Robin D.

English Language Teacher
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Robin D.
Medieval Studies
Medieval English Literatures
Taught Postgraduate
Wentworth
2010
Canada

My employment

English Language Teacher
On Sabbatical
China
Education
Large business (250+ employees)
2007

More about Robin

Mature student

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A day in the life of a English Language Teacher in China

There is no one day that I would define as the most memorable, but rather, when students come back to tell me how much I changed their lives or they appreciate what I've done for them... that for me is memorable.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I worked in various Chinese Universities in the Mainland and Hong Kong, and sometimes worked at high schools simultaneously.

What do you do?

I wore various hats in my role, including Academic Writing Coordinator, Literature Teacher, SAT preparation, Oral English instructor, course and curriculum designer, EAP/ESP/EPP instruction ... and many other things.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I always wanted to be a teacher, and I first taught in China in 2007-08 before I did my MA. After I completed my MA, I wasn't able to find work in Canada, so I returned to China to continue working as a teacher.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Not in the least - I've wanted to be a teacher since Grade 10, and the only question was whether I'd teach at University of High School level. That said, I within my field, I would have preferred to taught literature and academic writing, but I'm content with my choices.

Describe your most memorable day at work

There is no one day that I would define as the most memorable, but rather, when students come back to tell me how much I changed their lives or they appreciate what I've done for them ... that for me is memorable.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

There are always challenges working abroad - navigating cultural norms, collaborating with people who are disinterested in teamwork, dealing with the lack of regulation in the field that results in various levels of competency, trying to make a difference from the bottom in a top-down country ... many, many challenges.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

In China, it is a challenge. It can be very rewarding in terms of the students and their learning outcomes, but the social environment is very superficial, and administrations time and time again have demonstrated they are more concerned with how things appear rather than how they actually are.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

The only thing I did in terms of extra-curricular was volunteer to cook Christmas dinner for the students who stayed - I was told this would be about 12-14 people based on past dinners ... turned out to be 65. As a result, I had to oversee a team of people, delegate as necessary, and take ultimate responsibility for meeting the food needs of the people (we had vegetarians, vegans, and Muslim students requiring halal food). I was able to transfer these skills into teaching - supervision of students (classroom management) and new teachers (onboarding and orientation), meeting a variety of needs in one environment, adapting to the unexpected, and even budgeting.

What would you like to do next with your career?

Ideally I will get accepted to a funded PhD program and then find work in Canada, but I'm currently applying for postings in Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong as a Senior Lecturer to challenge myself as a teacher, course and curriculum developer, and researcher.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Pay attention to the little things and hold yourself to the highest of standards starting now - believe me, the effort you put into your work at Uni will reflect the same effort you put into a paying job, and don't kid yourselves for a second - teachers (and bosses) can tell when someone is not putting in effort. Remember - we were once where you are now.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Happy to talk about pretty much anything. :-)

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

If anyone is actually interested in working in Asia as a teacher, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I have recruited for schools and helped people find placements and I'll try to ensure that you don't fall into the traps that are rife in the industry.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Robin’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Robin a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Robin to be your mentor.

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