Friday, September 7, 2007

First Day of Class

The sound of hundreds of students chanting "YI! ER! YI! ER! (one! two! one! two!)" outside in the courtyard has been my wake-up call this week. All freshman high school students have compulsory military training for the next two weeks: which means that every day from 8 am until 5:30 pm, they've been standing in squadrons around campus learning how to turn their heads and raise their arms in unison. Sometimes they march and do push-ups, but most of the day is spent standing still in one place. The goal of this horrendously tedious week is to increase students' appreciation for the military, therefore strengthening patriotism and unity. I have to say, it's pretty good morning entertainment- helps pass the time while I'm brushing my teeth in the kitchen.

Because of military training, I only have four hours of classes to teach for the next 10 days. After training is over, I'll receive my full schedule. Today I had my first Business English class with a group of overflow freshman college students from Guangdong Ocean University. I'm still not really sure why these students take classes here, since this is a high school. As far as I can tell, they're part of a community college- style program for lower end students from Ocean University. They didn't score high enough to take classes at the university, so they have to come over to the high school for a year or so.

Going in, I didn't know what to expect from these students, but they were so much fun! There are only 25 of them and everybody was very receptive to my lesson plan and interested in what I had to say. First I had them think of questions to ask me; they came up with, "Do you have a boyfriend?" "Do you like to swim? You look very fit." "Are you married?" "Tell us about your family." "Do you like Chinese food?" "Do you like Zhanjiang?" etc. etc. The second part of the class I had them interview a partner and then take turns introducing each other to the class. Since they're college students, they all have English names. I have a Bobo, Sunny, Tomato, and Pink in my class. There is only one boy. He didn't have a partner for the introductions so I teamed up with him.

The two hour class flew by and we didn't even finish all that I had planned. My next class is with the same group of students Wednesday morning, so I have plenty of time to look through the textbook and figure out something fun to do.

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