, and to show that I am actually trying to help them.
7. Do you have any advice for new ESL/TEFL teachers?
My advice for new teachers is to come to China and teach in the public school system to find out for yourself. Culturally, China is very different from back home in a Western country because it is more conservative and group thinking. It takes some time to get used to because China doesn’t allow the same freedoms enjoyed back in our Western homes, but with patience, China could be appreciated.