My first week of being a student again is done and dusted…. and here are a few things I’ve noticed:
- Students eat rubbish! I can’t remember what I ate when I was 18, but for lunch this week, everywhere I looked I saw students with crisps, chocolate bars, curry chips, fizzy drinks. And me there eating my carrots with humous! My classmates would pull out a big packet of crisps for our 11 o’clock break, and I would be thinking ‘Oh no I really couldn’t handle eating crisps so early. They wouldn’t even fill me up anyway!’ I was surprised at how much rubbish they actually eat. In China I didn’t see my students eating rubbish because they had a huge canteen that supplied them with noodles and everything, so they were well catered for. The canteen in my college is tiny and only sells crisps, popcorn, sausage rolls and sandwich rolls. These 18 year olds can get away with eating whatever they like, whereas now I know that if I eat crisps and chocolate everyday I’ll put on weight! So they may enjoy it while they can!
- They aren’t as tired as students in China. In China, classes started at 8am at the college I worked for, with classes ending at 5:40pm or even 8:30pm for students having night classes. Then of course they go home and play computer games until 2am, so then they are half asleep coming to class. In my college class starts at 9am and the last class finishes at 3:30pm, so the students aren’t nearly as tired as the ones in China!
- They don’t use their phones as much. In China, it was a battle telling my students to put their phones away. They would listen to music in class, play games or watch basketball matches. However the students that are in my class here don’t use their phones at all! I looked around once and all of the students were just sitting there listening to the teacher. So it’s good to see that that really bad habit hasn’t caught on here!
- They are more into comfy clothes. Here the girls wear more baggy clothes and they don’t flaunt their bodies as much as in China. They wear tracksuits more and really just dress for the weather. If it’s cold they wear big jumpers to keep themselves warm. In China they wear more stylish outfits and they sometimes wear extremely short skirts! Even if it’s freezing they will still have a dress on!
- They are immature. I can’t really compare in China because I wasn’t able to have more than a basic conversation with my students, but here I realise it more because I just can’t talk to them about more mature topics like Brexit or the daily antics of Trump! Because they don’t have much life experience, they are limited in what to talk about. I really miss being able to have an adult conversation at break time, especially when one of my classmates asks me if one of the boys in our class likes her?! Haha it’s very hard to get excited when they tell me what they ate for dinner yesterday! So for me that is a problem that I didn’t anticipate. I think this has to be the most annoying thing; they don’t seem to want to know about their classmates or anything like that, whereas for me, I’m interested in hearing about peoples lives and their opinions on this and that.
- Teachers are late. In China we would literally have to run to class if we were going to be 10 seconds late! And letting them finish early was a definite no no! (We let them go early if we could get away with it though!) But in my college now, our teachers sometimes stroll into class 5 minutes late. Maybe it’s different in different schools both in China and Ireland, but it feels weird having to wait for the teacher to come, meanwhile in China I was pretty much always the first to class.
- They also like sitting at the back of the class. In China I hated when the students would sit at the back and leave the first two rows empty. One because they are just too far away, and two I really didn’t like having to shout all the way to the back! At least when they sit closer to me then I didn’t have to raise my voice. In Ireland it’s the exact same! They all run for the back seats, whereas I sit at the front now. When I was 18 I was the exact same (Keep as far away from the teacher as possible!!) but now I really don’t care. I don’t plan on using my phone and I don’t plan on causing trouble, so there’s no reason for me to sit at the back. When I was 18 I thought ‘Hehe I’ll sit at the back so the teacher won’t see me and ask me something….she won’t even know I’m here hehe’ Now I think ‘Mmm they are lazy ones, I’ll make sure to ask them plenty of questions.’
So these are a few things that I’ve noticed on my first week back. Maybe I will venture into Brexit during break to see what my classmates think about it.
I won’t be surprised if I get “I don’t really know anything about it”