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EF English First

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Anthony Balce

One of the best things about working as an ESL teacher is the gratification you get from seeing kids succeed and enjoy learning.

What's your job about?

Education First is a world-renowned company that aims to open the world through language, travel, cultural exchange, and academic programs. As a Senior International Teacher, I am responsible for teaching classes, creating schedules, and administering training for new staff. As a teacher, my daily schedule revolves around planning fun & exciting classes, documenting students’ progress, and teaching class. I think teaching class at EF is eventually the most enjoyable part of the job because you can see first-hand the excitement young students, some as young as three years old, have when coming to school. While traditional schooling revolves around the teacher showcasing information, we at EF aim to have a more student-led approach; where we play fun games in the hope of inspiring students to learn more English. Personally, I love being a teacher at EF because I am able to instill a mindset of “I can”, and it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.

What's your background?

I was born & raised in beautiful North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. My parents are immigrants from the Philippines, therefore I am a proud first-generation Filipino-Canadian. I was always very active and played a multitude of team-sports. Starting with organized soccer and basketball at 6, and eventually focusing on American Football by the time I got to high school (Vancouver College). From there, I received a scholarship to play Varsity Football at the University of British Columbia (my home province), and it was a dream. Throughout my time playing sports, I was always inspired by teachers and coaches, and that led me to always work hard, fully commit, and build team camaraderie in everything I do. With a passion for travel, and already being influenced by Asian culture, I thought that being an ESL teacher would be the best fit for me post-graduation. I thought that not having any teaching experience would be a downfall in my plan, but after searching various job sites that advertised “no teaching experience necessary” I stumbled upon EF. Within a few months, EF provided me a TEFL certificate that allowed me to obtain a work-visa and I arrived in Shenzhen on May 22nd, 2019. I decided on China, because I always had Chinese home-stay students live with us in Canada. I vividly remember talking to one of my home-stay students about how great the food is, and how friendly the people were in his homeland. I vowed that whenever I got the chance, I would teach English in China, and I have not regretted it one bit.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Being an ESL teacher is definitely something that anyone, of any background, can do. It is a great chance to live abroad, experience a different culture, and ultimately “find yourself” in a new country. Within EF, we have international teachers from Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Everyone I have met in my time in the company has a distinct passion for travel and learning about new cultures. Combine that with a good work ethic and being a “team player” there are so many opportunities out there once people commit to living abroad.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

One of the best things about working as an ESL teacher is the gratification you get from seeing kids succeed and enjoy learning. No matter how bad of a day you’re having, you could have a three-year-old look up to you (figuratively and literally) and give you the biggest smile after getting a question right, or remembering what a flashcard says. Walking into class and hearing the screams of “HI TEACHER” can flip your mood instantly, an occurrence that often happens each day.

What are the limitations of your job?

One of the limitations of the job is that the schedule is a double-edged sword. While starting work at 3pm on the weekdays is a joy, having your longest days on a Saturday and Sunday may be difficult for some. The time constraint of trying to plan 10+ hours of weekend classes on top of individual students’ progress reports and other admin tasks is taxing. However, this (like most things) can be alleviated with time management and diligent scheduling.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

First, understand it’s okay to say “I need help”. Whether that be academically, emotionally, or even financially, there are various networks both through school groups, friends, or family that are a simple call away. The second would be to “go to office hours”. A simple conversation can help alleviate the stress of a deadline or learn more insight about the class from someone with a wealth of experience. Third and foremost, enjoy it. University is a wild ride, and it goes by quickly; savour every moment as it is something many in this world don’t get the privilege of experiencing.