Teaching English in China

Teaching English in China, how to do it, why do it, everything about how to Teach English in China! :)

A day in the lives of 3 real China TEFL Teachers in Guiyang, China

A typical day teaching English in China Instead of more sugary anecdotes suggesting how awesome coming to a poor city and teaching English in China is and constantly looking at it through rose tinted lenses I want to give you a very neutral post about a poorer aspect, teaching in a distant, lower quality school and walking around the surroundings to give you a feel for what it will actually be like if you come to teach here. So, here is mine, Marco and Mitch’s typical Thursday. We start our working day at 4.00 pm so we have the whole…

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Teaching English in Beijing

Beijing is the modern capital of China. It is busy, hectic and very competitive. Due to Beijing being such a touristy city combined with its size and relatively high level of development compared to other Chinese cities, the city is rather Westernised with many of the local Beijingers able to speak Chinese. Due to the cities fame and reputation, competition to secure a TEFL job in Beijing is fierce, meaning that regulations for jobs in the city are normally rather difficult with the majority of schools public and private only selecting fully TEFL qualified candidates with at least 2 years…

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Echo English Binjiang claassroom

A Review of Echo English, Hangzhou

They lied to me, to get me into places like Tiantai – a tiny town with no foreigners and nothing to do –  then they tried it again with Yueqing. One of their employees sexually harassed me within hours of my stepping off the plane. The school pays Echo Education between 13,000 – 16,000 RMB a month. I only see 6,000 of that. They refused to move me from Tiantai when I was genuinely considering suicide due to months of miserable isolation, instead threatening to blacklist me so I would never get another teaching job in China again. When I…

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Guizhou Province’s Intercollegiate Modern Wushu Tournament

        Every four years, something special happens within the collegiate community of Guizhou province; an athletic tradition with thousands of years of tradition is continued by young aspiring acrobats, athletes,  and martial arts enthusiasts.  Students from every corner of Guizhou have spent the better part of 2013 and 2014 tirelessly  butterfly whirling, lotus kicking,  kipping, back flipping, and south style screaming in preparation for Guizhou’s only intercollegiate Modern Wushu Tournament.

        Well, what exactly is Modern Wushu?  Wushu (武术) literally means “martial arts” but the term “Wushu” in English specifically means “Chinese Martial Arts.”  Chinese martial arts has at least 4000 years of tradition, as the art form has developed as a part of Chinese civilization.  There are many different types of Wushu, the most well known piece being some types’ connection to animals or the Chinese elemental system (Earth, fire, water, metal, and wood, known as wuxing 五行).  Traditional Chinese Martial Arts throughout history was never linear, as there were many different styles, houses, and types.  Most types of Chinese Martial Arts had four basic components of training:

Basics:  general conditioning, mobility training, and flexibility training
Forms: choreographed “shadow-boxing” where the student would mock fight to prove to others he/she could complete attack or defense movements and combinations.
Application: Movements and combinations which are demonstrated on a partner, either through sparring or step-by-step instruction.
Weapons training: The development of the use of a variety of weaponry, usually practiced through the use of forms and sparring.

In 1949, after the political shift, the government of China moved to nationalize Wushu, thus creating the sport of Modern Wushu.  The modern sport includes two forms of competition; exhibition and sparring:
Exhibition: each participant prepares a choreographed form of a weapon or style of hand combat.  The accepted styles and weapons are long-fist, southern style, staff, spear, broadsword, long sword, and Tai-chi.  Depending on the event, each participant will be assessed by a small group of judges who give score based on both proper technique, difficulty, and showmanship.  Each weapon is split into two groups: professional and amateur 
Sparring:  Very similar to other styles of boxing and kick-boxing, this form of competition brings competitors toe to toe in a very fast paced style of empty-hand combat.

In the 2014 Guizhou Intercollegiate Modern Wushu Tournament, the competition was fierce with plenty of emotion and passion coming from every athlete from every school.  Each school started with roughly 40 athletes, and through grueling training and qualifying competitions throughout the previous year, the schools each ended with 20 competitiors, 10 men, 10 women.  Although the competition is judged per type of weapon or style, the competition acts like a track meet, competitors winning points for their team for a total tally of a final score.

Guizhou University was expected to place first in the competition, but lost by only 3 points to the Zunyi Technical College from the north of Guizhou.

If you would like more information on Wushu as a sport, check out the wikipedia page.
If you would like to start learning Wushu yourself, don’t get hustled by the many fake instructors in the U.S., start out with flashmavi.com/wushu a great source for video and text demonstrations for Wushu.


A warm congratulations to 张小芬, my girlfriend, for placing 3rd in spear and 1st in the long sword.  She had only begun training six months ago and came out on top in the professional category (her major is physical education and science) of performers.

here are links to some of the performances:

My name is Alex Hickman and I have been living in Guizhou province for about 1.5 years now.  I am currently a graduate student (International Trade) and professor of English at the College of Foreign Languages at Guizhou University.  You can also follow my youtube channel for some other awesome China stuff!  (I don’t monetize, so no ads, pretty nice!)

Also follow my picture/story blog and ask me questions at