China · expat · teaching · TEFL

June 3, 2017

Crazy fun couple of weeks here! Officially my kids graduate next Friday so we’re just having fun right now. Some of them will leave after next week, but the rest will still stay through the end of June. The smog went a little crazy last week so I had to keep the kids inside for recess, but then had the idea to make a tent/cave out of tables, chairs, and tablecloths. It reminded me of being a kid and my grandma let us take pillows and blankets and hide under the furniture. Creativity is seriously lacking here-they don’t know anything about pillow forts. It was sad. But I taught them everything I know so my work here is done.

We’ve been learning about Africa lately, and last week we focused on Egypt so I let them build sugar cube pyramids and we made the Nile out of tin foil and little clay camels and boats. They loved the idea of mummies too so we made some out of pipe cleaners.

Last weekend Jess and I wanted to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie (Loved it, btw). Jess found a new website to book tickets in English and we randomly picked a theater which turned out to be a 40 minute drive outside the city. But it was fun to explore a new area. The Shine Hills mall in Shunyi is this huge outdoor shopping center with tons of stores and restaurants with all kinds of cuisines. It’s full of these fun sculptures and play areas too-we took pictures with some of them. We even found an amazing Italian restaurant and a small petting zoo! So random 🙂

And since Tuesday was Dragon Boat Festival, we had a four-day weekend to enjoy, which, even better,  meant a three-day workweek this week. So after a much-needed break, I came back this week, taught Wednesday, then we had a big blowout party for Children’s Day on Thursday. It’s a big thing here-my school set up a wading pool and rented a big bounce house/slide. The kids all brought water guns and we filled up water balloons. I unfortunately did not think to buy a water gun, but found a watering can and threw buckets of water at the kids when they attacked me, because you can do that here without getting sued by hyperactive parents. In fact some of the parents came and ran around shooting the kids with water guns. Everybody was soaked by the end of the day. The kids even talked me into going down the slide with them. It was all fun and games till the upstairs neighbors came home and called in a noise complaint. Super fun day though!

Clockwise: Me, April, Rarity, Jason, Ella, and somebody’s legs going down the slide, Jason, Ryan, and I’m not quite sure what’s going on in the last picture-they all just kind of piled on top of me!
Clockwise: me and Jason refilling at the pool, George seriously eyeing his next target, and Qing shooting me…with a wicker basket on her head…cause she thought it would protect her from my watering can…even though she was already soaked. Kids!
Qing was super serious-she had Cookie on the ground surrendering! Then there’s Zach, April, and Lucy tickling George.

Friday morning the kids had class with their Chinese teacher, then in the afternoon, since we’ve been learning about dinosaurs in science, I set up a dinosaur dig. I took a Lego dinosaur kit and buried all the pieces, plus small plastic dinosaurs and eggs, in two big containers of dirt and rocks. Then I split them in teams and had them put on gloves, and, because I’m diabolical like that (and had time to kill) told them they weren’t allowed to use their hands. They had to dig everything out with coffee stirrers, chopsticks, tweezers, dust them off with paintbrushes and q-tips, and then piece the dinosaur together as a team. It was awesome. Then I let the watch the (original) Land Before Time movie. I don’t think I’d seen it in 20 years and we were all tearing up and laughing in the same places. They loved it.

I got some great news this week too. I thought I’d only have a two week break this summer but our summer camp was canceled so I actually get a full month off. I’d been planning to travel around Vietnam and Cambodia but since I get more time I decided I’d rather go home for a while, since I haven’t been home in the summer time in about three years! I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ll definitely do southeast Asia sometime this year hopefully, but for right now I’m just excited to go home, see my family, walk around barefoot, swim in the pool, and play with my dogs. Only 6 weeks to go!

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6 thoughts on “June 3, 2017

  1. Spend some special time with your mom for me! I love these pictures. Your journey has been so amazing. I love reading and seeing your pictures and stories every where you’ve been.

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! Maybe I’ll bring my mom to Henry’s sometime-we like that place. Hopefully I’ll get some pictures up this weekend of Macau and Zhuhai; I have a short trip planned.

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  2. I found your blog through the international TEFL academy alumni Q and A! Very curious is it still possible for someone without a bachelors degree to get a job in China? I saw you didn’t have one when you left to teach but I don’t know how long ago that was?

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  3. Okay I left the other comment about a college degree and later felt rude just coming in here outta nowhere asking questions! Today I read your whole blog from post 1 to this, I’m so bummed an entire year is missing! I was looking forward to hearing how the job search went and how you got your first job in China and also how you met your friend Jess? Anyways it was a couple of years ago I see now that you started teaching over there and are working on your degree online. Do you know if China still hiring teachers without a bachelors? I would love to do your same route and get started now while completing my degree online, I’ve seen a lot of countries where you can teach without a bachelors but China always seemed as it was a requirement? I have sooo many questions and look forward to more of your blog postings, you’re living the dream!

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    1. Hi Megan,
      Not rude at all! Apparently I’m not getting comment notifications right now so I missed some. Thanks for reading-that’s a lot of posts by now! I took the online course from ITA but they also teach in various countries around the world so you can get certified. If you don’t have a Bachelor’s it will definitely help. They have a lot of resources for their Alumni too-all kinds of information about what you need, cost of living, employer information for teachers currently in the country. That’s where I found my first job at Best Learning (and met Jess). I was actually getting discouraged because all the job ads seemed to want degrees but the guy I talked to in Student Affairs at ITA helped me fix up my resume. They also had a lot of alumni who had worked at this company so they knew how it worked. BL advertised that a BA was needed but the advisor said it’s more of a formality and they’ll usually overlook it if you meet other criteria. After being in China a couple years I’ve definitely found that to be true-there is always a loophole somewhere. And once you get here and start making contacts you’ll find that’s the best way to get better jobs. China is all about who you know. I didn’t like my first employer but I had made enough friends by the time I left to help me move on. You’ll find it easier to get a job once you’re here-if you interview in person you’ll often walk out with a job offer. I know that’s kind of a risk though to move halfway around the world before securing a job. You shouldn’t have a problem finding work, but without a bachelor’s it’s virtually impossible to get a work visa so you’d be working illegally. I got my associate’s last summer online but that’s not much help. Hopefully I will finish my bachelor’s next year and then I will probably leave China and look for a job elsewhere. I love it here, but it also drives me crazy sometimes! And there’s so many other places to see.
      You might look into online tutoring companies too-VIPKids or DadaABC are a couple big ones that I’ve had recommended to me. That way you could start tutoring in the States and continue with it once you get here so you still have money while you look for a full time job. Or you could just pick up more tutoring jobs- http://www.thebeijinger.com has a lot of offers if you go to Beijing. I spent several months just tutoring students privately. It’s good money and you can make your own hours and have time to take classes. The only problem is that there are a lot of Chinese holidays when people cancel classes and travel, so you don’t get paid then.
      Feel free to message me here, or on Facebook if you have any other questions!

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  4. Thank you so much for such a detailed reply!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your whole blog. Your life sounds very fun and exciting! I would be scared to move so far away and also without speaking the language but from what you said and what I’ve read in other research is that once you get over there it’s easier than you think(to find work, degree or no) Is the working illegally something that worries you? Some forums say it’s no biggie and others are scared for dear life. As with anything everyone has their own ideas so you have to take it all with a grain of salt. I was going to work on getting my degree then do the teaching abroad but then I found you and you’re doing the best of both worlds, getting the degree all the while gaining experience and doing it. I’m already 31 so I don’t want to waste any more time! I would add you on Facebook and message you there but I have been Facebook free for one year and 7 months and not in a big hurry to get it back at this point in my life, however I understand there are expat groups and lots of good help via FB for teaching abroad. I can’t thank you again for replying. I’m so glad I found your blog!

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