Aston was recommended to me by a good friend. She'd had an interesting experience so after graduating in 2011 I decided that I would give teaching in China a try with the same program as her. I thought I'd do 6 months and then move on to another country. Little did I know that I would enjoy it so much and enjoy my China experience that I would want to make it last a lot longer - I'll be here until September 2013!
Aston has been the perfect entry for me in China. I've experienced 2 schools in the time I've been here and therefore have been able to see a lot of China and meet a lot of new and interesting people and students!
The cities I have been in have few foreigners in, (Ordos, Inner Mongolia and Zhangzhou, Fujian) which may not appeal to some people, but for me this was perfect as it has also given me the chance to pick up a bit of day-to-day Chinese which I am confident to use when travelling around.
The program offers ongoing learning and training for the teachers, as well as the chance to get involved with various activities to help promote the schools and get involved with recruiting new students.
The school in Zhangzhou I am at now only opened in March 2012 so I have been a lot more involved in this than I was in Inner Mongolia.
I have had western managers who have been great at passing on helpful information and advice about wherever I've been living, so that has been really useful too.
Lesson planning is easily explained and after the first few weeks it becomes a lot easier and you become a lot quicker at it! Ongoing feedback is also available and everyone shares new games and ideas which makes it easy too.
I teach a range of ages, from 3 years to adult, and this variety keeps me interested from day-to-day. There are various different contracts available, for hours and lengths, which can suit various people and what they are after when working in China. Each has various bonus and holiday opportunities too.
Nitty gritty - I have never had a problem with being paid on time. I have had help opening a bank account and also with buying a phone and local sim card wherever I have been. Pay for China is good and you don't have to worry about rent as you are given a free room in an apartment usually with other foreign teachers.
Whatever program you decide to choose in China, you must always remember that you are representing your country in China. You will constantly get stared at by the Chinese if you are somewhere with few foreigners, so you have to be comfortable with that notion.
Coming to work for Aston has been a great experience and I always urge anyone with a sense of adventure to come and try out the Chinese life!
I write about my life in China and my experiences teaching at Aston here, if you'd like to know more: http://thefurtheradventuresofbennett.com/