The last few day have been a bit of a blur!
Friday was Teacher’s Day, a day on which the Chinese celebrate the hard work their teachers put in for them. Teachers were wandering around with gold stemmed plastic roses, real flowers and tins of tea. Sean was given a tin of tea and a party. One of the few drawbacks of teaching the littlies is that I don’t get to have the same relationship with them that Sean has with the older kids. They are too young and they don’t have any English to use yet. So I was feeling a little dejected on Friday, a little out of the loop. Until I got my very own Rose, that is a student called Rose, not a gold stemmed plastic flower; I met Rose once this week when she came into our office to visit Adrian (she’s in Grade 2, his allotted students, I teach grade 1). It was her birthday and she asked me to write a little note in her notebook for her so I did. Remembering this, she was sweet enough to write me a little note for teachers day ❤ Rose saved the day.
Teacher Day did get us thinking; I’ve said to Sean before that I think whilst I love teaching I don’t think I could do it in England or the UK/NI. The respect the children have for their teachers is unparalleled and whilst they’re still rowdy and loud, ultimately they look to their teachers as extra parents. The stress mounted upon the students here is hideous to watch but the teachers genuinely try their best for their students, they try to make this stress tolerable although they won’t tolerate slacking of any kind. It is the true definition of tough love here. At home parents often side with naughty kids rather than admit to the school or teacher that perhaps their child isn’t actually golden and they should be punished. Here the children are rarely disciplined at home; parents understand that their children will have a traumatic ordeal throughout their time as students and therefore prefer to leave it to the teachers to reprimand their kids, they would never prevent this. The parents often know that they are heaping stress upon their children by encouraging them to go to school 6-6 followed by after school lessons from as early as the age of 2 (the youngest member of one of my extra classes) thus they try to leave discipline to someone else – namely the teacher. There is proverb here in China about the role of a teacher: “Teacher for a day. Parent for life.”
On Saturday we had our very first run in with a Chinese club. One of the other teachers we live with, Andre, and his student took us to M3 (the only club in Xindu worth going to apparently). Two bottles of whiskey, a jump rope competition and several new we chat contacts later and we got back at 2am. I’d like to tell you more about this experience but I don’t remember an awful lot!
This week we will be having a three day week thanks to Mid-Autumn festival J Thursday and Friday we have off so the teacher from Chungbei will join us – she’s on her own at that school so Sean and I invited her to take my apartment for the weekend and we can all go and have some relatively tame fun thanks to M3 near killing me. Mid-Autumn festival is a time for mooncakes. I’m not entirely sure what to tell you about mooncakes except that their flavour is a lottery. You could end up with a mouthful of sweet beef or strawberry – you never know. I mean, even the water has weird (but AMAZING) labels.
Whilst we’re on the subject of food, by now you’re probably all very aware of how highly I think of the food here. But there are the few odd occasions where your heart is crushed. For example, see below item 1, looks lovely right? Big chunky beef instant noodles, yeah?
WRONG. See item 2:
It seems that no matter which country you’re in fast food and ready meals suck.
Not to worry though because street food always save the day especially when it’s spiced, BBQ’d duck leg!
And on that note, I leave you with this video of students being woken for their morning exercises to the dulcet tones of the cancan at 6 am. (WordPress won’t let me embed video for free so just follow the link below).