This week has been exhausting but fun!
Sunday 16th October
Today I started lesson planning for my new subject – Tourism English. I teach it to four classes. There are approximately 60 students in each class. The students are seniors (final year) so their English level is very high. It’s an interesting subject where I get to learn as well as teach about tourism in China.
Monday 17th October
I could not believe it when 6 students turned up to my first ever office hours. I thought nobody would show. It was so exciting! They asked me how to succeed in a speech competition, to quiz them on vocab in class, and invited me to lunch.
I taught my first Tourism English class. The students were very talkative making the lesson fun and easy to deliver.
In the afternoon approximately 200 students from non-English Majors were invited to a briefing about a new English course they can sign up for. The idea is each foreign teacher will take a class of 25 students and teach them English. At the end of the briefing two students approached me to tell me they study Geography like I did. It was nice to meet them and they joined Aimee and I for dinner.
Tuesday 18th October
Xing, an Art teacher, invited Aimee and I to her house for dinner. The food was delicious and the company was great.
Wednesday 19th October
Today Aimee and I had our first Chinese lesson with a senior student, and our friend, Miranda. The lesson was great and involved Miranda teaching us Chinese constants, vowels and tones.
Next week is Sports Week where students and staff compete in sports such as basketball, running, badminton and skipping. The Languages Department does well each year and this year is no exception! At 4pm we had our first skipping practice. The skipping rules are: two people spin the rope while 12 people run through it one at a time. That’s right we run through the spinning rope! You run in, jump once, and run out. As soon as one person runs out another person runs in. It looks really cool but it’s a little difficult – often a leg gets caught (usually mine!) or somebody false starts.
After practice Aimee and I went to the canteen for dinner where a student, named Nina, introduced herself to us. She had been at the briefing on Monday and was looking forward to joining the new English course. Nina was really nice and offered to help us practice Chinese.
It started raining.
Thursday 20th October
I was in a lot of pain from the skipping practice on Wednesday. I had to sit down more than usual in class as my legs hurt so much. Who knew skipping was so intense!
At lunch Aimee and I ate with our friend Li who is an English teacher. Li showed us where to buy egg fried rice – which is the dish I always order at my local Chinese takeaway in England.
Stephen, from Scotland, was unwell so I offered to cover his afternoon listening class. I had 20 minutes in which to prepare. I felt nervous but all went well. The students were lovely, listening is an interesting subject to teach, and Stephen’s lesson plan was easy to follow.
After more skipping practice – that’s right we aim to be the best! – Aimee and I watched some students rehearsing a dance that involved very long bamboo sticks. The sticks were tapped on the floor and tapped together. At the same time dancers moved in and out of the sticks. It was very interesting to watch and I can’t wait to see the final performance.
Friday 21st October
The rain finally ended after falling non-stop for more than 24 hours. The only good thing about the rain was seeing the way students dry their umbrellas outside of class.
I was invited to join Aimee, Ethan and their students for a hot pot. The students were lovely – even singing a few Chinese songs to us – and there may or may not be a video of me singing Adele on the Chinese interwebs somewhere!
I started to feel 1st place fast approaching us as we had another skipping practice and even included basketball practice.
For dinner Aimee, Stephen and I went to a local restaurant where a little boy found interested in my guide book for long enough to take a photo.
Saturday 22nd October
Two students took Aimee and I to a local park. Unbeknownst to us the park housed a museum and two tea houses. We had a lovely time drinking tea and discovering minority culture. Towards the end of our trip a lady introduced herself to us. She is a local primary school teacher and teaches English. She invited us all to dinner! It was incredibly kind. She also invited us to visit her school and to teach a lesson. Aimee and I can’t wait to attend.