Frequently Asked Questions
Educate. Experience. Explore.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
Sojourn East matches teachers interested in having an authentic oversees experience with schools in China who are looking for English teachers. One great advantage of participating in our program is that teachers compensated for their time. Nevertheless, we can also accommodate those looking for a genuine volunteer opportunity.
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO TEACH?
Since the teaching is generally focused on a broad conversational English curriculum, the required experience fits almost anyone's situation so long as they are a native English speaker with a genuine interest in helping the students learn English. Further, we work with both the teachers and the schools to ensure that the experience is beneficial and rewarding for all.
DO I NEED TO KNOW CHINESE?
Most of the students have already had some English training. Many have strong English skills. Schools request that you only use English in the classroom so the students are forced to communicate with you in English. If they know you speak Chinese, they will use that as a crutch.
You will need to be creative with instructions and use a lot of charades. You make it fun for them to try and understand and you will see that it's all part of the experience and the relationship that you build with the students. It will be a challenge but a very rewarding challenge.
HOW OLD ARE THE STUDENTS?
Classes range from kindergarten to high school age. Most of our teachers are placed in middle schools and high schools. The positions are split between public schools and private schools.
We welcome requests for specific age groups, and we will do our best to accommodate everyone. However, we ask applicants to be flexible and open to teaching other ages if a position at the requested age level is unavailable. If your participation is dependent on being able to teach a certain age, you should notify us before you apply.
HOW MANY STUDENTS PER CLASS?
Public school classes can have over 50 students per class, while private school classes rarely consist of over 30.
WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE?
No specific dress code is enforced at the schools. In primary-jr highs casual dress is acceptable. In high school-college a more semi-formal style will be more appropriate. We recommend dockers and a polo-type shirt for males and dress pants and nice blouses for women. Again, nothing is enforced. You personally may feel under dressed if you attend your classes in jeans and a t-shirt.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS LIKE?
The teaching schedule is usually between 16 and 20 hours a week. You will teach between 18 and 22 classes that last from 40 to 45 minutes each. You will be asked to participate in English-speaking activities such as plays, skits and musical performances. These are usually a welcomed experience and a pleasant change from the day to day teaching routine.
WHAT WILL I TEACH?
In most schools, your curriculum is your own creation. The school may provide some textbooks, which often are either flawed or beyond the students’ level. You are welcome to bring as many English teaching manuals and materials as you like.
Most teachers the same fear of not knowing how to teach. As long as you have a good attitude and sense of creativity, the lessons will come. You'll be surprised what kinds of situations you can use as lessons that make it fun for the students and memorable for you as well.
The internet contains countless ESL (English as a Second Language) resources. Start looking for possible lesson plans now. Print them off and begin formulating a portfolio of lesson plans and ideas before you even arrive at the school.