Do you Dream of Traveling the World?
Do you have the desire to travel the world? If so, teaching English in China is one way of accomplishing this dream. For the last year my husband, Denny and I have been teaching English with a private academy, Kings English for Kids in Qingdao, China. Because of this job we had the opportunity to take a three week long vacation during the Chinese New Year and travel to: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. If you are wondering what teaching English abroad entails then this is the post for you.
Time to Pursue Your Dreams
With this company we only had to work 21 teaching hours a week. The low hours freed Denny and I to pursue our other passions. Denny researched internet based income and is currently building his new business 3rd Wave Coffee Club. I had more time to blog, start my photography project called 10,000 Smiles and learn the art of photography. (You can see some of my project on the bottom of this post.) Freedom tastes so good. If you are tired of your cubicle I highly recommend you try a year of teaching overseas.
How Kings English for Kids is Set-Up
As an educator at Kings English for Kids my role required me to teach up to 14 classes/ 21 hours. Denny and I taught evening classes Wednesday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. (I discussed in this post how that effected Denny and I socially.) I personally had four classes. I went with a forest theme for my classroom: Howling Wolves (Red Level), Swimming Fish (Red Level), Hooting Owls (Green Level) and Climbing Squirrels (Get Smart 2). [Here are the class levels that Kings English offers from the lowest to highest: Red, Blue, Green, Get Smart 1,2, 3…all the way to 6. ] For the youngest classes we used a Yippee curriculum. The picture below is a kid coloring the main character of the curriculum, Jingle. With my classes I would every-other week teach them one class during the week as an activity or project. An activity is when I would do a lesson with a heavy focus on a certain subject: science, art, music, writing or social studies. A project is a class when the parents sit in and participate in that particular lesson. It was really neat to see the children interact with their parents while learning English. I loved project classes because then I would learn more about my students. When I didn’t have a “class” I taught a demo. A demo is when I would do a lesson to prospective parents who were thinking of enrolling their child at Kings English for Kids. At my school they had three levels of demos: beginner, intermediate, and higher. Below is a picture of the sales representatives.
The King’s Package
When we first arrived to Qingdao Kings placed us in an apartment (not up to contract’s promises). [Kings helping us settle down: Arrival to Qingdao; Kings cleaning the apartment: Qingdao: Cleaning Lady ] We expressed our concerns and they found us another apartment that we like very much. Within a few weeks the company celebrated our arrival with a traditional Chinese family style dinner at a restaurant. We did a few more dinners throughout the year. Here are the ones I documented: our boss’s birthday celebration and my co-workers dinner. Besides dinners, Kings tried to help us with settling in China. If you’re a foreigner you can completely relate to me when I say this, as an expat you feel like a toddler. You feel like you can’t do anything, that includes something as simple as calling a plumber. And even if you figure out the number, once the help comes you have to try communicating the problem. For example, this was our adventure getting Chinese internet. Denny and I also got free tutoring sessions. Kings paid the Chinese teacher assistants at our school to come to our home and tutor us on learning Mandarin. This is a little peek of what that looked like: Beginning Mandarin Lessons.
My Bright Shining Students
(left to right: back row- Jason, Dora, Byron, Teddy, Leo, CiCi. front row- Bowen, Emily, Sophie, Me, YoYo, Daisy)
(Left to right: Barbie, Jack, Sam, Kevin, Betty, Emma, Sophie, Mike. Back row: Cathy my T.A.)
( Left to right: Thomas, Lucy, Wendy, Steven, Jerry, Charlie, Jessica. Back row: Me)
(Left to Right: Back Row: Luke, Jason, Henry. Front Row: Yuki, Cindy. Absent: Yukian and Lily)
Tips for Working with Kings
an English School in China
1) Mark the national holidays on your calendar. Our private school didn’t have an academic calendar. Clarify with your boss months ahead for the dates of your holiday. When it comes to business in China you have to be proactive.
2) Discussions with your Chinese employer are best done in the form of email, that way there is no miscommunication and there is documentation of what was actually said.
3) If you don’t want to work overtime and you have asked them kindly not to, then it’s the Chinese way to inform them what classes you will cancel. You don’t wait for them to tell you in China.
4) If you never want to be paid late or not on time then it get it clearly written out on the contract and make sure there are no loop holes.
5) Be firm in negotiations. The Chinese business mindset is to try to take whatever they can, the contract is seen as negotiable. Don’t let this scare you. They will treat you how you let them. Politely but firmly lay your boundaries and you will be fine.
At Kings English I basically got paid to play with kids. Working with children is truly an amazing occupation. Parents and stay-at-home moms: you are super blessed. You don’t need me telling you but wow, children give blessings everyday that bring smiles to our faces. I loved coming home and hearing Denny’s stories of the kids and sharing the funny things my kids did too. (Did you know that the Chinese have a national holiday that celebrates children? Read 5 reasons why we should celebrate children.)
If you haven’t been following this blog then you missed what it looks like for the Chinese to celebrate Halloween. Read To Experience Halloween in China.
Teaching in English in China allows you to be one step closer to your dream job. Click here to get closer to your dream job.