This post is somewhat overdue, but a relatively easy one seeing as it doesn’t require uploading pictures.
I have to take four courses this year, two of which are compulsory – Reading and Newspaper Reading – and I had a choice of two others out of Listening, Speaking and Classical Chinese, of which I opted for the latter two.
Yes, all my teachers are Chinese and yes, the lessons are taught in Chinese, though most of them can speak some English. The students in my class, however, are not all English; it’s nice to have such a mix of nationalities in class.
Newspaper reading is probably the hardest, but my teacher is hilarious. He is constantly making jokes, leading off on interesting tangents, with his knowledge about other countries surprising us. A couple of his favourites that he keeps coming back to: Beckham – apparently a very influential figure in England; Mr. Bean – a symbol of English comedy; and ‘double O zero seven’ – no one has the heart to correct him. However, we’ve also managed to get onto Adele – the voice of Britain, and Susan Boyle…whose Chinese name translates into English as ‘old mother’.
Although the majority of my class are actually from England, the others are not forgotten. Italian Ferraris, pizza and pasta, Korean and German World Cups, Japanese delicacies, and Russian dolls (in the form of Medvedev, Gorbatschow etc) have all managed to come up in his lessons. The London Olympics, though, have a special place, and his impression of Britain – a place where all the men fit the typical ‘Sir’ stereotype: gentlemen with a top hat, monocle and a cane, and where we often have afternoon tea, makes us laugh every time.
All the classrooms are fully equipped with modern, state-of-the-art…..blackboards. I love them. It reminds me of primary school, and makes me think how much we take for granted in the West. I hope they never upgrade to smartboards; I think even whiteboards would be too far! I love the look of Chinese characters, drawn with chalk, on a real blackboard. I wouldn’t have it any other way.