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 Janis at her language school in Shanghai, China

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GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
JA: I am a certified elementary school teacher from Canada. The job market is so bad in my part of the country, that I couldn’t find full-time employment. I love teaching and I also love adventure. I can teach Chinese children, give them a top education as needed, and still have a life of adventure and excitement in Shanghai.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
JA: You need to know the market demand, and know your own strengths. Don’t sign with a kindergarten if you prefer to teach older kids, thinking you’ll “get used to it”…you’ll be miserable for a year. Present yourself as energetic, friendly, enthusiastic and cooperative. These are important traits you must have to succeed in EFL. Also, when you have come close to choosing a school, contact a current foreign teacher there by phone before you sign. Talk to them about the working conditions, school support, working hours, contract honor, how they get to school and all the day to day issues. If you don’t get a good feeling from the conversation, choose a different school. It’s at least one full year of your life and it’s in a foreign country. Get some facts before you make the jump. If you can find a good fit, you’ll have the time of your life. But otherwise…it’s hard to cope as an expat when you hate your job.

GS: You are teaching in Shanghai at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
JA: I absolutely love Shanghai. As a foreigner, I can find everything I need (items from home) AND spend the day exploring new places and things. It’s a complete 50-50 mix of old China and new Western standards. I am so happy here. The air pollution is bad, but you get an air purifier and move on. I also can’t wait to adopt a shelter cat and have a pet. The down side? I’m saving NO money! The shopping is too good and I’m surrounded by excellent restaurants!

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
JA: Teaching has always been my one and only goal, so teaching English is just ‘more fun’ version of my dream. I get to have fun with the kids, deliver the best lessons I can, and experience the expat life too. I taught in South Korea for a while as well and this life suits me. Even if you don’t know Chinese, you can get by. I have a great teaching job at a school that values its educational product and its teachers. Then I leave work and have an exciting life as soon as I hit the street. It’s great! Plus I save my money for exotic vacations in Southeast Asia, or for a trip home. Life is good.

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GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
JA: I prefer to teach 9-12 year-olds, so my favorite class is my Junior High Language Arts class, “Treasures”. Not only do all the kids speak English, but they are fascinated with learning a new Western perspective. We learn vocabulary, speaking and comprehension naturally just by having good, solid conversations about the stories that week. They love to ask questions, and I love to be honest with them. It’s a 3-hour class that goes by in an instant.

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.Janis - School in Shanghai 2
JA: My typical day starts at 8:30 when I wake up. I eat breakfast and get ready for school. I make my own lunch because I don’t want to eat Chinese delivery for lunch (although sometimes it’s OK). I go to school at 11 and have office hours (administration, lesson planning, etc) until my class at 5pm. Then I teach from 5 to 8:30 pm. I have to have some coffee to perk up around 5 of course. Then after class I’m invigorated (being with students fills my soul). I take a taxi home (I live 10- minute drive away) and stop at the local supermarket for groceries and other items. Then I go home, watch TV, do some cooking, and go to bed. Two days out of my week are full teaching days, 9-5 with one hour for lunch. Mondays and Tuesdays are my weekend.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
JA: Our school has a literature-based program, so our library rivals anything I can see in a school in Canada. There are lesson plans prepared for each class and they are based around book studies. Teaching at my school is very convenient in the sense that everything is prepared already for the teacher.

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
JA: There are 2 full time teachers and 7 part-time teachers. I work full time.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
JA: I found myself on the 94th floor of the Hyatt Hotel building (World Trade Building) on Halloween. That was a good night. As a foreigner, there are a multitude of perks and benefits you can glean from the social arena…just play your cards right and hang with the right people. It’s a huge community of friendly glamour and culture.
This school is holding interviews now, apply today!

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.
Apply now

INTESOL Course

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