Reflections on Teaching English as a second language

I left health care in 2017, as a result of having gotten a teaching certificate in 1970, I have gotten certified as a teacher.  Its been a steep learning curve.


  1. How to qualify
  2. Courses
  3. Cost/Benefit
  4. Jobs
  5. Time
  6. Chinese culture
  7. Tech support/.Zoom App
  8. Student assessment
  9. Lesson plans on line
  10. Lessons learned/surprises

1. How to qualify

  • Supply is limited and demand is endless so there will always be a job
  • Supreme court decision on class size in BC made teachers a scarce commodity
  • Education
    • Degree or TESOL certification or teachers certificate
    • Certification – not always necessary
    • Courses for certification are expensive but under a year in length
    • In person
    • On line
    • practicum
  • Personal qualities
    • Flexibility
    • Adaptability
    • Like to chat

2. Courses

3. Cost/Benefit

  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Social good
  • Fun factor
  • Job satisfaction
  • Travel
  • Pay – $ 25-$ 30 -$ 45
  • Can work 5+ hours a week

4. Jobs

  • The company I have worked for does all logistics.. Finding students, collecting fees, booking class times etc.

5. Time

  • different day and hour of the day in China
  • Vancouver is not a good time zone as students time slots are usually 5 am-8 am. Eastern Canada /US better
  • Work at least a year to make it worth while for both student and teacher and company.
  • I usually teach in the evening 5-10 pm including weekend. Max 10 hours a week.. 3 students 3 x a week for an hour each session during the summer break in China.

6. Chinese Culture

  • Parents are very hands on
  • Some do not speak English
  • There is intense competition in China for university spot
  • Poor English teaching in schools in China
  • Many preparing for entry to high school in Vancouver
  • Tech support not available in homes

7. Tech Platform.. don’t be afraid.

8. Assessment

9. Lesson plans on line

10. What did I learn?

  • I can do it without a lot of experience
  • The students are fun ..mostly
  • It takes more time than you expect
  • Students learn no matter what you teach


  • Parental and student concerns re mentions of modest references to sex in reading material
  • Learning difficulties common among students
  • Students have limited knowledge of western culture and history.
  • I was asked to do a video for promotion for the company I work for.
  • Chinese people revere older people and teachers – put them on a pedestal
  • Wide range of competencies among students
  • Some students don’t have printers or know how to use computers
  • Refreshing change from health care culture
  • The limited wifi (Telus) on a rural island is beyond frustrating to say nothing of power outages.


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