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 have a look through our website and submit an application today.
Read more interviews with teachers in China here.

An Interview with Simon Moore in Shenzhen, China

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GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
SM: Actually it was on the recommendation of a friend of mine who was teaching in Warsaw. He knew that I had been made redundant and was looking for a change in career so he suggested I look at teaching English as a way of being able to combine my love of travel and using my skills as a trainer and coach (I had 20 years experience in the Banking and Finance sectors). I completed my CELTA in March 2011 and here I am!

GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
SM: Another recommendation, this time from the Director of Studies at my previous school. He knew I was looking for a move and put me in touch. About a week after sending my CV to Gold Star and giving them some idea of my teaching preferences, I was being interviewed and offered the job I have now! So I have to say I was very impressed by the speed at which Gold Star were able to find me a position! They also gave me contact details of another teacher who had recently joined the same organization, so it was very helpful to get some background before I decided to accept.Simon Moore 2

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
SM: Do some homework about the organization you want to join and if possible, speak to teachers who work there. When you get to the interview stage, make sure you get answers to EVERY possible question you might have! My experience is that if you don’t ask a question, employers don’t always volunteer information e.g. I wasn’t told that I needed to pay 2 months rent for my apartment in advance, nor pay a fee for the housing agent, when I moved to this job. Also, double-check, or better still, triple-check the documentation you require for your Visa – different cities have different requirements regarding original documents or copies.

GS: You are teaching English in Shenzhen at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
SM: Shenzhen is the Chinese Government’s flagship blueprint for modern cities in China, so there’s a combination of new and old here. The city is only about 30 years in development and is quite cosmopolitan in its outlook, which makes it a great place for any Westerner. It’s a “young” city too and there’s a lot of wealth here. The roads are wide and mainly tree-lined so even though it’s a big city, it gives the impression of wide open spaces. Think Hong Kong without the crowding and you’ve a good idea of what it’s like.Shenzhen

GS: What do you like most about teaching adult students?
SM: For a start, you can cover a much wider range of topics in class. I have quite a few students who are involved in international business and they need, and want, to learn a lot of idiomatic English so that can be a lot of fun too. One of the main benefits is that adult students are highly motivated, after all they are the ones that are paying!

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GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
SM: I’m just about to start a series of classes called a “Selective Course” – this is where I get to choose the topic and design the structure of the course. I’ve decided to make it a video club, so each week I’ll be using material from Classic Comedies, Dramas, different Movie genres, etc. The concept is to pre-teach some vocab from the clips they will see, then use some gist and specific comprehension exercises (they will get a copy of the script excerpts) and end up with the students creating role-plays based on the characters in the clip. I’m very interested to see how they will deal with Del Boy Trotter and Blackadder….Simon Moore 6

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
SM: It’s difficult to say what a typical day is, given that all schools seem to run slightly differently. However, at the moment my days usually consist of a couple of hours class preparation followed by one or two 55-minute classes. After that, a break for an hour or so, then another hours prep before two or three more classes. While a lot of material is provided, some of the classes are self-designed so they obviously need more prep time and that’s when I have the opportunity to put my own style and imagination into the work.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
SM: The school has two main Courses that they run, General English (7 different levels) and Business Games (5 levels), as well as one-to-one VIP courses. The course books are well written and the Teachers’ Books give a lot of guidance in how to deliver each class. However, there is also an online ESL Library which provides a lot of good material and, of course, there is the internet. Teachers are encouraged to source a lot of material for their own Selective Courses which gives us the opportunity to personalize and freshen things up.Simon Moore 4

GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
SM: That’s a hard question. In my particular school there are four “core” teachers but we have six centres around the city and we regularly use teachers from the other centres, thus giving students a variety of teaching styles. I guess you could say we have access to about 30 teachers in total.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
SM: October 1st was National Day here and I went to The Red Forest, a very popular park in the city, with one of my Chinese friends. After about half an hour I became very conscious that I was the only non-Chinese I had seen in the thousands of faces there and it became quite noticeable that people were regularly taking photos of us. At first, this was quite disconcerting but I know it’s a regular occurrence so we continued to walk, talk and generally sightsee. A little while later we were approached by a couple who started talking to my friend and then, all of a sudden, we were being invited to dinner at an up-market place in the centre of town. I accepted the invitation and then “held court” at a table of 12 for about two hours, enjoying the hospitality and eventually making new friends. A lot of fun was had and it turned what had been a quite awkward day, into a great and unforgettable one.

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 have a look through our website and submit an application today.
Apply now

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