Monday, October 18, 2004

I really enjoy my job, teaching elementary school in Beijing, and finally got around to taking a few pictures of the campus and my kids to share with the nonexistent masses who will never find me. For those of you who do return here to check me out, keep up the good work.

The school is quite nice, which makes it enjoyable to go there everyday, and the kids usually make the job fun. Here's a picture of the entrance to the campus. I work in that building on the left with the large silver orb (observatory?) atop it. Those are actually two of my co-workers, Carol and Maile, walking through the gate on their way to prepare for their morning classes.

Every morning, the kids line up around campus to do their morning exercise, which is akin to a dance routine or light aerobics, accompanied by music. It's as close as they get to a recess of any kind. You can see them here, with their arms extended, mid-routine, wearing their various uniforms of which these are only a few examples. The younger kids stand in front of the school here, while the older kids line up on the basketball courts behind the school.

Although they can play after lunch for a short while, and occasionally at other times, there isn't a playground like you would find in American schools and they don't have scheduled recesses. During my lessons, we have short breaks in which the kids are fed fruit or sweet bread, and usually they find something to do in the hallway. The more studious of them will write or draw on the blackboard.

As I have bad days now and again, but some of my students also have bad days. Zack, which is his English name, shown here, didn't get off to a very good start on this day, but eventually relinquished his grip on the pole and came back to class. All of our students have Western names, which I find strange, but so be it. It's easier than having to butcher their Chinese names, I suppose.

Generally, things go fairly smoothly, as you can see from this picture of my studious third-graders, working hard at their desks. Chinese kids are about the same as American kids. You can also see that my class is not that big. One of the benefits of working at a private school where we are teaching an experimental English program.

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