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 Paula Marcu at English First Shijiazhuang, China

English First Shijiazhuang is holding interviews now, apply today!

GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
PM: It all started in my student years when I thought I would make some extra money by teaching a few adult evening English classes at a local language center and I haven`t stopped since! My first students were a group of adults twice my age, but we had the best time in classes, learning and laughing throughout the course.

GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
PM: I came across Gold Star after a series of failed online interviews with unprofessional Chinese ESL recruiters who could barely write in English and who were offering teaching positions at unreliable Chinese language centers. The interview with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment was like a breath of air at a time when I had almost given up on my wish to teach English in China. It all went smoothly from there, a few days later I was already signing an agreement with EF Shijiazhuang.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?Paula Marcu - EF Shijiazhuang
PM: Find out as much information as possible about the school and the city you are planning to go to, especially from teachers who have taught there before, if possible. Avoid “no name” schools and small towns, unless you are the really adventurous type, and ask about everything of your concern prior to or during the interview. Avoid quick arrangements (tourist visa, F visa) and come to China with a Z (work) visa, because if a school can`t provide you with that, you don`t want to work for them in the first place! Be aware of the Chinese emphasis on physical appearance, it can weigh more to some potential employers than professional qualifications. And be ready for more hours of teaching during July and August, it is the peak season in China, unlike in the West.

GS: You are teaching in Shijiazhuang at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
PM: Shijiazhuang is large and modern, so don`t expect hundreds of years of history like in other places around China. The cost of living here is low and the work conditions at EF are excellent. The locals are very friendly and my students are adorable. I like most the parties EF organizes regularly for its staff, my first week in Shijiazhuang coincided with their May party and it was memorable!

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
PM: I like the impact English has on my students` lives, it literally shapes their future and it is great to be a part of this process. And I also like that teaching English allows me to discover new Chinese words from my youngest students, whenever I show them a new flashcard they immediately prompt out the Chinese equivalent, which is adorable!

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GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?Paula Marcu - EF Shijiazhuang
PM: I am teaching an intensive summer course to a group of teen-agers who always make me laugh, once I asked them to rewrite the lyrics for Mungo Jerry`s “In the summer time” and they came up with such combinations as: “In the summer time, when the weather is high, We don`t go to school and we feel so fine, No more books to read, no more homework, no more classes, no more anything” which they happily sang to me!

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.Paula Marcu - EF Shijiazhuang
PM: We teach afternoon classes Wednesday to Fridays, generally 2-4 teaching hours or 4-6 in July and August, on Saturdays and Sundays we teach 6 hours throughout the day and Mondays and Tuesdays are off. Apart from time spent in class, we do lesson planning in the Teachers` office, language placement tests for new students, English clubs in the Life club zone, or take part in trainings.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
PM: At EF Shijiazhuang there are interactive whiteboards in each classroom, we use a lot of video, audio, PPTs, e-flashcards and teaching notes provided by the EF server, apart from the regular books, puppets, or games stored in the teachers` office, so teaching English is both easy and pleasant!

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?Paula Marcu - EF Shijiazhuang
PM: We are currently 8 foreign teachers and 2 Chinese English teachers and there are also Chinese progress advisors for every group of students who keep the parents informed about their child`s progress. For the young learners there are also teaching assistants helping with classroom management and translating when necessary.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
PM: For me, food is a continuous adventure in China, not only that I have to eat noodles soup with chopsticks, since spoons or forks are such a rare site, but food I had never tried before is readily available, from lychees to dragon fruit and from Chinese cabbage to spicy pepper, I expect the unexpected, perhaps also because I am still a long way from reading the menu!

English First Shijiazhuang 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 English First and other major language schools have a look through our website and submit an application today.
Apply now