PART37, a long day teaching


Wednesday, 3rd, March,
2010.  I had little sleep last night and
as soon as I woke up at 6:30 I remember my impending day. I got up and had a
shower. Ah the sanctuary of my sweet shower. Oh that I could tarry here for
eternity washing away my worries and passing my time by lathering up my arm
pits and gonads. Alas it cannot be. I reluctantly got out of the shower. Got on
my smart shirt and trousers (Which Sarah lovingly washed and ironed for me, I
feel like a proper married man now).

 

I got a taxi to the school and when I
arrived I relished the wind and the early morning cool. Apple came with me
today and we both looked for the right building, let alone the right class
room. I was almost late, even though we arrived there half an hour before the
lesson starts.

 

I taught grade 4 again. The lesson went smoothly.
I was nice but strict and the students were very obedient. One time they got a
bit hysterical when I spent about 30 seconds trying to get the attention of a
student reading a book. All the students shouted at the poor boy in Chinese “look
the teacher is talking to you”. He looked scared and quickly stood up by his
desk Ridgley awaiting punishment. The rest of the classes were laughing and I
could tell it was going to escalate. I tried quieting them down but it was just
too loud. So I walked to the front of the class and clapped my hand together
and shouted loudly “OI”. Immediate silence. I looked at them angrily and told
them to shut up ( I really wanted to tell them to shut the fuck up, but
probably wise that I didn’t.) From then on they were quiet and well behaved. I established
that I was not a push over.

 

The next 4 lessons where with middle school
students. I was teaching class 5, 9, 18 and 4, all aged about 13. Lindsey told
me that the bigger the number the more naughty the students but I didn’t find
this with these groups. I found that teaching teenagers is quite easy. I don’t
have to raise my voice too much and they learn fast and the lessons go so
quickly. You can set them up to do partner work and take a break. I found it
very strange that the boys would not talk to the girls. When I paired up a girl
with a boy they would both become uncontrollably embarrassed. Sometimes they
would do the work together but the majority had to be pushed into it or some of
them flat out refused. Also they are generally so shy. Which is fine, I was
just nice to them and showed that I was not a monster and they usually became
more confident.

 

 In
one of the groups I saw that there was a group of burly boys at the back of the
class who were always talking. At one point when I asked everyone to be quiet
they were ignoring me and were still talking at the back. I straightened up and
took in a full lung of air. I shouted as loud as I could “HAY!!!!!!”. There was
deathly silence and everyone straightened up and put their hands on the desk. I
heard someone say under their breath “wow”. The boys at the back looked
especially scared. I pointed at them to shut up or go out. Later I made friends
with them by asking them a lot of questions and being friendly again. I think it’s
important to establish who is boss then you can be nice, otherwise they will
just walk all over you.

 

Oral English is not an exam subject and
most of the poor students are more worried about their exams than the one
lesson a week of oral English with the foreign monkey. None the less, it’s my
life and I am not going to turn gray from a bunch of little monsters who think
they can push me over in the class room. At the end of one class the student all
ran out of the class when the bell went. I shouted for them all to go back to their
desks and say goodbye properly. Also when I went into a new class I saw some
students running around and shouting, I told them to walk and be quiet. It
worked well to calm the students before the class.

 

The day went quickly and in general I was
very impressed with the respect and curtsy of the student. I left my water bottle
in a class room and half way to the next one a student ran up to me and return
it to me. Another student gave me a carton of yoghurt and the boards where
always cleaned before my classes. The middle school students even bowed to me
after they said good morning. I was surprised because in general you don’t see
many people bow in china. Only on special occasion. It’s more of a Japanese or Korean
thing.

 

After my class I met William, a Canadian
man who has lived here for 8 years on and off. He originally comes from a
country in the east and he looks Asian. I immediately liked him and we chatted
about things in Haikou. I watched some of his kindergarten classes. They were
only 15 minutes then he changed to another class. In one of the classes most of
the kids had really funky hair. One had a mullet. Another had a shaved head
with a tuft of hair at the front, quaffed up and he looked like Elvis. Another
one had a strip of hair along his brow and the rest of his hair was shaved. I
was given a very small plastic chair when I watched the lesson. One of the
teachers looked worried and ran off and came back with another small wooded
chair for me. She smiled and said in Chinese “you’re too heavy for this chair”.
William looked like a seasoned teacher very relaxed and he made the lessons
fun. One of the kindergartens little girls wobbled up to me and said  “hello uncle”. She was so sweet. She continued
to walk past me and went to the door and said hello to everyone who went past “hello
aunty” “hello uncle”. Watching the little children shout and throw their bodies
around waving flapping and the sort of thing children do, I though how similar
children, very old people and retards are. They all are in body’s that they don’t
know or no longer can control.

 

After watching William for a few lessons we
both walked along the road by the school chatting. He told me that if you drink
drive here you get very severe consequences. Very different from Xinzhuo. We
chatted about Chinese people and the things we loved and hated about the
country, I felt like he was very easy to get on with. Later I got a taxi back
home and I had a rest before preparing another lesson plan. My god lesson plans
take ages. I spent about 2 hours on the one yesterday and it looks like the
same today. I think later I will take less time.

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