***MY MOBILE NUMBER IS NOW 008615114296732.***
I've just read my friend's blog. He's currently canoeing the whole length of the Amazon, from source to sea. Doesn't have an iron though.
I started work this Monday and what a start. My favourite saying these days is 'better never stops' and I certainly hope that's true because my god it was a bad start. On Sunday I finally got my teaching schedule and the crafty sods at the college have put 2x 45-minute lessons together into a long lesson with a break of 10 minutes. Very cheeky. Meaning my first day, I had 6 lessons. Today, Tuesday, I started at 8am and finished at 5pm having done 8 lessons.
My first lesson was a nightmare. The level of English at the college is far better than I'd supposed and because I hadn't been given the course text book I pretty much made up something to teach on the topic 'English Speaking'. I had a class of 40 students all 22-23 years old. Great. After the 4th lesson I was given the text book and it was nothing like what I'd imagined it would be: it was essentially a text book written in Chinese and translated into English. Not great.
Today I had 8 classes of 'Debate'. That's the course title. We looked at how arguments fall apart without structure and we did it by me ripping the students' arguments to shreds :o) They got much better after we'd discussed what makes a water-tight argument and been through good ways to start and to conclude.
I have given the students - all 640 of them :o) - my e-mail address so that they can contact me about the lessons and so that I can draw their attention to things before the next lesson. Some of the e-mails I've had so far have been great with really good feedback so I'm quite chuffed with that. Also, I've so far had my photograph taken at the start of one lesson, been asked my star-sign during a group activity and had my tie stroked. The college, let me add, is 90% female and the students are 21-23. I'm going straight to hell.
Currently I don't have access to a printer which makes preparing a bit tricky. I'm having to send my stuff 2 days in advance to Jack for him to print and then for him to give to me to fuyin (photocopy) :o) Such a timely set up. There have been other things too but this hardly the medium. My income tax, by the way, is 15% minus £17 :o)
A student named Libertine showed me round the campus and helped me pick up a SIM card for this province. None of the students can prepare food in their on-site dorms so they eat in the canteen. The canteen has, I think, 3 floors and the food is excellent. Everything is prepared there fresh in the morning and as you're waiting to be served fresh noodles are made by the chefs. There's stir-fried food, curries, noodle soups... Everything and then some. The best part is that your plate is piled high and it comes to 6 yuan, 60p.
There are no pool tables there. This is disappointing and also worrying. E-man might be able to beat me when I get back. Not good. There is, however, a ping-pong table in the copying room :o) The badminton, football and basketball areas are not used at all. When it gets a bit warmer I'm going to try and start something because without pubs, clubs and kebabs these students can never really be called students.
In other news, I've bought some envelopes from the corner shop so I can write home. Still not sure how I'm going to post or where I can collect any post for me. Will find out though. My landlady last night came round at 8.30pm to give me some rice milk, which was out of the blue and very kind. The guy in my local corner shop seems to have more time for me now I'm practising more Chinese with him, which is nice. The security guards at the gate to where I live lift the car barriers when I arrive home so I don't have to walk further to get to the gate, which is also nice.
I just need a plant and then I can call this place a decent home.