it is officially spring in china and i am SO happy that my apartment is cozy and no longer the ice box it was for the past month. so there is this phenomenon going on in china that strikes both fear and anger into the hearts of foreign teachers everywhere: english corners. apparently, most foreign teachers are subjected to this nightmare when they teach in china. an "english corner" typically consist of students of all ages and skill levels taking apart in a informal "lesson" during the evening or weekend.
i get the idea behind starting an english corner- the school wants to promote more english language discussion between the foreign staff and students outside the classroom and so having people attend a weekly meeting can strengthen the appearance of the school's mission for learning and growth- IN THEORY that is great. in reality: it sucks. lemme tell you why: first of all, english corners are usually very unorganized and sometimes can resemble a town hall meeting instead of a classroom. people with advanced to non existence english skills gather together around one foreign teacher trying to out shout each other. most of the attendees are not there to improve their english skills- they want a performance. most of them sit there expecting the teacher to wow them with stories or my favorite request: "dance like michael jackson". excuse me, sir! for i did not travel across land and sea to become your evening entertainment *insert self righteous face here*
|yup- looks like a whole LOT of learning going on here...|
|this about sums it up!|
which brings me to my second point, these things are not suggestions. they are mandatory. as in part of your job description. most schools look at english corners as a way to milk out more work from their foreign english teachers since they are paying us so well *insert sarcastic face* the chinese do not believe in giving up about 2/3 more of a monthly wage to a foreign teacher compared to a chinese teacher without making you work for it. that's right- don't expect to just teach your classes. but you must be prepared for and facilitate a bunch of strangers every week. because i have no choice in the matter- i make the best out of the situation i am in. i like to think of my english corners as a fun time where my little kids can play around and be free from the strict chinese school system they abide by everyday. it is a friday night for god's sake! so instead of teaching them things like, "hat, cat, dog, hello" -i teach them how to play all the childhood games i played when i was their age =)
this past friday we played: hangman, hot potato, hop scotch, mother, may i, and bingo (teaching them bingo was HILARIOUS) i basically just had them jumping around for an hour and then sent them home to their parents all wound up on an adrenaline kick (revenge is sweet) next week, i am going to take them outside so they can play freeze tag and i am so damn excited. the bottom line is: being a teacher in china sometimes comes with unexpected job responsibilities (next month, i plan on doing a post about 15 things you should know before teaching in china) and your attitude determines whether or not you are going to be positive or negative with that new opportunity. i still don't like teaching english corners and i doubt very much that i will agree to do one at another school if i decide to teach in china again. with that being said... i am going to spend the next 2 months planing out an epic water balloon/capture the flag fight for my kids as soon as the weather breaks 75 degrees! ok, so maybe i like "teaching" this english corner after all!
|china brings out the kid in me!|
p.s. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!
i want to wish a happy mother's day to all the mothers out there doing the best they can for their children. we appreciate you!
i got my mom tickets to a concert for mother's day and i wish i could spend it with her but i know she is proud of me. although i'm a handful- she wouldn't have it any other way! i love you mommy <3
|my mom and i. circa 1994.|