Had my first lesson today! Finally after a week of doing nothing since I arrived, it was good to actually start doing what I was meant to be here for. The class was 90 minutes long. 45 minutes, 5 min break, then another 45 minutes. It was quite daunting, trying to think of things to do in those minutes. I was teaching an elective group, who were studying Automotive Engineering, aged 17-19 years. They are apparently really clever, it’s just their English isn’t great.
Although I started teaching.. . my god was it challenging. My group just wouldn’t answer my questions. It was like trying to get blood out of a stone. I quickly realised who was the best at English, firing questions at me. What made it worst though, I can’t actually understand the students. They say something to me and I have to ask them 3 times to repeat it. I just can’t understand them. Hopefully after a few more classes I will be able to catch a few phrases.
I also have a teaching assistant. .. I never saw the day where I would have an assistant. They got the power point ready for me, had a copy of my information, and they also brought a ball for me to use in the class. I was even asked do I want them to actually MAKE my power point before class! How mad is that? Their main job however is to translate to the students what I’ve just said. It kind of defeats the purpose though in my opinion. . . but apparently its necessary because they are really bad at English. Even their teachers (who aren’t great at English themselves) state they are ‘not very good’. My teaching assistant for that group is called Liang, he is so funny and nice. He only had to interpret what I said once to the group which was good. My next class is tomorrow at 3:15. My latest class runs from 7pm to 8:35pm at night!
I also forgot to mention my Great Wall experience. It was AMAZING. We had brilliant weather too, so we could see for miles in any direction. It was such an experience I will never forget. I actually made it to the top of our section… it was STEEP. I couldn’t get over how steep it was. My legs were aching by the time I reached the top, but I was so pleased with myself. I was ready to quit near the top, but I said to myself ‘when will I ever get to do this again?’ So I pushed on and made it! I will never ever forget it.
After the Wall, we went for dinner, then went to see the Birds Nest. We didn’t have a lot of time because we left late from the campus (nothing is ever on time in China) so we just got to go up on a bridge and look at it from there. We then headed to Tiananmen Square for a nosy. Nothing exciting was happening there. After that we got food…aka Peking Duck. I enjoyed it but with a large table of about 10 people, there wasn’t much left after the Lazy Susan got to everyone. A Lazy Susan is a turntable in the middle of the table which spins. The food sits on top so everyone shares from the same dishes. Later we headed to the Acrobatics show. It was really good. There were girls spinning plates, balancing umbrellas, men throwing hats… I assure it was a lot better than what I described! All this happened the day before I left for Chengdu, so it was nice to be with the group one last time.
I went out last Friday night and met up with the Chengdu crowd. I have never seen half of them before because A. I just never got to talk to them before, or B. they were with the Love Tefl group. I actually had a great night, just would have been nice if some of my friends whom I met on the course were there.
And it’s ‘Teachers Day’ tomorrow. I’m not going to be expecting much, or anything for that matter from the students. An answer to a question would be nice though.