It was then time to take my first English class! I was very nervous but as soon as we walked in the students were so welcoming and we felt at ease straight away. I did my lesson on family and friends and used a lot of lovely pictures from home! I also played a Beatles song at the end which they didn’t know so listening to The Beatles was their homework! But they were so good at family vocab that I even introduced them to my “Great Uncle” and my “first cousin once removed”. Their English was very good and I was surprised at how much they knew! We didn’t really have any idea of their English before we rocked up on the Monday except the fact that they knew 2000 words…which I couldn’t judge as being good or bad! I mean how many words do we know? It is very different in China because they quantify everything and if you know 2000 Chinese characters that’s pretty good and you can get by in China. The most famous westerner in China, when it comes to the language, is a Canadian man called ‘Dàshān’ and apparently he knows 6000 characters and is the best western Chinese speaker around! I believe he works on Chinese TV now.
|Our lovely Beijing Senior 1 class|
Also as a reward for completing our first Chinese class, on the Monday night, Hayley, Charlotte and I treated ourselves to what I can only describe as a most interesting ice cream sundae…it was going well with the cream and the chocolate and strawberry ice cream, then as we started demolishing the top layers there appeared something rather unusual that I had assumed were lumps of chocolate….unfortunately this was not the case. It turns out that we had some sort of bean in the bottom of our ice cream as well as other assorted vegetables like peas. It was definitely very interesting but perhaps one to avoid in the future, I am still yet to pluck up enough courage to try the pea flavoured ice lollies that I see lurking in the freezers at the supermarket.
|Hayley with the ominous looking ice cream!|
On the second day of our placement the students all had English name cards and the array of names was intriguing…they ranged from the very old school like ‘Gerald’ and ‘Sherry’ to the slightly bizzare name of…’Prowl’ and ‘Lax’. My second lesson plan was on Food and we did a ‘Come Dine with Me’ style activity which was great and also a quiz to see how much they knew about British Cuisine. They thought that fish and chips was the nation’s favourite dish and that if you ask for a ‘99’ you would like a timetable for the no. 99 bus. But they did know that haggis came from Scotland but not what it was!
On our last day we got a few little pressies which was ever so sweet and a lovely note from one of the girls. A couple of the students email me about what they are up too! I did think one girl called Sherry might cry when we left but they are great kids and we will miss them! We learnt a lot over the two weeks in Beijing and now we are ‘proper’ teachers which is rather daunting! I have decided I also need a complete new teacher wardrobe although I am on a Chinese wage now so have to be very careful! I am not a fan of the lesson planning but I do love working with the students and introducing our culture to them. They are so interested in us and where we come from, especially as a lot of them have not been outside China.
One of the best things about being a teacher in China is ‘Teachers Day”. We discovered that this year it is on 10th Sept and apparently teachers are given flowers and pressies which is rather nice! Although the downside to this is that teachers normally have to perform something or another on stage…on our very first day here in Tianjin we were asked if we could perform something although I think due to unforeseen circumstances we do not have enough time to organise the music etc as the teachers are all so busy! We have been asked to sing at karaoke and apparently the Chinese all love the song “Auld Land Syne” because of the film “Waterloo Bridge”. So we may be singing this sad song in the middle of September which will be a little surreal! They go crazy for karaoke here and there is a KTV on every corner! This could be a big step towards building up our ‘rep’ within the school so wish us luck!