Luckily for me and the rest of Xian I finally started teaching this week. If you remember the school I’m supposed to teach at had been closed due to H1N1, but for right now it’s open. This means I have my first week of teaching in the books, YES! (Followed by a fist pump) It was a great week with some highs and lows… and some interesting discoveries about Chinese school that we don’t have in the States. Come with me on a magical tour of my first week. (Followed by a warm smile)
So the first day of teaching went great, it was the same age I had sat in on a couple weeks ago so I had some games ready and a general idea of what to expect. I was a little confused when, just before my last class was going to start, all the kids in unison started rubbing their eyes to some soothing music played over the intercom system. My assistant told me it’s because the kids here go to school all day (which is true, I’ve never seen kids go to school this much in my life). When we were about to start the class my assistant told me to wait, because the kids can’t start class until five minutes after their eye exercises. That made me chuckle.
The second day also brought an unusual discovery. When I arrived at the school there were a couple classes singing songs to music playing over the intercom. Kinda like us Americans singing the National anthem. Assuming it to be only this I didn’t ask any questions. My assistant however informed me that the song they were singing was written by Jackie Chan. And you know what, if I was a Chinese student I would love to start the day off singing a Jackie Chan song… well him or Yao Ming. It was funny though when they were still singing like four minutes later and I asked my assistant “Is this still the Jackie Chan song?” to which she replied “Yes”. I guess whatever Jackie had to write about he couldn’t fit it into two minutes.
So my third day brought my lowest point of the week. I was informed upon arrival that I would be teaching 1st, 2nd and 5th grade classes that day. I thought nothing of it until I showed up to my first grade class and discovered that the things I had prepared were a bit too difficult for them. So it was a chaotic half an hour to say the least. My assistant told me I should sing a song, I told her I didn’t know any, and she suggested “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. I then proceeded to stumble through a version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, that can only be described as sad. My second grade class was slightly better. I found out that the next day I would have the same setup. This time I was prepared with many a song and sang them with utter delight. I can’t sing. I shouldn’t sing. I feel bad for these kids hearing me sing.
The rest of the week went great and in the end I had a blast! Now that I’ve gone through a week I know what my schedule is, which is nice. For all of you readers at home I teach 14 half hour classes of 50 or so students each. The classes range from 1st grade to 6th grade and I look forward to growing and learning more. 700 students a week… Unreal.
With hope and joy,