Interviews with three ESL teachers in Hangzhou, China

Three ESL teachers were interviewed in Hangzhou, China on this hot and humid summer day. They talk about their jobs, culture, food, challenges and give advice to teachers.

Here is a transcription of the video:

What is your name? My name is Danielle Lang.

Where do you come from? I come from Toronto, Canada.

How long have you been in Hangzhou, China? About a year and a half now.

What kind of school do you work in? I work in a children's language training school. It's a private school.

Is this your first or second contract? This is my second contract. I worked there for a year and went home for a year and I just came back this past January.

What has been your biggest challenge teaching abroad? I'd say learning the Chinese language and getting to know the culture. There's cultural differences. Once you get over that it's pretty easy.

Any challenges with your school? Again I think cultural differences between the management and the teachers. They have different expectations and we also probably have different expectations. So sometimes there's a bit of tension. But I think we are pretty fortunate as our boss lived in Canada for awhile, so I think there is a lot of give there.

How do you like the food? Ahh, I am used to it now (laughing). No, I like it. There's some interesting things... A good plate of 5 Kuai noodles. You can't beat that.

What kind of advice would you give a teacher who is thinking of coming abroad to teach? I would say don't go looking for a job online first. Research some cities first. Come to China as a tourist and go to some schools and talk to some teachers. Go to a local expat bar at night and talk to people there and find out about the different schools and just go from there. Cause there are so many instances of people getting rolled by schools - bad horror stories. Definitely check it out in person.

How is your housing? My housing is very good since I found it myself. My first apartment provided by the school was pretty standard for what schools will give you, so it wasn't the most beautiful or luxurious of accommodations. But it was clean. It was nice because all my neighbors were Chinese, sounds stupid, but there was a fish guy that lived below me. It was good. It was normal, clean and there was hot water. It was good for a first apartment here I'd say.

Do you have a favorite classroom game or tool you'd like to share? Yeah, I find that children like throwing balls (laughing). Throw up a four by four grid on the board with a bunch of question marks in each square. Ask the kid a question. Then they can throw the ball and you can reveal what's behind the question mark. Like it could be switch points with the other team, 10 points, or death. It's always a popular game.

The end.

What is your name? My name is Marilyn Tian.

How long have you been teaching in China? I have been teaching here for a about a year and a half.

Do you like it? I love it.

Do you teach in a private or public school? I teach in a private academy. It's called the Royal Queens Academy.

How many students do you have in a classroom? It's interesting it's one on one mostly. But in the summer time we put on camps and we can have 20 students in a class. Throughout the year we just have one or two students in a class. It's very fulfilling.

What has been your biggest challenge living and teaching abroad? The biggest challenge of course has been missing western food and my native language.

Do you have a favorite classroom tool or game that you would like to share? I think that... My favorite game would be Scrabble, hangman, word games. I think that students learn more when they think it's fun and they aren't really being taught something and that it is more of a game.

The end.

What is your name? My name is Megan and I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

How long have you taught abroad for? A little over two weeks. I am fresh. I teach at the same school as Marilyn.

What's been the biggest challenge that you have faced? For me definitely the language, the heat and the bugs. It's interesting for me because I taught in a university for two years before coming over... freshman composition. It's a different kind of frustration all together. It's more language than motivation, because they are motivated. But there is a language barrier.

How's your Chinese? I have a few phrases worked out. Just a couple (laughing).

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of coming abroad to teach? Definitely keep an open mind. Get out and about. Learn as much as you can about their lifestyle, religions, and the food they eat. You don't have to like it all (laughing). It depends on how well you travel as a person.

Do have a favorite game or activity that you would like to share? I haven't tried Scrabble or hangman yet. I am pretty new at it so I haven't had a chance to do many activities with them yet. It depends on the students. They like to draw. I'll tell them a story and they'll draw what they think the story looks like.

The end.

What is your name? My name is Tara. How long have you been in China? I have been in China for 3 weeks and only teaching for two. How do you like it? I love it. I am still in the honey moon phase (laughing).

Have you learned any Chinese? I have a few phrases, but I want to learn more.

What's been your biggest challenge teaching abroad? The language. Definitely. I really hate not being able to talk to people. I feel rude not knowing their language.

How do you like their food? I do. But I definitely miss western food though.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about coming abroad to teach? Do it. Just do it.

Do you have a favorite game or activity that you would like to share? My favorite activity is that I like to think of a topic for conversation classes. Then do like a web map on the board and get them to think of ten questions. I'll think of questions too. And then we'll spend twenty minutes talking about that. It could be. What would you do if you could be another person for a day? Talk about that. Then pick another topic, beauty...

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