It has been a strange day today. On the one hand it has been quite stressful and hectic, and on the other, it has been very pleasant.
I say it has been fairly hectic as I have gone through six classes -- not something I am used to. What made things worse was that it was partially my fault I had six in the first place.
Johan and I devised an idea to get students chatting more in English -- something which many of them have said they want to do. We both arranged to try out our idea: to have six students sign up for a class, bring a conversation topic to get the ball rolling, and then have a relaxing "chat" with each other. Johan had his turn on Sunday, and mine was today. I really wanted to have a go at this because many students mentioned how much they liked the idea, but I really wanted to wait until our schedules were lighter. When I checked my timetable on Wednesday (we always get them the day before), I noticed only four classes and the extra chatting class for me -- perfect. Actually it wasn't perfect, because I didn't see that one of my lessons wasn't highlighted on the piece of paper (I don't even look at the other non-highlighted lessons). So at 6:10 this evening, when I was out with Kimi and Ryan, I received a call from Tina at reception:
"Chris, you have a class now, where are you?"
I replied, "No, I don't have a class now"
"Yes you do"
"No, I don't"
"Yes you do, at six o'clock"
"No I don't"
"Yes you do"
At that point I rapidly made my way back to the hotel, almost fifteen minutes late for the class. Luckily I was let off considering it wasn't highlighted on my sheet, and the two students that attended didn't mind at all (or if they did the certainly didn't show it).
To add insult to injury, one of the teachers, Paul, asked if he could exchange a day off with me because his girlfriend was coming down from Hangzhou. He really didn't want to leave her in his apartment all day. I sympathised with him and said I'd do it. But this also means that I am working again tomorrow, taking my working week for this week from six days to seven -- without a day off. What am I doing to myself??
Apart from that, the rest of my day has actually been very pleasurable. In my first class a student, Purple (yes, I know), kept saying very nice things to me. One thing that I really felt meant something was when she said how comfortable and confident she feels when speaking English in my class. When I started this job I was worried I couldn't match the kind of personalities of the other teachers at Web, some were so lively and funny, I couldn't be like that. But comments like Purple's today remind me that being myself is important. I am me, and that is OK.
Also, later in the day, my chat with the six students that signed up was very enjoyable. All of them were in my list of favourite students, a huge bonus for sure. We talked about a variety of topics from religion to movies, and crime to ghosts. It really felt worthwhile, and before any of us knew it, one hour had past. Brilliant.
Yesterday, I mentioned that Web will be hosting a Halloween party (58 RMB per person). I saw that posters had been put up all around the centre to advertise the event. I am fairly embarrassed to be associated with this "most authentic American Halloween". Why oh why oh why didn't they run the English past one of the teachers first, or even ask one of us to write it? Again, I am baffled.