Since graduating, it’s been my desire to travel abroad and teach English. This has been something in the works for a while, as I’ve approached it with a large, perhaps excessive amount, of caution.
Which is why I’m very excited to say that just over the past month I accepted a job teaching English as a second language in the beautiful city of Xi’an, China. Obviously, the work needed for this came before my work on my game project, which was a large part of why I had trouble holding to my development schedule for last month. If that means I don’t feel comfortable submitting to Indiecade, I will consider it a small blip on the screen compared to this news! I’ll be leaving the states at the end of this summer, and it can’t come fast enough.
I’ve known since before graduating that I wanted to travel outside the US in some capacity; I had studied abroad in China for a semester, and found the experience eye-opening and fulfilling. And although I would love the idea of going to other foreign countries besides China, I’m just too tempted to continue studying the Chinese language (老实说，我也想吃中国饭,哈哈)! The decision to teach ESL in conjunction was a practical one as much as a personal one. Most ESL jobs allow the kind of flexibility that would allow me to actually see China, and there are many more openings across all of China, allowing me more freedom in the location I work.
That the job is located in Xi’an is no accident — it is in the dead center of China, and loaded with ancient history for which I am an unapologetic romantic.
Teaching ESL also dovetails with my interests in education. Although I don’t often mention it in this blog, I’m extremely interested in what games can do for education, and I believe that the art of game design and the art of teaching are very similar at their core. Both require one to design a system with the intent of conveying information to an audience by guiding them through it. The game designer uses code to convey emotions and information to the player, while the teacher designs lesson plans and exercises to convey information and patterns of thought to the student. In both games and education, interactivity is vital — the game designer must use mechanics other than walls of text or cutscenes, and the teacher must have exercises other than mindless drills. There are still other, more specific similarities, but I’d rather not ramble on about this too long! Suffice it to say that I feel there is a connection between gaining experience as a teacher and improving as a game designer.
And I would also love to continue my independent development while in Xi’an. I obviously will be more restricted with development time than I am now, but I will still have more than enough time and resources to do work on the side!
More WAID2 art and news to come shortly!