Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The First Fortnight

I have been in China a little under a month, but more importantly, I've now completed my first fortnight of teaching. Somehow.

The first few lessons were inevitably tough, but I feel like I do at least have some idea what I'm doing now. I've had the chance to clarify some really important things, like:

  • "What is the actual content you are expecting them to have learned in this course?" (A: Important issues like that are why we recruited foreign experts; you decide)
  • "how many students are in the class?" (A: at least twice as many, in all cases, as you were told to expect)
  • "how am I supposed to assess them?"

There are a lot of unresolved issues to deal with. I'm racking up incredible bills on my UK mobile, since I need to turn on roaming intercontinental data daily for vital things like checking vocabulary, navigating and getting fairly-constant messages from my employers. I still don't have my long-term work permit, which means I can't open a bank account, which means I can't get a Chinese mobile account, which means I can't register for basically any Chinese services because the government demands real-ID linking for most things and nobody accepts foreign mobile numbers.

The syllabuses were provided a couple of days before classes began, so I didn't have much time to prepare. Let's be honest; my first classes were outright bad. I like to think I improved quickly, but it's very much a case of frantically running to get ahead of myself, since I have even more classes starting soon.

It's the end of summer here, and I am only glad to have escaped "the hot part". I'm still constantly aware of just how warm it is for my delicate rain-fed constitution. Like wading through hot fog, or fumbling through a warehouse filled with heated silks; there’s a physical presence to the heat.

The combination of jetlag, workload, and the general mental pressure of coping with so many things at once has left me pretty exhausted most of the time, so let's call this one done for now.

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