Joan on teaching English in Shandong Province, China

TEFL Courses Ireland graduate Joan McDermott is Head of Overseas Faculties at Shandong University of Technology.

Last year I decided to do a TEFL course and, having searched long and hard on the internet and making numerous enquiries, I finally decided that having spoken to a number of providers,TEFL Courses Ireland was the best option for me. I found the course itself hugely worthwhile. I started with the grammar section and thought it was excellent, I love grammar anyway and it was a great way to brush up on what I had either forgotten or become rusty on.

The TEFL methodology section is also top quality. I went through two years of a teacher training course when I left school and it brought back much of what I learned there. For anyone who has never been to teacher training college, or who has never stood in front of a class to teach, this section is invaluable. It gives you in-depth knowledge and precious tips on how to work a class, from content to the layout of the classroom. I can’t imagine what it would be like stepping in front of a classroom for the first time without having studied methodology!

As I did the 120-hour Premier Online TEFL Course, I sent my assignments to the tutors assigned to me. Their response and corrections were always prompt and always relevant. I found them very reassuring and positive. From the beginning I found TEFL Courses Ireland very easy to deal with. Initially I had some difficulties with my booking form going through but Tom in Dublin sorted it out for me without delay. He was courteous, kind and helpful and has remained so throughout all my dealings with him. Any small technical glitches I met on the way were dealt with quickly and efficiently by the IT team, which meant that I could take my course from here in China without any problems.

I came to China two years ago to teach in Shandong University of Technology. I have to say, ithas been one of the best experiences of my life. China is a beautiful and beguiling country. If you don’t fall in love with the physical beauty of China you cannot but help fall in love with her people. They, like the Irish, enjoy a drink and are quick to laugh. They, like the Irish are a kind and friendly people and will go out of their way to help a stranger.

Teaching English in China is very rewarding. Most students have a good understanding of English and are really enthusiastic about learning English. They are very respectful and willing to do what you, as their teacher, ask them to do. Chinese people are generally shy about speaking English because they are afraid of “losing face”, afraid of making mistakes, so as a teacher I have to help them to gain confidence in speaking in front of people. I try to encourage them to learn more and to enjoy learning. It is important to remember that their culture is very different from western cultures and that must be respected at all times.

Teaching English here is a great way to learn about China. I couldn’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from my students! They have taught me about Chinese history and culture. They have taught me about the wonderful food of Shandong Province. They have taught me about their own daily lives. They have confided in me. They show me respect, compassion and sometimes even love. For that I love them and I love working in China.

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