“I’m not Sir Super-teacher or Mr. Qualifications. I’m just pretty good at taking advantage of a job abroad” maintains Marko Ganza, a Bosnian-born Canadian citizen of Croatian ethnicity teaching / assessing English in China; still, he has over a dozen years of successful teaching experience in dozens of schools across 5 countries; he’s used the occupation to pay off his student loans, save some money and travel to over 50 countries since 2002; regardless of the status of his teaching merit or expertise, he has most certainly had an interesting career thus far.
Marko began teaching as a student. In Dec. 98 he became a part-time high-school supply teacher for the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic District School Board in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – he was a university student at the time. He graduated from the University of Toronto in December 2000 – earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature – and then moved into full-time supply teaching.
His “mother school” – i.e., primary source for substitution work – was St. Martin’s Secondary School – where he was also once a student (1991-95) – but he eventually subbed in over a dozen schools; in the end, for 3.5 years, filling in for absent teachers in a multitude of high schools and following their given programs on a variety of students for a variety of subjects – including English and ESL – is how Marko built the foundation of his teaching career.
That foundation was tested when, at the age of 26, his career and life changed forever. In Sept. 2002 the right person found his résumé on the Net, a few days later he went to an interview in Toronto and 2 weeks after that he was on his way to taking advantage of a job abroad. It was his 1st overseas teaching assignment: grade 1 English teacher at Al Mustaqbul Model School in Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates. He had never taught young children before, so there were some growing pains, but, in the end, things worked out and he enjoyed some success. He said he’s proud to have been a part of 2 programs that pioneered putting native English language teachers in Emirati primary schools. Marko learned a great deal about teaching, curriculum and assessment in Abu Dhabi and added, “I’m forever grateful to the UAE.” He said “maselama” to the UAE in 2007.
The idea of trying a new teaching destination didn’t leave his mind and so in August 2008 he began teaching in an after-school program in Daegu (Taegu), South Korea. Every day, Monday to Friday, he taught several different classes – each at different levels of English and age – and each day of the week he was at a different school – either Beomil, Daebong, Haean, Hwanam or Jibong Elementary School. He feels this experience made him a better teacher by exposing him to different students and a wide array of learning programs. Ask him more about his year there (he left in Aug. 2009) and he’ll tell you, “I loved it. I’m grateful to have had the experience. I loved my students, coworkers and Korean friends, and I grew personally and professionally as a result. It was difficult for me to leave Daegu.”
In Aug. 2009 he went straight from Daegu, South Korea, to Taiyuan, Shanxi, China to try teaching university for the 1st time. He quickly discovered that he enjoys teaching mature students because the material to teach is more difficult, making it more challenging and interesting for him. Working for Shanghai YUCUI Consultancy, Marko taught English for information technology and international business in the Taiyuan University of Technology (TUT). His knowledge of curriculum and teaching both grew a great deal with TUT experience. Primary, elementary, high school, university, Canada, Middle East, Far East … Marko certainly has a diverse teaching background.
In early 2010, during the Chinese New Year holidays, he took the time between semesters to professionally develop by taking the Cambridge CELTA course at the ILA Vietnam center in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. Over 4 weeks he intensely studied methodology, learner and language awareness and all sorts of things English-teaching, and the course included teaching practice on Vietnamese students. Marko said, “ILA Vietnam was very professional and I was a better teacher after the 1st day. Improving my principals and practical skills without a doubt improved my classroom, and getting the CELTA later opened what turned out to be a good opportunity for me.”
He stayed at TUT until, in early 2012 and while still remaining with YUCUI, he transferred to the AIEN International Institute of Dalian Jiaotong University in Dalian, Liaoning, China, where he taught English for accounting and IELTS preparation for 1 semester; afterwards, to free up some time for travel and writing, he left Dalian and moved to Changsha, Hunan, China, where he worked for the British Council as an English language assessment consultant (something he started part-time whilst back in Taiyuan) within the city for the next 7 months. Then, in early 2013, he moved to Xi’an, Shaanxi, also in China, and then did consulting there for a year. He returned to Canada in early 2014 for a few months, then in late 2014 he went back and taught a semester in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China, at the Wenzhou Medical Univerity then did 5 years of consulting in Shanghai before returning to Canada in 2020.
He isn’t Sir Super-teacher or Mr. Qualifications, but he’s certainly succeeded at teaching and taking advantage of it in many different places. When asked what his key to success is, he said, “read my book to find out."
Marko Ganza wrote The Book on How to Teach Abroad.