Why I love teaching in China

Last week I lost my voice and had to teach 5 lessons still. A week later I’m still not 100% but my students are welcoming me back with open arms. Some literally: one girl flung herself on me and kissed my cheek, much to my surprise! All of the welcome backs I got had me thinking about why I love my job here, so I thought I’d write a list of reasons. This way next time I’m feeling down I can look at this list, and hopefully it’s mildly entertaining too!

  1. Most of my students like me. By this I mean they give me things with my name on, run over to say hello when they see me and even share their food. Whilst it’s always nice to be liked, it helps with classroom management too, multiple exit notes have confirmed that they don’t like it when I shout at them. Coming back from sickness this week has reminded me of this, especially when class 5 busted out a Chinese song at the start of class, all 70 of them!
  2. I’ve got my own space. Not my own office or classroom sadly, but the school pays for my apartment and utilities, which means that when I don’t feel like being around people, I can retreat into my flat and don’t have to be social.
  3. Equally however, I love that most of my friends live in the same building as me, so that if I do feel like being social it’s not too much of an effort to find someone to hang out with.
  4. My students don’t mind that I’m a weirdo. I flail in lessons, I dance, I hum and the students laugh along and start dancing too. More than one lesson has descended into chaos as I stumble over my words or my students say something unexpected that tickles me. This week in particular I’ve had the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack in my head, so mu special classes ended up whistling along with me!
  5. Food is so cheap and accessible here. Places like the Dumpling Shop and street food are visible from my window, and whilst my waistline doesn’t like it quite as much, I enjoy being able to eat out regularly.
  6. The feeling of teaching students something and have them really understand it is something I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. Whether its hearing that my old students know the Cheese Rolling Festival, or hearing my current ones self-correct their pronunciation using the gestures I taught them, it’s an amazing feeling knowing that I’m the reason they know something.
  7. I never stop learning. I’m a little homesick for university and the environment around that, but in China every day I learn something new. I usually have to teach myself the grammar/pronunciation point I’m teaching beforehand, I complete Future Learn courses in my spare time, and I absolutely love it.
  8. I’m constantly challenged. Whether it’s finding out what word they want me to tell them through gestures (I had an epic fail with ‘status’ and ended up translating), or more often finding a more fun way to present what I want them to learn, I’m challenged teaching in China. That’s not even counting the amount I’m challenged by not taking Chinese lessons and trying to get around.
  9. Travel is so easy here. Luckily my schedule pretty much gives me a long weekend every weekend, but when the school has holidays it is so simple to hop on a train or plane and be in a different part of China. Next stop is Nanjing!
  10. Finally, I simply love teaching in China.

If you read them all well done!! Enjoy a collage of me teaching and loving China!

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