Thursday, 29 September 2011

This is the pits.....

Wednesday 28th Sept. 8:25 am. Not running today, well not at the moment, I might go later (didn't go), no teaching till 1:30 and only one class today.  The weathers overcast and blowy today, its still warm though. (I know this blog is two days late but i've been busy and had no photos to decorate it, so the photos below are a bit random)

Sat watching birds held captive in a cage

I met with my new class of freshmen yesterday. I saw them for two sessions, 8 am until 9:40 and then again at 1 30 until 3:10.  Then I also had a new class of teachers to teach.

The freshmen were all very excited, happy and receptive.  This is unlike the 3rd years I have been teaching who are quiet and withdrawn and in some cases sullen. Although I admit I do have one class which is mostly girls which I enjoy teaching, the other classes which are mostly boys sometimes feels like pulling teeth.

My first years though are a different kettle of fish and got involved with all we did. Well they had to because as per usual I had been given the wrong books, so in the first lesson I had to wing it!  But that was mainly taken up with giving them English names talking about myself and the usual introductory stuff and then just getting them to do a few things for me so I could check out the level of the class. And I do have to say that their level of English also seems to be much better than the 3rd years. Maybe they are doing more in their junior schools now?

My scooter getting an oil change

For the second class I was much more organised and had worked on lesson plans during the time I was off at 9:40 until my 1:30 class.  So for the second class I was prepared.  You Tube is a great resource, especially as these freshmen classes are meant to be focused on listening.  I used a Sesame Street clip of rhyming works then got them to write down as many similar rhyming words as they could which they seemed to enjoy. Then I used the video of Hello by Lionel Richie and got them to answer some questions, and then fill in the missing spaces on a lyric sheet I had prepared for them.  There were 18 blanks to fill in and 1 girl got 16 right, so she won a lollipop.

Lollipops have a huge classroom currency and the new teachers are learning this very quickly. Even amongst the 22 year old surly 3rd years the chance to win a lollipop gets them hugely motivated and generates big smiles and sparkly eyes from the girls and giggles (from the boys) when someone gets an unexpected lolly.  I learnt this off AJ and Tom and Peggy went to WALMART (yes we have one in Nanjing) and came back loaded for bear with loads of sweets. And in fact I saw students streaming out of Peggy’s class at the end of lessons all clasping sweets and laughing and joking like 6 year olds with a party bag!

Mini 'factories/fabricators' all along the street

What does throw me a little with these students is the sudden and shocking appearance of very hairy armpits on the girls. They all have lovely long dark sleek hair (on their heads btw) most wear it long down their back and it is often nicely trimmed and neat.  But occasionally when a girl is wearing a loose short-sleeved blouse or a short-sleeved top one gets a shocking glimpse of a really hairy pit.  I’ve also seen it with the shop girls and it’s a bit shocking every time.  There is a slight voyeuristic urge as well. But its not in a pervy sexual way, more a ‘MY GOD LOOK AT THAT’ sort of way linked with an urge to march the girl off to the razor counter of Boots or at least its Chinese equivalent and introduce them to the lady shave. And although I have had only the merest glimpse of the hairy pit and not been able to check the hairy mass out it also seems LONG.  Black and very very long.  I know in the West we accuse European women, mainly French women, of having hairy pits, but I really haven’t seen the evidence to prove that. (and no, I'm NOT taking photos of the Chinese girls!)

Strange but true.

 Funky old chair on funky old trike

 An Imperial Honey 100cc

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