Karen DeLawter is West Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.
Kappa Delta Pi, in partnership with the Chinese Education Connection, is now offering 41 one-year teaching positions for KDP members in schools in China.
So what is teaching in a foreign country like? Many years ago after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education I headed southward to teach in Bolivia, South America. Once the village was identified for my teaching assignment, reality set in. The villagers had to build my house and school, one mud hut structure, half being the school and the other a room for me live.
There was no set curriculum for me to follow and no books. What freedom, to be able to teach without restrictions! As I readied my plans for the very first day, I couldn’t wait to jump in and share my passion for learning. What a surprise for me when all but one student had never been to school at all and had no idea how to even hold a pencil. Plan B quickly kicked in. Exactly what skills did children need to have to get them ready to read and write? How I wished I had thought to pack some of my reference books, just for the assurance I was on the right track. Why hadn’t I thought of bringing markers and manipulatives? Both soon came to me in a care package, thanks to my mother who was a teacher.
In a very short time, the students and I set into a pattern of teaching and learning. Here I thought I came to share my vast knowledge, and before my eyes, the teacher became the student with them teaching me so many more valuable life lessons. Even though the students couldn’t read and write, their life skills surviving in a third world greatly surpassed my book knowledge.
Recently I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a group of Chinese principals who will be hiring KDP members in the next few weeks for teaching jobs in China. Because of my experience of teaching overseas I wanted to ask them a few questions. Here is what I found out:
- You will be responsible for 16-20 different 40-minute classes a week. The content will be similar for all classes, with different levels and depth based on the grade.
- You may be asked to share your best practices. Once a month there are teacher meetings. Teachers in your school after observing how the children interact with you will want to learn more about how you teach.
- China does have unified standards for the country. The curriculum is different in each province. Test scores are very important, especially to parents. You will be improving the English language skills of students and broadening their understanding of different cultures. The principals did not think it was necessary to bring lesson plans or your own resources. *Please, take my advice and pack those one or two reference books. These will be invaluable and worth the space they take up in your suitcase. Don’t forget all of the resources available to you at your fingertips on the KDP website, too.
- Depending on the job assignment, you may have a room at the dorm of the school.
- In many cities across China, there are competitions, recognition and awards for foreign teachers.
- The Chinese Government has taken steps to ensure foreign teachers are supported in the area of academics and culturally. Colleagues and parents will share their culture with you. You will also find people willing to assist you with travel plans and visas and getting acclimated to a new country.
The deadline application is March 15 deadline. If chosen, in early August, you receive cultural training prior to the start of school. Find additional job specifics and requirements here.
For me, it is like it was yesterday when I went out to change the world and what happened instead was the world changed me. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay for this kind of experience. Life changing, heart changing, and world changing one student and (one teacher) at a time.
Are you ready for the adventure of your life?