Quresh started his career in the hospitality industry and worked hard for 14 years. Having had a star-studded career including working for The Royal Wedding of Will & Kate (WOW!) and enjoying the chance to work and travel at the same time, Quresh was ready for a change. Now, this English native is teaching English to eager students in Changsha, China. Hear how he made the move during COVID and has settled into Chinese life and culture. This blog is a must-read!
Tell us about Quresh! What is your educational background?
I have completed my Diploma in Isle of Man in 2004 & MBA in Hospitality and Business Management from the University of Wales in 2012. I recently completed a 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course in May and the 168 Hour Ofqual Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course in July 2020.
Can you tell us about your career previous to teaching? Do you think you will be able to transfer those skills to teaching English?
I had been in the hospitality industry for almost 14 years which gave me an opportunity to travel and work at some amazing places and meet so many wonderful people. Some of the highlights of my career were The Royal wedding of Will & Kate, the 2012 London Olympics at the Swiss House. I spent 4 hours with Roger Federer and his family (Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player), the Queen’s Jubilee, the James Bond launch party of Skyfall, the centenary event of Mercedes HQ in Surrey. During these times, I have developed many skills. Mainly with working under pressure, being organized, and flexible. These skills, I believe are quite significant for a teaching English abroad job and I am certain it will help me be better at my job.
How do you feel after completing our 168 Hour Level 5 course? Do you feel well prepared and confident to teach your first class?
Absolutely yes,168 Hour Ofqual Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course is very intense although I would like few amendments to the coursework (but that is a different story). It provides a more detailed analysis of lesson plans and how to conduct classes. Personally, I found it very challenging to complete the course but it gives you an advantage and definitely improves your chances to negotiate a higher salary with the school, as it is considered of very high value in China. I choose to do two TEFL courses because it increased my depth of teaching knowledge and I wanted to boost my salary options.
What was your inspiration for moving abroad, can you tell us that story?
I moved to Cambridge from London in 2015 and was working for Wimpole estate which is a National Trust property. In 2017, I decided to make a career change and completed some online courses in basic accounting. I started as a Purchase ledger clerk for a small private company, which led me to another job as an Accounts Administrator for a private aircraft company in Newmarket. It was a challenging and rewarding role, whilst I was also working part-time with the University of Cambridge as a CTA (Clinical Teaching Associate) program on training medical students, since September 2018.
Then in March of 2020, pandemic struck, I was furloughed until July and eventually made redundant. It was during this time, I had an idea of traveling to a foreign country, which sounds bizarre, but I always think outside the box so did some online research and completed 120 hours Advanced teaching course with Premier TEFL in May and then 168 Hour Ofqual Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course by August. I applied for some teaching English abroad jobs, had a job interview, accepted the job offer and here I am in teaching English in China.
What was it like traveling during Covid? How was your flight?
I am a keen traveler and often used to hop on for long weekends, so traveling to China was an absolutely bizarre experience. People wearing hazmat suits on the plane, and it seemed apocalyptic at Shanghai airport, where I arrived initially. But even before I boarded at Heathrow, I had to have a Covid-19 test with negative results within 72 hours of the flight. Then another online form had to be filled at Zurich as it was my transit. Once I arrived in Shanghai, we had another Covid test at the airport. Then boarded a bus and straight to our hotel where I was quarantined for 14 days. Overall a very strange experience.
What is it like being in quarantine in China?
None of us have experienced anything like this before so being in a room isolated for 14 days was a memorable experience. I was jet-lagged for the first few days so my sleeping pattern varied massively and it took me a week to have stable sleep. I did exercise a lot in the room (running, skipping) and read. Keeping in touch with friends and family helped as well, whilst my school was constantly in touch with me throughout this period. Food was provided by the hotel 3 times a day, but I had snacks from back home which got me through as the food can be bland at times.
What are some challenges that you have faced and how have you overcome them? What have you learned for future similar situations?
Well, 2020 has been an unprecedented year for most of us. Challenges have come thick and fast in various forms. However, my belief is “there is always a solution and never a problem” and we always get through it. We need to be more kind, generous, and most importantly keep a positive attitude towards life and others.
Did you face any challenges getting hired as a TEFL teacher in the middle of the pandemic this year?
The biggest challenge of my journey before teaching English in China was not getting hired, but the paperwork. As all the procedures were taking longer than usual, I had to stay positive and patient throughout the process. My school Meten was extremely helpful and kept me posted at every stage. So the biggest challenge was not one stage but every stage seemed an uphill task. But I’ll say it again, stay positive and we will always get through it. I applied for the position in China independently. But Premier TEFL helped me with legalization.
What words of encouragement do you have for individuals considering getting a TEFL certificate?
I believe my move to teaching English in China at this time is one of the best decisions I have made in years. Only because of my redundancy I thought of a career change. The courses I completed are 120 hours and 168 Hour Ofqual Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course. They are worth the time and an investment that will only bear positive results. Level 5 will most definitely set you apart from the lot and put you in a higher salary bracket. With a few years of teaching experience under your belt, there will be no limit. So if anyone out there is unsure about your future in teaching or teaching English abroad. Definitely start with 120 hours advanced course even if you have experience in teaching. It gives you a better understanding of teaching and other very useful course materials.
How are you preparing for your teaching job while you are in quarantine?
I have completed my quarantine and have started teaching English in China. But during the quarantine, I was focusing on keeping my mind and body healthy by exercising and reading a lot, rather than my teaching English job.
Did you find this article about Quresh who changed his career and is now teaching English in China useful? If you have any questions please comment in the box below If you want to read more about TEFL teachers finding their dream jobs then this article about Faustina is a great read! »A Kenyan English Teacher Who Found Her Dream Job.
A Kenyan English Teacher Who Found Her Dream Job
Faustina is a Kenyan woman who found her dream job of teaching English. But unfortunately, due to COVID-19, it has been put on hold. She is trilingual and English is her first language. When applying for an English teaching job abroad she found it difficult. Many companies were looking for native English speakers only. This was extremely frustrating for Faustina. Her English is her first language but Kenya is not classically considered a native English-speaking country. But this didn’t stop Faustina from applying to any of the job positions. She proved many companies wrong and scored a very high grade in the British Council English Proficiency Test.
Job Application & Interview Process
In the blog about Faustina, we asked her about her time during her job application and interview process. We wanted to know what made her stand out from the other candidates. Faustina knows how hard it can be learning a new language. But what she thinks what made her stand out from the crowd was the fact that she is trilingual. Faustina feels by understanding three different languages she can understand and support English learners to a greater potential.
What is Faustina up to while awaiting her Dream Job?
If some of you reading this blog can relate to Faustina and her journey. We asked her what has been keeping her busy while her travel to Vietnam has been put on hold. While she is waiting patiently she has decided to do one of many high-demand specialist courses that Premier TEFL offers. She decided to go for the very flexible and affordable Teach English Online course. Which she has since completed and has recently registered with online lessons providers.
Tips & Tricks
Faustina lets us in on her best tips and tricks to be the ultimate English teacher. Key factors to consider in Faustina’s eyes are being patient, staying positive at all times, finding the solutions to the problems rather than complaining, and the most important one, having a love for teaching. Faustina also mentions that adjusting to new places and difficult situations is hard when being away from the comforts of your own home country. But it’s all about keeping positive, finding a solution to your problem and you will thrive and succeed in every job you enter. Complaining will get you nowhere so keep that faith!