PART 50 Jin Pan school and the worst class ever

Tuesday, 16th, March. I had my
first day at a new school today. Jin pan school is in the industrial area of
Haikou city. It was smaller and noticeably less wealthy than the massive clean
Shuang Dao School. On a different note the shuang Dao school is apparently the
biggest primary school in Hainan province and also the best one. But that’s
according to one of the teachers there, so maybe he was just trying to impress
me. I wouldn’t surprise me if he was telling the truth.


Catherine picked me up in her car from our home
and drove me to Jin pan school on the first day. I wanted to look over my
lesson plan in the car but Catherine likes to talk a lot so I had no time to do
anything but nod along with the conversation. I was desperately tired, Last
night I was fretting away about what the new school would be like so I had
little sleep. When we arrived the head master greeted us and we went to my
first class. It was primary grade 2 and there where about 50 students all
crammed into a small class. They where incredibly loud and over excited. Unlike
the students in Shuang Dao school who have been taught some manners and don’t
scream and shout and touch you when you come into the class, well they don’t do
it too much. The first lesson went surprisingly well. I played games and kept
them entertained. Catherine was watching the class and afterward she said I had
done well and that she would send some of the Chinese teachers from New window
to watch my class to learn from it. I felt very happy about this; if I can
impress my boss I think I will have more leverage when I ask for full days off
next month.


The second lesson was the worst class I
have ever had. I walked into the class room and a horde, literally a horde
jumped me and I was surrounded my screaming grade2ers. Shouting “HELLO!”, “WHATS
YOU’RE NAME”.( it interesting how people can ask a question without making it
sound like a question or waiting for a reply. When kids say “how are you” in
China it’s more of a statement rather than an actual question). There was so
many of them I was being tripped and pushed around by the sheer mass of kids
pushing from all angles


told them nicely to sit down and when a few of the persistent kids ignored me
and kept shouting at me I lost my rag, I very nearly grabbed one of them by the
throat. Instead I puffed my chest out and singled him out and told him very threateningly
to sit down now!. He did and then I bellowed at the rest and they all went to
there seats. When their class teacher came in they all looked very scared and
sat up straight and quiet. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that foreign
teachers are considered to be push over’s and that you can just play around in
their classes. The student respect and fear there Chinese teachers, but the
western teacher is just a clown to entertain. I am afraid that I am not going
to indulge this myth. In this class I sent one boy out, got another two to
stand in the corner and generally menaced the rest. They were so unbelievably
rude and loud. The class teacher went around hitting some of the naughty ones
with a rolled up magazine but even this didn’t really work. She walked down the
aisles whacking on one side and then the next, Like a knight on a hoarse
slashing at the foot soldiers below her. At the end of the class my voice was
hoarse and I wanted to cry. The class teacher came up to me and said “ I am so
sorry they are so naughty, I cannot control them”, Her name was Mrs. Chen and I
felt like we were on the same side. I am determined to get this class to behave
and learn. I will think up a better plan for next week. In might involve
bringing a hard unyielding cane to class. But seriously I don’t think I could
ever get in the habit of hitting the students I just don’t have it in me.


I got a taxi back home at lunch time and
the taxi driver started a conversation with me. With the usually formalities
over he began telling me about what China was like in the past. “being a
teacher in old China was not so good, but now it’s a very good job”, he told me
in a thick northern Chinese accent which I almost didn’t understand. I assume
he was referring to the general distrust and hatred of academic persons in the era
of Mao, s cultural revolution. Being anything but a peasant meant you where
under suspicion and at some points teachers where beaten or killed by their
students because they were apparently counter revolutionary. It was probably just
because the students hated their teachers.


The taxi driver also told me that “we only
had four colors of cloths back then, gray, black, green and white(he may have
said blue instead of white I could not tell), but today we have so many colors
and you westerners wear such interesting colors” he laughed loudly. “Thinking
was a problem, talking was a problem but now it’s not anymore”, he said
cheerfully. He seemed very proud of China at this time. “China keeps getting
stronger” I told him. “Yes, yes” He agreed.


After lunch Vivi called and told me that I
should be at Jin pan school at 4:10, I told her that on my lesson schedule it
said I had a class at 3:30. She said that was incorrect. I had a feeling that
she had got it wrong, but I still turned up at 4:10. The head English teacher
was very annoyed “you missed a class” she said. It was not my fault so I didn’t
mind. I felt bad for Vivi who was there with me and took the brunt of the anger.


The two middle school lessons went very
well and in fact their English was much better than the people at Shuang Dao School.
Maybe because they come from poorer families they have more of a incentive to
study hard.


I left the school with Vivi and Joe. Joe is
another Chinese teacher at new window school. I asked  if they wanted to share a taxi back home but they both said that they where going for lunch, They looked uncomfortable for some reason and I suddenly got the feeling that they are
secretly a couple. People keep things like that very quiet in china .  Physical affecting like hugging or holding hands is rare to be seen in public and I
don’t think I have ever see a Chinese couple kiss in public before. Joe looked
a bit annoyed and asked “why do you got a taxi?, you can just get a bus”. I
felt like saying “ I am very tired and I cannot be bother to spend half an hour
on a shitty sweaty bus”. I just said “because I don’t know the way back yet”. I
am sure he was just annoyed that western teachers get their travel expenses
paid by Catherine and Chinese teacher do not. Western teachers get more money
and far more privileges than the Chinese ones.


do understand that people would be jealous; I would be very jealous if I was in
Joe’s situation. That’s the thing about corruption or being treated better
because of your money or the color of your skin, It seems so outrageous and
unjust when you’re on the losing side but its so easy to just go with the flow
and see nothing wrong with it when you are on the receiving end of special
treatment. When I got home I just slumped on the sofa and watched a bit of a
film before going to bed

3 thoughts on “PART 50 Jin Pan school and the worst class ever

  1. such wisdom Tiger man . So proud you’ll not stoop to whacking . Doesn’t teach them owt does it . .Just shows you are bigger and stronger which they all know anyway .They will soon come to respect you if they realise they cannot wind you up . Can’t believe wot has been thrown at you with no training . Am exhausted just reading it . we’re right there with you darling .

  2. that last comment was mum talking on Dads e mail . We were reading your latest gripping instalment while clutching each other with omygoodnesses love mum notdad

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