I have been quiet about my professional future since we have moved to Shanghai, because I am under contract with a new employer but I don’t know the specifics as to where I will be teaching.
I do know that I will be teaching oral English to Chinese students in the Chinese public school system. I had job offers to teach at private academies, but I figured if I was going to live in China I might as well go native and teach in their public schools. I will learn next week where I will be teaching during my job orientation.
In late July, my new boss called me and asked if I would be interested in teaching Chinese teachers about Western culture and how we teach English in the US. The training would be held in a smaller town about two hours outside of Shanghai called Hangzhou. I am always up for a road trip, and I wanted to get a peek into Chinese Schools before the first day of school, so I gladly accepted the challenge. How difficult could it be? Professional development has been my life for the past five years. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Parts of Hangzhou are quite beautiful. Luckily I was able to catch a sunset at the West Lake area the first night I arrived.
|A very large dragonboat floats on West Lake. Unfortunately, I did not arrive in time to take a ride.|
|West Lake at sunset. When I originally thought we were moving to China, this is what came to my mind.|
|A couple poses in traditional Chinese costumes near West Lake.|
Chinese folks are hard-core when it comes to professional development. What started as a light five-day training turned into a seven-day marathon of Western language, cultural and teaching methods. Each day from 8:30-4:30, students would learn about British and American holidays, family structures, vacations, table manners, songs, games, teaching strategies and more.
|Students celebrate Easter by bunny hopping around the classroom.|
|All students had to create Valentines to celebrate Valentine's Day.|
|We review animal vocabulary by playing The Farmer in the Dell.|
|I LOVE IT!!!|
I quickly learned the teaching conditions were a little different than those in Dorchester 2. (My former district.) There were no SMART boards, iPads, or even Internet access in the classroom. There was a no smoking sign in the front, a lovely vintage chalkboard with multiple colors of chalk for notes, and the tables arranged in neat rows. Luckily, there was a desktop computer circa 1995, a microphone, and TV projection system so I was not totally out of my element. (Even if the all of the computer menus were in Chinese.) After wondering how I was going to manage, I took Chris’ advice and I pretended to teach like I was on the TV show Little House on the Prairie.
Despite the different conditions, I taught a lot, learned a lot, and had a tremendous amount of fun. I was extremely impressed with the teachers. They were attentive, cheerful, and extremely generous with their cultural advice and enthusiasm.
|Sandy reads a newspaper article and prepares to share the details with her small group. I LOVE the South Park dress!!|
|Sugar debates the advantages of eating organic food.|
|Group Six completes their hand turkeys for Thanksgiving.|
|My British Co-Presenter, Donald, chats about his recent holiday in London.|
The week was a challenge, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with such a lovely group of professionals! Next week I will have my formal job orientation, and will finally learn where my career is heading.
|I am going to miss my Hangzhou crew!|