Archive for ‘Teaching’

April 13, 2010

the ants go marching one by one

When I was teaching (English) in Shenzhen, China I had this brilliant idea for a lesson plan. I had this kids’ song on my computer – The ants go marching – and I thought it would be fun to teach the kids the song whilst practising numbers and positioning (one by one, two by two etc). First we went through the lyrics, then we got up and marched, and eventually we’d quickly reorganize ourselves according to the song. I tried this with my 3rd and 4th graders, and it was hilarious! Hearing them “sing” the song too was just hypnotizing. If there’s something my students knew how to do, it was marching. And be adorable.

Sometimes I’d like to go back and see them, just to say hello and hear those cute little voices chant “Good morning teacher!”

My lovely P3 class at SZOEC

February 10, 2010

The one with all the kids

After Golden week, it was time to go back to work. The Chinese have some silly theory that if you’ve had some extra days off (the days apart from the National Holiday that made it Golden WEEK) you need to compensate for this by working the next weekend. Meaning, we get back to work for 8 days without a break. It was a  pretty tough week, even tougher after that lovely week off…

Our accommodations were still a mess when we got back. Sigrid and I were still sharing a room, Charlie still had the occasional brick falling down and lack of electricity, and classes were abundant. No internet, no fridge, no tv or dvd… And teaching wasn’t aaaall that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved parts of it, but some days it was just so utterly demotivating (in my case Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I had chlorine class and we don’t wanna travel because we don’t wanna learn English-class). I had a hard time getting through to my oldest students, who weren’t the least bit interested in learning any English what so ever.

Wednesday October 14th Sigrid (my partner in crime) told me she was going to leave the programme. She had spoken to a friend that was staying in New Zealand and decided to hop down there to do something she’d enjoy more. I admired her courage and respected her decision, which also made me think a bit about what I was going to do. I wasn’t completely at ease with putting up with 12 more weeks of emotional rollercoaster rides, so I decided to take the weekend to think about it.

So I quit the programme too.

These pictures are the ones I took of my favourite kids the last 2 weeks before I left my school and went off on my own little adventure. Even though I’d just known them for 2 months, we got pretty close and I was kind of sad to leave them, knowing how hard it was on some… I’ll definitely go back and visit (:

February 10, 2010

The one with all the changes

Along with almost 30 other people, I was one of those who didn’t have a placement sorted at first. Or ever. Whatever.

When everyone else had left for their placements and after all of those heartfelt goodbyes, I went to bed (got very little proper sleep the night before). I was woken up by my flatmate Jami saying we had to be in the café at 3pm for some meeting. Dazed and confused, I went and saw all the other “rejects” gathered. In came Jerry and Kevin, two Chinese dudes who claimed to be the answer to all our problems. “We’ve got many schools in the south! Who wants to go south?”

Being the eager person that I am, only wanting a frickin placement asap, I said I did. 11am the next day, 18 of us rushed to a train taking us from Beijing to Guangzhou in 22h. Once arriving on Monday, those with placements went off to theirs, and left behind 10 of us, who were fortunate enough to be heading to Shenzhen in a mini minivan. A shower and some sleep was a luxury we were not granted, but we did get to see a bunch of schools and do a lot of interviews as soon as we got to Shenzhen. Being “black” wasn’t really benificial, so it took a while to get placed, but by Friday we found Shenzhen Oriental English College, where Charlie, Sigrid and me would be teaching from there on.

Many things in our contract with TTC were not upheld, such as individual rooms (Sigrid & I shared), kitchen, TV, DVD, mandarin lessons and in Charlie’s case also electricity, toilet and I don’t know if it was in the contract, but I’m sure tiles are not supposed to be randomly dropping onto your balcony… Despite all of this, we pulled through and taught as well as we could. Sure, there were difficulties, and rather tough weeks at times, but everything got a lot better once weekend arrived and it was time to visit Anja & Emma in Foshan. Wiie.

December 24, 2009

Ho ho ho

We wish you a merry syfilis,
We wish you a merry syfilis,
We wish you a merry syfilis
and a happy gonorrhea

I just finished morning session of teaching and I’m beat. I’ve been singing and smiling so much my face physically hurts. Kids were cute as usual though. Went through numbers 11-15 and played a bunch of flash card games and the last 5-10min we spent learning “We wish you a merry Christmas” (the proper version, OF COURSE!) and singing it over and over again along with this DVD video of a bear, a mouse, a cat and a dog singing it with Santa. Meanwhile I’d walk around with this big green (!) sack of candy (lollipops) and hand two out to each cute little kid and saying Merry Christmas. I didn’t really wear the suit, but I did wear a hat. Love that hat. Tee hee.

TA Candy proves I wasn't the only one who was beat this morning...

TA Candy proves I wasn't the only one who was beat this morning...

I just love being Santa =)

I just love being Santa =)

Merry Christmas from Bei Lei kids (bribed with lollipops=)

Merry Christmas from Bei Lei kids (bribed with lollipops=)

Today is one of them long days for me. Got a lunch break until 2.30pm now, then I have two lessons, break, then a two hour lesson with some adults. Being Christmas Eve and all, I guess I’ll do some Christmas presentation on PPT or something of the sort. At 9pm I’m finally off, and that for the rest of the weekend! =) However, I have this Christmas lunch thingy with work tomorrow, so I’ll be attending that and later on I’ll be hitting Guangzhou with Angel, Emmezing and Chocolate. And I’ll be Lucky. Mwahaha. Skippety hop, you’ll be there in spirit, I know it. Anyway…


Ps. As for the song with the somewhat erroneous lyrics, I can thank my colleague Marc for that. Started singing this version when we heard the song, and now I really do hear this version because it’s so damn similar. Shit.

December 22, 2009

Thoughts in the cold.

Currently sitting on my big bed all wrapped up in my big blanket and freeeeeezing. My fingers are soo cold and I’ve actually got a bit of a hard time typing. Christ. I suppose maybe typing for my fingers is like running for my body, you know, with the whole warming up. So we’re saying this is a good thing.

I just realized I might’ve forgotten my mittens in kindergarten. Shit.

For those of you less informed, I’m currently teaching at/for a training centre in Huadu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. Lovely “little” city it is, and my apartment is sweet. At first I was pretty sceptical to this, what with some things not being very clear and honest, but it’s definitely taken a turn now and well on its way to pretty damn nice. I teach English at a nice little kindergarten 5min from my place every morning 9.10-11.05 then I have a lunch break for a couple of hours depending on the day. In the afternoon I teach primary from 2.30-4.05/3.20-5.00 at different schools a in the area which is okay. Tuesday and Thursday evenings I teach adults at the centre, 7-9pm. It’s actually pretty interesting, teaching adults. We just talk and talk and talk about stuff. For the other classes I have a Chinese TA (Teacher’s Assistant) which is great because they help out A LOT.

My very first own place :D
View from my balcony. Big super just there!

I’ve started to really like this place and my colleagues. Have coffee on a regular basis with a British teacher/DoS, made friends with a Chinese make-up artist in the nail salon Friday, went shopping with a Chinese TA Friday and had a cosy dinner with most members of our department Saturday.

Me & Cassie, one of the sweetest ^^.
The Teacher's Assistant crew (excl 1)

The Teacher's Assistant crew (excl 1)

Yeah, I know, it’s all peachy, right? But well, it’s still teaching. However much I do enjoy it (the kids can be sooo adorable and the adults can have such interesting views) I feel like I’ve done it, and it’s not really for me. I’m not an exceptionally good teacher. Not a really bad one either, but I feel like I’m not really cut out for it. I miss learning. And questioning. And analysing. I’m ready to do something else now… There was the possibility of a journalism internship in Hainan, an island about 12h trainride away from here, but they’ve come off quite unserious to me, so it doesn’t seem to be happening at this point. But fuck it. I’ll take off from here, go traveling and try to make my money last until after Chinese New Year, then take off home and work my butt off so I can begin studying in the fall. Applying to Hong Kong University, and hoping for that to happen. Yup. HKU. Imagine that.