China is another country entirely, and many times almost like a foreign planet.
And teaching? Boy…that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.
I wrote a book explaining all of this last year. It’s called English Last: True Accounts of Teaching in China and you can buy it now on all the major eBook retailers.
So what does the book say? Lots…lots and lots and lots. And much of what it says is controversial.
- It’s my hope that this book will give you a clearer picture of what it’s like teaching in China.
- If you’re looking for an eBook on teaching with the Center for Teaching and Learning in China (CTLC) then you’ll find it all here;
- If you want to know about various English training centers in China then this has all of them, with very in-depth information on EF, or English First;
- If you want to work in a kindergarten teaching very young children I’ll give you the rundown from my experiences, those of my wife, and many other people I knew;
- If you’re interested in going it alone and working as a tutor you’ll get my knowledge and experience from five years of tutoring.
As anyone who reads this site regularly knows, I spent 5 years living and teaching in China. This book is my attempt to capture what a lot of the teaching was like. I go over all the training centers I’ve worked for, the CTLC program, EF China English First, Kindergartens, and Tutoring.
Below is the Table of Contents for English Last:
Part I – Welcome to Teaching in China!
- Be a Great ESL Teacher
- Education or Entertainment…Edutainment!
- To Copy or Create?
- I’m a New Teacher, Help!
Part II – How to Teach ESL English
- Teaching ESL
- ESL English
- How to Teach ESL English
- Teaching ESL Classes
- New ESL Students
- Teaching ESL Grammar
- You’re an ESL Teacher, Not a Jackass!
Part III – Extra Aspects of Teaching ESL
- Reading Classes
- Students and Homework
- Presentation Classes
- ESL Professional Development
Part IV – Life in China
- Living in Shenzhen
- Weather in China
- Holidays in China
- Supermarkets in China
- Transportation in China
- Restaurants in China
- Banquets in China
Part V – Teaching in China
- ESL Jobs
- Places to Teach in China
Part VI – Teaching with CTLC in Public Schools
- The Benefits of CTLC
- The Drawbacks of CTLC
- The Living Conditions in Dorms
- The Living Conditions in Apartments
- The CTLC Classroom
- Ending Your CTLC Contract
Part VII – Teaching with EF in Training Centers
- Teaching English at Training Centers
- Teaching English in China with EF
- The Hierarchy of EF
- Kids Schools vs. Adult Schools
- Conditions at EF Schools
- Conditions in EF Classrooms
- Holidays at EF
- EF’s Administrative Nonsense
- The Extra Workload at EF
- The Management at EF
- My Conclusions on EF
Part VIII – Teaching as a Tutor in China
- The Best Teaching Job in China
- How Do You Tutor?
- Teaching One-on-One VIPs
Part IX – Teaching in Chinese Kindergartens
- The Good
- The Bad
- The Ugly
This ESL Book is Controversial
I also talk a lot about how you teach English in China. Teaching English in China isn’t like what you were taught back in university. In fact, teaching ESL English is a whole different ball game. That’s why this book is a great thing for anyone heading over to China in the coming months.
I’m not going to lie to you – most public schools and nearly all of the training centers in China don’t want me to tell you what I do in this book. It’s one of the reasons I have poor reviews for this book – attack dogs must be sent out to keep these companies’ “stellar” reputations intact.
What a load of rubbish! And that’s why I wrote this book. It tells you things that work and things that don’t. I’ve written it so right when you get to China you can have an accurate picture of what teaching’s like, not some fanciful notion (sorry, lies) that you’ll be spoon-fed in anticipation that you don’t know any better.
Well, you do know better, or at least should – you can buy this book, after all, and it’s got the complete rundown on the massive loads of BS you’ll have to put up with on a daily basis.
When I first came to China to teach in 2008 I didn’t know what to expect. The training I received was wholly inadequate to the task, and I struggled for a long time. This cost me dearly when I was on my own, and for months and months I struggled and wondered why on earth I’d left America.
When I finally got the courage up to change employers I didn’t know a whole lot about how to go about it. I had to search and search, and it was frustrating and nerve-wracking. And I quickly found out that conditions weren’t much better and the pay not quite up to par with what I had to put up with.
English Isn’t the Most Important Thing
So if you’re in the Middle Kingdom already, are planning to, or just want to read about it, pick up your copy of English Last today!
The reason the book is called “English Last” is because that’s how I felt that English was prioritized by the time I left China. The attitude I saw employers take was really focused on money and not so much on how much the students were learning. This is especially true at training centers.
Too many times students are moved up into classes they can’t handle just because their parents threaten to stop paying if they’re not. Too many times I’ve seen students disrupt class so much that other students can’t learn. The reason for this: schools want the money, they don’t care if the student behavior is bad or they can’t keep up with the lessons.
CTLC isn’t much better. The China Program now charges $2,200 to get you to China. Folks, there are tons of companies that will pay your way just to get you over there. They’re desperate for teachers! It’s your market, not theirs!
What’s more, CTLC gets an extra $250 out of a language course that meets twice a week and which doesn’t really care about you. Oh, and if you don’t want to go, you’re not getting that money back. Nice profit for CTLC after the Shenzhen University adjutant professors are paid their measly sum, huh?
I’m anti-CTLC…I ain’t gonna lie! Those two years were a waste for me, and while it’s true I did learn some things and improve myself, that was largely in spite of CTLC.
I know the vast majority of you reading this will feel the same when you finish with CTLC…if you do. Yeah, a lot of people do not finish their contracts, and I urge you not to either. You’ll make a lot more money when you switch to a private training center after the Chinese New Year Holiday.
And don’t think that training centers are a lot better. Sure, you’ll get paid about 5,000 RMB a month more, but you’ll work more too. But when you get into that class with 40 to 50 students that CTLC forces you to work with then you will know what I’m talking about. Not once during my darkest days at EF did I think having 50 kids would be preferable to the massive amounts of administrative bullshit EF forced upon me each day.
So what does this mean for you, the teacher already in China or holding a paid-for plane ticket to the Middle Kingdom? It means you’ve bought the ticket so you’re taking the ride. Good luck! I did it, so can you, and I suggest you buy this book English Last so you can get the full picture. And after that buy Teaching Abroad so you can figure out how to put your life back together after CTLC profits off you for a year or two.