I came to DD Dragon in May of 2013, but my story doesn't start like the rest. I had known Matt for many years at that point, having been friends and roommates throughout our time at The University of Kentucky and after. When Matt told me he had an opening for a teacher in China, I wasn't skeptical or anxious because I knew Matt to be an honest and trustworthy man. Yet still, upon arriving in Hangzhou I was out of my element; completely awestruck. The fast pace of life, the sheer amounts of people, the strange new foods, and the seemingly endless construction were quite a shock coming from Midwest USA. Even more, trying to control and educate rambunctious children (without speaking their language) puzzled me. Matt was always there to train me, guide my skills, and offer advice when I needed it. He is extremely committed to his craft, as you can see on his website (MrJChinaESL.com) and is constantly developing his skills and very keen to new ideas from other teachers.
DD Dragon, the institution as whole, and Sarah (the owner/manager) share Matt's steadfast approach to the job. If teachers need anything they know they can talk to Sarah; she has an open-door policy and is more than happy to listen to any grievances, advice, or special arrangements needed. The teaching assistants (affectionately called “TAs”) are also wonderful. Lisa, Alice, and a handful other others have been with DD Dragon for many years and are there for you in the classroom or out.
I have greatly enjoyed my three years in China, in and out of the classroom. As a teacher I have improved from a bumbling nervous beginner to a confident teacher, able to control and educate the classroom. I am rewarded by the children's eagerness to learn English and their anticipation of a new board game each week. DD Dragon takes a very active approach to learning, encouraging games and drills that get children out of their seats and moving. I think I have as much fun with the games as the students.
Away from the classroom I have done and seen things I never imagined. There is a lot of downtime during the school year and I have used that time to travel to Cambodia and see the legendary Angkor Wat Temples, To Vietnam to see a desert and ride motorbikes, and to the Philippines to see their beautiful beaches and tour on boats. I have also had the time and the resources to visit Hong Kong and many temples and sights around China. I have really found a new hobby and become a travel bug because of what DD Dragon has afforded me.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend DD Dragon, Sarah and the other employees, and of course Matt, my long time friend and owner. They have always been there to help from day one when I was overwhelmed to today as I write this. My time spent in the classroom has given me confidence, life experiences I will never forget, and whole lot of fun. I have had the time and money to travel Southeast Asia and see some amazing sights. DD Dragon and the ownership is a first class English school that is envied by others and a very special place for me.