First Day Teaching in China

My first group of students in China ever

My first group of students in China  🙂

Today was my first day at school! I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I have taught for ten years and everyday on the first day of school, I get butterflies in my stomach. To me the  first day of  school is  a brand  new start. It is  springtime in China and in spring things  start anew. When things  are new then anything is  possible.  I just love the  fresh smell of chalk in the  morning !!!!

I like  to be  optimistic  about any situation, even when I was in my darkest days not  so long  ago. I remember  what  my dear friend Jo said  about China, ” There is  a our  way and the Chinese Way.Dorothy you aren’t in Kansas anymore.”  The Chinese way may not make much sense  to us, but I am a go with the  flow type of girl. I was not  told exactly which building , I would be teaching my class.I was just given a number 3102  I walked over  towards the school buildings yesterday and noticed that there were no numbers.  Ok this  is  definitely a case of The Chinese Way.

This  morning, I was asking everyone that I saw how  to get to the  building. I wrote the number down. Through a series of  five people I finally found where I was going  basically in China the count the number of building. the 3 stands for Building  3 and the 102 is the room number. Makes sense!!!! From that logical point. I still wish there were numbers on it  for the  silly foreigners.

I arrived about 15 minutes early for the class, the students were already there. They were all girls. I walked in and  said Ni hao and  stood by the podium. As soon as they saw me  there were a lot of oooooohhhs and aaaaahhhhhs then they  applauded. I felt like a rock star. There are  not a lot of black people in China, so seeing one is a big hoopla and  an honor. I  think that I may have  been the  first black person that many of my students have  seen in real life. Part of  my reason of going  to China was for cultural exchange. I hope that my students will leave my class with a more open view of my cultural as  well as a better grasp of English.

Then one boy walked into the class he was blushing. All the girls giggled. I had over 50 girls in the room. I was wondered if there were any more boys. The one boy said in English that there were more boys coming. Class was beginning  so I shut the  doors. I introduced myself and  wrote my name on the board with a minuscule piece of  chalk. The i heard a slight knock, wait to my wandering eyes do appear but 8 late boys!  I guess the boys travel in pack in China. I reintroduced myself  to the latecomers.

I noticed that the  students had their textbooks  but, I  did not receive mine so I decided  to make the first  class  more of an icebreaker class. I found this awesome  ESL activity called Snowball Fight.  Here is the link to the lesson.  My students really liked the activity and it got them out of there seats  and relaxed. I have  to tweak the  lesson a bit for my other classes. I have many different levels of proficiency in this first class. I definitely will be doing more partner work and group the students according to their  language needs.

After that we  did a vocabulary game  using the alphabet  that the Canadian teacher  suggested. With this game you  write a  word that starts with the letter A ex. apple.  Then using the last latter of the word students say a word that start with that letter  for example :egg then girl then love. The  students enjoyed the  lesson. I saw how extensive their vocabulary can be. This will help me in other lessons.

The last 10 minutes I let them ask me  questions. They were  a bit shy about asking me question. The  first  question they asked was  about my marriageable status. A few asked for my mobile and qq numbers. Those kids!! lol. One asked if  I will miss my family. Or  If I liked China. Or to tell about my life in New york. I told them that I am from New York because I know it was a more recognizable name. Maybe I will create a Powerpoint on NYC for them and tie it into a lesson.

After class some  girls asked if they could take pictures with me. I agreed. One think a black person in China has  to get use to is 1)Getting stared at 2)Getting pictures taken 3)Getting touched( hair and skin) If you can’t  handle that then stay in the USA, they don’t mean much by it. The Chinese are extremely curious about foreigners. Jo told me all of this before I came to china so I had time  to prepare myself. I am sure my image is all over QQ as we speak maybe even on youku(Chinese version of youtube). I spied with my eyes some students taking pics during the lesson. Such is  life in China and it is the  first day.

My students were 20 and 21 years old. so I have really made a jump with the age group I am teaching. I use  to teach 5 year old kids in the US. I have  to say I think I have found my teaching niche. I enjoyed teaching a college level class!!! They get my sense of humor and they were better behaved. So class 1 in China was a success. I am so grateful that I am again in the classroom where I belong.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 16:59:08

    Great!!!! Keep the blogs coming. I love reading about your adventures in China


  2. celestereille
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 04:59:55

    So happy you have found what you’ve been searching for…in every aspect we have talked about in the past 4 months!! Just be happy. Lots of love to you!


  3. lifebehindthewall
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 12:12:52

    Those cheese lobster chips are the bomb….and so are the roasted pork ones…. the lime ones are so so.. and the cucumber ones… are okay.. but after you eat a few that get tiring….


  4. avarose04
    Mar 01, 2013 @ 03:23:33

    I love your powerpoint idea about NYC… GREAT tie in and would make a great lesson for English as well!! Keep the blogs coming… I love them!


  5. raadiyawahhab
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 12:18:03



  6. beaufortninja
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 01:48:03

    Here in Guangzhou there’s a neighborhood called Africa Town or Chocolate City, depends on who you’re talking to. Most of the Africans live there with their families. I guess most of them are here for import/export business.


    • aquariusamber
      Mar 30, 2013 @ 11:22:20

      Yes, I heard of Chocolate City. We have African foriegn exchang students so , they have seen black people before. I teach at two campuses, at the one in the city, they were more shocked.


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