Ellice Ohl '12Middle School & High School English TeacherZhongshi International SchoolWeihai, Shandong Province, ChinaEnglish Education(Profiled: April 2013)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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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