So my school looks like this:
And my schedule looks like this:
The kids here are up from half 6 for their morning exercises and are in classrooms by 7:40 for their first lesson. Their lessons don’t finish until 5:45pm, although their benevolent leaders do allow an hours nap at lunchtime in addition to their hour for lunch plus a one hour early finish on Fridays.
So imagine my surprise when I get to my first class and I don’t find a lot of sleepy 10-12 year olds. They were all buzzing. When I walked in there was a chorus of “WOW” followed by “HELLO TEACHER”. I said “Hello, my name is Charley” and got “OHHHH HELLO CHARLEY.” Cute kids. They’d be even cuter if I could only get them to hush up when one of them is answering a question.
So I introduced them all to my family via photos I had put on my power point. I asked them who they thought each person was and got another chorus of WOW when they realised I have three siblings. I then showed them my nieces and explained how they were related to me but I don’t think they took much in when confronted with a photo of two blue eyed, blonde haired angel impersonators (Erin and Lily).
I then showed them my university and told them I studied anthropology (thankfully I had the foresight to include the Chinese characters for anthropology which translate roughly to ethnology, nationality and culture – the best definition I have heard for anthropology so far and it was post degree in a different language!).
I got them to sing the most obnoxious song I could find about asking someone’s name and I swear I saw the adoration in their eyes switch subtly to loathing. Not to worry, I got them back on side by getting them to do pair work and then playing Justin Timberlake for them at the end of the lesson.
All in all I survived. I even forgot my flask with my tea in it and one of the girls (Cici) brought it all the way up to the office for me.
But I have two more lessons this afternoon, one at 2:30pm and another at 4:15pm so fingers crossed they’re as excited about the foreign teacher as class 12 were!
UPDATE: In true Chinese style I ended up standing in a classroom without students for ten minutes because everyone forgot to tell me that my kids have military training in the afternoons this week. Afternoons off this week for me then!
BONUS: For those of you who remember Daisy, meet her cooler older sister, my dream car: