An Interview with Mary at Disney English Beijing, China
What is it really like teaching English with Disney English in China? Mary gives us an insight into her life and a review on her teaching experience so far.
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
MM: I taught English-Language Arts in America as a 7th grade teacher and have always known that I have wanted to be a teacher. After working in a public school for several years, I decided that I would try to find a teaching job overseas.
GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
MM: I found them on a popular internet site for jobs teaching abroad and emailed them my resume. The next morning, I found that they had already responded to my email and wanted to set up a time to Skype with me. From there, everything happened so fast! I had two interviews scheduled via Skype within a week. It was very exciting!
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
MM: Be prepared to Skype with someone in a very quick time frame. I would suggest you treat the Skype interview just like an interview in person. I found the entire process very easy and much less constrictive than an in-person interview, however. It was scheduled and happened from the convenience of my home, which was great.
GS: Can you tell us about your impressions of Beijing? What do you like most about living there?
MM: I love living in Beijing! There is always something to do, whether it is Open Mic night at a club, hiking the surrounding towns outside of the city, exploring the small side streets (called Hutongs) in the city, or hanging out with friends on a rooftop bar, you find that there is never a dull moment! Being surrounded by such a vast amount of culture and history is mind-blowing. One of my favorite things to do is simply walk around an area I have never been to before and explore it.
GS: What do you like most about teaching with Disney English?
MM: The students, hands down. They are so excited and eager to learn! I find that I am having fun simply because my students are having fun.
GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
MM: My favorite class consists of 6 very clever 6-7 year olds who keep me constantly on my toes. While the class is small, the children are bright and often ask lots of random questions. For example, while saying goodbye before class ended one day last week, one student decided to say, in a very theatrical voice, “Goodbye, Mary, Baby!” This, of course, got the other students riled up and before long, all the students were saying this particular phrase to each other as they walked out. The parents also got a kick out of it.
GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching at Disney English in China.
MM: It depends on the day. On the weekends, I have very long hours and 3 two hour classes with small 15-45 minute breaks in between where I can prepare for the next class, grab a bite to eat, or do some paperwork. On the week days, my days start around 1:30pm and end around 7:30pm or earlier. My days off consist of Wednesday s and Thursdays.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
MM: My company provides all the technology and curriculum, which includes an Interactive Whiteboard, projector, computer, and all slides, worksheets, and manipulatives. This makes planning easy and hassle-free for the most part.
GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
MM: In my center we have 7 classrooms, 9 foreign trainers and 9 assistant trainers who are local to the area and are paired up with each foreign trainer.
GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
MM: My roommate and I took a taxi to meet some friends last week. While in the taxi, my roommate and I noticed that the driver was listening to a comedy tape. We decided that it would be a great idea to laugh along with the audience the next time he told a joke (we both do not speak Chinese, yet, but it was apparent when we were supposed to laugh). As we burst into laughter after the next joke, the drive wheeled around in his seat, broke out into a huge grin, and changed the station to a popular English radio station, where he encouraged us to sing along as loud as we could to all the songs that came on. By the time we reached our destination, not only had the drive made our night, but we had also made his!