First Impressions - Sam Hume

Life in Guiyang is going very well. This is reflected by my good fortune in being afforded two residences. One in central Guiyang, Hunan Province, the other is situated on the outskirts of the city, where I teach. I find myself spending most nights in my central city residence as it very much resembles an italian villa. Although this means two hours spent on a bus each day, the time is well spent both reading and exchanging Chinese phrases with my fellow teachers.

My fellow teachers have been very quick in welcoming me to the school. I spend much time, in school and out of it, with local teachers from the english department. This is a symbiotic relationship, their English is flourishing and my Chinese fast improving. Mrs Huang (I believe the two of you have had contact) has been catering for my every need, although I try not to bother her. Only yesterday she accompanied me to a hospital in order that a inflamation of my eye be treated. I have made many friends at a local university. As a direct result I find myself lecturing there in my spare time. I also host lessons in my villa on mondays and wednesdays. I do not expect or receive money for these services. A colleague of my father has also put me in touch with a local university professor with whom I spend much free time drinking Bei Jou and being introduced to his netwrok of friends. The culmination of these sociabilities leaves time spent alone a rare commodity.

I teach primary, junior and senior students. All of whom are very interested and eager to learn about Western culture and myself. Even the students who have no desire to learn English are both respectful and demonstrate interest in me. Teaching primary students has proved enjoyable and a unlaborious task, the same can be said for teaching senior students. Teaching junior students is more of a challenge. The greatest barriers to teaching reveal themselves in three froms. I am asked by the students to teach intersting topics, this is made hard by their poor vocabulary and understanding of the English language. I am happy to say that these are challenges we overcoming together, so that the standard of my teaching and their English is improving.

Of the eighteen lessons I conduct each week, fourteen go very smoothly. I have been told by the Director of the English department that he is very happy with my teaching performance. He also informs me that most English teachers have benefitted from my presence in terms of improved vocabulary and compounding of oratorical skills. I am aware that I have room for improvement but take the above as a sign that I am moving in the right direction.

I have visited Tom and Chris in Xiangtan (I met many of their friends who also teach there, but am unsure as to whether they obtained their respective positions through the T.E.I.China programme). This was a joyous occasion for many reasons. I was glad to see my brother, I was glad to see Chris, we watched rugby and it was Tom's birthday. Much fun was had. This weekend I will travel to Xiang Geng (Hong Kong) where I will meet my parents and Tom. We will spend the weekend together before my parents continue on their journey encompasing many different provinces in China.

I am enjoying my experience teaching here very much. I have made many friends and my days are filled with intrigue. I must thank you for presenting me with such an opportunity.

Best wishes

Sam Hume