5 TOP TIPS to hit the ground running!
So, you have made the decision to go, you have spent the last 2 months getting your documents legalised/ authorised. You have got your invitation letter, taken it to the Visa centre and got your Z Visa. You have booked your flight, got on your flight, and landed in the city were you will be working. Someone from your new school has met you at the airport, taken you to your new apartment, and then shown you around school. All good, all as should be. Now what?
Well, now your new life begins. After some initial training and bedding in, observing some classes and finding your feet, you now have some classes to do. This is all very exciting and also a little daunting. So here is a quick 5 step guide to how to hit the ground running.
1 Get used to getting to work. It is likely that your accommodation is not far from the school you are working at. Make sure you get used to this route as quickly as possible. The more this is done without thinking, the more you can concentrate on getting your classes up to speed and improving the quality of your teaching.
2 Get to know the Chinese staff. They are there to help you, but remember you are there to help them as well. It can’t be stressed enough that helping each other to get the best outcome for students helps everyone massively. Be polite, talk slowly and clearly, and smile a lot with the Chinese staff. Remember, you are in China, and you are a teacher. Practicing these skills will help you in the classroom as well.
3 Get used to your classroom. You will find that over the coming months you will change things a lot. The tables will get moved, you will try different lay outs, specific classes will necessitate certain students not sitting next to each other. Classroom management will improve, and your teacher sense will begin to get stronger. However, if you are going to be teaching in a specific classroom, make it a bit homely and become comfortable in it as quickly as you can.
4 Food, glorious food. OK, so for the first few nights you will probably crave something comforting, normal and burger-y. Of course you will, all very normal and to be expected. But you’re in China, so there is a lot of food to explore and discover. The quicker you find a way into eating local food, whether that is buying fresh food and cooking, or getting the hang of ordering Baozi or RouJiaMo from a street vendor, the better. If you are still eating western takeaway after 2 to 3 weeks then you are in trouble. Not only will your health suffer, and your bank account will be low, but also you will not settle. Get stuck in and eat locally.
5 Travel around your new city. The sooner you get on a bus, train, underground, taxi, the sooner you can feel more confident about going and visiting places. Get a travel card, put some money on it and get out and about. Even if you are walking around to start with. Get a map you can follow, a walking companion if it makes you more comfortable, and go and explore. In China, if you get lost you can always hail a taxi, show them your address written down, and you will return safe and sound. Usually. Go see, go explore, go enjoy.