My New Job: Teaching English in a Chinese University

 

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Our campus: Nice to look at; pretty big when you have to walk across it. 

 

You may or may not know I’ve started a new job teaching English at Nanjing University of Finance and Economics (NUFE). People are always curious about other people’s teaching jobs so I thought I’d share some things.

Freedom

The biggest thing for me is I have lots of freedom over my classes now. In the past, I’ve had a syllabus that I’ve had to follow with specific things that have to be covered each week. Having freedom means I can try out new things in the classroom which is important. I’ve got a business English class, a conversational English class and a debate class. There are different things I want to do with each one and I’ve had the freedom to experiment. I hope I can share some of these experiments in the coming weeks.

The Pupils

I have a good mix of students. Some of them are distracted in class but for the most part they are very committed to class. They’re quite shy sometimes especially if they have to talk to people they don’t know, but they’ve already started to open up a little. I hear lots of stories about them going to English Club at 7am which is way more dedicated than I ever was at university.

 

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 There weren’t enough chairs in this classroom, but everyone coped really well. 

 

Class Sizes

My classes are quite big. My last class of the week on a Friday has 68 students. At first this worried me but it doesn’t so much any more. I can’t give as much one on one feedback as I’d like to, but I’ve tried to make up for it by working on reflective skills. After big activities students have some time to discuss what went well and badly and how they can improve. They spend a lot time doing group work and it’s hard to make sure everyone is working on what they’re supposed to be. I asked on Twitter for advice and got told to use a ‘think, pair, share’ or ‘think, pair, produce’. Having students feed back from their groups is a great way to make them responsible for their time. They all want to have an answer when called on in front of the whole class. It also gives a way for students to learn from each other.

Time

I used to be either teaching or caring for children from 9-4:30 with an hour off here or there. At my new job I teach nine blocks of two 45 minute classes (thirteen and a half hours a week). I have most of my afternoons off and all day on Tuesday. Pretty nice!

I’ve been using the time to catch up on some reading I’ve wanted to do and see a bit of China. It was very handy before excitELT to have lots of spare time to prepare things. I have to use some of the time for planning, but it’s quite nice as I like trying out new things.

One last thing about my schedule is I teach the same classes a lot. I do the same business English class five times a week. It’s quite good for me as a teacher to be able to try the same class in a few different ways and learn from what goes well. I do worry a little that my Friday classes get a better experience than my Monday classes though.

 

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Spring at NUFE

 

All in all I’m really enjoying teaching in China. If there is anything you’re curious about that I didn’t answer, feel free to leave a comment.