There are fireworks in the day here! Apparently they are to celebrate weddings, but you can’t see anything. They sure do make it hard to focus though. Not that we had much to focus on, we didn’t do much today other then take a lot of “breaks” as the CTs (Chinese Teachers) kept telling us to do. I just hope there’s room to improve the lesson structure. The one thing we did do was observe classes, and I wasn’t impressed with the teaching style. The cultural difference is huge, everything from workplace manners to ordering food.
Class structure consisted of the children sitting in their seats while the teachers talked at them. The most interactive it got was with rote repetition of weirdly worded sentences. Happy English has two centres in Jinan, and we were able to observe at both today. The class we saw at the West centre looked much more promising, so I do hold up some hope for modification.
Alex, the son of Lulu who works with the marketing staff, was hanging around all day. He was very impressed with Nate’s height, so Nate earned himself a new best friend. It helped that Nate quickly grew board of our frequent “breaks” and so spent most of the day playing with Alex. Alex might be getting a bit clingy… he’s going to get himself kicked out of the office for being a disturbance.
Katrina and Amy, two foreign teachers from America, became allies with us pretty quickly. Katrina showed me where some of the books were when I looked too bored, but then got told that she was throwing me into it too quickly. I wanted to be thrown into it at that point!
Candy, who will be our boss possibly maybe- (news to me as Lillian hired us and as far as I understood she was our boss. Maybe she’s quitting??) wrote down a list of things to see in the area in my journal. Despite the boredom everyone seems friendly, though I am having a difficult time getting a read on the Chinese staff. They seem friendly, but it’s hard to pick up their personality or get an idea of what they are thinking.
At lunch we went for food with a bunch of the Chinese teachers at what all the Fts (foreign teachers) call the red restaurant, a Chinese fast food joint in a red striped building. Our cultural lesson came at the counter where we had to pick the foods. The way the restaurant worked is you had to purchase food tickets before you ordered (different colours for different amounts) then you had to go up to the counter and pick your food. If you ordered more than you paid for you had to go back to buy more tickets. If you ordered less food and had to get change they would hand you back the change in tickets which you would bring back to the ticket counter to turn back into money! A little needlessly complex. The food was good but we ordered too much and ended up with very bloated bellies.
We rode the bus home from work on the route Lainey had instructed us to take. Lainey is the CT in charge of seeing to the FTs needs. I can already tell she is an amazing woman, and it’s more then just the flowers she handed us when she met us off of the airplane.
The bus was hot with plastic seats and Nate got a bad case of butt sweat! “I’m getting stared at!” he complained, though apparently he didn’t mean because of the sweat. He’s just freakishly tall here and the ginger hair doesn’t help him blend in. We were exhausted when finally got in the door. Other things to note: Babies have butt and front slits instead of diapers and just poop/ pee where ever they are when they need to go.