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 Paul Orlowicz at English First Tianjin, China

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GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
PO: Well, to be accurate, life’s circumstances dropped me into English teaching. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy teaching English; but it’s teaching in general that is my passion, not teaching English specifically. After graduating from university with a BS in Architecture, I decided that I didn’t really want to practice Architecture. Another two years passed with me working any job I could to pay the bills. I finally decided that teaching was the career I truly wanted. The problem was I had the wrong degree and not enough money to return to university. Working abroad as an English teacher has been an amazing opportunity for me. It gives me valuable teaching experience, enough money to finally be able to save, and the stability to move forward in my life.

GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
PO:To be perfectly honest, I remember very little about my dealings with Gold Star Recruitment. While this might sound like a horrible condemnation of their service, in fact, it’s a wonderful thing! The reason I remember so little is because I found multiple interviews (and ultimately the job I took) within a very short amount of time. I finished my TEFL Certificate at the end of October and after contacting Gold Star I was offered multiple jobs within three weeks. I had anticipated that finding a new job would take me months; Gold Star helped me find one in less than one month. Honestly, that’s all I remember: timely, honest, and reliable service.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
PO: Firstly, don’t be fearful of using a recruitment agency like Gold Star. There are thousands of jobs in China, and Gold Star makes the mammoth task of job hunting far more manageable. For interviewing, be sure to prepare properly. As one might imagine, schools in China have many job applicants to sift through. Every employer in China has had the experience of hiring someone who has ultimately not been cut out for the job; and over time interviewers become quite adept at reading people. Being prepared for your interview will indicate to the employer that you are taking the interview seriously and will establish the strength of your work ethic. Finally, while you want to communicate to the interviewer that you are confident in your ability to handle the job, be sure not to say that you think the job will be easy. In all likelihood, the job is not easy, and saying that you think the job will be easy will lead the interviewer to see you as overly cavalier.

GS: You are teaching in Tianjin at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
Paul Orlowicz photo 2PO: Tianjin is a wonderful city to live in! I should mention, however, that I am likely biased, as I dislike living in the countryside or suburbia. Tianjin has nearly everything I could want in a city. Granted, when I wanted to cook a green bean casserole for American Thanksgiving, I couldn’t find French’s French Fried Onions; but that is entirely forgivable considering Tianjin is thousands of miles away from the French’s factory. Additionally, as in the case of any big city in China, the pollution and litter is grating. However, in this teacher’s mind, Tianjin has far more positive attributes than negative ones. It’s well connected to the high speed train system, it has plenty of things to do and see, and is absolutely beautiful on a clear day. Tianjin is also only 30 minutes from Beijing on the fast train, and has a more reasonable cost of living than both Beijing and Shanghai. As I am an avid cyclist, the most important thing for me is how bicycle friendly Tianjin is. In my opinion, it’s the best way to get around town!

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
PO: What I like most about teaching English is quite simple. In a world that is becoming increasingly global, language learning is becoming increasingly important. It’s fun, exciting, and rewarding to be a part of this. I have now been teaching for over a year, and seeing the progress some of my students have made in the last year is truly remarkable. Lastly, since I am an American citizen and the economic relationship between the USA and China is now so interdependent, I recognize the importance of strengthening the linguistic and cultural understanding of our two peoples. As with any job and every individual, it’s important to feel like you are contributing something worthwhile to society, and I do.

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GS: Can you tell us about your favorite class at the moment?
PO: Since I teach many great classes, it is difficult to choose. However, if forced to choose, I would pick my Sunday afternoon class of six year old students. During one lesson, these students (who continually impress me with their intellectual curiosity) started asking me “why” questions that were very mature for their age. While the answers to many of their questions were well beyond their capability to fully understand, their passion for learning cemented them in my mind as a truly extraordinary collection of six year olds. I enjoy every moment I spend with those kids, and wish only to have the opportunity to spend more time with them.

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
PO: A typical day teaching is one to six hours of actual teaching time (depending on the day of the week). Other responsibilities include lesson planning, administration work, training workshops, parental feedback, and placement testing for prospective students. Some days are quite intense, while others are not. An average teacher probably spends about 38-42 hours at work per week.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
Paul Orlowicz photo 1PO: Like any school anywhere in the world, the teaching resources vary in quality. Thankfully, at my school, there is a vast quantity of resources. So many, in fact, that after a year of teaching here I still don’t have an awareness of all of them. A talented teacher can sift through what’s available, judge it’s quality, and choose to use those resources that are in line with their academic aims for the lesson. I rarely have complaints about the resources available to me.

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
PO: There are 12 teachers at my school. Five are local teachers who are from China; they come from various provinces. Seven are recruited teachers from abroad. One is from South Africa, four are from England, one is from Canada, and I am from the USA.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
PO: Admittedly, much of what may have surprised me when I first arrived is now normalized in my life here. One particular taxi ride, however, does spring to mind. On a rainy day, three of my coworkers and I hopped into a taxi to go home. We kept hearing a sound in the car that sounded like crickets. Of course we never would have assumed there actually were crickets in the car, so we quickly started making jokes about it and musing to ourselves about what the sound might be. Moments later, however, my friend (who speaks Mandarin fluently) asked the driver what the sound was. The driver opened his coat and revealed several small cages with crickets in them. As you might expect we couldn’t stop laughing. It was revealed shortly before leaving the taxi that those crickets were the driver’s dinner. I wouldn’t call that taxi ride an adventure, but it certainly was memorable.

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.