If you have ever thought about teaching in China, you might have mixed feelings about the whole experience. Afterall, there is a lot to take in! Teaching kids who cannot speak the same language as you may seem really daunting at first but fear not! I am here to show you that teaching in China can be just as rewarding as any other job.

As some who has been teaching for as long as I have, it can be hard to pick just one group of students and call them “The Best”. Over the 4 years I have been at i2, I have taught many students and have enjoyed teaching every one of them! Having said this, when asked to pick my “Best” group, there is one group that sticks out. Everyone say hello to these little angels: Coco, Jeffery, Nemo, Allen, Max, and Candy!

This group is easily my favourite to teach! Whether it’s the way Candy always calls me silly names (“Hello, hamburger!”), the way Allen says “bye bye!”, the way Max dances along to my singing, Coco’s little smile the moment she says “Hello teacher!”, Jeffery’s cheeky little grin just before he does something wrong, or Nemo’s laugh whenever I do something silly. Whenever we do the warmup, the boys will always pick blue fish and the girls will always pick purple, and Candy will ask “why do the boys always pick blue fish?” I do not know either, Candy! They are all super sweet kids, and a joy to teach. They are also super well behaved, but it was not always like this.

Since getting this group, their behaviour was one thing I needed to focus on a lot. While now they are all great little teachers, at the beginning they needed a bit more work. Lots of crying and emotional outbursts towards the start mixed in with some well-behaved but struggling students. I used to dread teaching this class, let me tell you! I had no idea what to expect going into the class sometimes. Was I going to get well behaved Max or naughty, angry Max today? Was I going to get happy Allen or sad Allen?

All the students are also excellent little learners, but again this was not always the case. Lots of repeating questions, struggling with remembering the words, and a lack of following along with the actions. This coupled with the behavioural problems really got me down over the first few months. Being my last class on a Saturday, it was often all I could think about for the whole day. So stressful! Now, I am thankful that it is my last class of the day. I get to finish the day teaching my favourite students!

The reason why I am thankful is because of how much they improved after the first few months. No more struggling to sit in seats, repeating questions, or getting randomly sad or angry. For example, for months Coco struggled with answering questions, and she seemed to have issues with retaining the knowledge. Additionally, she would often come into class late and upset, not wanting to participate, and just calling for her mum the whole time. For the first few months, I worried that she would not be able to keep up with the rest of the class. Then one day, everything just seemed to click for her! She was telling me her name, how she was feeling, what colour she wanted, and what sounds different animals made. I was so happy!

If you have ever thought about teaching English in China, then you are in for a treat! This group is just one of many groups that I have bonded with over the past 4 years. While we have had our ups and down, I would not have it any other way!

By Connor Ferguson