I Feel Like A Child!

boy in brown hoodie carrying red backpack while walking on dirt road near tall trees

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My last posts were about going for an interview for a tourism course! So anyway, I got a place and went for the first meeting with all the other students who were doing different courses. I got my timetable (it’ll most likely change they said) and I saw the other students that will be in my class.

And I was right. I am most definitely the oldest out of them all! So I don’t really know how to feel about this! I saw that there were other mature students there so I know I’m not the oldest out of the whole class year, but still… it’s a bit unnerving.

So today I had to go to the school and get my student email and my student card. And Oh My God I felt like I was 18 all over again and couldn’t do anything!

Firstly, when the teacher said “Good morning” there was a grumble back. She looked around and raised her voice “GOOD MORNING!”.

This is EXACTLY what I had to do when I was teaching my 18 year olds in the University in China. (At 8 o’clock, 10 o’clock….. and pretty much at the beginning of every class they were half asleep)

Except now I’m part of these 18 year olds!

AAGGHH!

It’s very unnerving! I was the most responsible person and the boss of an entire classroom in China, and now I’m a student having to listen and take orders from a teacher. It’s quite hard to adapt!

Next, we were brought into a computer room and we were told how to sign up for our emails and that. We were literally told step by step how to log in, how to click on the Google Chrome, how to put our details in. How to sign out. 

I know all this stuff, and if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll figure it out by their step by step leaflet they gave us all about how to log in.

I don’t need to be babied around.

Then to add to this babying, I didn’t have my page filling the whole screen (because it was fine the way it was), and a teacher came over and said “You know if you click that square button on the top you can make the screen bigger”.

I Know.

But, I politely said thanks and clicked it. But honestly, this whole morning I felt like I was 18 again and having to have teachers to help me.

I’m pretty sure the teachers were like this when I started studying my BA degree when I was 18, but now that I’m older I really can see how I’ve become more mature.

But anyway, I start classes on Monday so we’ll see how that day goes. But I suppose one good thing is that maybe the teacher thought I actually was 18! Because If I was the teacher and saw a near 30 year old I would expect them to know that the square button makes the page bigger.

Aisling

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I got accepted, but….

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Photo by 祝 鹤槐 on Pexels.com

My last blog talked about how I was going for an interview for a tourism course and thankfully I got accepted. I just paid the fee to secure my place, so I’m now a student once again! I’m happy in one sense but I’m also a bit nervous about it all.

You see this course is usually for younger students that are just out of school; they don’t know what they want to do yet so they do a course like this in order for them to see what they would be interested in, or maybe they didn’t get the points needed for their chosen course in University, so they do a course in the college I will attend in order to get the points necessary for the next year they apply. They usually wouldn’t even have done a University degree yet, unlike me!

And also unlike me, they wouldn’t be 29 doing a course. More like 18!

So I’m 100% sure that I will be the oldest in the whole class! I’m trying not to let this bother me; my sister also done beauty/massage course with this college and she was 30 doing it. She done two courses. The first one was makeup and beauty (because she was 100% certain she wanted to work in beauty). She told me she was the oldest in the class and that her classmates ‘were very immature’ and she put it!

She ended up not liking the beauty aspect of the course after all, so then she spent another year learning massage, reiki, reflexology, and she loved this! She had to do 2 weeks work experience which she found in a hotel, and I mean she literally just finished the course when the hotel rang her up and asked her to go in for an interview! They rang her!! She successfully got the job and now she is loving it and really enjoys working in a Spa. For my sister, doing the course in the college was definitely the right thing for her, so I’m hoping that something like that will happen to me.

I’m just afraid in case I put in the year doing the course and then I’m stuck once more not being able to get a job. I will be 30 when I finish, and yeah, if I was 23/24 even 25 and I decided to do a course that would be ok, but now I feel I kind of should have my life figured out by now!

Plus I’m going to be spending a year learning with 17/18 year olds. (I taught that age in China!)

But I know I also need to do the course even just for my mind. I’m going crazy here doing nothing. At least in Mexico I was busy studying Spanish, but in Ireland It’s more difficult to study it because I don’t actually need it, so doing the course is half about just keeping me busy and occupied!

So I suppose now this blog will now be about my course and what that entails for the next year!

So stay tuned if you want to see what happens with my no idea what I’m doing, sure I may as well do a course and see what happens life!

Aisling

 

Their English & My Spanish

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I’ve been dabbling in Spanish for the past few months, but I’ve only really been putting an extra effort in it since I came back from Mexico. I can have a basic conversation and I say I’m about A2 right now. I can understand more than what I can say. So I think I’m gradually getting better with it! I don’t think my pronunciation is bad, but I need to learn the conjugations and what not. Plus increase my vocab.

As I teach English to Chinese students, I’ve been meeting up with every student and asking them “Where are you from?” “Where do you want to visit in China?” “What country do you want to visit?” and ” What do you do in your free-time?”.

Simple enough questions. But I noticed that so many of my students have atrocious English! Some of them don’t even understand “Where are you from?”.

I actually realised that I can speak better Spanish than they can speak English…… and they have been learning English since they were 4 years old!

I understand English is similar to Spanish, but these kids have been learning it since they were little. They really should be more fluent. Plus many, if not all of my students get basic tenses wrong. they would say ‘She get’, ‘Yesterday I go….’

Like this is very basic grammar, but yet they struggle. In Chinese they don’t have tenses. So for ‘I eat’ is ‘Wo chi’/ 我吃.

‘I ate’ is ‘Wo chi le’/ 我吃了.

You add ‘le’ 了 and it changes to past. So there is no conjugation needed in Chinese. So I do understand that changing tenses and what not is difficult for them, but come on, it’s not as if they only started learning English!

I think a huge part is how they are taught it at school. They are made to learn long boring passages in English from their books, and it’s just not useful for them. They don’t do enough/or any speaking in class, and they focus too much on grammar. So the way they are taught doesn’t exactly help them.

Plus many just don’t want to learn English. They don’t plan on leaving China, so why should they bother? Personally I think they are crazy; they are wrapped in their own bubble here and they have no interest in exploring the world. They are taught that China is best…. so why would they want to leave that?

Many know that English is important, I’ve asked them. They all say “It’s an international language and it’s very important to learn”…… but many just don’t learn it.

So when I compare my Spanish to my students’ English, I’m definitely progressing faster than them!

Aisling.

They simply don’t care

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So I’ve started back teaching again for this semester. I just had my second week of teaching and I’m really not enjoying it.

The majority of my classes are so lazy, don’t want to do anything, and just don’t want to be there. I just hate having to teach a class, asking them a question such as ‘Have you seen this film?’ and all 30 students just stare at me and not say a word.

Like they can’t even be bothered to reply either yes or no. That’s what really drives me mad. I feel like they don’t care what the hell I say. I’m not important enough to be given a reply. Last semester I had much better students. Pretty much all of them were girls, and I really got on well with all of them. So now I’m stuck with lots of boys that don’t give a crap about English, and are only there because they have to be.

My class this was week was that I was explaining the rules, then we did a listening exercise, and finally I played a game with them. So do the boring stuff first and then the game. But many classes just didn’t seem bothered with anything. Ok the game was a bit better, but I just feel so demoted. I really can’t be bothered teaching these students, and I feel I’m going to dread every week.

I even told them “Guys please answer my questions, it makes me feel bad when no one answers”. Still nothing.

So I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m accommodating for the students, whereas it should be them accommodating for me. I’m here to teach them English, but all they want to do is play games and play on their phones…. oh or sleep.

During the break one girl came up and said the class is boring. Jesus all I did was the rules of the classroom and a listening activity. There was even a video they could watch!! So I can’t understand how they are bored with just that???? Oh yeah she loved the game after the break, but I need to try and teach them something?!

These kids are 18 years and over. I can’t remember every thinking that my class was boring. Maybe it was but I’d never say it to my teacher?!? I just got on with it and listened to them.

These kids don’t even bring a PEN to class. One of my classroom rules was ‘Bring a pen, notebook and textbook to every class’. Like I actually have to say that to them, but I do. Lots don’t bring a pen or notebook, and some with no notebook just write in their textbook instead.

Like they only need 3 things!!! Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching children. Or worse, they bring a bag with absolutely nothing in it. Or I hear the famous “I forgot my things”.

How lazy can they be?

I miss my old students. I could have a laugh with them. But with these ones, I’m pretty sure half of the boys stay in their dorm rooms all day and night huddled by their computer just playing video games. No interaction with the outside world at all.

Last semester I had great plans to teach, but now I really don’t care. The students don’t care, so why should I? I feel like I’m wasting my time, especially when they don’t even answer me.

I can’t wait to be finished with them. Other teachers are planning on staying another year, but I just can’t. It’s too demoralising for me. I want a job that is meaningful, instead of being a clown and a comedian in class.

So I’m trying to figure out the easiest method of not teaching these students anything, more games (and even a few classes weren’t too bothered with the ones I played already)  and showing them films (I’m already planning on showing one next week), so I can save myself a few weeks of trying to teach them something.

I hope the next few weeks will be better, only 15 more weeks (yay….)

 Aisling

A Gift From Work

As I’m living in China, I’ve unfortunately had to work on Christmas day. Because I’m working in a University, there’s no hope in hell that I’d be able to take it off. It’s just a normal day for the students and other teachers! However If I was working in a private English company, they would (usually) allow every foreign teacher a day off.

So to make it at least a little more Christmassy, I decided that for this week we would watch the film ‘Elf’ in class together. I needed to talk to students one on one, so the others watched the film while I talked to each student. So it was an easy class for them!
I’ve now watched the second half of ‘Elf’ 10 times…… so I don’t want to see that film for another 5/6 years!!! That’s one problem of watching a film; you have to watch it 10 more times for every class!

During Monday I received a message from the school asking me to go and pick up my Christmas gift. Gift?? I’m actually getting a gift from the school!!! God that’s nice of them! They still haven’t given us a hoover that we’ve needed since we started in September, so I was surprised I actually received 500yuan/ €65 in a hongbao (red envelope)!

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STILL no hoover though!

But anyway, it was a nice surprise to receive! In my old company I’d most likely get a small flower with a greeting attached to it…. so my hongbao is way better!

So next week we all have a week off from uni and then we only have 3 more weeks left until the semester is over! I’ve been complaining that it’s going too slow, but now I’m nearing the finish line at last!

Now I need to think about what I’ll spend my 500yuan on! Definitely not a hoover anyway! I’ll keep badgering the school about that.

Aisling

Exams….. some just don’t care.

So for the past 2 weeks my students have been preparing to do a 4-5 minute role-play for me as part of their exams. The first week was to think up their idea and start writing their script. They then came in groups and they practiced in front of me and I made adjustments with their scripts in the second week. For the third week they could practice for the first 45 minutes and then do their exam.

So they had PLENTY of time to rehearse and remember their lines.

I was pretty surprised that for my classes on Monday, 3-4 groups couldn’t remember what to say!

And one was a total disaster altogether! Because their english is very low, I told them that their role-play could be 3-4 minutes long. I also put a student whose English is higher than the others in with this group so he could help them make their script and what not. So they come in and none of them know their lines. They didn’t know what they were doing, and it definitely wasn’t practiced.

It frustrates me because I gave them plenty of time and I made it easier for them because I know they would struggle. Some of these students are failing because they don’t try in class. I told them this too. So I thought that they would put a bit more effort into it and try at least. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them.

I don’t want to fail them but if they continue not caring and not putting effort into anything then I’ll be forced to. What annoys me even more is that I actually made it easier for them and they still didn’t care!

On a better side, I had one all girl group and they were really good! They were doing like a dating show and the girls with the lights had to decide if he (the girl on the far right) matched up to their expectations. The girl on the far left was the host. They had a ppt ready, props, and it was different to all the rest of the others I’ve seen so far! This group is in the class that is my favourite, so I’m happy that they tried a lot! They’ll definitely be getting a good score.

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My favourite group so far!

 

On a weirder note, I received a text message from one of my students and she asked could I give her 90% on the exam. I wasn’t sure what she was on about and replied that the exam isn’t until next week. I said “I know, but will you give me 90%?”

Ok??????? She’s a good student and her English is good but she actually has the audacity to ask for a high mark. I would never have asked my teachers any such question! It would be more like how can I improve so I could get a better mark. So I replied back “It depends on how well you do in the exam”.

Her response…”Too cruel!!!”

So apparently I’m too cruel. Huh.

Maybe she’s the cruel one because she didn’t bribe me with anything!

Aisling

Preparing For Exams

For this semester of teaching, I decided I was going to give my students one main speaking exam at the end of the semester. However I then thought that I would give them one now and then another one at the end. For their first exam, they would have to present a 4-5 minute role-play with a beginning, middle and end to it. This would be worth 15%.

I’ve students and their English is very very bad so I’ve told them they can present theirs for about 3 minutes.

Throughout the few weeks that I’ve been teaching them, I’ve given them quite a few role-plays to do already, so this shouldn’t be new to them! Role-plays are really just to get them to be creative and try and use English in a real life situation. Some don’t particularly enjoy them (they would be quite happy sleeping/playing on their phones) but some really do try their best.

So during the previous week I was helping each group think of ideas and characters they could use. I had one group say “Our role-play will be a group of friends meeting up, we will introduce ourselves”.

Ok….. sounds a bit boring to be honest. Also not very creative. So I advised them to change their idea.

Another group had in mind about doing a role-play of one person getting food poisoning in a restaurant. So I said ” Make it more exciting, maybe Mandy will get sick and you will have to bring her to the doctor and then she dies suddenly!?”

“WWHHOOOAAAHHH” they all exclaim! To me, that just came naturally…. how do you make it more creative??? Have someone violently die obviously.

But for them, they really wouldn’t have thought of doing that. They lack a lot of creativity these kids, so doing something like a role-play is very daunting for them. That’s why I want to teach them to be more creative. Yeah some of them are very intelligent, but making up a story by themselves; that’s difficult.

So I’ll see what type of role-plays they present to me next week. Hopefully there won’t be one about introducing themselves……..yawn.

Aisling.