It wasn’t until we were in the car to the new school on Monday that I discovered I would be teaching Grade 7, not Grade 3! Typical me not reading things through properly. So although I had to make a last minute lesson plan the classes went well and I think overall Grade 7 are my favourite grade to teach anyway as they are more enthuiastic and confident than older years! I have 13 classes a week at this school, with the latest class finishing at 2.25pm. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope back in England when I have to work 8 hours a day without being bought lunch or driven around everywhere!
We get on really well with the teachers at this school, and a couple of times after lunch they have taught us how to play Mah Jong, which I can just about get the hang of now! Over lunch on Tuesday, one of the teachers Miss Lou was talking about her upcoming wedding and then asked if Cait and I would like to come as well- obviously we said yes! Chinese weddings are big events; her wedding will have around 400 guests and another teacher said she had 700 at hers. They’re also expensive events though as guests are expected to give lots of money in a red envelope to the couple, and I’ve heard some teachers say they don’t like going back to their hometowns as they will receive a wedding invitation which means they’ll be expected to give a lot of money! The bride wears a traditional red dress, and the wedding can last up to 4 days as sometimes they have to travel around to visit different family relations in different areas. Today we went to the nearby town to pick up a few things for the wedding. Luckily I found some low creme wedges that match my dress, and we also bought a plant in a big red vase as a gift for the couple.
Our Mandarin lesson was cancelled Tuesday afternoon so we went into the city to a Bamboo park called Wangjianglou Park, which is dedicated to a famous poetess. Some parks out here are free and others you have to pay for, but to be honest I can’t tell the difference yet. After this we hopped in a taxi and met Renee and her sister who was visiting from Norway for dinner at Helen’s bar 🙂 Helen’s is in a really tall building with other clubs inside, where we usually go after Shamrocks. Anyway it was weird being there during the day as I just have memories of running round the place at night!
On Thursday, Renee, Suzie and I went to an arts festival at the other school campus. I was expecting a talent show set up but when we got there, it was a pretty huge event with TV crews, interviews, and a couple of celebrities performing there too. I think a lot of schools are doing this at the moment where they are showcasing different singing and dancing performances. There must have been around 500 pupils, parents, and teachers who had come to watch, either standing or sat on tiny wooden stools. However we were ushered to a ‘VIP’ area where we sat on proper chairs at a long table, it felt like we were X Factor judges 😛 They had a cosplay parade when we arrived, a couple of speeches, and then the performances began which were all different styles of dance. These ranged from traditional Chinese, to rumba, to club, to pop, to Tibetan, to Bollywood, to a military-style ballet performance! The costumes were amazing and the dancing was insanely good, as if they could do it in their sleep.
Yesterday I just had 2 lessons, and I decided to show them a little more about Britain. I showed them photos of London, Portsmouth, and what school is like for us back home. I also passed around my passport and some English money, which they found fascinating as they’ve never seen foreign money before. For some reason they found saying ‘Trafalgar Square’ hilarious and when I showed them a picture of the Royal Family they all thought the Queen was my grandmother! I also showed the Union Jack flag but just like at the last school, they all yelled ENGLAND! I tried to explain Great Britain by using a map but I think this just went straight over their heads and giggled at how funny ‘Scotland’ sounded. The principal joined us for lunch that day, so we had a few glasses of beer with lots of gambei’s. The teachers were curious to find out more about England; how much it costs to live there, the status of teachers, if it’s shameful if we don’t go to University, and if our future husbands would help pay off our student debts! We also spoke about how Mr Bean was really funny and had a big nose, and how David Beckham is STILL insanely handsome. I like this school 😀 I think they were just as intrigued by the English money as the pupils were, as they asked to see it again, and our driver even bought my £5 note from me even though I insisted I didn’t need any money for it!
So all in all, teaching about Britain went down really well and they’ve asked if I can teach about some British customs next week 🙂 I’ll let you know how the wedding goes, hopefully it won’t rain!