Just finished my first couple of lessons using ‘Mr Bean’ as an educational tool. The kids, needless to say, loved it; although I think I was the person laughing the hardest. I planned a lesson about New Year and how it differs in the UK compared to China (they celebrate it during their Spring Festival in Jan/Feb), so I showed the episode where ‘Bean’ holds a New Year’s party and visits the January sales (subsequently driving his car from a chair perched on the roof). Apart from fielding some awkward questions about where he gets his income from – erm, the government? – the kids really enjoyed it. I know because I asked them. Just before I asked whether they had voted for me in the teaching competition….
Today at school I had to give another demo class which, unlike my actual teaching periods, must be conducted properly. Clearly I learnt nothing from the previous disaster, as I turned up 15mins before having to start knowing nothing about what I would teach. I cobbled together a lesson from the book and talked about travelling abroad, which was as short and poorly executed as you can imagine. My fellow teachers were kind and said that I did a good job, but suggested that explaining new words using the same word (exciting = when you get excited about something) probably wasn’t wise. Must try harder.
My gym routine is going well, and I have been making it most mornings before school. The same three people are there every time I go, and we now have a little nodding routine as we greet each other. One is a man who works at the gym, although all I ever see him do is workout. Normally his routine starts with an exercise followed by 5mins either: watching TV, chatting up the two woman who are on the running machines, or wandering about chatting to his fellow colleagues. I swear it takes him 3hrs to do what could be completed in 45 minutes, although if he is on work time then I guess it pays to take your time. The second and third are two women who spend over an hour walking on the running machines. Not to do them an injustice, they do walk up a steep incline; however I can’t help thinking that paying £40 a month to walk is a bit steep – it’s not as if Huzhou isn’t surrounded by A LOT of hills.
Found an excellent coffee place today about 10mins walk from my school. They have excellent espresso and all the workers seem to speak really good English, some of the best I have heard in China (including the teachers at our school). They also have cold bottles of Stella, Heineken and Guiness – AMAZING. I couldn’t have any today for reasons of professional conduct, but shall be returning soon to enjoy.