After several months of traveling around Hawaii, Thailand, and a surprise visit to New Zealand; we found ourselves in Chiang Mai, Thailand ready to search out a job teaching English in China. There are many ways to find a job teaching English in China, luckily most of which involve the internet, which was very helpful for us since we were living in Thailand at the time.
After many long days of scouring the internet reading various blogs, job boards, and sending out resumes, I was contacted by a recruiter with First Leap. First Leap is an after-school English school based in Beijing, but with many locations all around China. What was key for me was to learn that they are a legitimate English school (not all schools are the same in China…that’s for sure!).
Easy Conversations and Skype Interviews / Demos
There can be a lot of questionable establishments who are looking to recruit teachers, but after a lot of research and talking to many different people, the opportunity with First Leap felt right. Luckily the process was easy for me to go through, we used email and Skype for interviews and teaching demos.
After several conversations with my recruiter Sally, she felt as though I would be a good fit as a teacher with First Leap. It was at that time that I had the chance to choose the destination where I wanted to teach. This was key for us, because we wanted to have a say in where we would live for the next year. Not all schools have enough locations to offer the option for a choice.
First Leap is a Big School, With Many Locations Around China
“Wow! Where do we want to live?” I asked Liz. After doing some more research on different cities around China (and weighing the pros and cons of each), we decided that Guangzhou is where we would want to live for one year.
So I contacted Sally and told her that Guangzhou is where we would like to go. Luckily for me, it just so happened that the school in Guangzhou was in need of a new English Teacher very soon. So everyone was anxious to get the process started.
I then contacted the Director of the School in Guangzhou, Gigi. I did a live demo class for her via Skype to show her some of my teaching skills. Giving a Skype teaching demo was definitely a first for me, but overall, I felt that I didn’t do too bad since I had just recently done a lot of teaching on Koh Samui, Thailand and with TEFL World while I earned my certification. After my quick demo, we said my goodbyes and I felt good about it.
A Job Offer in Guangzhou, and an Earlier Start Date!
A day later, I was contacted again by my recruiter Sally and they wanted to offer me the job in Guangzhou! Very good news to hear. But instead of my original desired start date of March, they wanted me to come in just a couple weeks because they had a teacher going out on maternity leave.
Luckily for us, I was nearby in Chiang Mai, Thailand. So aside from tying up some looks ends more quickly than we had originally anticipated, it wasn’t a big problem for us. We really wanted to be in Guangzhou, and it felt like something was drawing us there…we didn’t want to pass up this opportunity.
And So It Begins…Life Teaching English in China!
Before we knew it, we were on our way to Guangzhou to start our new lives teaching English in China. They promptly sent me over my contract, which I was happy with, so I signed it and emailed it back to my recruiter. To make the transition even easier, the school put me in touch with the other foreign English teacher at the school, Steven from England. He had been a teacher with First Leap for over 2 years, and he was super helpful in answering all of my questions about China and my contract.
I must say, it was really comforting to talk to another teacher who was actually there at the same location where I would be. I really feel like the whole staff helped to make my experience a good one, and it reassured me about my decision to accept the job.
A New Job, New Life, and New Friends at First Leap in Guangzhou
When we landed in China, we were immediately greeted by new friends who would quickly turn into family. Not only did everything seem to fall into place well for us, but we felt as though we had made the right decision in pursuing our dreams and quitting our jobs in the states to travel to China to teach English. It has been awesome to work with such great people, who are happy to help us adjust to life in China and invite us to be apart of their culture.
And even though I felt great as soon as we arrived in China, it was when I received my first big hug from one of my new young students that sealed it for me. I was finally realizing my dream of being a teacher, and it was everything I had imagined. I really had found the best job in the world!