By: Christian Lopez
While having dinner on a humid summer night in Guangzhou, I realized something. I was sitting there surrounded by ex-lawyers, accountants, social workers, actors, and many other occupations. People are brought together from all over the world, from all industries, to come work in China. A majority of the opportunities we have as native English speakers is, can you guess? Becoming an English teacher of course! While some foreigners come to China with a passion for teaching, others come seeking adventure or out of necessity.
In my time here in China, I have met people from all walks of life with varying reasons for why they come, go and stay. One thing that has resonated with me is how many teachers feel unfulfilled because their true passion lies elsewhere. It is no secret that English training centers get a bad reputation for sometimes being repetitive and stagnant. Often there are only two trajectories, stay a teacher for your whole time with the company or be the chosen one that ends up moving up to a management position.
Many of my friends who are teachers were left feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. I found myself in that same predicament before I came to i2 Education. When I joined the company, the first thing I noticed was how many foreigners were working in different departments. During my first week in training, a Social Media Content Creator filmed our reactions to training. He told us that he is from South Africa and has loved being a part of the creation team. He loves photography and film so this position is helping him master his craft while building his portfolio. He was the first of many teachers I’ve met who moved on from just teaching at i2 Education, to following their passions and being involved in departments that felt rewarding to them. At the moment, the content creation team consists of 7 teachers all throughout China and we can’t wait to expand the squad!
There are also City Trainers for teachers who are interested in developing their academic skills but don’t necessarily want to be in management positions. They assist in the upkeep, further development, and enhancement of academic skills in the city. Apart from that, they act as an ear to listen if we have any problems, a shoulder to cry on when we are frustrated, and as an overall positive person that we can always rely on. After City Trainer, there is another stepping stone, becoming a National Trainer! They are responsible for country-wide online trainings, induction of new teachers, and the creation of teaching resources. National Trainers travel all around China visiting centers and helping teachers develop their skills. They’re based out of headquarters in Guangzhou, which just so happens to be located in one of the most affluent and beautiful parts of the city. There will be no shortage of great lunch spots if you’re working there!
Another department that foreigners can be a part of at headquarters is the Human Resources department. The Foreign Human Resources team member has a lot of responsibility on their hands. Besides assisting with interviews, hiring, teacher transitions, and answering foreign staffs’ questions and concerns. The foreign HR person acts as a middle man between both cultures and points of view. This is a unique position and opportunity, not many English learning companies have this much connection to their foreign staffs’ wants and needs.
I, personally, have always wanted to be an English teacher. I studied English and Linguistics in university and always imagined myself opening my own English school. I wanted to move to China and develop my skills as a teacher. Something that I did not expect was the opportunity to grow within a center. At i2 Education we offer Senior Teacher and Star teacher positions to teachers who show a clear willingness to learn, develop, and talent in teaching. I grew a lot in this position and realized how much goes into making a center operate smoothly. After this, there is the Foreign Academic Supervisor they are responsible for the management, mentorship, and development of teachers in their respective centers. But wait, there’s more! If your center has enough active students there is still one more position you can develop into!
The foreign manager in a center is called, the Foreign Academic Manager, which just so happens to be my current position. I feel so grateful for this chance to learn more about the business side of running a center. I am involved with the budgeting, accounting, scheduling, sales, as well as all of the academic duties required of a leader. I think this position would be very fulfilling for anyone who studied business, management, and human resources because you get to do a bit of all those things. Every day provides a unique challenge and opportunity to learn.
City Academic Manager is pretty much everything I mentioned before wrapped into one. They have to worry about the well-being of all foreign staff in an entire city and is responsible for the entire city meeting its’ targets. Their role has a lot of responsibility and involves close communication and teamwork with all of us Foreign Academic Managers and Supervisors of the city. City Academic Managers lead our meetings and roll-out new initiatives from national. They inspire us to be better, do better, and provide better quality for our students, staff, and guests. Similar to CAM there are Lead Foreign Academic Managers. If a city is big enough there is lots of room for growth into management positions.
As you can see i2 Education offers something for everyone! If you’re a creative person, business-minded individual, public speaking expert, or anything in-between, i2 Education has something that’s right for you. The entire upper management team takes their time to find out what their staffs’ passions are and try their best to develop people into roles that are suitable for them and often create roles where they see the need for certain skills. There is so much more than our company has to offer, if you’re interested, apply for our position now and join our team!