My working holiday in China [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Ni Hao Everybody!
I have been in China for two weeks now on a Tefl (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) working holiday in China
Well it's Sunday night with me and here is my update from the last week. 
Right here goes......... the last you heard I was getting ready for my first lessons on the Monday!  I didn't really know what to expect and didn't know their level of English so thought I would just have an introductions class and get to know them.  That didn't really work as their English is very text book orientated and their conversation is very limited. So I had to dive straight into teaching. 

My voice had come back thankfully although I was still a bit husky!  There is a lot of drilling required and repetitive work so my voice was feeling a little fragile.  The kids I have are 8, 9 and 10 year olds and they are lovely.  The're always crowding around me when I arrive and when I leave. I'm doing about 4 or 5; 50 minute lessons a week with a lot of preparing lessons required as I have 3 different levels.  I have the younger group so my flash cards are coming in very handy and they love them.   I need to do so many activities to keep them interest and I need to find loads of ideas.  It's very hard to communicate games with them and I have to be very visual and dramatic with everything. I do have a translator at the moment so that helps. ( Although I do think sometimes if she wasn't there then they would listen to me more as the children are relying on the translator instead)
I was confident standing up in front of 40 plus kids but I felt I did the first lesson far too quick with far too much information for them to take in!!! I slowed down a great deal by the end of the week, but I'm still trying to get my head round exactly what they actually know and what level of English they are.
The kids are great reading the text books, but their pronunciation of things and their understanding of words is what they need us to work on. They put an "er" after everything.
So when I say egg they say egger!
The week has been a bit of a roller coaster and at first I didn't think I would like the area because of the curfews etc. The other teachers I'm with still want to leave and we have all spoke to the company to ask to be relocated, either that or the curfews and freedom to be eased a little.  After all we are here to experience China as well as the teaching; and not just our apartments and the school.  One of my friends I met in Beijing is on her own in a lovely area and she has requested I go and join her there.  (not sure if that will happen though).
The boss of Teach and Travel came to see us by the end of the week; and sorted a few things out for us, so this weekend was fun as we where able to venture out on our own.  There are now 7 of us all together so that makes it better.  We went to Hengshui on Friday night and went for a meal.  We split the bill which took ages only to find out we actually only paid £3 each!!! including a few beers.
After our meal we decided to go to the famous KTV, which is a Chinese Karaoke bar.  But it isn't a bar, we actually rent out private booths and drink and sing in our own private booths area.  Apparently they stopped the public bars where everyone joined in together as they always ended up in a fight!!!!  We still haven't found a bar and we are not sure there is one in Hengshui! So if anyone wants a few drinks you either go out for a meal or go to a KTV.
We got our curfew extended to midnight so we went back in a taxi at about 11.30pm.  We have to have our destination written down in Chinese so the taxis can understand where we are going.  We gave him the slip of paper and off we went back to the school.  The taxi stopped and we got out, but we where in the wrong school!! Thankfully the taxi didn't leave and we had to ring someone from the school to explain where we were meant to be!
All in all a great night and everybody felt better about getting out for a bit of a giggle.
On Saturday we went back to the city to do some shopping and have lunch and dinner.  I eat donkey for lunch and it was really good!  It's a really important meat in China but it is very rare.  It's a similar texture to lamb but tastes of corned beef.  It was yummy and wrapped in  pancake!
We then went round the markets and shops and then for food again! I was doing well on my diet the first week but feel like I'm eating too well this week!  After a long day we decided to go for a massage.  £7 for a full body Chinese massage and it felt really good.  You have every part of your body manipulated and it hurts at times but mostly an enjoyable experience. 
Today we played basketball and stayed on campus.  I'm now getting ready for another week of teaching so working on some more lesson plans.
More photos will be uploaded shortly.  Thanks to all of you who have sent me an email, promise I will reply to you all. And for those who haven't ..........come on, I would love to hear what is happening at home and in your lives!!!
Take care everybody and catch up soon
love Ceri x x x x x x x x x


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