Job Description

21 09 2009

Yesterday I used Jajah to call a few people and the most common (and boring) question I got was about my job. To make sure that I don’t have to keep describing how I spend my workdays, I’m going to give you a quickie blog rundown.

I, Missy, teach English at the Nanjing Health School. I teach 17-20 year olds, mostly women, oral English. My classes are each an hour and a half with a 10 minute break in the middle. On Monday and Wednesday I have two classes and on Thursday I have three. On Tuesdays I have one class at 8AM which means I’m done for the day at 9.40 (not bad!) and I have no class on Friday. During the times in between classes I have an office that I share with three other teachers- you’ve heard about this, remember the water tossed in the corner? The Chinese are big fans of the Powerpoint presentation so I try and have something Powerpointy for the kids each day. They all read and write extremely well, at least as well as a high school freshman. Thinking and speaking on their feet is a different animal, though I’m constantly surprised by their vocabulary. I’ll hear "She is my friend. We are go shopping." and then, suddenly, "I made her acquaintance many years ago at the conservatory. Isn’t her round, white face and large eyes lovely?"

I’m slowly trying to break them of their sit at desk, listen to teacher habit but it’s very difficult. They are not used to standing or moving around during class or teaming up with a person who is not immediately seated next to them. I call role every day so they can get used to hearing and saying their English names and when I switch up the order of names, they are visibly confused. Today we tackled ‘Alphabetical Order’ (which they caught onto very quickly and impressively) and I asked them to stand and put themselves in alphabetical order by their English name. You would have thought I asked them to split an atom. I had to ask and encourage them to stand up from their seats three or four times before they slowly responded, giggling and embarrassed. They are used to standing and speaking or singing for their teachers and classmates but when I ask them to volunteer to perform out of order, the class grinds to a halt. I have them make 1 minutes plays using new vocabulary words and when I say, "Okay, who’s next?" everyone puts their head in their hands but if I establish an order, the kids pop up to the front easily. My cultural study of the Chinese student continues…

love, Missy

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4 responses

22 09 2009
Hibz

Hey…you asked me about work too….

22 09 2009
gl

Glad to hear about the classes themselves. Cultural differences do speak loudly in a classroom; even more so when the cultures are mixed. Enjoy the lessons and have fun. I just finished grading Anglo-Saxon riddles; some of the best I’ve ever had written. The mystery test grading is the next item on today’s ‘off-work’ day.

22 09 2009
Carla

Yay! Finally got a chance to catch up on your blog entries! Love it! What great experiences so far!
I love your description of the students different reactions to random order, vs sequential expectations… 🙂
And I really love the posts about the magical moments…especially your “hello” walk. And
And Jeremiah’s slices …

Keep enjoying!
Love,
Carla

23 09 2009
Prince B

Just for the record, I’m pretty sure I didn’t ask about your job, which by default, means that your conversation with me was by far the most exciting.

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