Summer Time

My timetable is now beginning to change because of the summer holidays. I have some students that are taking up more classes, while for another teacher, a lot of her students will not be here for the summer, meaning she has to try and get more students for the summer to make up her hours. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened me yet. I have unfortunately got one student who is going to come 4 times a week instead of the usual 2. Now, she’s not a bad student, she’s just extremely lazy, meaning it’s hard to get her to learn anything.

In my campus, I have now become known to the Chinese CC’s (people who organise demos for potential students) as ‘the girl who can do the baby demos’. By baby, I mean 3-4 years old, because to me they are still babies. Apparently I’m quite good at doing demos for young children, meaning quite a few of parents sign their children up. I have a 3 year old nephew and I used to play with him a lot at home, so I think that may have rubbed off. I just play with them and have a laugh with them. Of course I try and gage what level of English they have; with colours, numbers, simple vocab, whether they can say sentences and the like.

At the moment I have a 3 year old boy who I share with another teacher. We got a new game called ‘Falling Monkeys’, so I decided to play this game with him. When I told the other teacher this, he said to me “I was afraid to play it with him in case he would throw it around the place.” But to me, I just thought: he’ll like this game, I think I’ll play it with him. I imagined my nephew would enjoy it so that was my idea on it. Although he did throw it about, he did learn vocab and simple sentences from it.

I am also contemplating going home for a few weeks. Although I have to settle this with my senior teacher, I’m sure it would be ok. In August, it will be 6 months that I’ve been here, so half way through my contract. It would be good to break up the monotony of work.

I’m also thinking what I should do after my contract ends. My main reason is to learn the language. For my ideal job, a second language is a must. Whether the job is in Ireland or abroad, I know that learning Mandarin is important. Just some things are nagging me.

1. Loneliness. I’m becoming increasing lonely. Because my weekends are during the week, it’s very hard to meet people.

2. Monotony. I wake up, go to work, go home. I know people work, but it’s just become monotonous now.

3. Timetable. The worst thing about this company is my timetable. I work 9am-7:30pm Monday and Friday. Saturday I’m in work 9am-9pm. So I spend more hours in work than I do at home. That means I can’t do anything during the evenings.

4. Parents are more important. If the parent wants class at 9am, you teach them at 9am, even if you have no classes until 6pm. That means getting up for one class in the morning and waiting around all day until your next one. My Mondays and Fridays are this way. On a Sunday, I have class from 9am -4pm. My final class is at 6pm.Meaning I have to wait 2 hours just to teach a 45 minute class.

5. Cancellations. Sometimes the parents forget to call up and cancel the class, meaning you show up and they don’t come. This happened me a few times. What’s more, we don’t get paid for this.

Of course there are good things about the job. The people I work with are extremely nice, we are like a big family. The company is good, they provide trainings, give bonuses and they do try and help the teachers a lot. For example, a lady from the head office came to our campus and talked to each of us about any problems we are having and how the company could help, which is nice. The pay is relatively good, (for Chinese standards) meaning I don’t have to worry about money. Although where I live, this is where all the rich people are, meaning what I earn isn’t a lot to the student’s parents.

I’ve also decided to do the HSK level 1 exam. This is the Chinese language exam for foreigners. I need a goal to set my mind to. One day I could be on Level 6.

Aisling.

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