Working in China? I love it!

OK - even if I do this job out of necessity, living and working in China is a stepping stone towards the work I wish to do for the love of it - writing. Right now I'm exploring the mystery of achieving the balance and the necessary peace of mind in the process. One thing is sure though: it does involve hard work, discipline and dedication - be forewarned.

I shall have more information on employment matters later, keep checking this site. Until then, here's my story about my humble beginnings.

My work at Aston English School

Would you not love them?

Each student has an English name and we have Amy and Tom here, from our PC1 group.

Amy is a star! She loves English and, if she carries on like this, she'll reach far, indeed. She makes her parents proud!

Tom just can't sit still, but if you ask him something, he'll give you the correct answer! He listens, after all...

Today, 19 June 2014, I was given the very sad news that Tom lost his father. He's at a fragile age of 6, still in Kindergarten. His little brother or sister is on the way and his mummy is completely distraught. My heart is with them in earnest!

My Chinese teaching assistant Mabailing and I, with our C1 group, just after a class one Saturday and during their first English test at Aston. Oh, that all important test!

Aging 7 to 10-ish, they surprised me with their diligence and discipline, let alone their level of English. We're starting well.

Looking for pen pals ~ children and adults

Our adult students (beginners) already expressed an interest in communicating in writing and by Skype with other students around the world and it'll be easier to find new friends for them. You see, working in China doesn't mean restricting our activities to just the local surroundings.

It's the children who could do with meeting other children via Skype, now that would be something over here in Donghai! If you have children who would like to practise their English with our students, we'd like to hear from you! Click here for our Skype Volunteers Form.

Working in collaboration with local schools

One way of increasing the number of hours over here is to teach in various local schools, thus giving more students (and teachers) the opportunity of communicating with the only foreign teacher in town. This created a wave of excitement in Donghai and surrounding villages.

Primary school in Donghai

We went to this primary school on the 6th December 2012. It was my first experience with a 60-strong class.

The students were all well behaved and a fair number of them participated in class, the rest of them listened quietly.

The classroom was equipped with modern digital technology and I am told this is the norm in public schools in China. Internet access in the classroom is also widely available.

Both teachers and students felt happy with the experience. A memorable day!

And, as they say, one for the road...

My students are seeing me off to the school gate after our class. Yet again I'm amazed with how warm the Chinese people are, as opposed to the serious nation I was expecting to find.

This is classed as the best primary school in Donghai.

Another school - another experience: Tuo Fen village school

We had a series of teacher training sessions and a couple of classes with their students at this school. We did 3 lessons on English pronunciation, with emphasis on their list of instructions in English. However, my favourite teaching method got the Star of the Day - Whole Brain Teaching - loved by students and teachers alike.

A group of around 20 teachers on the 4th December above; and the same teachers on the right of the photo below, together with their grade 5 students a week later.

The students were all paying attention and we didn't have the discipline problems a Western teacher usually has to struggle with. They even showed an impressive level of English, albeit in artificial speech. It was bitterly cold though, so we all kept our coats on!