Paul Chan

Starting a new teaching job can be overwhelming. Your first few days and weeks are all about learning, meeting new people and digesting heaps of new information. It can often feel like an impossible task, especially remembering everyone's name. Starting a new job in China is also a challenge, especially because you are in a new country, this can also add an extra set of challenges. If the thought of starting a new teaching job abroad sends chills down you spine, don't worry. Follow these four tips, and your new start should be much easier.

1. Relax and Stay Patient

Be patient with yourself and with others - you just arrived, and there will be so much learning to be done - don't beat yourself up if you don't take in all the information as fast as you would like or in comparison to others. In fact, don't compare yourself with others - it's the death of happiness.

2. Start a Journal

Journal your experience daily - once you arrive, take the time every end of the day to write down some thoughts on how things went - what went well, what were challenges you had. Then take a break - before you go to sleep, jot down six things you need to do tomorrow, keeping in mind the challenges of the day and include at least one point towards helping or benefitingothers ("I will help XX sort out the supply closet to help out the teachers", "I will buy a coffee for Tim because he helped me with lesson plan last week"). If you keep this practice on, it will be an amazing reflective tool - looking back on your writings will be a trip!

3. Be Yourself and Be Honest

Be honest with yourself and others. You're not weak if you don't understand concepts you're learning. You are on track to become a liability if you maintain silence amidst your ignorance. Ask for help or elaboration. Now mind you, don't be the person that asks the same question over and over again - it's borderline insincere and reeks of lack of focus - but I guess you could ask different people the same question and no one would be the wiser.

4. Be Flexible

Be flexible! At EF, the ethic is constant change, whether it be scheduling, tasks to be done, or learning new products and procedures! EF did not become a leading education provider by being complacent or averse to challenges; it literally thrives on the edge. So embrace change and hang on and hang in there!

Remember, starting something new is never easy, but it can be worth it. Stepping out of your comfort zone will take you to places that you never imagined that you would go, and can really open your world to new possibilities. If you follow this advice, you may find that your new start might become a little easier. Once you get past the awkward "new start" phase, that's when the fun begins.

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Paul Chan

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