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Featuring Ellice Ohl '12

    

Position:
Middle School & High School English Teacher
School:
Zhongshi International School
Location:
Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Certification:
English Education
(Profiled: April 2013)

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?
♦  What attracted you to this position?
♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
♦  What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?
♦  What are the challenges and rewards of living in another culture?

How did you connect with this job opportunity?

I put my resume and profile on missionteach, which I found through Grove City's Education Career Services. Then, several organizations and this school (http://www.zkis.net/ ) contacted me.


What attracted you to this position?

I have always wanted to teach English in China, but I was particularly attracted to this school because the principal made it clear that I would be supported in a Xian community of teachers and that I could share freely with my students. But they were still a regular school, unconnected to an "M word" organization, which makes it a lot safer for me to be a teacher there.

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

I'd have to say it's definitely my students. (Granted, they are also often the greatest challenge). Getting to know them, getting to understand where they're coming from, and learning about their culture has been very rewarding.

What has been your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?

The hardest part is just remembering every day that you'll never be able to fix everything at once. I have to work at it, and I have to trust Him to give me the strength to do that. Also, teaching ESL students is very different in many ways from teaching U.S. high school students. While they have fewer behavior problems, they have enough other knowledge deficiencies to make up for this perk. Even though it's been confusing and difficult, I learn more every day about how to better meet their needs, and I learn every day to trust God more.


What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?

Go to bed on time and leave yourself 5 minutes before you go out the door to pray every day. You can be the most prepared teacher in the world, or the worst, but this does not decide what kind of day you have. You can have an amazing lesson ready, but you never know what is going to happen in your class or what is going to interrupt your class. And while your students don't change from day to day, how you react to their behavior and the various situations in the school does change. Make sure your reaction is based on a heart that is right with the Lord and a rested body.

 

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?

Grove City not only gave me ample opportunities for hands-on teaching experience and solid professors (which gave me confidence as a teacher). They also equipped me with a knowledge of His Word and Truth that I could feel confident about sharing.


What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

Start early. Don't be discouraged when you don't get a job. Remember that God cannot steer a car that isn't moving, so try different things and trust Him to put you where He wants you.


What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?

I've had to learn to change the way I speak, so that it is simple and clear. But beyond that, it's just been interesting to find out about the worldviews and ideas that my students bring to the classroom. Although I teach in China, my students are Korean, and I'm often amazed when they talk to me about their view of themselves and the world. I don't think I realized how many of my ideas about life come straight from the environment that produced me and how that changes when you change the environment.

What are the challenges and rewards of living in another culture?

Well, you feel like a celebrity wherever you go. But the city I live in is fairly well developed and even though I've had to learn different ways to cook and shop, my daily life is not very different since I have American roommates. Sometimes I find myself saying things out loud that I would never say in the USA just because I know I am not being understood, which is very liberating. In general, I think I've become a lot braver when it comes to new experiences, and I have a feeling that when I come back home, many of the things that scared me before will seem pretty small and unimportant.

 

 



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2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014