I have just realised that this time last year, I would just have finished teaching my first week of classes here at RDFZ, and would have been in China for less than a month! How times have changed…. Although nothing greatly seems to have changed (on the surface at least), at school – I teach some of the same students and most of the staff are the same – underneath there are changes, some of which are deeper than others. The new foreign teachers, for instance, are very different from us last year. There are many new Chinese English teachers, especially in the Senior school. And the school has a new campus, Tongzhou, at the other side of the city. This is an area, which, in five or ten years, will perhaps be the place to live in Beijing. It is seeing rapid development, and some of the city council’s offices are moving there. At the moment, however, there is not much there. You can get to it by subway, I believe, but this is a bit of a journey from here. More subway lines will be built in that area I think, as the Beijing subway system expands.
The new school at Tongzhou is not actually new at all – it is the former Tonzhou No. 3 Middle School. Now rebranded as RDFZ Tongzhou Branch, there are two foreign teachers there, and slowly the students are adapting to RDFZ brand, with their uniforms. The school has no Senior 1 this year (they are at the main campus) and is at about 70% capacity. I had the opportunity to visit on Wednesday. The campus looks new and clean. There were only four of us who went, and, along with the two foreign teachers at the school (who just started there this year), we had to judge a singing contest of the students. We arrived at about 2.15pm and left at about 8pm! The school provided us with food after the contest, but with 23 acts performing it was a long evening.
It was an interesting visit although I’m not sure how often the teachers there come to the main campus, but the two foreign teachers have Wednesday’s off, so they may come to the main campus and observe some classes of ours.
The air has been pretty bad recently, although yesterday, the smog had lifted and the air was clear (briefly). The smog has returned today….