First Impressions - Don Holloway
been in Nanyang (Henan province) a little over two weeks now, and
can say that I have settled in very well and have been met with
only the utmost of kindness from staff as well as from students.
From the time of touching down at the provincial airport to help
recently fixing a leaky pipe in my kitchen, I have to say that the
school has my best intentions at heart. My flat is comfortable,
the food wonderful, the students eager and cheerful. What more could
an English teacher want?
Nanyang is a moderate-sized inland city where few foreigners have
been. I am a novelty in this region of China, and the Chinese consider
me exotic. I get curious stares and lots and lots of smiles. Walking
around the campus of the school where I work, the people saying
'ni hao' ('hello') are endless. I have been placed at a polytechnic,
and my students are between the ages of 18 and 21. They are full
of energy and enthusiasm for English. Unlike my experience in inner-London
secondary schools, discipline here is not an issue whatsoever. The
students genuinely want to learn English, and learn it well, and
this year will prove to have lots of chances for them to improve
their English, both inside and outside the classroom.
I teach four groups of around thirty students. I have each group
twice a week, and each lesson for one-hundred minutes. Classes focus
on spoken English and on reading English. Most of the students have
never had a native speaker of English before as their teacher, so
my aim this year is to improve spoken fluency and pronunciation.
Lessons are kept fun, and the students have no problem participating.
I am overwhelmed with the kindness shown to me. If I need to buy
something, I always have at least two students to volunteer to help
me. If I need to have something in Chinese explained to me in English,
there is always a student wanting to translate. How do I operate
a Chinese washing machine? Explained. And the water heater? The
same. I already have had many lively discussions about the differences
between English and Chinese cultures. You couldn't ask for kinder
or more eager students.
Originally I came to China for a career break. For years I worked
in software before my arrival at Nanyang. Years ago I used to be
a qualified teacher in England, but stopped because of the bureaucratic
demands and behavioural issues. In the last few weeks I have found
again that inner teacher in me. I already consider China in general,
and Nanyang in particular, my second home.
Don Holloway - firstname.lastname@example.org