An Interview with Dylan at Enfly Education in Chengdu, China
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
DJ: I first got into teaching because I wanted to improve my Spanish. I was working as a tour guide and I wanted to be able to do tours for Spanish speakers, so I joined a volunteer project as an English teacher in Honduras and loved it.
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
DJ: I think that schools really appreciate people who can show they’re thinking about their classes and ask questions about the students and the school. I also think any videos and examples of past experiences connected to teaching really help.
GS: You are teaching in Chengdu at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
DJ: The food! Sichuan cuisine is amazing, I feel so lucky to be here and enjoy the spicy style and relaxed pace. The countryside as well, it’s just breathtaking and so easy to get to the mountains from the city. Just 1 hour away you can visit cool places. The giant Buddha in Leshan and Emei mountain are a must! The western half of Sichuan was part of one of the ancient kingdoms of Tibet so it’s also really cool to see the Tibetan towns and culture around here.
GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
DJ: It’s fun. I will be laughing every day. It’s so easy to have fun and joke around in class. I find it’s the best way to get students talking and it makes the job a lot easier.
GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
DJ: I teach a few different grades at the moment but I think I would say my grade 7 classes are my favorites now because I taught them last year and we get along well. It’s super easy to chat with them and now we all know each other well it’s easy to get on task quickly.
GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
DJ: A typical day will start with coffee for me. Then I will get the metro down to my school just a 20 minute journey more or less. If I’m early I can have some baozi or noodles at school. Then I’ll be in class, maybe 3 classes in the morning with a half hour break for the students morning exercises and my coffee time. Then lunch will be from 12:30-2:30 so I’ll have lunch in the canteen with the other teachers and then maybe play soccer with some students for a while. Then around 1:30 I’ll head to the office and have a nap (this is a serious thing in Sichuan). Then I’ll be back to class in the afternoon and finish around 4:30. After school I might catch up with some friends or go the gym. Then my day is done.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
DJ: The school will let me check out the students books for ideas to help my class and all the classrooms have a computer connected to a projector so it’s easy to show slideshows or any multimedia materials. Generally we’re allowed to decide our class content as long as it’s getting the students talking and practicing their spoken English.
GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
DJ: I’m at a primary and middle school at the moment and there’s myself and one other foreign teacher. Of course the students are taught by their local English teachers as well.
GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
DJ: It’s not a recent one but certainly unexpected. Not long after I arrived here in Chengdu I went to see a punk band at the “Little Bar” 小酒馆 made famous by a song dedicated to Chengdu. My friends would always go to clubs and it’s not really my thing so I got invited to this punk show because I had mentioned I like live music. In conversation I said that I play bass and I played in a punk band when I was at school back in the UK. My friend couldn’t believe it “I know some guys that are looking for a bass player!” So I joined a local punk band and we’ve been playing together ever since. We even had a show at that same “Little Bar”, if you come to Chengdu be sure to check us out! 异议分子！中国朋克