Ni Hao, Jia Kai!
Hopefully this will be an adequate recollection and re-creation of ...
shawshank, narnia, middle earth . . . oh the mystical places you'll go in beijing . . .
i apologize for how belated this update might be, but i have been extremely busy from 8:30-6 p.m. pretty much every day since arriving in beijing. here is what my daily schedule looks like, for 'tis a mash-up of learning how to teach/learning chinese/teaching/lesson planning:
8:30-10:20: chinese class (no one has ever taken chinese before, so it's a bit of a review for me, but not by much)
10:30-11:20: tefl (teaching english as a foreign language) lecture so that hopefully we shall all pass the test for certification at the end of our time here in beijing
11:30-1:00: lunch/last-minute lesson planning time. given my propensity for procrastinating, usually by this time i gain a clearer understanding of what i will be teaching at 2, yes 2, p.m.
1:00-1:30ish: tefl activity. hear about other teachers' lesson ideas, what works, what doesn't, etc. etc.
2:00-2:50: teaching my university level students. more on them and the saga of being saddled with this level in a bit.
3:00-3:50: lesson planning. ideas and tips about lesson planning and good activities for future use. the coordinators, all past teachers in the program, conduct this one.
4:15-whenever it ends: information meeting about various aspects of the program.
rest of the night: lesson planning, drinking cheap beer, eating, and attempting not to rip out our hair.
so here's the deal with what we're doing here in beijing: there is a 2-week english summer program at peking university (the harvard of china!) for which ctlc is providing the instructors. all of us are divided into 11 classes, primary-university, and each is responsible for a 50-minute class period. my class, 11, was lucky enough to be the last to receive our assignment and thus got stuck with university kids, which is good and bad. first off, i'll be the first to say i have had great experience working with asian college students at the writing center, so there's no problem there. what is difficult is that unlike all of the other groups, mine is not really able to use the information we use in lecture and throughout our time here in the classroom, because surprisingly enough, college kids aren't interested in singing songs and playing elementary games. even those teaching seniors are somewhat able to adapt the activities discussed, but most of the time my group is in a completely different boat. however, it's been good so far, and i think i'm learning how to project my voice, act somewhat teacherly, and control the class when they need it. the t.a. even even me handed a compliment today as he had seen me the first day (when i arrived soaking wet due to the afternoon rain/downpour and having no umbrella) and said today that i seemed more comfortable and seemingly did an okay job.
i'm trying to have my class time devoted to current events and discussion--yesterday we discussed the asian games and why or why not it is important that china is hosting them, and today we discussed globalization attempting to use some key vocabulary i introduced/they already knew. it went okay i think. at least the topics are things i'm somewhat familiar with. okay, maybe just globalization is, but still! :D
i like china from what i've experienced thus far: the area where we are is pretty cheap for foodstuffs (large 1.5L bottle of water/large bottle of beer--50 cents, breakfast bread--60ish cents, veggie/noodle bowl, depending on ingredients--30-40 cents), though as one guy pointed out, it's sort of like being in chinatown right now. whether that's because we're all americans within a chinese area or because it's somewhat westernized i'm not sure, but i think it's a fairly apt description. we haven't gotten to go out much to see beijing which is somewhat sad, but tomorrow night we're going to see some acrobats which should be good. also, beer out of vending machines is promised, which is always nice :D one thing the chinese could work on: vegetarian food. both tofu dishes i got the past two nights had meat bits in them, which i don't mind so much but also don't see the need for. apparently it's all about the flavor .
as i don't want to replicate blog mistakes from past blogging ventures, i think i'm going to cap my update at this very long length it already is. more to come and hopefully some pictures, if the hotel's dial-up internet will ever allow me.