October 25, 2010The Experience

Every school – and class within each school – varies in the English language ability of its students. Some students will be more advanced and capable of carrying on detailed conversations, while others may not be able to pronounce their own English name. For this reason, a teacher must be flexible and creative with lesson plans, adapting them to various levels of ability.

How can I teach Chinese students if I don’t know Chinese?

Most of the students have already had some English training. Many have strong English skills. Schools request that you only use English in the classroom so the students are forced to communicate with you in English. If they know you speak Chinese, they will use that as a crutch. You need to be creative with instructions and use a lot of charades. Make it fun for them to try and understand and you will see that it’s all part of the experience and the relationship that you build with the students. It will be a challenge but a very rewarding challenge.

How many classes will I teach each week?

The teaching schedule is usually between 16 and 20 hours a week. You will teach between 16 and 20 classes that last from 40 to 50 minutes each. You will be asked to participate in English-speaking activities such as plays, skits, and musical performances. These are usually a welcomed experience and a pleasant change from the day to day teaching routine.

How will I know what to teach there?

In most schools, your curriculum is your own creation. The school may provide some textbooks, which are often either flawed or beyond the students’ level. You are welcome to bring as many English teaching manuals and materials as you like. Most teachers have the same fear of not knowing how to teach. As long as you have a good attitude and a sense of creativity, the lessons will come. You’ll be surprised what kinds of situations you can use as lessons that make it fun for the students and memorable for you as well.

The internet contains countless ESL (English as a Second Language) resources. Start looking for possible lesson plans now. Print them off and begin formulating a portfolio of lesson plans and ideas before you even arrive at the school. Use the links below to see just a sample of what is available out there for lesson plan ideas.

China Horizons will also provide each teacher with an assortment of lesson plans and ideas that past teachers have used, which were successful.

What if I’m not an English or Education major?

This position focuses extensively on oral language training. You must simply plan conversational activities and lessons that help the students use the English they already know, along with what they are currently learning from their Chinese English teachers. You are not required to teach a lot of grammar or other rules. What will they need to communicate if they were to come to the U.S.A. today? They will often have no idea what you are saying, but you are still immersing them in English and helping them to feel more comfortable hearing it from a native speaker.

What age groups could I teach?

Classes range from kindergarten to college age. Most of our teachers are placed in middle schools and high schools. Most positions are within public schools.

Can I choose what age group I teach?

We welcome requests for specific age groups and we will do our best to accommodate everyone. However, we ask applicants to be flexible and open to teaching other ages if a position at the requested age level is unavailable. If your participation is dependant on being able to teach a certain age, you should notify China Horizons before you apply.

What is the difference between public and private schools?

Students attending public schools tend to possess a higher English level and are better behaved because of their desire to succeed and improve their lifestyle. The trade-off is the size of each class. Public school classes may include as many as 50-70 students, while private school classes may have 20-30 students. Your ability to learn everyone’s name is definitely put to the challenge.

How many students will I have in each class?

Public school classes can have over 50 students per class, while private school classes rarely have over 30 students.

What is the dress code while I am teaching in the classroom?

Business casual attire is required while teaching. We recommend dockers and a polo-type shirt for men and dress pants and nice blouses for women. All clothing should be clean and modest. Male teachers should be well groomed at all times while teaching.