I’ve been in Durham for the past few weeks, teaching and now the course ended. It’s been an interesting six weeks, and whilst the classes have not always gone to plan, I’ve learned a lot and hopefully the students have too. It’s difficult to see them develop a lot during six short weeks but in their writing at least, they seem to have improved, if nothing else. As most of my students were Chinese, it was somewhat easy for me to adapt and communicate with them (though we always spoke in English). I also taught an Italian guy and a Peruvian guy.
The other teachers have been nice and helpful, too, and although sometimes personalities clashed, it was never especially awkward, though I worked with some more than others and some teachers I barely spoke to.
On my corridor, there were some characters, including one who was very experienced, jolly and helpful and who I helped with computer problems where they had some. Some other teachers had lived or worked in China before, so I was able to bond with them over that, including one guy who was in the room next to me, who lived in Beijing for the last nine months, in the area of the city where the main campus of my university was. Small world. What was even smaller, was there was a teacher on the longer course, who I saw once in the street, but only spoke to on Thursday night, as we had farewell drinks in the college bar, who I actually worked with in Beijing. In my first year at Cufe, the university I worked at, there were several teachers who taught an EAP course in the university. Each morning, we would take the shuttle bus together from the main campus, where I lived, to the main campus in the suburbs. At lunch time, we all sat together and chatted. We all went out for pizza on my birthday, too, in my first year at that university. I knew this teacher had worked at Durham in the past, but spotting him on the street revealed that he was here now as well.
I approached him in the bar and asked if he remembered me, and he did and we compared stories and memories, which was really nice. It was just a shame we only did this at the end of the course. Still, better later than never, I guess!