Diary 2013/09/04 Back to School

Started teaching classes at our partner college today. Loved it. Mostly. Second years were fabulous, really sharp and happy to be there. Third years were a bit zombie-like and didn’t speak English as well as they should. They will be a challenge. But the second years are very endearing. I have a ways to go with my teaching style, but I am liking it. It’s odd how my father and mother both teach in some capacity these days (dad at a high school teaching maths, mum occasionally doing lectures for MBS), and a decent percentage of my Facebook friends, especially people my age (+/- 25), are teachers, or are studying to become teachers. Including my two cousins on my dad’s side. Teaching is a super important profession. I personally never thought I would have the patience to do it, but I do really enjoy the looks on my students’ faces when they understand something I have explained to them.

I know that while I often try to be humble (otherwise how would you learn??), I do know a lot, and have the intelligence to explain what I know. You should have seen the look on my colleagues face today at lunch when I started telling her about the Chinese poem I had found while exploring the Poets’ Walk at Huanhuaxi Park! She kept saying that most Chinese find it difficult to read Chinese poetry, and her eyes went as big as saucers when I fervently described my understanding of the poem in English. It just looked beyond her ken. It was an interesting day.

The colleague mentioned above is a Chinese teacher of English who works for our company at the college. She tries to act like she can communicate very well in English, but in reality she can’t. She doesn’t hear things properly and will then give an off answer, leading to further miscommunications. Such as when we took the wrong school bus to get home today. I asked “is this the right bus?” (in English), and she was like “yeah, yeah, yeah.” We got on it. Wrong bus. Had to get public transport the rest of the way home, but it was earlier than usual so wasn’t as crowded.

This morning really felt like “back to school.” Woke up just as it was getting light, got dressed and on the bus in a sleepy haze, and the air was crisp. Our school has wide, open-air corridors which I absolutely love. I’m sure it will be very cold in winter, but now, on a rainy autumn day, it’s absolutely perfect. Autumn is my favourite season of all, as I am always reminded each year it comes around. I love the smells, the cool air, the rains, the sound of wind through dry leaves. I have loved “back to school” since I can remember, with the new stationary and uniforms, the prospect of the knowledge I would be gaining. The thought of autumn holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, which involve pumpkins and pies, spiced apple cider and cinnamon donuts, stirs my soul…I won’t be able to have any of those foods here except different varieties of pumpkin, but in their place will be mooncakes and roasted chestnuts. I am looking forward to autumn in Chengdu!

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