Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Second Day: Going Better So Far

Yesterday was so bad. I was freaking out in my apartment. I tried to distract myself by watching a movie, but all I had was "The Kite Runner". A Chinese teacher lent it to me. Good movie, but it made me even more depressed. I walked down the hall to talk to Stephanie just to get out of my room and out of my head.

She was very nice and very considerate, but other than that, she couldn't help me much at the time. She told me that she was really depressed her first semester, which didn't make me feel better. She couldn't tell me much about teaching at the high school since she teaches primary. She offered to hang out and watch a movie or go out to eat or something, but I was in state to be social. She did, though, send me a text message today to check up on me, which I really appreciate. Me, her, Charlotte and maybe some other teachers are going to the Blue Frog after work to hang out.

I couldn't sleep at all last night. This morning I hate half of a peanut butter sandwich and felt like I was going to throw up. I had some tea, which made me feel a little better. I really hope that once I get into a routine, I'll feel less freaked out about each day. And I hope I start sleeping better. Getting barely any sleep or no sleep at all is starting to drive me insane.

When I walked in the office today I was afraid someone was going to be like, "Where the heck did you go yesterday?" But no one seemed to notice that I had left early. Either that or the Chinese belief in "face" is saving me from an uncomfortable confrontation. As for my classes today, the first one went very well. The second class (which was with the same group of students that was in my horrific last class yesterday) went ok. They were still pretty quiet, but I did what I could to get them to talk. They loosened up a bit and laughed when I demonstrated different American accents (southern, boston, new york, etc). And when we talked about brainstorming I tried to get really excited about every answer they gave me, which made more of them talk.

One thing that made me feel better was the letters. Most of my first class today already handed in their introduction letters (only one student from the second class had finished hers). And most of them made a reference to how much they were looking forward to my class, or that they liked the way I taught already. One student talked in length about how he agrees with me that language learning happens best in a relaxed environment and that he was so happy to hear a teacher say that for the first time. I don't know if any of what they wrote is just them trying to suck up to the teacher or if they actually believe what they wrote, but it was very encouraging to read.

I think one of the things I need to work on most is having enough prepared for class. I don't want to ever run out and have to look at a sea of silent faces again. It's nice that I have to teach the same thing 4 times. True, it gets repetitive, but after doing it once I have a better idea what works and what doesn't. How much time each thing takes. Etc etc...

I choose this job over the other offers I had in different cities or different schools or even over a job at the primary section of THIS school because I love the IB program and the type of students it attracted in my high school. It's frustrating to get here and find out that a lot of these kids are here because their parents forced them to and they would rather be somewhere else.

Anyway, I hope this isn't depressing to read. But things are going better today. I'm doing what I can. I feel like I am trying to get through a dark tunnel or climb a huge mountain. I can't imagine being able to do the whole thing, but looking at it piece by piece is making it easier to manage.


ShinyLucy said...

You are doing great! Please don't give yourself so much pressure.
I think most Chinese students are very shy. I was one of them when I first met my English teacher. :)It takes time. Don't worry, Sproffee! :)

Anonymous said...

Keep your head up! Always thinking about ya and wishing for the best for ya!

Your super-smoothie friend!