Edmund Woolliams joined our project at Shantou BOB Bilingual Education in summer 2017. Please read on to view his feedback:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Some of my most enjoyable moments were in the classroom and the rewarding aspect of students enjoying my teaching and listening to me teach. As I am doing my PGCE teacher training now in England I look back at how much nicer it was to teach in China where the children paid better attention and it was easier to plan more fun lessons, not to mention the singing of songs which I found excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed standing up on stage and singing and dancing with my class, because I know they enjoyed it as did I. I look forward to going back.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlights of the lessons were when I would spontaneously come up with an idea for an activity and the class were paying good attention to me, and then they would really enjoy doing the activity. The highlight of the cultural excursions was visiting a Buddha temple and being able to walk around the paths of the whole site and behind the temple etc. It was at a time when we were so tired from the whole day, but it was still very enjoyable and memorable. The highlights of the outdoor activities were without a doubt when we got to drive gas-powered mopeds around Yangshuo; it was incredible fun.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
The overall experience has benefited me because I have made many new friends through this experience whom I now often meet up with in London and stay in close contact with. I am also now doing my PGCE teacher training in London, which the teaching experience that I gained in China is helping me with now. It has also given me a motivation to visit China again, and learn Mandarin, which I am now thoroughly enjoying. Finally, it has given me a great insight into what it is like to working as a teacher abroad, which I may consider doing eventually.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about my experience in China was realising how much of an amazingly beautiful and diverse culture that they have there, and even better, that over the six weeks that I was there for I was only really scratching the surface of what there is to explore in that country. It has made me fall in love with the country, and motivated me to learn Mandarin and learn as much as I can about their culture, for I will definitely be returning to China one day – hopefully next year – and might even work there as a physics teacher one day.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would certainly recommend participating to a friend; I have already recommended going to China with GOTOCO to certain people that I know that are interested in teaching English abroad. This is simply because the whole experience is extremely worthwhile – not only do you get to teach in an amazing place and have an amazing holiday, but you also get TEFL certification and a qualification from it, which opens up huge opportunities for your future career. The people you meet there are also a huge benefit for anyone thinking of doing it. Spending six weeks with some people who are there for the same reason as you will guarantee you will make some good friendships.