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Talking To Teachers – Jackie Gochenouer

Jackie 1

Gold Star TEFL Recruitment has been assisting teachers secure the very best teaching jobs in China since 2009 and has close connections with China’s leading schools. For details on teaching jobs with English First and other major language schools have a look through our website and submit an application today.
Read more interviews with teachers in China here.

An Interview with Jackie Gochenouer at English First in China

A review of the day to day life of an English First teacher in China, inside and outside the classroom.

GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
JG: It started as a mutual learning process – I enrolled in a “conversation partner” program at my university to help Chinese exchange students with their English while they helped me with my Chinese. From that experience I discovered how much I like tutoring & teaching in general, and decided I should go outside my comfort zone and spend some time abroad.

GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
JG: I came across Gold Star while searching for teaching abroad opportunities. My recruiter Aidan was extremely helpful in finding a position that was right for me. Not only did he suggest schools to apply to, but he also went above and beyond with interview tips and follow-up emails to make sure the entire process was running smoothly.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
JG: Location, location, location. Make sure you choose the right place for YOU. Check the weather, geography, cost of living, and what the city and surrounding areas have to offer in general. As for the interview process, my boss told me that when he interviews an applicant he’s not only looking for qualification, but also whether he can get along with you – friendliness, likability, etc. So just relax and have a nice conversation!

GS: You are teaching for English First in Jinhua China at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
JG: I think Jinhua is perfect for an authentic Chinese experience. It’s a 3rd-tier (provincial-level) city, which means it’s big enough to have all the basic resources, but small enough that it’s not touristy and the cost of living is extremely affordable. What I love most is the convenience of where I live. My school is just around the corner from my apartment, and a ton of restaurants as well as a supermarket are just a 5 minute walk away.

GS: And what do you like most about teaching English?
JG: Hands down, it’s seeing kids progress. My boss said it best – it’s the knowledge that “I put that in their heads!” Every class has its strong and weak students, but regardless of their talent for English, 99% of your students will end the semester with skills they didn’t have before.

GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
JG: I’m torn. One class that I look forward to every week is a kindergarten-level class with 10 little boys! When I heard I’d be teaching that class I absolutely dreaded it, but these boys are (mostly) well-behaved, enthusiastic, and tons of fun to teach. The other class I love is a one-on-one tutoring class with a high school girl. She’s really sweet and we get along well – sometimes I have to be careful that we don’t get off topic and chat too much!

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GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
JG: I work at an extracurricular school, so weekends are the busiest for me. Saturday and Sunday I teach from 9am until at least 5pm, some weeks even until 9pm, with a couple hours break thrown in. But the plus side is that I have Monday and Tuesday off, and Wednesday through Friday I only have one or two classes in the evening, so those days are when I get my planning done. On weekends everyone eats lunch together, and then Sunday night we’re free to go out and have fun!

GS: What are the teaching resources like there? 

JG: EF has great textbooks, most with lesson plans already prepared (that we can use at our discretion), as well as flashcards, cartoons, songs, and puppets, all specially created for EF to coordinate with the textbooks. We also have interactive white boards in several classrooms, and are in the process of getting a kitchen built for our weekly “fun classes” where we can cook or bake with the students.

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
JG: We have 10 foreign teachers and 11 local teachers. Every class gets one foreign teacher and one local teacher, to help with translating things like instructions or discipline.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
JG: One of my coworkers got married last month, and it was during a holiday, so taxis were not only few and far between but all occupied! We ended up squeezing 5 people into a rickety motor taxi (like a scooter with a cab attached) and it took twice as long to get there, but it was fun because of all the strange looks we got from the locals – it’s not every day you see 5 foreigners all dressed up and nearly spilling out of a motor taxi!

Read more interviews with teachers in China here.

Gold Star TEFL Recruitment has been assisting teachers secure the very best teaching jobs in China since 2009 and has close connections with China’s leading schools. For details on teaching jobs with English First and other major language schools have a look through our website and submit an application today.
Apply now

INTESOL Course

Realise your dreams of living and teaching English worldwide with INTESOL.