Erin Coyle completed the 100-hour Professional Diploma through TEFLOnline.com earlier this year and got a job teaching English in China. I recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experiences teaching abroad.
What was your background before you went abroad to teach in China?
I worked in a couple of industries before deciding to go abroad and teach. I actually have a Bachelor’s of Social Work and did event planning for non-profit organizations in New York City for a few years and then I did fundraising for Habitat for Humanity in Detroit, Michigan. After years of event planning and fundraising I decided I needed a change so I actually went to a TV and Radio Media Arts school and received a radio diploma. From there I worked in radio for six years as a morning show co-host at a couple of different stations. I loved radio but it was always hard to travel and get time off from work.
How did you come to decide that you wanted to teach abroad?
I love to travel and every time I came back from a trip, I always thought to myself that I wanted to live overseas but I never knew how I could make it happen. I started talking to people about trying to make something work in order to live abroad and several people had suggested teaching. I didn’t have any teaching experience so I figured I wouldn’t be able to do it. But then after thinking about it and doing some more research, I realized this was a way to move overseas and try something new. I figured if I don’t pursue this now then I will never try it. People I had talked to working overseas as teachers all love their jobs. So I made up my mind and decided to enroll in a TEFL course!
Why did you choose China?
I actually chose China because I have friends who live here. They were moving to Nanchang and told me I should apply to some jobs here once I finished my course. I’ve always been fascinated with China and the fact that I would have some friends here was also a plus. So after finishing my course, I got in touch with some people in Nanchang and started applying to several universities here and eventually got my job.
Why did you choose the TEFL course you did?
I chose the TEFL online 100 hour course which includes the grammar component. I chose this one because it had the grammar component and I knew I would need a refresher course on grammar! Since I’ve never taught before, I figured the extra hours and course outline were better for me because I could learn a few more components from the course. I had a full time job while I was doing this so the online course worked for me because it was flexible and I could work on my course at my pace and when it was convenient for me to study.
What kind of teaching are you doing now, and what do you like most about it?
I’ve only been teaching for two months now and I work at a university called Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University in Nanchang. I teach spoken English to English and Tourism majors and it’s going really well. I really like teaching at the university and the one thing I love is the students. They are so eager to learn and some of them have never seen a foreigner before so you are treated so well here! I hang out with my students outside of class and it’s a great way for them to get to know me and for me to get to know them and they also get to practice their English. I also like the flexibility I have here and I like the fact that I get to teach so many different students.
What advice would you give to someone considering teaching abroad?
I would tell anyone who is interested in teaching abroad to go ahead and do it. There are so many opportunities to go abroad and if you love to travel, teaching is a great way to travel because you will have so many chances to do it. Teaching abroad gives you a chance to learn about new cultures, learn a new language and a chance to have amazing experiences that you will always remember. I am learning so many things about the culture here and I’ve started taking Chinese lessons and I am in a new career which I never would have considered doing before. I have also met so many great people here and I love this new challenge and I really enjoy teaching. This experience so far has been awesome and I’m so glad I decided to teach abroad! It’s an experience you will always remember!