Teaching English: China's Wuhan... Semester One, Second Year!

I can't believe where the time has gone? It only seems like a quick second since I returned to work after the Summer! The first semester of my second year at Etonkids is over! From one fabulous 'Parent Showcase' to being the first teacher in Wuhan to teach the ECA 'After-school Class! Absolutely, those 'Language Materials' did not make themselves! Yess, I went to 'Werq!!!' 


Fresh from my Summer break, I was itching to get back to school to see my students! The second year for me would be a chance to step up from the previous year, to prove myself all over again. I discovered the glue gun, that discovery made my life a lot easier and gave me the chance to be a lot more creative than the first year. I only had four classes to teach, it felt like a welcome break compared to the previous year when I taught six classes per day plus all my other duties on top. I was put in charge as the primary Bridging teacher as two classes of thirty-five or so children had been put together, splitting them up it made the lessons flow a lot easier and gave each child the chance to speak more. I was loving being the only Bridging Class teacher, the vast majority of the class already knew me from the previous year so we were fine. New children joined the classes as well, I had more English names to remember! Knowing what I needed to do I embraced having a colleague to keep each other company during our classes, the first year had been all about 'ME!' 

My first official management 'Lesson Observation' was looming, I had a complex about being watched during a class but I needed to get over that! I had to get over the mess that happened when I worked at the Training Center because things were different for the better at Etonkids. Putting my mind to it I made a language material for September's book 'Things I Like', I used it for my lesson observation. Being canny, I had something the older children could use in class. Overall, the observed class didn't go well in my opinion because certain children lost focus but my manager thought the lesson was well managed. She added that I was making the right progress, it felt really empowering to have a 'positive' observation rather than feeling petrified! Getting our groove on I planned a dance themed parent showcase for the Bridging classes, I wanted to surprise the parents so we 'Vogued' the house down and served some Bhangra beats! Things were looking up for my second year, it was almost time for October's Golden Week! Fly!


Working alongside Mark was an absolute treat, being a fellow 'English Specialist' who had previously worked at another Eton Campus in Jiangsu Province. It was time to transform the school with several important English art displays, the Principal had many grand visions for us both! I found my love for painting, it felt great to say that these projects are an actual part of my job title! Beginning with the construction of a Halloween house, we modified for the season and sometimes the book of the month to keep it looking fresh! The latest look was our attempt of a Christmas house. Also we made a winter themed board that was complete with a snowman made from paper cups and a Christmas tree, I glued together two boxes from polystyrene boards and managed to wrap them up neatly. It has been nonstop at my Wuhan HDHF Etonkids Kindergarten but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way! Going to work during those Monday to Friday schedule, absolutely that was my natural high! Mark and I got creative indeed! 加油!

Of course, I still taught some of the Casa Classes which meant that I kept Ella's previous class. Ella is the Academic Leader, now Linda is the leader of that class where some of my favourites like Ivy, Isla, Femi and Joy are in her class. Naturally, many new children had joined the group, some of them started at a much younger age but the Montessori practice helped them learn together. I had become very focussed with teaching the 'Bridging Classes'. Those older children required a more detailed level of language. I did sometimes simplify some things for the 'Casa' kids, I always had 'Little Leaders' who would be more than happy to help me explain directions. Lisa's class were as crazy as a box of frogs, Lisa didn't speak any English even though she's a really good lead, we made progress. I'm now working with the Chinese teacher to implement some much needed 'Class Expectations' for the children to understand. Language learning can be intense for young learners but it's all in a days work. Let's learn! 让我们学习! Translate that! 


Little did I know that I would be teaching an 'Extra Curricular Activity' ECA after school on a Monday each week! Centred around 'Thomas the Tank Engine'. The series of drama based English classes would last for one hour after school, it was a change to get used to. The class size was under twenty children, I was able to give each child enough time to individually shine. Later on, I found out that I was the first English Specialist in the whole of my region to teach this class! That had been out of at least four other places outside Wuhan, I had been chosen to represent the region! Taking a break for my Christmas holiday to China's Yunnan, I was excited! After the holiday, I had to make up three classes, two of those were normal lessons and the third was a 'Parent Showcase'. I was immensely proud of the children after the 'Parent Showcase' as they behaved impeccably! The Parents and Grandparents that had been watching seemed very pleased indeed! I'm looking forward to the next lot of after school classes! Real teacher settings?

I have been sitting on a secret because the next semester will be my final semester at Wuhan's Hengda Huafu Campus. I am planning to transfer to an Etonkids Kindergarten in the Chinese Capital of Beijing. Sure, I am enjoying my time in Wuhan, working at this campus has already taught me a lot about being an English Specialist. Truthfully, I want to spread my wings! I will miss all of the children terribly, knowing that they'll get a new teacher makes me feel good as they will probably forget me after awhile? Beijing will be the chance for me to hopefully become an English Specialist within a Bilingual class? No more class hopping in the Huizhi format because I'm looking forward to the change. Up until then I plan to give it my all in Wuhan and give this campus my best till its time for me to catch my flight back to the UK for a well earned family visit before embarking on my third academic year at Etonkids but in Beijing! The Spring Festival holiday is just around the corner, China's Far North East awaits me! Semester done, W!

Another One... Bites The Dust!

Joseph Harrison 

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