School's out and everyone has gone home. Some of the kids have gone overseas to the US or UK, probably to check out the universities they wil be going to next year. For me, it's been a hectic four months but I must say it was rewarding since I can see kids really putting in effort to understand what they study.
Life as a teacher here isn't that bad. It's worse where I come from. I'd be working 7:30am to 7:00pm 6 days a week with limited benefits. Here, I just teach 25 hours a week. Administration isn't that problematic once you get the processes in place. In China, you really need to give lessons on processes. Once the processes have been approved by the management a notice to all teachers will be given and everyone just follows it. People here operate on a set of values, local values. I make it work for me by using their way of thinking, it simply means making rules for the simplest things. Any notice with an official stamp on it is the word. Don't follow it and shit happens. Local teachers are scared shitless of penalties because they may lose benefits and entitlements. Foreign teachers are different. I don't have to say too much. One simple email and its done. Talk about efficiency.
We have a mixed bag of foreigners here. A Pakistani, a British, a Swiss and recently a US born Ukranian. We have more coming in next semester. The rest are locals whose English are okay by Chinese standards.
Because I speak both English and Chinese. I provide a bridge between the locals and foreigners. Many a dispute were settled this way. Sometimes it's just using wrong words at the wrong time and people are sensitive. We also have religious issues, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, etc. I shall not talk about religion here. To each his own.
Lesson planning in school takes up a lot of time if you really want to deliver meaningful lessons each time. There has to be continuity, each lesson a continuation from the last. Kids learn fast when you are able to explain and demonstrate lessons. I use pictures and diagrams to illustrate clearly what the topic is about. The other important thing is you need to engage them in class. Having them participate in class is something some teachers can't do. That means you can't reach out to them and this results in boring lessons where both teachers and students want to end the lesson as soon as possible. But when you do get them to participate, it can get very rowdy. Kids get excited especially when you play word games. They are all so taken up with challenges and the need to win. I teach vocabulary using various methods. My favorite is using a long word and asking them to find as many words as possible from that word. I divide the class into 2 groups and boy, they really are competitive, challenging each other when words dont seem right. in the end, they learn a few new words each day and I pick out a few words as homework - they need to write a short passage to include those words.
On weekends I get to go out to the city to get some decent food, I mean real steaks and pasta. Sometimes I run into students who are out with their parents and they shout out my name from afar. Initially I felt embarassed but now I'm used to it. Kids feel grand when they are able to show off their teachers to their parents and introduce us using English (whatever). It appears that teachers here get a lot of respect from the local community, plus the fact that we are from the top 2 universities here helps.
All in, it was a fun semester. Today is the start of summer holidays and I'm still wondering if I should go back home. With the seasonal traveling here, planes tickets are expensive, plus the recent cancellation of numerous domestic flights makes it more expensive. I have to fly to Guangzhou to connect to another flight to get home and holding over for 17 hours for the connecting flight just isn't my idea of fun. Anyway, I'm still thinking about it.
The weather here is really coming down on us. 40 degree afternoons, warm nights, aircon going full blast all day. Can't wait for Autumn to get around again. For those thinking of coming here I'd suggest you wait till October. The heat will kill you.
Okay, so much for now. Fill you guys in before the start of semester. Meantime, have fun and be good, if you can't be good, at least be careful!
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great read. I enjoyed reading this because you don't preach or berate others on their experiences in China. I have had many similar experiences in China and have enjoyed a lot of my time there. Yes, many things depend on your attitude: even bad/frustrating experiences can be learnt from. You get frustrated, you move on, and later you can laugh about things. Not everything is sunny and rosy, and it is human to acknowledge these things. Hope you continue to have a positive experience there !
Aug 01, 2014 17:23 Report Abuse
Thanks Johnny! Actually it's how you look at things. If you are already here, why not make things work for you instead of bitching and ranting about how bad things are, and make yourself miserable? If you take things as they come then you will last longer. Does that make sense? Cheers mate!
Jul 31, 2014 22:09 Report Abuse