An Interview with Marli at Ou Jing International Kindergarten in Yiwu

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GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
MVJ: After studying English as major at University I decided to teach English as a second language in South Africa. I found that even though it can be someone’s 2nd,3rd or even 4th language, English is the one language in the world that brings us all together and that I loved helping people better their communication and comprehension in English.

After 2 years my husband and I decided to move to China for better living and career opportunities. We started teaching English trough the IB PYP curriculum at Ou Jing.

GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
MVJ: The recruitment and interviewing process is really easy and straight forward. Many schools will tell you exactly what to expect and also give you a welcome pack to prepare you to your role in the school as well as life in China.

If you are not certain about any part of the process, ask as many questions as you need to, schools are always willing to answer all of them and help you where they can.

GS: You are teaching in Yiwu at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?

MVJ: Yiwu is one of the smaller cities in China but still consists of a large number of foreigners. It has the biggest trading market in the world and should definitely be on your list of things to do when in China. I found it easy to settle in here because there were so many western restaurants, people to meet and things to do here, yet you can still save money and travel. It’s also only a 1 and a half hour train ride to Shanghai if you need a weekend away.

GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
MVJ: It’s the language that connects everyone in the world and what better way to connect to 21 (3 year old) students than by teaching them English. To see how they grow in the language makes my heart happy. They can tell me their emotions we can talk in very short sentences about what they like and don’t like and everyday I find out more and more just how intelligent they really are in their own unique way.

GS: Can you tell us about your favorite class at the moment?
MVJ: My favorite class is definitely UOI. This is where we explore different topics in the PYP Program of Inquiry. We touch on topics like our senses, transportation in our community and sharing the planet which teaches the students how to care for animals and plants and also how they help us. This lets the students explore not only with the topics, but also gives them room to practice their language skills when having discussions and doing activities.

GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
MVJ: Our day would start with a morning greeting that consists of English songs. Discussing the weather and talking about things they like and don’t like. They then have one of 3 classes, either Maths, Phonics or UOI lesson times and then a single subject class like art, swimming, PE, cooking or pottery. The same happens in the afternoon as they have 1 class and then usually have some free play time.

GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
MVJ: Teaching resources consist of a lot of craft activity resources and we have a interactive white board in each class and also a computer with a good search engine for videos and activity ideas. We have 2 great play areas and also a water play area. The school is connected to a housing estate that has a very nice garden that we also use for walks and to learn more about nature.

GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
MVJ: Everyday in China I learn something new. It makes you appreciate what you have but also makes you want to explore the world. My most recent experience was when me and my husband went to the night market one evening and realized that this country has become our home and not a foreign/scary country anymore

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