The Inner Mongolian China Brog

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Excuse me, teacher!

Due to complaints regarding the frequency of my postings, I've decided to give in and let y'all in on some more tasty tidbits about China life. But remember, I'm a teacher now. I'm extremely busy and respectable.

So I guess I left off on the day when we were supposed to teach our first lesson, all 9 of us. Yeah that didn't happen. But we have been teaching every day since, and for the past couple of days, half of us have been in the city in a little recruiting office what for drop-in info purposes and such. We don't do anything but sit there...Clay was told flat out that we are there as advertisements. You know, proof that they have real live white native English speaking teachers. So there's that.

Teaching the lessons here at school has been interesting. The deal is that we've been asked to teach some sample lessons for an hour and a half every day, as a tag team effort on our part. The kids that come here are a mix of the brightest current students and some talented prospective students, all at about early high school age. So we've come up with some lessons about travelling, music, numbers, and sports, stuff like that. Unfortunately, there's a quite a range in ability among our students, who number about 25-30 every day, so we're challenged to come up with lessons that are both interesting and stimulating, but also not too elementary or way over their heads. It's a crash course in teaching for us; most days I think we're just as intimidated as the kids are. Even though it's tough, I'm glad to have the opportunity because it's a no-pressure environment to hone our skills before we have classes of our own. Plus with all 9 of us trying to plan the lessons together, it's bound to be easier once we're each in control of our own curriculum.

We reserve some time after each lesson to just chat with the students that just want to practice conversational English, and I've learned a lot just from that. Mostly that I'm very beautiful and have nice yellow hair. We've told them all our names, but it seems to be the custom to call us each "Teacher," so I'm getting used to responding to that. On the flip side, they are adjusting to our teaching style, which is much more interactive than the Chinese way. We break them into small groups and give them individual attention. We also have them dialogue with us in front of the whole class. Few of them will yell out answers or even raise their hand - they have to be picked on individually, which is hard to want to do, but oh well.

Work aside, we Americans continue to tear it up in Tongliao City. Granted, since we started working, we hardly drink or cause trouble like we did the first week, but we manage to have some fun here and there, whether it's a game of basketball with the students from class or a dinner in the city amongst ourselves (for less than $2 each - HA! Fancy dinners with beer, too). We're growing more used to being openly stared at, which is a daily, nay, incessant occurrence. So, all of us being white, we're experiencing a stint as the minority for once. Probably not such a bad thing. I bet all these girls telling me how beautiful I am have been taught that that word means "funny-looking."

We're starting to feel old after only a week of work - suddenly a night watching a movie together sounds better than challenging all known beer drinking records. Early to bed, early to rise has taken on a new, more practical meaning. CNN is interesting and a breakfast ritual for me, not the boring stuff Mom has on while she makes dinner. A bike ride through the sprawling countryside after dinner puts a nice cap on the day.

And tomorrow we're going back to the disco.


At 3:59 AM, Blogger lane rebelo said...

You need to teach them the word "taupe" so they don't incorrectly refer to your hair as yellow. Please include in your lesson plan.


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