Teaching in China

Did you ever think about teaching English abroad?

Wuyi University offers one-year contracts to experienced teachers under the age of 60.

Teachers are paid monthly and provided with housing on campus. Each teacher normally has nine different classes for a total of 18 hours of teaching per week. Students may be English majors or non-English majors fulfilling degree requirements.

Where is Wuyi University?

Wuyi University is right in the center of Jiangmen (a city of over a million people) in Guang Dong Province, in the heart of the Pearl River Delta. There is all kinds of public transportation in and out of Jiangmen; including high-speed trains which link up to most of the major cities of China. Jiangmen is warm throughout the year and is roughly five hours west of Hong Kong by bus or ferry.

What kind of school is Wuyi University?

Wuyi was founded in 1985, primarily as an engineering school, although since that time it has grown to include 16 teaching faculties ranging from the sciences to fine arts. There are nearly 20,000 students and a staff of nearly 900.

This vast campus brags one of the most beautiful displays of lotus ponds in the world. Tennis courts, swimming pools, and a host of recreational activities are offered to students and faculty including "tai chi", badminton, dancing, and "kung fu".

Of all the unique things Wuyi University has to offer foreign teachers, the most impressive is the enduring relationships teachers can create with students who earnestly want to create a bridge to the English speaking world and who make the teaching experience deeply unforgettable for foreign teachers.

What is teaching like at Wuyi University?

English teachers meet with each class once a week for two 45 minute periods. Any given teacher may be asked to teach Oral English, Tourism, Business English, Drama in English, Short Stories, and Western Culture and Civilization. Since every student is required to take two English credits before graduation, oral English classes are the most popular. Most of the classrooms are fully equipped with multimedia equipment and sound systems.

English teachers at Wuyi use a variety of methods to stimulate language acquisition including: games, role-plays, power-point presentations, music, multimedia, creating scenarios and acting them out, along with reading, writing and more traditional ESL methods.

Class sizes vary from 30-50 students and most classes have movable desks and chairs except for classrooms used for lectures. The two-period time frame allows for in-depth content development and the once per week time frame allows students time to complete complex and imaginative assignments.

The teacher's yearly contract includes teaching for two 18-week semesters. Each semester includes a few days break and each December the school hosts an outing for the foreign teachers to spend a weekend at the near-by hot springs.

Hints for teaching success at Wuyi University

Chinese students are gregarious and fun-loving by nature, but find it very intimidating to speak English. Although they have studied English throughout secondary school and can read quite well to themselves, verbal communication in English is very difficult for them. This is the reason Wuyi University recruits native English-speaking teachers to supplement the teaching staff of the English Department. The foreign teaching staff includes teachers from five English speaking countries including Canada, the U.S. Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Ideally these teachers bring a high level of engagement to students and arouse students' English abilities.

Textbooks are provided, of course, but teachers are encouraged to add content that is important or engaging and helps students visualize other countries where they may be using their English in the future. Class activities should create scenarios where students verbalize danger, conflict, risk, and make choices. Whenever students have to articulate values, personal and political views, and share hopes they are at their best and tend to learn the most. Of course giving speeches and having debates is an important part of Oral English class, but when students care about the topic and are given more background on it, they are most open to receiving the tools a teacher can provide for self expression.

Keeping those things in mind foreign teachers often bring supplemental material to enhance the use of the textbooks. Authentic materials from the home country are always the best because, although students have studied English for years, they have never seen brochures in English, or even things like English newspapers or magazines. Other items may include: music, TV shows, movies, overseas English newspapers and comic strips.
Culture specific items like postcards, money, and unusual souvenirs from your home area also create interest for the students.

What about teachers who want to study Chinese?

Wuyi University has a department specifically designed to teach students how to teach Chinese as a second language; therefore foreign English teachers are given the unique opportunity to have class with experienced professors of that department. All free of charge.