Not business as usual yet

Well, the Chinese new year(Jan 23), has come and gone. But I’m still waiting for most of the businesses to open again. This usually takes a week to a fortnight. And sometimes then they’re not in any hurry. However, living here lo these few years I’ve come to expect it. The Chinese have a lot to teach Westerners about relaxing, de-stressing. And getting together with friends and family. While the world turns frantically for the next Wii, iPod or other gimmick and gadget, folks here are catching up on eating and visiting neighbors. Not bad, not bad at all. Oh, yeah, the express post, that’ll take about two weeks at least 🙂

I thought I had everything in life…

Favorite School

Many people ask me which school is my favorite. Well, it’s hard to pick just one. There are very good points about each one. Some are private, some are public, some are strictly training schools. But I guess what I like best are the people, people interested in providing the best education possible. It is nice to see everyone working together to provide the best environment to work and teach in. And of course my students make for most of my satisfaction, especially the younger ones. They have boundless energy and active minds that never grow tired of learning. When you exhaust yourself from jumping and spelling at the same time and you see bright shining faces beaming back at you, it is all worthwhile. So my favorite school: all of them. All of them had something refreshing, interesting and challenging to offer me: teaching students 🙂.
My students are at the heart of my joy.

Being shy is not about shyness

When a student in Asia tells you they are shy or perhaps you determine they are shy, please think again. Take the time and make the effort to understand the culture you have chosen to teach in as an EFL teacher. There are the usual student teacher problems of getting adjusted to each other. However, I feel that the real meaning behind the word shy escapes even the best of us. This is why it is our responsibility as teachers to increase our knowledge and understanding of Asian students. I could say more but I’d like the article(researched and prepared by experts), that I will refer to do the talking. Suffice to say that each of us as professionals need to keep improving our skill-set, our EFL methodology and our professional credentials. The article lays a good foundation between the differences of  Western students and students from mainland China. There’s a lot of good articles and training available out there, please avail yourself of it.

Understanding shyness in Chinese children

Knockleberry Road

The year was 1913. Down a long dusty dirt road two unpainted clapboard houses stood side by side. Higogollup-a-flips the man excitedly shouted. His ten year old son had passed the English test that day. So then all was well. The exam meant so much to the man who had failed English time after time, but his son proved that he could hold his own. Studying by the light of a dim kerosene lamp he had prepared for a full week before the exam. The only thing that kept him awake during those long cold nights was a big grey moth that flew around his head. Somewhere in all this he read of a monkey with a silver bowl that would bow three times. And now in his hands he held a plain piece of yellow paper marked with a big red letter C. That’s all that mattered. Higogollup-a-flips his father said again beaming with a smile.

The best or most demanding students?…both

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These students can see right through you. You must be on your toes, ready for anything, have the patience of Job, and the energy of 10 people. You must also have the ability to jump non-stop, sing, dance, laugh, smile and the imagination of a child. These are the best, most challenging most rewarding of all my teaching experience. They range

My best English students.

in age from 4 years to 7 years old. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

So You Want To Travel China?

His pounding, popping and stretching to make noodles. Defy delicious.

Maybe you plan to visit China at some point. Hit the high spots, The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace…yawn. You must be in Beijing and you must be the typical tourist. If you do, also see the home of Confucius( Kong Zi 孔子), there are about 10,000 different places he slept, was born, and ate in. Yes, there are tourist traps here as well. If you really want to see China, don’t go to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing or any of the coastal cities. Those cities are developed. Instead go to someplace like Wuhan and then and only then begin to visit the tiny cities North, South, East and West of there. Places like Ezhou, Huangpi, Huangshi, Huanggang, Daye, visit every market, nook and cranny. You’ll be astonished, surprised and delighted at what you find, few if any changes. Oh, yeah, there’ll be the new hotel or a new apartment complex. But just a stones throw away is the farmer leading his ox across a field of rice or better yet down the road in traffic. This is the real China, folks are still planting rice the same way they did 1000 years ago. And using the same tools as well. It will take your breath away. And you will then be a true believer in time travel 🙂

Good News For Hubei Institute of Technology

Good news!!! We are now Hubei Institute of Technology(located in Huangshi, Hubei, China). The university has worked very hard to upgrade, building new facilities, recruiting the best teachers and of course recruiting the best students :). So here’s to our new status. May everyone benefit from having better classrooms, better football fields and a university that really cares about its students. And a big thanks to the manager of foreign teachers: Elsa. She is simply the best!!!

Best Time of the Year

Final exams are over! Whew! The agony and the ecstasy all in one. However, students view all of it as a worthy task, just to know that Spring Festival is around the corner. Everyone is happy. The mass migration back home has begun. It is the most amazing time of the year. This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Dragon, both here in China and in Japan. You will not see more shopping, more travel, more food than any other time. I have eaten meat(fish, beef, pork, chicken) and a few vegetables for every meal and snacks in between. Last year I stayed in Fujian province in a small mountain 张芬村  village( zhang fen cun) in  上杭县 county  ( shang hang xian ) about two hours by bus northwest of Longyan. It was a very memorable time. Mark’s mom is the best cook in the entire village. And I had the honor of being the first and only foreigner to visit the village in history. I wish all my friends in China and Japan a very happy Spring Festival. May you have the best health and be prosperous in the New Year. Forget all the past problems, do your best. Love your family. And thanks to my friend Zhang Yun Chuan, he has helped make my life in China one I will never forget. Good luck to all of my students!!!