Ian Seabourne

I had had thoughts about travelling China when an email making the rounds at university caught my eye; “TEACH IN CHINA”. It was too good an opportunity to miss. The chance to not only travel through China, but experience all the ups and downs of functioning within a community for an extended period of time was very appealing.

To be honest, I really didn’t know how I’d fare as a teacher; I soon realised how different things are out here. It isn’t as intimidating as I initially thought. I have to admit that the first time you have 50 pairs of eager eyes staring up at you in expectant anticipation it’s pretty daunting! But after a few lessons of being greeted with roaring enthusiasm you soon get used to it and really begin to grow into the role of refreshingly different foreign teacher! Students really look forward to your lessons because it's a completely new approach to learning for them; you’re rather a novelty.

I teach about 18 spoken English classes a week to 15-16 & 12-13 year olds in a senior and junior Middle School. Each lesson is 45 minutes long. I was surprised by the level of fluency of my students and how eager most of them are to communicate with me. I won’t pretend that every lesson is executed perfectly or that all the students are enthusiastic, angelic, shining examples of the model pupil. Of course some classes are more difficult than others and you do, of course, have bad days every now and then, but the excellent classes make up for the occasional bad one.

All in all, although I did initially have my doubts about my abilities as a teacher, I have found teaching to be - clichéd as this may sound - a rewarding and positive experience. I’m taking home with me a satisfied feeling of accomplishment and a bundle of new experiences.