Ryan - A Day in China
A Day in China:
When I applied to teach in China, I never thought I would actually do it, I felt the fear of nerves would completely take hold and there was no way I could ever stand in front of 40 children and teenagers and present a lesson. But here I am and a few weeks ago I gave a lecture on St. Patrick’s day to over 200 students and so reflecting on that, I feel I have come such a long way in such a short space of time.
Here, the world is your oyster and I think the more you say “yes” to things the more opportunities open up to you. I say “yes” here to things I never would back home. I mean how often would your family invite a complete random foreigner for dinner? But like them I am curious to learn about their culture so I often accept these invitations and some families have been so hospitable and warm and have now become friends.
What can I say about China life, well I can say days aren’t always sunny and you have a few grey ones but I think that can be expected anywhere, you’re away from home for a long period of time and sometimes you feel totally exposed here, the Chinese folks are curious to look at you and get to know you and so weekends are sometimes the time to get refreshed ready for another week and if you are not travelling some place, then to chill out in your apartment.
Teaching is new to me and I still feel I need improvement and support from my school. You can throw me in a classroom and I can teach and look pretty and gain credit for the school. But I’m also paid to do a job and as I teach six different grades, sometimes it’s hard judging their levels, either to low or too high and students vary in English knowledge. Some students know next to nothing about the English language while others are leaps and bounds. When I get classes like this they are the toughest. Because the ones who know it all get frustrated and bored while the ones who don’t are frustrated because they don’t understand and get distracted. So I would say my greatest weapon is a good knowledge of various games and they usually save the classes. Starting with a game is also the best way to get focus from the start of a lesson.
You would think I’d of visited so many places in China but really I’ve stayed quite grounded here in Zhuzhou, it’s got everything you need from a city and it’s affordable, cheap shopping and eating out. This term I would definitely like to travel more and as I’m getting to know other foreign teachers a lot better and offers are coming in, travelling alone isn’t as fun I must say, so it's great to have others around!
What else… Night life is very different also, the thing I like about it is you can go out with nothing and come back having had a great night. I do however try not to go to clubs too often, I’m 25, I’ve got the t-shirt. So this term me and the other foreign teachers have been cooking meals on the weekends and inviting each other over which has been nice.
In total I am having a nice time and I’ve settled in well, language has gone a bit downhill since the holiday but I get by ok!