An Interview with Dave at WEBi English in Kunshan, China
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
DP: It was an accident. I owned a small business at the time when a friend asked me to fill in for one of his teachers going on vacation… I found that I enjoyed teaching and that my background in business and manufacturing was valuable to the students I was teaching.
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
DP: Never assume anything, even little things… Always ask questions until you understand the answer.
GS: You are teaching in Kunshan at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
DP: It is a very safe city. There is little crime of a violent nature. It is close to Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou.
GS: Tell us about the living cost / apartment in Kunshan
DP: In general, the cost of living is less than bigger cities like Shanghai. A nice apartment will cost between 3000 to 4000 RMB. There are cheaper apartments but acceptability and comfort level really depend on the individual foreigner and what they will accept.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
DP:I can say that the teaching materials used in my school are above average. We have prewritten lesson plans for most of our teaching activities.
GS: Tell us about the restaurants and local food in your city
DP: There are many styles of Chinese food here and a few decent foreign style restaurants. Still, most foreigners will improve their cooking skills by cooking some meals at home.
GS: Tell us about the salary for English teachers in your city
DP: Mostly salaries are determined by the amount of classroom experience that a teacher has against how much training the school will need to provide.
GS: Tell us about traveling in your city. China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
DP: Basic travel is similar to any other Chinese city … there is a decent bus system, taxis etc. … it is wise to plan for heavier traffic on weekends … as for adventure … I have worked or lived here for almost 20 years so I have become a bit numb to adventure. But China is a big country and there are a lot of things to see.
GS: Can you tell us about your favorite class at the moment?
DP: My favorite is large presentation classes called “English Corners “. I will average between 50 and 60 students and use English to teach a verity of different topics. Most of them are designed to help the students improve their life.
GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
DP: Possibly that for the students trying to improve their own lives my knowledge and experiences in life are useful to them. This is more than just teaching English, it’s about helping other people improve themselves