The Future Is Friendly, BUT, it also bites, sneezes, scratches and kicks
Wuhan Travel Blog› entry 42 of 74 › view all entries
I have been asked many times to relate information or tell my tale regarding teaching; well here it is. Being only at the tender age of twenty I am only able to teach very young children and those no older than middle school age. While at first teaching can be intimidating I assure you it gets better in the months ahead.
I started off with no staff knowing me, most being unable to speak English and many just too shy to talk. Yes, it felt isolating until I let them all come to see that I am not so different from them. I was friendly, approachable and made the first steps. I would help the assistance set up the lunch tables for the kids, help them put out the beds for the children to sleep in and always showed my respect to them and the teachers they worked along side with. At times even, I would help other assistants put away all the toys (some of these were heavy!) everyday even though this was not included in my list of duties. Why? Simply because I knew I was younger and stronger, their working hours longer and the tasks they must do much more demanding than my own.
In the end, they opened up to me and now we communicate with body language and simple Chinese/English. They give me treats, smiles and are very friendly towards me; I’ve become one of the gang now. Teachers invite me out, open up about their lives and ask me where I live. Actually, most were surprised I traveled so far to get to work, that I wasn’t your typical Westerner and even lived as most Chinese do. They found the connecting ground in which to bond with me on, and all I had to do was provide it.
Handling the kids is a little different. It helps if you can get to know them by their names. Unfortunately I teach so many children in one day that I haven’t memorized all their names; just some key ones. Honestly though, try to remember them all; they feel closer and more personal. After that, it’s all about showing you can have fun but that you can give out punishment. Once, I had students run completely wild and made them all sit with their heads down on a desk. I spoke in English while an assistant translated for them. Basically I apologized to the ones behaving because it was not fair to them that their unruly classmates were ruining the fun for them. After that they listened up a little better and were more reluctant to cross the line.
Mostly though, we have a lot of fun. Races, competition of the genders with stickers as rewards or candy for the older kids; it’s really all fun and games. I try to be silly, or compete too just to have some laughs. Never be afraid to be childish with them, or join them. The best I can say is don’t draw that adult/child line unless you are disciplining because if you do this during teaching then the students might be less inclined to jump into the games. Instead they love when the teacher’s compete with me, or me against them. I love it too, it passes the time and makes the lesson very exciting!
Lastly, if there is spare time where you are on break and they are outside playing; join them. Join them because this is bonding time and if they see that you want to play with them outside of lessons then they will know you’re for real; you’re fun for life. The kids love it, they love greeting me, giving me hugs and kisses and get really excited when I show up for class. Why? Because I have invested time and energy into them; because I care enough to be a part of their everyday life at the kindergarten. Kids are fun, so don’t be afraid.
Kids are the future and the future is friendly even if it bites, sneezes, scratches and kicks.