Patricia – teaching practicum in Beijing

Why do you want to pursue a career in teaching English?

For decades the teacher has always been seen as the sole knowledge deliverer and the person who has the most powerful role in the classroom. I would have also pictured teachers like this regardless of the subject they are teaching, but after my teaching practicum my perspective on teaching has been flipped 180 degrees.

I now appreciate that English as a foreign language teachers not only get to share the knowledge of the English language and culture but in turn they learn about other cultures through their students.

How were your experiences on your teaching placement?

During the summer camp, not only did I have the opportunity to gain some teaching experience but also I could have fun taking part in activities along with my students, discover the Chinese culture more in depth and also meet amazing people along the way.

My placement school was situated in a lovely and vibrant site outside the busy Beijing where students not only disconnect from the fast paced life of the contemporary metropole, but at the same time they get to create new connections both with other students and the student volunteer teachers.

Even from the first classes, I noticed how interested and keen to learn English each of my students were. This curiosity was one of the assets of my students hence why with every class I was bombarded with million questions!

What was your favourite experience during the teaching practicum?

My favourite moment in the camp has to be the very last class that I taught – when the topic of the lesson was my home country, Romania. I was surprised to see how curious all my students were to find out more about my country and even insisted on me teaching them a little bit of Romanian.

How was the local support during your teaching placement?

Spending 10 days away from one’s family is difficult for grown up adults let alone for children.

Even though all of the children taking part in the camp made an effort coming to the camp they were ready at any time to meet new people and say with an open heart “Welcome to China”. New friends, new surrounding and new beginnings create the most beautiful memories.

What else did you learn from the experience?

Learning a language is a process of trial and error. Growing up, such a process brings more and more fear to anyone learning something new. As a teacher, I was reminded by students that we learn though mistakes and that learning has to be fun. 

Nevertheless, my students showed me that I am never too old to take part in games, therefore afternoon games have grown to become my favourite activities of the day!

How will this TEFL qualification and teaching experience help you in the future?

First of all I believe that the EduCamp program will be very helpful for me in my degree [Applied Linguistics and English Studies] because it involves teaching English as a foreign language. At the same time it also helped me realise that I might be able to pursue such a career in the future.

Would you recommend the 150 hour TEFL course with teaching practicum to a friend?

After spending a summer in China as a foreign language teacher I would whole-heartily say that such an experience was rewarding, educational and recreational at the same time.

For anyone out there considering starting off a teaching career or even trying it out over the summer I could not recommend the Abridge programs enough.

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