Today was one of those days when you feel you made the right decision in travelling half way around the world in order to fulfill a stupid dream…..My class this morning was perfect, they interacted, they laughed, they spoke at the right times, and I’ve worked out that I just have to try and be more confident, to realise that I’ve studied and have the skills to teach, I just have to stop worrying so much that each class is going to be a disaster.

I had almost four hours off between the morning and afternoon class (lunch at the school was horrendous today after a few days of actually being able to eat it) but hey the sun was shining, and as I had my “open class” at 4pm where my teaching skills would be witnessed by goodness knows who, I decided to sit on my balcony and read to take my mind off the class.

3pm and I decide I should perhaps get ready – for the first time in my life I think I’m tanned 🙂  I actually have strap marks where the straps of my vest top was!  Not really burnt, or at least it’s not sure, but it was scorching hot.  The back of the apartment where the balcony and my bedroom are are a total suntrap, right from first thing in the morning, whereas the front is north facing and never gets the slightest bit of sun- hence I suppose why I get cold sitting at the desk in the living room at night. 

So, onto the open class.  To say I was nervous was an understatement, I’d no idea who or how many were turning up, but I’d deliberately chosen this class (class 12) because they are a good bunch of kids and have a decent command of English.  An added bonus was that just before the class started I was able to explain that my boss and some other people were turning up to watch me, so could they be good and help me (this was quickly translated into Chinese around the whole class!)

Mark my FAO pitched up first, and whilst I’d started my spiel about holidays I did wobble and lost the thread for a bit, as he was followed in by what seemed like about 10 random people, who decided to stand at the back.  The class has 3 windows and slowly every window filled up with faces – I truly have no idea who any of these people were, I was too busy concentrating on my class.  People came in and out all the time, but god bless them my students were angels and the lesson was wonderful 🙂

Class finished, and I decided I’d better get the hammering out of the way, so rang Mark and arranged to meet in his office – where there was a delegation again of random people…….wanting to shake my hand :-))))))  Apparently my class was brilliant, I spoke clearly and slowly, I used a lot of hand gestures and movements and engaged with the students really well.  I was even complimented on my pathetic attempt to draw a giraffe (thankfully the students got what I was trying to indicate!).

So that’s a massive confidence boost – if I have a bad class then I have to just remember that it might not be my fault.  The students had massive boxes down by the sides of their desks, around the size of a box reams of A4 paper comes in – full of paperwork and folders…..that’s their homework for the holiday period….no wonder they get so stressed and tired.

Talking of holidays, because we are off for a week the schedule changes slightly and we work the weekend before the holiday period.  I work in even and odd weeks, my back to back is Elizabeth the psychology teacher.  This is an even week, so you would sort of assume that on Sat/Sun I would teach the classes from last week’s odd week that I missed because of the Moon Festival…..nope, only in China would you re-teach the classes you’ve just had on Wednesday and Thursday!  So, there’s been a flurry of telephone calls, Mark insists that this is right, Elizabeth wants us to swap and it’s 7.50pm and I’m still not entirely sure what is happening tomorrow.  However, because I’ve already taught this week’s classes my lesson plan of holidays, I have a cunning plan….. and I’ve run this past Tony the other English teacher just in case – but let’s face it it doesn’t really matter what I do!

I’m going to get the students to teach me 🙂  Each class has a computer and whiteboard, so I’m going to teach the students about different sorts of food, kind of following on from my holiday lesson plan as some of them wanted to go to Beijing to try Beijing Duck, and I will get them to source on the computer foods from various countries.  I feel that this is sort of a cop-out, it saves me from having to spend hours tonight trying to write a whole new lesson plan, but I think the students will enjoy helping me and no doubt the subject will veer from food to music to goodness knows what else.

However, this could all change as I’ve still not heard whether I am doing last week’s class that I missed…..so I’ve got the holiday lesson plan still ready in anticipation of getting a call any minute to say I’ve got a class at 8am tomorrow.

As we say, only in China……!