Since late November I have been working as an English teacher at a school here in Jiangmen.
When I decided to come to China, I knew that besides studying chinese I also wanted to find a job to make money for travelling. Teaching English is what most people come to do here, so I thought why not try. Even though I am not a teacher by profession, I did tutor kids back in Chile so I had a little bit of experience in the area. But teaching a classroom full of kids is a totally different thing.
I teach kindergarten and first grade, putting all my classes together I’d say I teach around 230 kids. The little ones in kindergarten are the cutest babies and are actually fun to teach, I love that they pay attention and that even though they don’t understand much English , they are super enthusiastic.
By the time the kids get to first grade, it’s not all fun and games anymore. My first grade classes are a nightmare, kids falling of chairs, punching each other, yelling and crying is very common on daily basis. And the worst/funniest part is that I can’t even find out why a kid is crying because they can only explain to me in Chinese.
I have tried everything with them , being super nice, being mean, yelling, giving out stickers, giving them a “I am very disappointed with you” face hoping they will stop being crazy , but nothing works. There are some kids who are actually very good though and I can see that they want to learn, so because of them I still do my best to keep calm and prepare a good class.
I have to admit though, even if they are the worst students in class, when they come up to me and say “Good morning teacher Nafi” or they give me a hug and tell me I look pretty, my heart melts a little. After all they are just kids, and no kid really wants to be in class.
Being a teacher is hard, I admire the people who chose teaching as a life time career. Also , now that I’m a teacher I realize that they can see everything the kids are doing. No matter how stealth students think they are being while passing a note to a friend or looking at something under the desk, teachers can see it. All through highschool I thought I was being super smooth passing notes with my friends, but now that I think of it , my teachers probably realized but just didn’t do anything about it :p
I remember my elementary school teachers very well and I often wonder if these kids will remember me. Even if they don’t or vaguely remember me,the opportunity to actually contribute in the education of a kid is amazing.