And so it begins…

Yes, that’s right, the new school year has begun. The last few days have been busy. As grade leader for Senior 1, I’ve been responsible for planning the first three lessons of the semester, so we can, effectively, hit the ground running. I was pleased that I was able to send around two lessons, pretty much at the same time, well before I received a lesson from anyone else. The new teachers seemed appreciative of that also.

We had our ‘induction’. I write it like that because it was, essentially, a carbon copy of last year’s. Still, it reminded us of some things, and we got to go on a campus tour. We also had the opening ceremony this morning, which we didn’t take part in last year as we did not arrive on time. We all had to get up and go onto the stage, which wasn’t the most fun of things, especially with the whole school watching. But we did get some flowers which was quite nice of them.

Timetables are distributed late; an element of school life which frustrates us all. We only received our timetable on Wednesday for teaching on Thursday. It doesn’t give you much time to plan, though, in fairness, the lesson should have been planned already. And the timetable is only half complete because of military training done by some students.

Being back in China, the interet is, as ever, being a little ‘difficult’ to work with. I can access sites on my phone with a VPN now – which is good. This new phone is definitely better than my old one (I bought a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro – a Chinese make). It certainly does more stuff and is user-friendly. It is just slightly annoying when I can’t access certain sites I need for research.

One of the very nice, and very experienced Chinese English teachers – who is also the Deputy Dean of the English Faculty – asked me, before the holidays, if I could help her with an elective she is planning on doing this semester. I said sure. She wanted to do a course on Chinese and British cultural comparisons. I thought perhaps that I would be used as a visiting expert or guest lecturer or someone even behind the scenes. Instead, today she sent me the elective form – which was submitted before the summer break – with myself and her as co-teachers of it. Now, I admit, I was a little shocked at this.

We are not doing elective modules this semester, as we had to get the forms in before the summer break – which we didn’t realise. So no one else would do one this semester. This doesn’t bother me, but the potential level of work does. That being said, looking at the plan, it seems (relatively) straight forward and things I can probably cobble together a ppt without too much hassle. Topics include sport, history makers, education etc and the differences in China and Britain. We’ll see specifically what happens with that. I have also been tasked with creating a poster for it – today – with a less-than-stable internet connection, just for the fun of it, which means that searching for things online can be a bit tricky. I ended up using the Chinese and Union flags and putting them merging together and then the title of the course. Nothing spectacularly creative, but simple enough, if approved.

Senior 1 has been postponed for a week whilst the students all complete military training so they will begin on 12th September. Some other grades have also been delayed, but most of us have started today, on 1st September.

First lesson – Senior 2 – went well. It was a class I taught last year, and they were a good laugh. This being China, we don’t have a register yet. And so splitting the class was a little difficult as the students’ have changed their student numbers so I didn’t have all my old students – about half and about half new students. They seemed to enjoy it. I went to the other teachers’ class after mine finished, saw one of my old student’s and asked him how it went. He paused, and then said okay, though mine lessons were more ‘rock and roll’…. 😊😆

Not been described like that before! I told him to go easy and relax and that she is a new teacher, which he understood. It’s a shame I am not teaching him as he is a good kid. But I hope that he enjoys the other teacher’s lessons too.

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