Teaching English for the first time in China

Teaching English for the first time in China

Many teachers that join EF are teaching English for the first time in China. Not everyone has years of experience, and that’s ok. As long as you’re patient and willing to learn, you can learn to teach.

Gelela found teaching English for the first time in China somewhat of a challenge in the beginning. But with a little bit of help and support, she is now thriving and enjoying every minute. Follow her story in this post.


Teaching English For The First Time

I graduated college December 2014 thinking “wow I can finally start building my life now”, but I didn’t realise the meaning of those words yet. I felt stuck and did not like where I saw my life heading. I needed change and I needed adventure.


Starting my journey

I began my travel in January 2015; I visited Africa and then Europe in June. I quit my job to explore the world right before heading to Europe, but I soon realised I couldn’t keep quitting my job every 6 months to travel and come back to the same reality.

In April 2016 I decided to apply for teaching English in China. I knew I had no experience in teaching, and I would be teaching English for the first time in China. I wasn’t qualified either,  but  I thought to myself “it couldn’t hurt to try”. I didn’t know what to expect I just knew it would be something different, completely out of my comfort zone and something worth trying.

I knew China took education more seriously than the United States so I felt that I would be appreciated and at the same time needed. I decided to teach English with EF, as I knew it would be a great experience. I would be able to network, gain a new perspective on life, and just be in a completely new environment for self-discovery.


Starting to teach

I didn’t enjoy teaching at first because it was a challenge and something I had never done before. I was doing something I never saw myself doing and felt overwhelmed at first.  Luckily EF provided a lot of training and support for first-time teachers. With the help of my mentor and other teachers at my school they made the transition much easier.

My DOS helped immensely by giving me pointers and never making me feel that I was alone on this journey. I was able to observe the other teachers in their classes and that alone made me feel at ease. I have been here for about 3 months now and I could not have picked a better career path.


Settling in

I truly enjoy teaching now because I am getting so much out of it. Not only am I living in the biggest city in the world, but also every day I am challenged with something new. Whether I get lost in the city or have to cover a class last minute for a teacher, it is a great feeling. I enjoy teaching because it is rewarding and I enjoy seeing the kids smile and learning knowing that I am helping make a difference in their lives. It is fun and I know the kids can take something away from it. When I was home, I was unable to take my jobs seriously because I knew I would be quitting soon but teaching is also teaching me that this is one job that I have to take serious because not only does it affect me it also affects the future of these students. I enjoy knowing that I am a part of these students’ growth and success.


Moving onwards and upwards

It is a great work environment knowing that I am making a difference.I enjoy being around like-minded people and having a better understanding of your future. Not only are you teaching but the students are also teaching you so much about yourself without knowing it. Teaching English in Shanghai with EF was the best decision I’ve made.






Hello! I’m Gelela and I’m a teacher in Shanghai working with kids and teens. I’m from Las Vegas and have a background in healthcare. I enjoy blogging, travelling, and learning new things. For more pictures and posts follow me on Tumblr @ lifeTalesfromawanderer.Tumblr.com and Instagram @vidalalela