First Day of Class in Beijing

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Potato chip flavor: Hot and Sour Fish Soup Flavor…Ugghhh!


Today was an interesting first day. Inner Mongolia is different from the rest of China I think…in many ways. I was teaching about how differences and similarities between western and Chinese cultures are. To illustrate the point, I asked when the students took their last shower. I expected them to say last night. And, my response was going to be that I take showers in the morning. A minor difference, but it shows the cultural differences. Most of their response to the question was “last week”!!!!! It is so cold in Inner Mongolia that they only take a weekly shower there…Ha Ha.

The morning started at 6 AM. Considering I did not fall asleep until 2 AM, I am tired. I am in a new place, in a new bed, and my mind was racing about the class in the morning. The water in the hotel is not very hot. It is actually kind of cold. So, no shower this morning. I make my way to the lobby and the kids begin to filter in too. We are not sure what to make of each other. We go to breakfast. It is actually pretty good breakfast. I sit with two of the girls. We do not talk much. They are very shy.

I leave early to get to the classroom to prepare it for my three hour class instruction. I do most of the talking the first day. This is so the students get to hear my voice, get used to my teaching style, and get to know me so they will participate in later classes. I begin with an introduction of myself through a power point presentation. They seem to like the pictures I show. I then have them find an English name and make a name plate so I can call them by name. I cannot pronounce Chinese names, so I have them use an English name. I also explain about the Photo Scavenger Hunt they will do this week. And, I show them pictures of the summer Hunt I did.

We talked about stereotypes that we have of each other. For me, my stereotype was the short rice farmer and everyone is poor. Their stereotype is fat people carrying guns. And, the last part of the class, I began the English lesson program I teach to improve their speaking. This is the most important part of the class for me. And, I hope it will be the same for the students. I am curious to see if this method works the same with Chinese students from a different part of China, like it has done in my school. This will be a great experiment to see if it is transferable. Especially knowing how different students from Inner Mongolia can be from the rest of China. Overall, the class went very well. I think they enjoyed the lessons. I hope they learned something from it.

After class, I just hung out in the office for a while chatting and listening. I then went to my room and took a nap. It felt great. I really did not want to go to dinner. But, I knew I should not sleep any more. If I did, I would not be able to sleep later tonight.

I have the day off tomorrow. I need to go online and see where I am in Beijing and where I can go from here to see some sites. I hate traveling alone. But, I am in Beijing. I do not want to let this opportunity pass without seeing some more of this city. Oh, the city is still very quiet. I is strange. I expect to see so many people and cars. But, not so much right now. Maybe as I do some site seeing, it will be different. I hope there is still snow on the ground as I make my way around tomorrow. It should make for some wonderful pictures.


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