- Though bingo was a bit rough at first, and it took students a while to catch on, once we got going and those who understood were playing the competition really started to build. In a few classes, I had 8 jump up at once and shout "BINGO"! I think it's just a really fun word for the students because they repeated it every time I said it while explaining the game.
- Volunteer teaching this week: It's always fun to do this. When you're no longer special or the novelty to your students that you once were, it can be really refreshing to walk into a classroom, be a new face, play games or teach idioms for a day, answer questions, and be the special guest. Maybe I should have just used one of my old lessons. Last year I played charades with a few classes but since we got the same verbs over and over again I wasn't sure that we were really having fun. This time, I taught a lesson about color idioms but it seemed a bit much for the first class (who also needed a bit of time to warm up to me, and were probably pretty self-conscious since their school sort students out into high and low performing classes and they had already been identified as weak in English). The second class ran with it more, but they were also 9th graders and a year ahead of the others. And of course, I left time for questions. We took a photo together, a student asked for a hug and I said "Sure, why not?" and they got me to sing the alphabet so they'd know about some of the differences between how they sing and how we sing it.
- Running around with other foreign teachers for a day. I'm not super social, I tend to move around a lot on my own on a whim. For better or worse, some don't think highly of me skipping out on going out for drinks at night or other stuff but I know from experience that for as much as I love seeing everyone, I eventually hit my limit and start thinking about going home, reading a book, watching a movie, or writing another lesson plan. Volunteer teaching allows me a space where I can meet others in Zhuzhou on some common ground and know that even if it's an all day thing, there is a set end where I can recover alone with a notebook, pen, and some music. I feel like I'm finally at a point where I've learned to manage my introverted tendencies with everyone else's need to see me come out more. The company is great, but I don't always have something to say. It kind of weirds people out when I'm quiet for too long.
- I met the mom of one of my students. She says he talks about my class. She didn't know I was his teacher last year too. She said he never talked about oral English. But that may also be that last year, I had a lot to learn and unfortunately, his class was one I didn't see much because I always seemed to have things come up on Thursdays. It's cool to know that he talks about class at home, but now I wonder what other students say to their parents.
- We made "pumpkin pie" on Friday too. Though it turned out to be pumpkin batter that we pressed into cakes with our hands, rolled in sesame seeds, and fried. I actually ate all of them before dinner, and still had room for dinner. I guess mine looked especially good. I soon found myself among hungry people and one woman was excited when I said she could eat one.
Here we go again. This past week, the Foreigners in Zhuzhou group held their first volunteer teaching day. As always, it's interesting to go to new places (often very lovely places) in Zhuzhou that I likely would not have seen otherwise and catch up with others who teach or work in Zhuzhou. though foreign teachers in China isn't all that new (I even read once that "my year teaching English in China" is a cliched genre), I still consider it kind of a strange and unique time that there are so many who come to China to do so. And the people that come here often have interesting histories or talents that they bring with them.
It had its ups and downs, but all in all, a pretty good week!
I'm a 3rd year WorldTeach volunteer.