Week of a Chinese Teacher Entrepreneur

I was just reading a blog post by a Finnish blogger where she listed all the work related things she did that week, I wondered it would be fun to do the same! Recently I’ve also noticed that many people are quite surprised to hear that as a foreigner I’m teaching Mandarin Chinese full time here in Guangzhou.

Lets see how a typical week of a Chinese teacher and entrepreneur is like!

 

Sunday and Monday

 

My husband’s very first carved pumpkin!

These are my days off and I spend them with my family. I occasionally prepare for lessons in the evenings after our daughter is asleep, but most weekends I feel asleep the same time as she does.

 

Tuesday

 

Learning Chinese characters

8:00 I arrive to the office every day between 8:00 and 8:20, I eat breakfast and prepare for the lessons.

8:45-9:45 I have my first lesson of the day, a private lessons with a beginner level student.

10:00-11:00 Chinese Characters 2 course with three students. We review the character components we have learned so far. As a homework I give them a short story to read.

11:00-12:15 Lunch hour while preparing for the coming lessons. Usually lunch takes half an hour and the rest of the time I can prepare classes.

12:15-13:15 First lesson with a new students. We do a HSK mock test to determine her level.

13:30-15:00 Surprisingly I have a Finnish lesson every Tuesday! Two students, one of them married a Finn and another one has a Finnish boyfriend. Finnish lessons always takes more time to prepare than Chinese lessons.

15:30-16:30 Last private lesson of the day with a HSK4 level student.

After lessons I hurry to the daycare to pick up Anna or if my husband picks her up, I use the last hour to prepare for lessons.

 

Wednesday

 

Lots of HSK3 students on Wednesdays

8:00 I arrive to the office and have breakfast.

8:30-9:30 First private lesson of the day, we are studying characters because she wants to take HSK3 in the future.

9:30-11:00 Second private student is soon reaching HSK3 level and we are progressing fast with the textbook.

11:00-12:00 Early lunch

12:00-13:30 A HSK3 group class got cancelled and I use the time to write my blog and prepare for other lessons.

13:30-14:30 Wednesdays are full of HSK3, another private lesson with level three student.

14:45-15:45 Private lesson with a HSK4 level student. She tells me good news in Chinese, she got a job offer!

After class I again prepare for coming lessons. Our daughter is sick at home with my husband so I go straight home.

 

Thursday

 

Professional Women Night Out

Thursday mornings I often participate in Guangzhou Women’s International Club (GWIC) events, if no events that day, I use it to prepare lessons, write WeChat articles or blog posts.

13:30-14:30 Private lesson with a HSK4 student, she has two lessons every week.

14:30-15:30 Private lesson with a beginner student, also two lessons each week.

15:30-16:30 Another private lesson with a student. Today we learned how she can communicate with her ayi (cleaning lady)

I stay at the office preparing for lessons and go to an evening networking event organized by GWIC.

 

Friday

 

Most of my students take HSK to reach goals

8:15 I arrive to the office and have breakfast as always, then I prepare for lessons.

9:45-10:45 Beginners group with three students, we started learning how to order coffee at a coffee shop.

11:00-12:00 A group lessons was cancelled so I use the extra time to have early lunch.

12:15-13:15 Group class of two students who have passed the HSK1 and are planning to take HSK2.

13:30-15:00 A private lesson with student at HSK3 level, she also takes lessons twice a week.

After classes I prepare for lessons and go pick up our daughter from daycare.

 

Saturday

 

GWIC Shoe and Bag Sale

8:00 I arrive at the office and have breakfast.

9:00-10:30 First private lesson of the day with a HSK4 student, she will be taking the exam in December.

Between lessons I rush to the bakery to get something to eat.

11:00-12:00 A group of teachers studying beginner level Chinese, usually their lessons is later on the day, but tonight they have special plans. We learn how to take a taxi in Chinese.

12:00-13:00 Second private lesson today where we learn time words in Chinese.

13:30-14:30 A second group of teachers, we learn how to order coffee in Chinese.

After classes I visit another GWIC event, this time a charity market. After the event I buy lunch/dinner from the supermarket and come back to the office to rest, prepare for lessons and write this blog post.

Later tonight I have another networking event organized by InterNations, after that it’s finally a weekend for me!


Besides what I listed above, I also use time to write lesson feedback of all the lessons I have taught and also make sure that the part time teachers working for me have written their feedbacks as well. I also keep an eye on the progress of the students that I don’t teach personally and offer guidance to the teachers. Lots of time goes to lessons planning and creating extra exercises for students according to their needs. Answering questions of old, new and possible students takes time as well. Luckily my husband is now helping me with management and finances of the company so I can concenterate on teaching and improving the quality of education.

That’s it! Next week is gonna be even busier, so lets have a good rest this weekend!

  • Sonny Chee

    Sara, I was wondering, your live in Guangzhou right, don’t they mainly speak Cantonese there? So why are people learning Mandarin? I’m not saying that Mandarin is not useful, I think most Chinese in Guangzhou will understand Mandarin, but, isn’t Cantonese more useful in Guangzhou?

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Sonny!

    Yes the locals speak Cantonese, but there are also many people from outside the Guangdong province that it makes more sense to learn Mandarin. Also if they go traveling or later live in other places in China, Mandarin is understood anywhere. Even in the city you often meet taxi drivers who are from somewhere else and can not speak Cantonese.

    [Reply]