Monthly Archives: November 2010

around the city


ten weeks

It’s hard to believe that I just finished my tenth week teaching at this school.  I haven’t had the time or energy to write a blog post in a while, and for the past few weekends I’ve been meaning to write but then given up after writing a few words.  The kids have been pretty crazy in class lately, so I’ve had to step up my strictness and speak much more loudly.  My voice is a bit sore after this week, but after throwing two kids out of class, separating boisterous boys, and confiscating laser pointers, balls of paper, and correction tape dispensers, I think that I still have the upper hand on (most of) them.  Some classes make me want to go home and cry–the classes where there are absolutely no silent students when I speak and I have to tell them to be quiet over and over–and then some classes make me realize why I love teaching in China.  Some of the kids are so eager and excited about learning, and those classes make my day.

This week, the lesson was about asking how much something is in dollars while shopping.  So, the kids learned vocabulary for clothing and practiced dialogs between customers and store clerks.  I brought my goofy snow hat, a scarf, a bag, and a jacket for them to “sell” to each other while practicing the dialog at the front of the class.  Some kids didn’t attempt to do anything special with it, but some got really creative.  That’s kind of rare in this educational system, so I had a blast in those classes where the kids were thinking outside the box.  In one class (my favorite Tuesday class), instead of the usual two volunteers per dialog, three boys raised their hands and begged to come altogether to practice the dialog.  So I let them, curious about why all three wanted to try, and then started laughing with the rest of the class as one rascally little boy put all of the clothes on at once and stood in a model stance–the too big hat, the scarf wrapped around his face, my jacket hanging on, and my bag draped across his small form.  So he stood there as the other two kids played the part of the clerk and the customer, and started trying on the clothes that he was modeling.  It was goofy, and I enjoyed watching them have fun with it.  I attempted to take some pictures, but I couldn’t get any good ones…these kids do not hold still for anything.  I’ll put some up later, with the disclaimer that they’re very out of focus and reveal my awful photography skills.

Yesterday evening, I taught a small class of five and six-year-olds at another English center in the city.  I will be teaching there once a week, probably on Saturdays, so that it won’t disrupt my teaching at the middle school.  The kids at this  little private school are all from wealthy families who want their kids to learn English from a very early age, so the school has  foreign teachers come in to help the Chinese English teachers.  I have a TA named Jessie who has excellent English and is really adorable.  We played games and taught vocabulary words to the little ones for an hour and a half, and then after the lesson I had to fill out evaluation forms for each child before I left.  They’re very thorough about the teaching there, because as they explained to me, the parents have a lot of money and want the best for their kids.  Hopefully I can take some pictures and post them, because the kids are so cute. One of the boys, a roly-poly little guy named Teddy, is going to be trouble.  But after handling a bunch of 12 to 13 year old trouble-makers, I don’t think I will mind.