The New Gig or “I Are a English Teecher” – PART I
Liuzhou Teachers College is located about 23 kilometers north of Liuzhou near tiny Shatang town. I teach English at the college. It’s pretty cool. I haven’t actually had much time for photos yet but I do have a few. This is the sidewalk next to the main entrance, taken last week during an evening shower.
Rainbow Brite In Rain
Last year I taught at The Webster Language Training Center, a private, very much for-profit institution located in the city center. Webster really wasn’t so bad. The boss is a decent sort who treated me very well and the staff is great. I taught every age group and level imaginable but eventually settled into a routine where I taught mostly Business English. The students were pretty good for the most part and I was able to make many friends during my first year in China. In fact , the only bad thing about Webster was the hours. The hours sucked. I worked nights and weekends. I usually worked 6 days a week. I often worked extra time. It is in my nature to want to help out and it seemed I was often asked to “help out”.
My new job? Well, lets just say I am not working quite so hard. I wrote about my schedule in the previous post and yes that adds up to about 12 hours in the classroom each week. Three and a half days off each week should allow me to both recuperate when I need it and to travel when I am able. Or willing. Or willing and able. Truth be told, I am always willing but able is always a question mark.
The large majority of the students are from rural Guangxi Province and you will find they are often the first in their family to make it to college. The school is essentially a training ground for Guangxi Province primary and middle school teachers. Some students will matriculate on to something else but many will eventually return to their hometowns to teach. Girls dominate the English Major roster, accounting for about 94% of my current class load. Yes, read that again. 94% of my students are young girls between the ages of 18 – 21! Now, before you start reading too much into that, let me remind the uninitiated that I have a 19 year old daughter on the other side of the world, studying business at The University of Denver. They are kids. Beautiful, young, sweet…kids. There are around 6,000 students at the college, studying in the fields of Chinese, history, English, physical education, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Here you can see some students returning to their dorm rooms after a mandatory evening study session.
There are four foreign English teachers currently employed at the college. First and foremost there is Ken, known to many simply as Liuzhou Laowai. Ken is a Londoner who has been in China for more than a decade. He has been teaching at Liuzhou Teachers College for nearly ten years and, through his blog and web site, he is a wealth of information for those of us just beginning our own Chinese adventures. If you click on the Liuzhou Laowai link on the right of this page you’ll find his blog and from there you can navigate to his web page. The Liuzhou Laowai blog is an irreverent look at everyday life in China, and reading the latest post usually brings a smile to my face. If you’re in China, you’ll immediately “get it”. If your not in China, you’ll learn something. I haven’t quite figured out how he gets away with some of the stuff he writes! Ken is an bonafide educator, he taught linguistics before coming to China and continues to do so here at the college. Christian is from France. He speaks a number of languages and his background includes stints as an interpreter. He has traveled the world, is a bit of a recluse and so far, has proved a little difficult to get to know. Then there is Jo Ellen, pictured below. Jo Ellen is a retired teacher from Cincinnati and she is spending 6 months here teaching at the college. Cincinnati is Liuzhou’s sister city in America and a number of exchange programs for students and teachers are in place. She is funny and, how do I say this, not demure? Brassy may be a good description. She’s a lovely woman with big brown eyes and an easy laugh. The Chinese folks all love her. She often tells me south China makes her feel like Gulliver in Lilliput! Jo makes me laugh, and you sometimes need that in China. Oh, and there’s me.
Jo Ellen – Lady Laowai
Enough for now. I’ll have more on the college in future posts. I’ll tell you about waking everyone up at 6:10 each morning to the amplified strains of Vivaldi. I’ll tell you about my humble campus abode, which I have affectionately given the moniker, “Chateau de la Cancrelat”. I’ll have more on the students and staff and my on-campus life. The school is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in November.