UIBE Week 3
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!