An Interview with Shayne at English First in Nanjing, China
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
SD: I had just completed my studies at university and had heard that there were opportunities teaching English abroad. I had always wanted to see more of the world and decided to get a TEFL certificate and see what jobs were available in Asia. I was contacted and accepted a job at EF Nanjing, then flew over to China.
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
SD: Keep an open mind, be positive, be truthful in your interview, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about your potential job. Crise, who recruited me, was really helpful in helping me with getting the documentation I needed to get to China as well as settling in here when I arrived. I have been in China for 4 months but still ask her for help at times.
GS: You are teaching in Nanjing at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
SD: Nanjing is much bigger than most cities I am used to in South Africa. Nanjing has so many people and you get a big city feel from living in it. Nanjing isn’t all about the city life, there are many historical and cultural sights to see and do such as hike Purple Mountain, visit the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum and much more. What I enjoy most about Nanjing is the tight knit expat community as well as the fact that you can have a taste of both big city life alongside more traditional Chinese aspects.
GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
SD: The sense of fulfillment when you see your students grow and develop.
GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
SD: My favorite class is composed of teenagers. I really enjoy teaching them and they are always up for making jokes as well as having discussions about various topics.
GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
SD: My typical working day involves me waking up and making coffee before tidying up my apartment a bit. After tidying my apartment, I will usually watch a movie or play video games before walking to the school. At school when I am not teaching I am typically planning lessons, grading tests, or joking around with my fellow teachers. After the working day is done I will usually go out for dinner with friends and maybe head out afterwards for a few drinks.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
SD: EF provides a curriculum from which we teach our lessons as well as many materials to use in these lessons such as handouts and games.
GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
SD: There are 6 foreign teachers from various backgrounds as well as 5 local teachers.
GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
SD: One day we decided to hike up one of the local mountains on which there were a few military installations. The mountain was beautiful and there were many footpaths on it for hikers to explore the sights. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we had taken a wrong turn and wandered onto a part of the air force base. A number of soldiers saw us and stopped us, laughing at us and curious about what we were doing there. After phoning a Chinese friend to explain the situation and showing them our passports the soldiers let us leave.