22 January 2017

Teaching English: Semester One, Second Year!

I can't believe where the time has gone?! It only seems like a moment since I returned to work after the summer break! The first semester of my second year at Etonkids has finished! From one fabulous parent showcase to being the first teacher in my region to teach the ECA after-school class, those language materials didn't make themselves but it has been so amazing! Yes!

Fresh from my summer break I was itching to get back to my students, the second year for me would be a chance to step up from the previous year and 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 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, giving me even more English names to remember! Get to work J!

My first official 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 Centre 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 so I had something the older children could use in class. Overall, the observed class didn't go well in my opinion because certain children decided to play up but my manager thought the lesson was well managed and that I was making the right progress, it felt so good 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 an October national holiday!

Working alongside Mark, a former English Specialist who had previously worked at another Eton Campus in Wuhan it was time to transform the school with several important English art displays. I found my love for painting and it felt great to say that these projects are part of my job title! Beginning with 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's always nonstop at Etonkids but I honestly love it here! Yes!

Of course I still taught some of the Casa classes, keeping Linda's class I was able to still teach my favourites like Ivy, Isla, Femi and Joy! New children had joined the group, some of them started at a much younger age but the mixed age classes is a Montessori practice. I had become so focussed on teaching the Bridging classes at a level that the Casa classes wouldn't get I had to simplify things a lot but I got on with what I needed to do! Lisa's class were crazy, with a few language issues from the teachers its not been an easy class to teach this semester but as time as gone past things have improved. I now have the support of the assistant teacher to remind the children of the ground rules in Chinese. I can't believe how fast this semester has flown past, but I love my job! Yes, my HDHF!

Little did I know that I would be teaching an Extra Curricular Activity after school on a Monday each week! Centred around Thomas the Tank Engine, this series of drama based English classes would last for one hour after school, the class size was under twenty children so I could 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, out of at least four other places outside Wuhan and I had been chosen! Taking a break for my Christmas holiday to Yunnan 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 and the parents and grandparents that had been watching seemed very pleased indeed! I'm looking forward to the next semesters after school classes! Oh, I felt like a real teacher! 

I have been sitting on a secret, the next semester will be my final semester at Hengda Huafu because I plan to transfer to an Etonkids Kindergarten in Beijing. I am enjoying my time in Wuhan and working at this campus has already taught me so much about being an English Specialist but 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, the uber freezing cities of Harbin and Shenyang are waiting for me! Goodbye!

Another One Bites The Dust!

Joseph Harrison 

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