Tuesday: Arrived in Chengdu at around 7pm. I collected my bag and was met by one of the companies staff where they brought me to a University campus. I stayed here for 3 nights while they sorted out apartments for me.
Wednesday: I slept for most of the day. I think I was still jet-lagged and tired from the flight.
Thursday: I met another company staff where we looked at apartments. I saw 4 apartments in the same complex, although the complex is HUGE. The 3rd one was gorgeous and far nicer than the other 3 apartments, so I signed the contract and there it was! I also saw where I would be working. It is in a housing complex on the ground floor. Most of the campuses are located in this manner. It seems a relaxed place to work.
Friday: I left the ancient apartment in the University and travelled to Zhonghai, where I’ll be living in my apartment. This is north west of Chengdu. The area is a lot better than where I was situated in on my internship. There is a cinema, Starbucks, subway (although not very nice), a Walmart, a McDonalds, and other little places to eat. In Chengdu, Chinese people say that the North = crowded. South= expensive. East= poor. West= where the rich people live. So I’m living with wealthy people it seems. Its also more expensive than what I was used to in the poor oul West. But, where I live, it is a short walk to the Subway station as well which is great. No more having to get a 25 minute bus journey to the subway.
Although in my contract it said I would be living with another person, it turns out that I’ll be living on my own. Although it is great in some regards, like having the place to yourself, only cleaning up after you, not having to put up with annoying housemates…it also has its downsides, where you sometimes get lonely. I have just gotten the internet which is a godsend… now I actually have contact with people at home.
Saturday: I arrived to my first day of ‘work’… LATE of course. First the Tuck Tuck got lost, then I ended up going to 2 different entrances to what I thought led to the campus. I ended up having to ring the senior teacher and asking him where it was. I eventually found it. These apartment complexes are huge! That afternoon I ended up having to do an ‘activity’ with children, like showing them a presentation and making lanterns from oranges.
Sunday: Sunday morning we all met at 8am to do some marketing for the company. Although we had to do this for 4 hours, we do get paid. So I got paid for doing… well talking to children. That aspect was great. The early morning.. not so much.
The second week I was mainly working. To make up for the lack of hours I got this week, I have been doing observations ( looking in on other teachers classes and writing down feedback) and demos ( where you would have to entertain a prospective child/adult who are interested in the course.) The idea of demos is that you do a successful job and make and client pay. Simple really. I get paid for these because they are technically part of teaching.You also get a bonus if the client signs up or if one of your clients pays for an extra year.
The campus itself is great… and I make myself say campus, instead of ‘work’. It just doesn’t seem like work. The staff, teachers, and the campus itself is so laid back, somewhere where you meet your friends until teaching time. You can use your phones, eat and chat away to people without fear of ‘not doing your job’, because your technically ‘not doing your job’ until you walk into that classroom. That’s when work starts.
Teaching this time round is going to be hugely different to my past experience of teaching. Although there are good and points about each type, at least they will give me experience in different types of teaching, and will look good on my CV.
I just hope the students don’t drive me mad altogether.