5 Ways Teaching in China Helps You Become a Better Leader

Teaching in China is not only an experience of a lifetime, but there are also many skills to be gained and ways to move your professional career forward, whether that is in the world of education or even other areas of business.  If you’re looking for a challenge that can help turn you into a leader and move your career forward, teaching in China will leave you with these new leadership skills for your resume. 

1) Communication- Few jobs can create an effective communicator like teaching.  To be placed in front of a classroom of students that may only speak a few words of your language,  you learn to engage the students by using your voice and body language to clearly get your points across. Whether it’s teaching a group of youngsters to say “Hello” in English or a presentation in the board room, the skill set is the exact same. Teaching will help you develop the skills to present a clear, effective, engaging presentation in front of a group of people. 

2) Motivation - Teaching gives you insight on what truly motivates people, and you can see it from the most basic level. You see what happens when you discipline for poor behavior and when you reward for positive behavior.  You learn through trial and error what makes people tick and how people will respond in certain situations.  This transferable skill allows you to assess individuals of all types and figure out how to get them excited to complete a task. 

3) Flexibility- It hopefully goes without saying that you should always go into class prepared.  But sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.  It is probably fair to say that there will be many times when things won’t go according to plan.  You may have to slow things down, or try something different, and learning this skill in the classroom transfers into greater flexibility in real life professional situations.  You learn to not only be prepared, but you learn to adapt on the fly when things don’t go according to that plan.  

4) Confidence - In order to get people to listen, you have to have confidence.  Students can sense whether or not you are confident in your presentation, and if you are lacking,  they will tune out and lose interest very quickly.  In the professional world, if you don’t have confidence, no one is going to buy what you’re selling.  Whether that is a lesson plan, a service, a product, it’s all the same. Confidence is the name of the game and getting in front of a class every day will teach you to snap into a mental state that exudes confidence in order to get the job done.   

5) Creativity- “Thinking outside the box” is one of those over-used business cliches, but teaching students that don’t speak your language forces you to constantly test different methods and think creatively.  Often words just don’t get your point across, so you have to draw a picture, or show an object, or maybe design an activity to help students understand different concepts.  Teaching English as a foreign language requires constant creativity that can be applied to all facets of life. When one tactic doesn’t work, a leader will have the ability to shift gears and try something different, and teaching helps hone this skill.