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 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 Daniel Menges at English First in Chengdu, China

Qingyang Taoist Temple, Chengdu_Ying Yang symbol with people_about May 2015GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
DM: When I was living in Australia, among other things, I did childcare work, English tutoring, communications work for ESL students and some primary school teaching. I had developed an interest in Asia over a couple of years and I was keen to spend more time there, so when the teaching job with Education First in Chengdu came up, I thought it was a great opportunity.

GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
DM: I came across Gold Star TEFL Recruitment in my job research. As they seemed like a professional, responsibly run company with good job opportunities, I decided to approach them. Aidan has consistently been responsive and prompt in replying to emails. He has also been quite helpful in sharing useful information and has been willing to answer questions at different stages in the recruitment process. He has been flexible, friendly and clear, and, delivered on his promises.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
DM: Be clear about what you really want, what you can contribute and what kinds of jobs you are willing and not willing to do (this includes where you are and are not willing to travel to). Do your research and ‘due diligence’ on all aspects of the city or town you are looking to go to, the company, job, etc.

When you find a job or jobs that you are interested in, prepare fully, do your best in describing your experience, skills and what you can offer. Also, ask good questions about the role, the employer, the students and anything else that you might wonder about.

Some education schools might want you to do a teaching demo for them as part of the interview process, so it is good to be prepared just in case.

Relax and be yourself. Look at the evidence, but also trust your gut feeling about a job and the people you will be working with.

Qingyang Taoist Temple building, road & motorcycle_about May 2015GS: You are teaching in Chengdu at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
DM: By Western standards, Chengdu is a big city. It is big enough to have all that you might need, yet small enough (and well designed enough) to be able to leave the city and visit the countryside fairly easily. Also, while there is some pollution here, it is not as polluted as some other Chinese cities. Chengdu has been voted one of the most livable cities in China.

I love many Sichuan dishes and that they are so affordable. I like that Chengdu has great public transportation and good public spaces. For example, nearby where I live, on the weekends, kids often play outside in the open plazas, there is music, etc.

While it does get hot and humid here in the summer, I generally like the climate. It is similar to Sydney, but a bit more humid and overcast. It is also green and lush.

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
DM: I like when my students are engaged and enjoying the learning, and, probably not even aware that they are learning! It is great to see my students learn new things, become more confident, work together and be enthusiastic about English language learning. Making a positive difference in their lives feels great.

I also like working with people from different countries and backgrounds.

GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
DM: While I do not have a favourite class, I do enjoy teaching students who are keen to learn English. There are memorable moments in my classes.

For example, it has been great to see the progress that one of my students has made in his English language learning, confidence and overall development. When I first saw him in my class he was sitting in the back in a corner, rarely spoke with his fellow students and his father spoke with me about his concerns for his son. Now, after participating in our usual class as well as one of my summer phonics classes, he is more confident and can use English well. He is happier. He now sits near the front of my class, helps out other students and can have a conversation with me in English.

EF Chengdu 4_Daniel & Jane 1_August 2015GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
DM:During the weekdays, I usually plan lessons and do other tasks, like marking and meeting with Progress Advisors (local staff who are the bridge between parents and native English speakers). I have evening classes during the week and weekend classes on mornings and afternoons.

Our staff training and team building days are usually during the week.

We often go out to lunch or dinner together.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
DM:In general, EF has good teaching resources. We have a variety of more traditional and contemporary teaching resources, including multi-media and course books. EF innovates, so when new educational products come out, we often get to try them out.

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
DM:Currently, there are 5 local Chinese teachers and 7 native English teachers. We also have a Director of Studies who sometimes teaches and also other teachers, such as VIP teachers, who come to our school to teach, do demo classes, etc.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
DM:EF Chengdu Kids and Teens recently had a fun team building day. We went to a place outside of Chengdu by a river and played different games. One of the activities was to build a bamboo raft and then race other teams by using poles to guide it across the river. One group got swept down river and could have ended up kilometers away!

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 major language schools have a look through our website and submit an application today.
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