Claire in China

China – 6 weeks later

And I still haven’t received a single penny.

I’ve had enough now.

Last week I had yet another email full of contradicting statements and it was basically ‘we will pay you for the hours you’ve worked TO THE PENNY even though head office don’t want to pay you’

Yet again showing that contracts in China mean nothing, and if someone is the ‘director’ of a company it actually doesn’t mean anything either.

If someone has to keep shouting about what a great person there are, they’re obviously trying to reassure themselves that it’s true, even though it’s the complete opposite.

I honestly hope no one ever has to deal with the person I’ve had to.

I enjoyed some of my time in China but I absolutely regret believing that this man was a good person to work for. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Claire in China, Education, travel

Hitting the ground running in Lianyungang

Hey guys! I’m still alive.

I’ve been in China for 9 days now and finally feeling a little less homesick. Although everything at the moment just seems to be BEET BEET BEET in my brain. Anything that happens at work I just think, ‘oh well at BEET…’ ok, ok Claire. Just shut up now.

I’m slowly adding more to my apartment and I really like it there, except for the really ignorant neighbours who drive me crazy – keeping me awake until 2am and waking me up again at 6:30. So far, even ear plugs haven’t helped. Not sure what my next step is!

Thankfully the weather is getting warmer and I no longer need 10 layers on every morning. When the skies are blue it’s just amazing here. It’s a fairly flat city and although there are lots of buildings, there’s also huge empty spaces!

On Friday I had to go to the local hospital for a medical check, which I was dreading and also expected. Thankfully Jane (my boss’ wife) came with me and helped me fill out all of the forms etc. We weren’t there more than an hour but it was a weird process. So for those of you thinking of coming to China, this is how the medical goes…

CHINA HEALTH CHECK IN CHINA

  1. Firstly, you need a copy of your passport, your real passport and 2 passport style photos
  2. You need to fill out a form with all of your details, they scan it, re-print it and then ask you to sign it.
  3. Then you pay for your medical. Mine was around ¥380 but was covered by the school.
  4. Now you start the process.
  • Giving blood
  • Blood pressure, height and weight check
  • Eye sight test (point the way the arrow is facing lol)
  • ECG
  • Ultrasound
  • Chest X-ray

Then you’re free to go home!

Thankfully the hospital was only 30 minutes away by Taxi and then Jane took me to Starbucks for breakfast and we met our colleague there too. #foreignershangout

I managed to get a single seat in the Buddhist restaurant but unfortunately they were quite low on food! But what I had for ¥20 was still a bargain, and so delicious!

I had a little lesson in the afternoon (on Friday) which wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t happy with it. Thankfully my lesson yesterday was 10x better and my boss said I had ‘hit the ground running’ !

Which meant beers for me! I went out with some new friends to watch football, play pool and hang out at this local bar. It’s strange, quirky but the weird thing is you can smoke inside! Aaaaah. My hair smelt so gross when I got home!! But it was a great evening out despite the horrific West Ham defeat.

Then I had one more teaching demo on Sunday, which unfortunately was a bit of a flop.

I expected the children to be more engaged and lively and everything I said just went down like a lead balloon… it was awful. I had no idea how to redeem myself!

I’ve borrowed some books from my boss’ mini library and plan on reading more over the next few days. I couldn’t bring any books with me!

Then my colleague invited me to dinner, and my boss and his wife joined us too! So it was a really great evening in the end. I’m sure they think I’m a total weirdo though…

On the plus side… I’ve figured out how to use the washing machine and my clothes are all fine! Hooray!! #smallvictories

xo

Education

What the hell are you doing woman?!

… is what I’ve mind-shouted at myself numerous times today.

I absolutely, completely, utterly, totally messed up my Upper-Intermediate lesson today after going over the notes SO MANY TIMES last night. I had it all planned out nicely, had a little conversation / starter ready, had a movie trailer to link in to the ‘film review’ section we were working on.

And guess what guys? Guess what?

I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO MENTION THE FILM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.
I. FORGOT.

I ended up just washing over it completely and moving on to discuss writing a film review, then getting the students to write one themselves, then pair-check for errors and suggestions.

I could have just smacked myself on the head for my complete stupidity and total lack of awareness of my own plans.

I felt guilty. I’m not going to lie. I spent a good hour questioning my worth as a teacher.

  • Did I let my class down?
  • Were they bored?
  • Oh god they hate me.
  • Why am I such an idiot?
  • Why can’t I teach?!

Above are the thoughts that flashed in my mind continuously throughout my afternoon.


I’m sorry guys. I am.

I’ve spent the last 4 hours planning for my lessons tomorrow, and honestly hope that it all turns out at least 100x better than today’s disaster.

Education

Level up, level up!

The words I hear so often at the moment. All these students want to do is ‘level up’, even if they don’t put the work in to actually improve.

It’s literally draining my brain and body of energy, each time I have to explain why they cannot ‘level up’. This is not super mario or some gameboy. You don’t just complete one piece of homework and then ‘level up’.

Hard work, determination, perseverance, discipline, structure.

These are all components of a good student, in my opinion. The qualities that enable you to improve, to learn more effectively and to retain information. 

I love my students, every single one of them has a set of amazing qualities. Not all of them share the same qualities of course, but I feel proud to have been allowed to teach them. They come to England for a time to study, to improve their English, and yes, to have fun, but that is something I didn’t do. I never went to a language school or summer camp so I cannot understand the position they’re in.

I did however, travel. I know what it’s like to be determined to learn a foreign language. To study. To push myself ahead. All I want is for these lovely people to do the same, because they are all capable of progressing. The question is how much do they want to?

Education, Uncategorized

I’m a teacher (week 3!)

Wow-o-wow! Where on earth has the past two weeks gone?
Today marks the third Monday that I have been a teacher and I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it!

My lessons today were hilarious – my intermediate class had me speaking Chinese and were asking about my plans after working at BEET. I always find it quite lovely when students talk to you like a normal person, rather than as a teacher whom you shouldn’t talk to.

Once again my elementary class decided they wanted to play teacher, sing karaoke and tell me about their relationship issues (not sure about this one?!) and it was just so good to see them laughing and enjoying the lesson. Don’t worry, we did LOADS of work. Grammar work. and be+verb+ing – they were not impressed, but after blood, sweat and tears, we got there together! I can only hope they remember it tomorrow.

My bus didn’t show up, so I sat in the cold for 45 minutes which turned me into a moody, grumpy old bat and the minute I eventually stepped through my front door I had a message to say my interview time needed changing (for tomorrow morning). I ended up having an hours interview this evening. Boy. I want that job. I wanted it the minute I saw the advert. The second I had my pre-interview. And after that interview, I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. I want that job.  I won’t say anything yet, as I’d rather not jynx my chances of an offer, but I will keep you updated.

It’s past midnight now and I’ve been lesson-planning since 9. My head is so full of interviews and job-related things that I can hardly focus. But I’m determined not to let my lovely students down and therefore I must plan. 

Education, Uncategorized

I’m a teacher (week 2)!

Hey everyone!

I apologize for keeping you in the dark this week – it’s been hectic!

My classes improved drastically and thankfully I wasn’t pulling my hair out over planning every minute of every lesson.

I taught just about every aspect of the language this week, from grammar and vocab to reading, writing, interviewing, complaints and so much more!

I think the most hilarious lesson was related to the topic of dating (from the textbook, not my own choice!) but to my surprise, the students loved it! I printed out a template of a dating profile and asked them to write one for the person sat next to them – it was brilliant and everyone got so involved!

Today, I allowed one of the younger students in my Elementary class to ‘be the teacher’ for two minutes. He quickly realized it wasn’t that easy, but we all enjoyed this brief switch in authority. It was hilarious and definitely sparked some motivation which carried on throughout the entire lesson.

In my ‘optional’ speaking lesson (the students pay to take an extra class over the lunch period) we have been covering the topic of health and fitness this week, and today I had them work in groups to discuss how alcohol, smoking, stress and sleep can affect our health. I can’t believe how well they prepared for a short presentation and everyone put in so much effort. I felt pleased with myself.

What have you guys been teaching this week?
Any advice for a newbie?

xo