So I heard last week that I’ve been accepted onto the 1 month CELTA training course! This should give me what I need to teach spoken English. It begins in 3 short weeks, meaning that by the time I qualify (hopefully) in mid-September, I’ll be ready to fly.
After using highly sophisticated up-to-date deduction techniques (not really) I have decided to teach in Xi’an, China. This will give me a mix of Western comfort and a good “genuine Chinesy feel”, and a good balance between availability of work and plenty of things to see or do nearby. More on this in later posts.
It’s weirdly easy to find teaching work in China. One of the reasons I decided to take the course was because work is so hard to come by in the UK (at least, in the North). I’m in the wonderful position of being highly qualified in English (i.e. not in a specialised enough subject to win me jobs on its own merit) and being perfectly over-qualified for any job that’s currently available. I can’t even get the jobs I don’t want. The luxury of being an English-speaker in China, where the percentage of English speakers is about 7%, is that if you’re qualified to teach there’ll be dozens of jobs available at any given time. It’s not a position I’m used to being in!
Whilst looking for work in Xi’an, I’m being especially picky. I don’t want to jump in too deep, and I want to allow myself enough free time to get accustomed to the new lifestyle and to explore. I visited China for about a month in 2012 and really liked it, despite the difficulty of the language barrier. My favourite cities were Chengdu and Xi’an, and although the salary is proportionately much lower than in bigger cities like Shanghai and Beijing (approximately one third) the living costs are also much lower. On top of that, I’d be earning about the same as I’m earning now on UK minimum wage, only in China this is enough to live quite comfortably, and far more than Chinese teachers get (sorry, locals). Research never equals experience, but I’m hoping that I will also have a little room to save money.
Although it’s a big life choice, I’ve not been afraid of taking big leaps. I’m very happy I’ve made the choice and that University of Sheffield has granted me a space on the course. Fingers crossed the course goes well!