Teaching

Lately I’ve been pondering my future. A lot of my students ask me ‘What are you going to do after teaching?’… and my answer is usually ‘I have no idea’. I really have no idea what to do after January! I have a couple of options:

  1. Stay in China; I will look for another English teaching position somewhere in China and stay here for at least a year. Then this way I will learn Mandarin.
  2. Go home; I could head straight home after the internship, look for a job (which will no doubt be difficult) and maybe consider going to Europe and teaching in Summer Camps for the summer.
  3. Go travelling; A lot of people are going travelling after the internship ends, to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Australia. I’d love to do this but I don’t have a lot of money so I think that is out of the picture!
  4. Go home: Go home and pursue training courses in being a Tour Guide, or relating to Tourism.

My head is melted with all this thinking about the future! Things that are pulling me to China is that I love being in China. I love the people and it’s just such a different way of life here. One goal is that I want to learn Mandarin and that’s my main reason for staying in China. And plus, it will help me to get a job in the tourism sector.

Teaching has also made me confused! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the teaching. I enjoy talking to the students and having conversations to them about everything. I just don’t seem to ‘love’ going to work. I don’t wake up every morning and think ‘yes, another day at work!’  Some days are great; you have a great class, the students participate (which is rare in China) and are active. You think the students enjoyed the lesson and they have learnt something. Then on other days, everything goes wrong; the students are bored, you get annoyed because they are on their phones or talking. Your lesson plan doesn’t go to plan or something that you would think the students would like, they don’t like at all! Then there are the students that just don’t want to be there, and their parents have forced them to study. It’ll be obvious at the beginning who those students are. I tend to just ignore these students; if they don’t want to be there, look bored… then why should I spend my time getting them to listen when there are students who actually WANT to learn something from me.

When I applied for the internship, I was convinced I was going to teach Primary school children, so when I was told I was teaching students from 17-to 23 years of age, I literally panicked. I wasn’t prepared for older students at all. I know I’m extremely lucky to teach them; with over 150 people in the programme, and only 4 (including myself) being chosen to teach older students, I know I am lucky. I just wonder would I enjoy it more if I was teaching younger students. Most of my friends are teaching younger ones and they seem content and happy, and some are staying on to teach for longer. Maybe I am thinking I would be suited to younger ones. I could be wrong; I could hate it, and would have to spend a year teaching them!

The next option is to go home, look for a job, and then maybe do a summer camp. It would be completely different from teaching here, method and style wise, but I think it would be good to try something different and see if I like it.

A lot of my friends are heading off to Thailand to travel after the internship. I have been looking at websites about tours so I would like to do that; just depends on money. It seems a shame to only visit one country while I’m here.

The final option is going home and look  into doing a course in something related to tourism.  I love learning/talking about Ireland.  It’s great having discussions about the differences between China and Ireland, and I think the students enjoy learning about a new country that is so different from their own. But I think if I want to get a job in the tourism sector, I need to know another language… and that’s where Mandarin comes in.

It’s sort of a Catch-22 situation I’m in. One student said he wants me to stay, and to teach him more English, which is great news to hear! Hopefully they’ll all be crying for me to stay!

Aisling

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