Having taught Chinese for three years, I have gained much teaching experience and made many international friends.
I feel very lucky to be a Chinese teacher as it is an ideal job for me. I really want to share some of my thoughts with you. As a TCSL major (Teaching Chinese as a Second Language), I felt so confident about my future career, but my first job interview was like a cold shower. I still remember that day in July when the language training center asked me to give a British man a trial lesson. I prepared very well and went over my lesson plan three times before the lesson. Everything seemed to go well at first but when I stood on the platform my mind went completely blank! Afterwards I was told that the lesson had been a disaster. I didn’t get the job.
Sometime later I luckily got a job as a Chinese language course advisor in another language institute, and I got the chance to teach Chinese to the foreign teachers of this institute. Because of the previous unsuccessful experience, I prepared even harder. I wrote down every possible question and condition I might meet and the answers and
possible solutions on pieces of paper. I was extremely nervous when I faced my class, but I had my lifeline — the pieces of paper — in my pocket. Nervously I started the class and found that I could answer every question without any doubt. Minutes later, I was not that nervous any more. After several lessons, my students told me that they could talk to people in the simple Chinese I had taught them. I felt confident again.
After last summer holiday of practical training, I went back to school. We did not have many lessons in the last term, so I decided to give myself more opportunity to practice my Chinese teaching. I registered on some online language exchange communities and met some people from many countries such as Sweden, South Korea, Japan, the US and the UK who were interested in learning Chinese. We communicated with each other many times, and because none of us could find an available way to have online lessons, I finally suggested they go to their local Chinese school. Then I met a girl from Thailand who was a student in the Confucius Institute in Mae Fah Luang University, and she told me we should have Skype lessons. She taught me how to use Skype (most Chinese people use Tencent QQ as their daily IM app) and our Skype lessons began shortly after. Every day we had lessons online. I helped her to review what she learnt and preview what she would learn. After her final exam, she told me that she had become a top student in her class. She had been only an average student before our online lessons. We worked on her HSK 5 and HSK 6 examinations, her application for studying in China, and her thesis for her postgraduate entrance task.
After I graduated from school I started a Chinese language training center in Shanghai with some of my classmates. Shortly after that Martin said that LOS needed a Chinese teacher. I passed the interview so now you can see my blog here! I feel honored working for LOS I am working for two institutes now but I truly prefer working as a teacher for LOS because teaching Chinese through the Internet is both convenient and effective. For example, I can show PowerPoint presentations without taking my heavy out-of-date laptop to my office, and students do not need to share the screen of my computer with me. Learning through the Internet also allows people to have a cup of coffee while having lessons.
There are also some problems (or what I like to call “negative transfer”) in teaching Chinese for both the teacher and the student. I will talk about some of these problems in my future blogs.
Xiaoming Wang, LOS Consultant