Week 4 of teaching and my birthday!

Well, once again another week has quickly zoomed past. How is it Thursday already?! It’s my last day at the primary school tomorrow and it’s just flown by. I have 14 classes a week but only see each class once a week, so although I haven’t gotten to know them as well as the middle school, I haven’t had to create as many lesson plans. There’s still a little noise in the classroom but I think there’s only so much quiet you can expect in classes of 50-55.

I’ve taught a few of the classes Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes this week which they’ve enjoyed learning. They think it’s hilarious how similar ‘mouth’ and ‘mouse’ sound. I’ve found adding the element of competition helps with everything so I split the class into two ‘teams’ and awarded points for the best performances! Another contrast I’ve noticed with the schools out here is how the pupils partake in daily chores. I’ve seen them sweeping the stairs, litter-picking, cleaning the blackboards, and collecting leaves as well. None of them look fed up or moody, they just seem to get on with it! I guess it’s a good idea as it teaches them not to rely on others to do everything for them and to all help out together. They’ve also calmed down on the “what’s your QQ number” and “can I have an autograph/photo” front which is a relief for me… I was able to watch a film in peace during my 3 hour lunch break today!

Last Friday was my birthday and I celebrated all weekend. I only had 2 morning classes so was back at my school for 12.30. We had some Canadian student visitors over as the school has international and exchange programme ties, and they took us to a botanical garden for the afternoon. It turned out to be a really hot day so a few of us bought kites, flew them on the large lawn at the top, and watched about 6 wedding shoots that were taking place! It was a really pretty area and was a peaceful contrast to the constant beeps and honks we hear.

Later that day, the five of us went into the city centre where we were staying at LazyBones hostel for the weekend. I hadn’t stayed there before but a few others had, and it’s definitely one I will be returning to. It’s right opposite a metro station, is in walking distance to shopping centres, and has a great social area where we chilled all of Saturday afternoon. So on Friday night the 5 of us went to a Helen’s (western) bar, managed to squeeze onto a table and have a few drinks. Our living assistant Jayne had never been to a bar before so we made sure she had a beer! Saturday morning and we were up early as we were going to visit the Pandas! It was a taxi ride away to the Panda Breeding Research Centre, where we spent a good few hours walking round the enclosures, watching the cubs play/climb trees together and the adults laze around chomping bamboo! It was massive there and seemed really ethical, nothing like a zoo at all. We left there around 1ish and stayed at the hostel that afternoon- some of us napping, others watching Sister Act 2 on the TV!

That evening, all 10 (ish) of us ventured back to Helen’s but it was too busy, so we went to an Irish bar called Shamrocks instead. I’d never pictured myself celebrating my birthday at a Chinese Irish bar before, but hey that’s something to tick off the bucket list! They had Irish jigs, live music, full-on costumes and drink deals all night so we had a great time there. Needless to say when we got back to our school on Sunday we didn’t get up to much 😛

We finally set up our bank accounts this week and have been paid. So I’m off to the shops this weekend, as well as getting a manicure, and maybe a massage too…. it’s easy to get carried away here, but hey it’s worth it!

LazyBones hostel

Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding

Shamrocks bar


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