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 Reginald Leneus at English First Taiyuan, China

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GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
RL: Ever since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to be in a profession in which I could help children grow. Because of this, it was an easy choice to become a teacher. I have a passion for language and watching my students develop their skills is a great reward. After university, I decided to take my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language course), and while I was doing this I realized that teaching abroad would be a great experience.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
RL: The best advice I would give is to be honest about what you want to accomplish and what your goals are. Make sure you fully research the school/institution and do your best to contact foreigners already living there; they will give you an honest and clear view of what it’s like living and teaching in China. Moreover, make sure you have a good look at your options; just because they are the first school to give you a job offer doesn’t mean it will be the best choice for you.

GS: You are teaching in Taiyuan at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?Reginald with nature
RL: Taiyuan is developing into a great city with many nice attractions such as Jinci Temple, Yingze Park, and the Twin Pagodas. It also has a great night life, with many foreigners at different schools, meaning you will never be short on friends to spend time with. There are many activities to keep you entertained during your time off work, including museums, bars, cinemas, a bowling alley, go karting, etc.

There are also several new shopping malls and restaurants with cuisine from all over the globe, so you always have somewhere to eat when you are feeling homesick. Local food is delicious and cheap, so you will have a great time tasting Chinese dishes from all over. Life in general is cheap here so it’s a great place to put away money even while you are enjoying yourself. What I like most is that the locals are very friendly and try to help foreigners as much as possible; Taiyuan isn’t built on tourism so foreigners are relatively new to the city and we have always been well-received.

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
RL: What I like most is being a part of the process of seeing kids achieving their goals. Watching your students develop over time and knowing I’m making a difference to their education and future is very rewarding. At EF we get to teach all ages, so you can see how education works through all stages of a child’s development. This also means that your classes range from teaching topics such as animals and playing games to discussing global issues like politics and the environment. I often find that when teaching adults, you learn or think about English in ways that you have not done so before, so it’s not just the students who are learning!

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GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
RL: I have a Small Stars class (4-6 years old) in which the children are always enthusiastic and ready to learn. They always give 100% and rarely misbehave. They are adorable! At that age you can have a lot of fun in class teaching new vocabularies and playing games to help them remember the target language. Many of the students at the beginning were shy and reserved, whereas now they love to participate and are much more confident. The class does require a lot of my energy but I like it this way, it builds my own enthusiasm towards teaching and I never get through a class without a few laughs and smiles.

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.Reginald with graduates
RL: As the students do not have local school on weekends we teach a lot of our lessons then. Class begins at 10am so we come into work beforehand to settle in and plan for the class. Often I will plan in advance so I only have to review my lesson plan and get my materials together. After the first class, we have lunch, all of the teachers eat together somewhere close to the school, it’s a good time to catch up and have a rest. After lunch, we have a free period to plan lessons, and then depending on the day, I will have 2 or 3 more classes after that with time in between to relax and look at the upcoming lessons.

After work, we usually get dinner on the way home, and then I will relax with my housemate, or go out somewhere on Sunday evenings. During the week, I don’t start until 16.30 and I only have one class in the evening. So I can use my morning to go to the gym, go shopping, or just rest at home.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
RL: Everything that I need is provided by the school. EF has a vast selection of its own course books designed for each stage of learning, and these materials include student books, work books, teacher books (to help with lesson planning) audio, video, and on-line work for the students. We have a wide range of flashcards, books, toys, realia, games, and stationary. Our staff room has many computers so we can use online materials to help plan and print off worksheets.

Every EF classroom has an IWB (interactive white board). These are amazing teaching tools, you can write with your hand, access web pages and watch videos with easy access. I am still discovering new functions and uses for this after nearly a year of teaching!

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?Reginald with buddha
RL: There are currently 8 foreign teachers from 5 different countries, and 5 local teachers.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
RL: About a month ago, it was raining heavily when I was leaving work, and a parent of one of my students saw me and offered me a lift home. Between their basic English and my basic Chinese we had a chat and they offered to take me to dinner! At first, I refused as the situation was fairly alien to me, however as they were so friendly and I get on well with the students, I agreed.

They took me to a fantastic restaurant where I had many dishes I had never eaten before, and to top it off they refused my money I tried to give towards the bill and dropped me at home afterwards. This really opened my eyes as to how respectful and kind Chinese people can be, and also gave me confidence that I must be doing something right in my lessons to make the parents so happy.

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 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.