Ordos TEFL: I’ve Finished!

So yes, I have been a bit slack in updating my blog recently, but my excuse is that it’s only the 19th January, yet I have worked 15 long days of this month already, so please forgive me for that! Weeks have past and I looked at my diary this morning (a staple part of my life last year) and I just haven’t written anything in it! Even the lovely Moleskine diary I have which I started writing has been a little neglected. Fear not though, I know when I do travelling it’ll come with me and get written in again!

I have now finished the semester, yay! A lot of hard work, but now I have a month off it’s definitely worth it. Going to just sit around and do nothing for Spring Festival week. I can’t remember the last time I watched a film and I’ve got a lot to get through so that’ll be nice.

I spoke of a dragon at New Year’s. Here he is:

Our winnings!

Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to send him home; I don’t think there is room in my bag for him to go to Zhangzhou especially as I have a flight booked (21st February, I am so excited!)

I have now had an article published on the online magazine that my uni friend Laura (@MissLaBennett) edits. If you head here: http://www.eruditiononline.co.uk/exploration/archive.php?category=4&edition=1 you’ll be on the Asia section and be able to find my article. The worst bit was writing about myself in the third person – if you click on my name you can see what it says! I’ll be writing regularly for it, so I’ll keep you updated. My friend Jack (@jackporteous) also wrote an article about taxis and scarily, every word he says about them is true. You have been warned….

As I’ve been working so hard, there’s not really much news to convey to you, though I have had several funny things happen in classes.

The first of these was my C5 class. We were doing body parts, and more than your leg/arm/hand ones of C1/C2 levels. I decided that it would be fun to stick post-it notes on someone to label the body parts, and this is what I had planned for the lesson, yet, at the last moment I had a moment of genius (I do tend to have these during lessons. Some of my best activities have been because I just suddenly thought of something in class, I am that good). I often draw on the floor as it’s easy to rub off with your feet, so I drew around one of the boys, who led on the floor pretty reluctantly. Then I distributed post-its and let the class do the rest!

Georgina…

Ok, on this photo you can’t see what they have written, but it was pretty good nonetheless. We also called her Georgina, after George, who we drew around, hilarious.

C5 are one of my favourite classes, despite the boys talking far too much Chinese in lessons. I’ve taken to bringing a roll of sellotape into class, and have threatened that if they speak too much Chinese their mouths will be taped. More often than not, just the sound of me pulling it off the wall has caused them to stop. But, I did use it the other day. We regularly play Go Fish, in class and use, “do you have…?” “yes I do/no I don’t,” but in Chinese, “I don’t have” sounds like “mayo” and for some reason they tend to go “mayo, mayo, mayo” and it’s become a thing they do (well, the boys mostly!). So I threatened that if anyone said “mayo, mayo, mayo,” I would tape them. And it happened. So they’ve learnt that I actually carry out my threats too!

One final noteworthy event that has happened in C5 class is teaching the most dangerous, the most beautiful and the most interesting. I had 3 students come up to the board and I would say “draw the most dangerous things you can think of” and we would get snakes, spiders and crocodiles. However, when I said “draw the most beautiful thing you can think of,” we ended up with “George” (one of the boys in the class), a random stick man and “Sarah.” Now, I’ve never been called the most beautiful thing in the world before, but I definitely won that round by default!

I’ve been teaching “What’s your favourite subject/colour/animal?” recently with C2, but it killed me, as the books are American spelling so I was constantly having to spell favourite wrong. I felt like a massive traitor to the UK… colour was just as bad too.

It’s been my last lessons with my classes over the past couple of days, so I’ve just been doing reviews. We did the exams the other week and all my students did very well – I only gave out As and Bs. Whether that’s because I’m a good teacher or a lenient marker has yet to be decided, but I’m hoping it’s my teaching! Anyway, in the review sessions I’ve brought along my 100 dominoes and when I ask a question and the students answer it, they get to put a domino down to make a rally. Needless to say, this has caused much hilarity, as there are some very clumsy students out there! Here are my C2 putting the dominoes back up after one had knocked them all down.

100 domino rally!

Also, in my C3b class, one of my students, Mike, has the funniest laugh. I don’t know what he was on yesterday, but I would start laughing and he would start laughing and I would end up laughing more and it was just a hilarious lesson.

A funny moment the other day, I saw a cockerel on an e-bike. It looked like it was tied to it and being fed there. It probably ended up as dinner that evening, as it was pretty fat. I had to do a double take though, as I thought it was tied to the bike in order to cart it around, the way it was sat on the back.

I’ve installed a new IM client on my laptop that I can use to keep in touch with the CTs in Ordos. It’s called QQ and is very popular in China. They don’t use MSN at all and QQ, you are represented by a number, it’s some people’s lives! The best thing about this IM client however, is the fact that the icon is a penguin!

QQ penguin

Now why have I not heard of this before, eh?! Having signed up, I filled in some info and the like and found out how to say Newcastle in Chinese: nǐu kǎ sī eř. Coincidently, it has two characters the same as Ordos (è eř duō sī if you didn’t know!)

I had an absolutely amazing day on Monday. It was my day off and the CTs and I had organised a day of shopping and then in the late afternoon/evening we’d head to Kang Bashi to the ice festival that’s going on there. We had a great lunch in town and began our shopping. I was very lucky as I actually managed to buy something too, a nice stripy jumper (the CTs now know that I am obsessed with stripes!) and at a discount because the lady said that it had been a demo/display piece or something so I was happy. We were also on the street looking at some dragons in preparation for the year of the dragon which starts on 23rd January when I got approached by a lady with a TV camera and microphone. They interview me for Ordos TV! They wanted me to speak about Spring Festival so I talked about how I was looking forward to it and that I’m born in the year of the dragon. I’m not sure they understood me, but I think they were just happy to have a foreigner on the TV! They also interviewed Daisy, who said something about me too, and she also got a cheeky plug for Aston on there too. I don’t think I’m ever going to see the footage, thankfully (you should have seen my face, I’m sure it was in a state of shock!) but it was funny nevertheless to say that I’d been interviewed for Chinese TV!

After shopping, we all giddily caught the K21 bus to Kang Bashi for 8¥ and headed to the Ice Festival.

On the way to Kang Bashi…

I’d been thinking about going to the one in Harbin during my travels, so I was going to see what this was like first, then decide, as it’s quite a long way, and very expensive to get there. To be honest, the Kang Bashi one was awesome!

Giddy with our unintentionally synchronised dance moves..

We were all very excited, as you can clearly see in this picture:

On the ice and excited 😀

It was free for a start, and they had all these ice and snow sculptures dotted around the town.

My life is constantly filled with people shorter than me. It’s been like this for years, not just since I’ve been in China!

Ice castle

They also had a lot of Chinese New Year stuff too, so that was pretty cool.

Amongst the random mushrooms

Unfortunately, my camera decided that I hadn’t charged it enough, so I didn’t get many photos myself, but fortunately Candy one of the CTs had hers and took loads, and also Daisy’s old classmate did too. It was magical. We stayed until dark so saw all the lights turn on. The ice sculptures had lights frozen inside them which were amazing lit up at night

Lights frozen inside the ice

and there were also ice slides.

Awesome ice slides!

These would totally not be allowed in the UK as the steps up to them were made out of ice too, but I didn’t see anyone slip so there you go.   It turned out that it was faster on the ice if you sat on cardboard and Wenzel and I got offered quite a few bits to go down really fast! I am definitely planning on going back before Spring Festival to take more photos. It was truly beautiful. The awesome day was topped off by a tàng cài meal, yum!

Finally, I have been invited to a Chinese wedding! Jenny, one of our CTs is getting married at the beginning of February! I’m hoping to go, as I’m free, but I’m hoping some of the other CTs are going too, as it’ll be easier to get the bus. Jenny has to go back to her home town to get married, which is also coincidently where Daisy comes from too, and she’s invited me to her house as well to make dumplings. I’m really hoping the whole trip comes off, as that would be a great start to my travels in February! Watch this space, and I’ve also let Laura know about it, as if I go I’ll be writing and article on it, as well as talking about it on here.

Luke’s around for a bit, so he’s helping out with the teaching and is painting TieXi school too. I’m off to help today. Luke knows some crazy jokes, but I have to say this Chinese one is very good – I will explain it, don’t worry!

“A snake, a rabbit and a chicken go to heaven and in order to enter, God says that they have to say their Chinese name twice. The snake says shé shé, the rabbit says tù tù nd the chicken says jī jī. (You can call a prostitute a jī jī!)

But for now, I think that’s enough words to bombard you with. I may put some more pictures up from Kang Bashi if I go again, but for now, adieu.

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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