A student – who I no longer teach – asked me in an email yesterday if we could get lunch or dinner sometime. The American teachers at the branch school do it, and I presume used to do it here too. I told him that, on campus (e.g. canteen) is fine, but off campus not so. He is Korean, and wants to improve his English for studying in the US. It’s a difficult one. Especially after my previous post about going the extra mile. I think he will understand that. I’ve said if he wants a reference or for me to read anything I am happy to do so. Hopefully he will come to the office at lunchtimes, but he is very busy with school and volunteering. I also don’t have an unlimited amount of time. I have lessons to prep, Chinese to learn and so on, but usually I can make time if a student requests it.
We recently looked at the differences between Chinese and British schools with Senior 2 students. They mostly agreed that there are elements of both systems which they’d like (and not that one system is necessarily better than the other). They were impressed I took subjects like drama at school (they don’t get to do that), or food technology.The usual system of Chinese teaching is for the teacher to stand in front of the class and talk for 40 minutes as the students write down notes. Then they get given lots of homework. In our classes, we firstly try and get them to speak English but also I think to be more creative in their ideas. And the students can be creative, it just sometimes requires a quick nudge to get them to be. If nothing else, for 40 minutes each week, in our classes they can take a break from copying notes and writing things down and just relax. Sometimes they take it too far (e.g. by falling asleep), but usually they enjoy our classes because they are so different.