Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Part L - Teaching in China - Lists, lists and more lists!

I'm a list kind of person! You can find illegible, hastily scrawled lines, (which may or may not be wrods) on tiny scraps of paper, on the back of a crumpled receipt, crowding both sides of tatty and torn envelopes, and on occasion, on a full sheet of art paper spread neatly on the dining room table. In the latter case the idea is that this approach will hopefully keep diverse ideas from colliding chaotically and assist in achieving the desired result in an organised fashion.

That's the dream anyhow.

Sometimes it seems the sheer volume of my lists would rival the legendary one of Father Christmas (or Santa if you prefer) who appears to manage to collate columns of naughty and nice children, itemise their behaviour, keep it updated and have it ready and correct in time for dissemination of gifts sometime on Christmas eve.

In contrast, though my lists have been enthusiastically begun, they can often be found in various states of crumpledness and legibility, in different rooms of the house, tucked into pockets, pinned to a cork board or held securely by a super strong magnet to the frig. Neat they aren't.

Which all becomes a bit of a bother when attempting to be in control and organised for a teaching gig in China. There are lots of diverse things to keep in mind - from the mundane: passport, visa, money, comfy shoes and suitable clothing; to the more fun: What will I take as small gifts and as iconic Australian food for the students to sample? That's not to overlook the teaching materials, but that has a list of its own!

I insist  with clear eyed confidence which I don't genuinely feel - "If it's on the list it'll get done!" But really, this is more wishful thinking than an accurate statement. Skittish thoughts are corralled onto slips of paper though few seem to be crossed off as quickly as I'd like.

Surely an electronic version would be more reliable and less likely to get lost!

In an effort to collate some of those ideas into a retrievable list just in case there's a next time, here are some ...  

Notes to self : What to take?
  • Tim-tams(they went a bit soft in the heat, but were popular) 
  • Eucalyptus lollies in the bag with the Australian flag on
  • Milo - don't bother! (It turns out it's commonplace in China - who'd have thought!) 
  • Download useful apps before you go - it makes life easier 
  • Gmail on phone is mostly ok
  • Zip-lok bags, elastic bands, bulldog clips, stick it notelets, decks of cards, plastic envelopes, permanent marker, (all available there cheaply)
  • World map, country maps, (buy Chinese one there) globe stress ball (good for games and rough country information
  • A-Z notebooks - great for new vocab words for the students.
  • Photos (family, wildlife, scenery - especially beach) 
  • Calendars with Aussie pics
  • Recipe leaflets - the free ones from supermarkets
  • Buy a SIM card as soon as you arrive from one of the hole in the wall places - about $10 and you can then use wifi at cafes etc easily. They'll set it up for you if you ask nicely.
darn I've forgotten the other ideas already!
Lists on the hotel window - planning and re-planning the programme. This is what happens when 2 Aussie and 2 US teachers collaborate and pool resources!
More lists, this time the classroom ones related to films the students would normally watch and their assessment of them.

My previous posts about Teaching in China were our ArrivalBanquets,  Culture and Comfort foods, DrivingExerciseFabulous FoodHistoryIllnessFrom Jerilderie to Jiangsu and Kenny (which is about toilets)! The next post is about Misunderstandings in communication.

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