Teaching Intern: Best Tips For Future Teaching Interns!| 3 min read

Teaching English

Tomorrow, Friday the 24th of June, marks the last day of my stay in my placement alongside my fellow interns Jack (Check out Jack’s blog HERE!), Analisa, Paula and Beth. Time flies and in the summer heat it is almost difficult to remember just how cold Beijing was back in January. Over the five months I’ve spent here in the south of China. I’ve taught a lot but learned even more. There is no better teacher than experience and now that I’ve had five months of it, I’d like to share a few tips and observations about China and teaching in general.

I had the privilege of getting to know 9 classes, 8 of which were third graders and 1 being first graders. I saw each class of about 45 students during two 40-minute classes per week. In addition to this, we had an additional ”VIP” lesson where the advanced students could enjoy more advanced lessons in an outdoor setting. With the day starting at 8 and ending at 5 in the afternoon, there was plenty of office-time for preparation. During our stay here we were also students, most notably so when our Chinese colleagues taught us the ins and outs of the Chinese language.

Now, my first tip would be this:

If you’re in the south of China, take time to get acquainted with the local food. But whatever you do, do NOT ask for spice unless you’re absolutely ready to spend the next hour contemplating just how much of your mouth is going to be left in the end.

My second tip would be to ask your fellow teachers about anything and everything. Either they’re more experienced than you or they provide a fresh perspective on things. This is especially helpful when you need to figure out how best to prank your students on April Fool’s Day. Thanks Jack, I appreciate it.

Third and final tip: There are going to be times when you gaze over your students and realize your activity can get very busy. There are times when this might seem overwhelming to you. Bottom line is to learn as you go, appreciate and harness the students’ energy and drive – the two things that makes teaching in China such a rewarding experience – and press on. I had a great time here, saw some great things and met some great people. These have been five and a half months that I’ll never forget. So if you’re thinking about doing something similar, leave space in your luggage for a whole lot of experience.

Arvid Bertilsson, a teaching intern from Teach & Travel China Program Winter 2016 intake, was placed in Guangdong.

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