Being a liao shi

For all the time I have been here, I have yet to really post about being a liao shi (teacher) which is what I am here to do!

In the past few months, we have had a variety of teaching responsibilities.  The first task we had was to give publicity lectures to several different groups (little kids, middle schoolers, refinery workers, and college students) in order to garner interest for the classes we would be giving.

After we lectured, we began teaching intensive training classes for the refinery workers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and evenings.  These classes were difficult to prepare since they were more akin to mini workshops of tough subjects like how to prepare a speech or how to write a scientific essay, but they were fun to teach!  Some of the students really engaged with us and learned tons.  The classes culminated in a speech contest which we got to judge.  Not gonna lie… my students made me proud!

Near the end of the month of training classes we began teaching at Flyer Language School.  We teach a class of middle schoolers  – aka “little urchins” – for two hours every Sunday (*sarcasm alert* I delight in waking up super early to catch a crowded public bus to teach rowdy kids!).  This has proven to be quite the challenging growing experience!  Let’s just say that I am learning quite a bit about teaching!  (And I still maintain that I enjoy teaching both adults and little children – but not in between!)  We also teach little kids (love them! So adorable!) one Tuesday night a month.  While staying at work for 14 hours is a bit of a drag, I love teaching my 6-year-olds.  We will be teaching at Flyer through the end of our contracts.

Once the month of training classes was over, we began a month of teaching every freshman English class at Hunan Petrochemical Vocational Technology College about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This was a fun experience (though I had my lesson memorized by the 3rd time I gave it and was a bit bored with Pilgrims and Santa Claus by the end).  Did you know that candy canes were invented in Germany in 1670?  Oh yes, I am now full of fun little facts such as this.

The month of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more chalk dust than should ever exist (why don’t they have media in classrooms here?) ended just last week.  We are now giving English training classes to the faculty of the college through January to the best of my knowledge.  It seems that our presence has exponentially increased their interest and excitement in learning English!  We teach approximately 60 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This has proven to be both a daunting and enjoyable experience so far this week.  Our students are teachers – talk about pressure to plan and execute great lessons!  But they are eager to learn and more or less willing to participate.  I predict having fun, gaining valuable experience, and building some solid friendships (finally!).

And last but not least, we give a one-hour English Corner any Friday that they decide to choose, usually with less than 24 hours notice (imagine my delight when I find out that I have to wake up early the next morning and cram a lesson plan!).  In spite of my sarcasm, I do usually enjoy this because I am teaching students who are really interested in English and desire to talk with us and learn.

And that about sums it up folks!  My job(s) as a liao shi here in China!


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