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UIBE Week 3

Beijing Travel Blog

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Taking a lesson in TP week

I had to get up pretty early to go and do some work in preparation for the teaching practice, which was starting on Wednesday...

I spent the morning working on lesson plans with Simon and then headed to the Silk Market in Beijing to buy a few clothes for teaching.  We had been told a couple of days ago that we needed smart clothes and girls shouldn’t wear anything that showed off too much flesh.  I had a rucksack full of travelling clothes, which wouldn’t cut it so I desperately needed to make a couple of purchases.

It wasn’t a hugely successful trip mainly because I wasn’t yet used to the hardcore bartering that needs to take place at this market should you want to walk away with a bargain, but I managed to get a couple of skirts that would certainly work for the teaching, but definitely won’t be returning home with me!

Simon and I had lunch at a cafe by the market and then headed back to UIBE to continue working.

Writing on the blackboard
  Not only did I have to do the lesson plans for teaching practice but Assignment 2 was due in the next morning!  Not sure I’d really prepared myself for all this work.

It was back to lessons the next day and it was quite tiring finishing off the preparations for the first day of teaching.  However, we had a little bit of fun in the afternoon as we got put in teams and were made to prepare a nursery rhyme together for performance to the rest of the class.  My team got given ‘row row row your boat’ and one of our team got really into choreographing our act.  We ended up performing outside the classroom to goodness knows how many people and being filmed in the process too!  This course really doesn’t allow for inhibitions.

I went for dinner with new friends Amy, Heidi, Emma and Jakob.

Trying to hide behind the desk?
  We found a great cheap Chinese restaurant across the road from the university where we had a fab meal and a beer for ¥13 each, less than £1 - an absolute bargain.

Wednesday was the first day of teaching practice.  Everyone on the programme was put into a team of 5 or 6.  The team then had to work together to prepare and give 3 classes each morning lasting 50 minutes each, over the course of 5 days.  Therefore I had to prepare 25 minutes of teaching for each day.  Doesn’t sound like much, but when it’s your first time in front of a class, it feels like a lifetime.  I was put in a team with Simon, Fergus, BBC Mike and Inga.  On day 1, I was third up and gave the first part of a lesson I’d prepared with Simon.

The TP class poses after fruit salad

We had 16 students in our class aged between 13 and 15 years old.  They all had English names, which made learning them a lot easier.  However, Chinese kids don’t always tend to pick the most obvious English names usually due to a lack of understanding or mispronunciation.  In our class, we had one boy called Belly and another called Leopold! 

I was pretty happy with the first day because my lesson went really well.  The students were much more responsive than I’d expected and their English was pretty good too, which means less need to concept check i.e. check they’ve understood the vocabulary you’re using/teaching.

Despite the good start on day 1, day 2’s teaching I felt didn’t go as well.

My TP team with Belly's fruits
  I was last up and ended up having to teach for most of the 50 minutes, which I didn’t really feel too well-prepared for.  Well, I consoled myself with a beer in the evening and the thought that it wouldn’t have been realistic to expect the whole week to go perfectly well.

My lesson on the 3rd day went ok so I was a little more happy but preparation for day 4 was pretty tough as these lessons were due to be observed as part of the course assessment.

Had dinner with my now regular dinner crew - Amy, Heidi, Jakob & co and got a reasonably early night to bed.

I was quite impressed with myself on day 4 of teaching because I wasn’t too nervous despite being observed.  Fortunately my lesson went really really well and I got great feedback from the course leader, Katrina, so was very pleased.

Happy together
  The inevitable comparing of feedback forms followed, which turned into a bit of a joke.  Kat rated aspects of performance with smiley faces and it would appear I had more than the others so happily accepted the title of star pupil! Never before had I held such a position and so I had a couple of beers with some of my crew that evening to celebrate.  With the stress of observation day over I was looking forward to enjoying the final day of TP.

I woke up on the final day not feeling too great - I had a cough developing and my voice was clearly on the way out.  Despite this, the final day’s lesson went ok...I played a memory game with the kids which they seemed to really enjoy. We finished the morning by playing a massive game of fruit salad outside with some of the other classes, which involves a fair bit of running around.

UIBE roomies - Shangin, me and Inga
  After getting a few photos of the students, we said our goodbyes...

I was really glad the week was over but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  One of our students, who called himself ‘Belly’, gave each of us a piece of fruit which had been knitted by his grandmother as a thank you gift.  I got a slice of watermelon, which I was really pleased with.  Fergus was given a banana, Simon an apple, BBC Mike got a pear and Inga got an unidentifiable fruit that we named the titty fruit because aptly for Inga, that’s what it looked like!

We got straight on the beers after the lessons and I went to the internet cafe across the road for lunch with Amy.

I spent the afternoon pampering myself for the party night ahead.

Enjoying a G&T
...

Solaro, the programme leader had arranged for an end of TP week party at a pub called the Goose & Duck - it was ¥100 for all you can drink.  Clearly, we were all on a mission to make the most of the evening and our 100 quai, and I had a fun night jumping around the place and singing along whilst some of the more competent musicians among the group entertained us with renditions on the piano of fave songs like Let It Be and Imagine.

After making if back to campus, as usual the drinking continued outside until the small hours of the morning.  I also have some vague recollection of venturing to the 24 hour noodle bar down the road at some point before the sun came up!

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Taking a lesson in TP week
Taking a lesson in TP week
Writing on the blackboard
Writing on the blackboard
Trying to hide behind the desk?
Trying to hide behind the desk?
The TP class poses after fruit sal…
The TP class poses after fruit sa…
My TP team with Bellys fruits
My TP team with Belly's fruits
Happy together
Happy together
UIBE roomies - Shangin, me and Inga
UIBE roomies - Shangin, me and Inga
Enjoying a G&T
Enjoying a G&T
BBC Mike playing teacher
BBC Mike playing teacher
Inga discussing a bicycle
Inga discussing a bicycle
Simon engages his class
Simon engages his class
The TP students
The TP students
Fergus demonstrates...
Fergus demonstrates...
Having a well earned beer
Having a well earned beer
Blue steeling with Kyle at the TP …
Blue steeling with Kyle at the TP…
Daniel, Emma, Jakob and Heidi
Daniel, Emma, Jakob and Heidi
Josie and Inga
Josie and Inga
Me, Martin and Fabian
Me, Martin and Fabian
A sweaty Jack and Fergus
A sweaty Jack and Fergus
Me, Amy and Graham
Me, Amy and Graham
Piotr takes Kat for a spin
Piotr takes Kat for a spin
Rasmus, Amy and Ross
Rasmus, Amy and Ross
Simon with his cue
Simon with his cue
Looking hot with Rasmus
Looking hot with Rasmus
Amy enjoys some Rasmus lurvin
Amy enjoys some Rasmus lurvin'
Showing our affection - Simon clea…
Showing our affection - Simon cle…
Martin, me and Paranoid Mike
Martin, me and Paranoid Mike
PM and Amy
PM and Amy
Dave and Graham are happy together
Dave and Graham are happy together
Get comfy on the pool table
Get comfy on the pool table
Looking hot!
Looking hot!
With Ben and Wilson
With Ben and Wilson
Santa without his costume and some…
Santa without his costume and som…
Scottish Dave gives a performance
Scottish Dave gives a performance
A couple of wrestlers make an appe…
A couple of wrestlers make an app…
Inga, Simon, Piotr and Josie
Inga, Simon, Piotr and Josie
Showing affection to Amy
Showing affection to Amy
She returns the favour!
She returns the favour!
Simon and Inga
Simon and Inga
The whole group in full song
The whole group in full song
Beijing
photo by: Deats