Monthly Archives: May 2014

Lesson Planning

If I don't post too much this weekend it will be because I have my first classes on Sunday. I have a morning class of about 6 kids that consists of some 8-10 year olds, then the same age group at around noon. This age group is pretty easy for me, I've sat in with some classes and participated with the teaching. I found them by and large a joy to be around. They are old enough to know what to do but not old enough to have the kind of attitude that I see in the next class.

This 3rd class I will be providing a test review for some kids around the age of 12-13 because I'm replacing a teacher before the end of the semester, so I'm just doing test prep. Michael, the guy I'm replacing, has been great getting me up to speed and is good at teaching, but his girlfriend is just ready to leave. The class has kids who are reaching that age where they are getting a little attitude and are carving out a pecking order in class. These 6 boys and one girl seem best dealt with by either having them do something embarassing if they act up or using their peers to self police one another during team games. They are at that age where they are getting competitive, and during activities they are pretty good at focusing on the purpose of the lesson. The test review itself will be pretty straight forward, I've looked over the material already, so I'll make sure all the points are covered.

Finally the last class, which will be a little more delicate, being of kindergarten age and totalling six kids. As with all the kids, I've already been around them so they know who I am and that I'll be their next teacher. They are happy yet diffident for the most part, with class primarily consisting of watching sing-along videos and playing with their coloring books. They were great when they weren't my responsibility, we'll see Sunday how they respond to a new teacher. I will have the TA with me, we have one in every class, and between assisting us and telephone turoring, making our schedules and a number of other things I don't now about, they work harder than anyone else in the building.

One picture today, I was mostly in the office preparing, taking a break with lunch and then a late afternoon trip to the gym. I'll be sure to do a nice post on Monday to let everybody know how things went.

Outside my front door. Life without a dryer. Not one-hour, it's all-night drying. Don't worry, I fit right in, it just shows I've gone local.





This is what normalcy looks like.


The internet guy came by a week early and installed the internet phone line. Unfortunately I didn't have the router yet so he couldn't hook everything up while he was here. I borrowed an extra router from a coworker and brought in one of the Chinese Teaching Assistants who translated everything in the manuals to set up the wifi; reading Chinese technical manuals is hard for Chinese. I was astounded everything actually works.

I can't understate the importance of being connected while being someplace far away from everything you know. The places, faces, names, foods, customs and most anything else is all unfamiliar, presented in a new, confounding language and script. The internet brings a modicum of comfort and the familiar that can't be expressed in a few words in the morning. That's all for now, I just wanted to let everybody that my internet is up, so I'll probably be posting more frequently, with longer posts since I won't be in a rush.

Walk to store

I figure I should post a few pictures today of my walk to Carrefour, the French Walmart, which is located about a ten minute walk from my apartment along a small street. It gives you a good idea of how my small neighborhood storefronts quickly turn into the construction and high rises prevalent in the New Business District where I live.

Here is just a representative view along the small street that links me to the New Business District, 北京商务中心区. Most shops were closed after their morning business hours and wouldn't open again untill about AM10:30 to get ready for lunchtime.

Here is a private school that is on the way, enlarge the the English words on the side of the building. If it’s blurred it is says “Rule of School: Great Knowledge Absorbed Doing”. Most translations are rather inaccurate.

Here is where the small shops open up into the New Business District, 北京商务中心区, which is filled with banks, high rise apartments and various corporate centers.



This is actually the front of the galleria, the facade is covered with unprotected construction scaffolding that lazily swayed in the light breeze, which seemed to only be noticed by me. Inside is Carrefour and a myriad of shops set up in a four story galleria setting.

Alas, mission accomplished. A wok (镬), food and success. Stir fried pork, cooked till crispy, with a fabulous bread that is lightly sweetened.

I'm actually surprised by how good most of the bread is here, which allows me to avoid rice which I never really cared for. There are also lots of fruit markets and Korean/Chinese markets lining the streets which sell a panoply of meats, fish and other daily staples. The market stand fruit is good, mostly bananas, melons and citrus, while the small food stores have products with in-store labels that worry me for now because most of it was, well, odd looking. Many of the stores have big, like big screen big, cardboard boxes of loose eggs sitting unrefrigerated, and for eggs that seems to be the norm around here. I don't know, for now at least in China, refrigeration and perishable foods are inextricable.

That's all for now. 這是所有現在




This is Rachael. She is my handler and is absolutely indispensable. I wanted to make her famous so here’s a small step. She works here and studies at a university, Chinese Language and Literature.


I got my internet scheduled for setup on Tuesday. We an only hope.


I went to Carrefour last night, it's sort of the French owned version of Walmart. There was a lot of strange looking food in the meat section so I took a few pics. This is a short post because I am sitting outside the school right now before they open so I can use their router. This gives me about a half hour to hop online for my personal stuff before the doors open.

Who knows. None of the cuts were familiar and I'm not sure what animal it came from.

The fish and meat smelled cleaned, but I have no idea what these were. Some sort of fish.

This was short, once I get online at my apt I'll post a bunch.


Waiting for The Internet

Basically I am settled in, I just won't have internet for a few days, so here is a quick rundown of my new apartment.

My bedroom

Now my kitchen with two gas burners and the clothes washer to the right.


And finally my view outside. I skip the bathroom but it's pretty standard.

All said I'm pretty happy. I won't be blogging much or responding to comments until I get my internet in my apt, which will be about Wednesday. Stay patient and I'll have a bunch of pics up if the food markets.



I decided on my apartment. It was right within my price range and it couldn’t be closer to the school, I’ll post some unside pictures once I move in tomorrow morning. I walked the neighborhood and there’s a variety of shops, little restaurants and a sort of walking market in the immediate are. I have time the beginning of next week to take a lot of pictures so as to give you a clearer picture of my neighborhood. Here is the outside of my building, with my school being where the grey car is parked with the man coming out of the front door:

And across the street :

You have to love the Soviet style architecture, with this being a small bank and a few random shops. The side streets are loaded with pure oddities that I’ll start posting as soon as I am sure I know what the etiquette is, but rest assured the will be no shortage of pictures to post.

I’m done for the day and I’ll move my stuff into the school tomorrow morning so the they don’t have to pay for another night at the hotel, then I’ll move into my apartment in the afternoon. My internet should be up im a week at most, so I’ll be using the wifi at the school and places like coffee shops where I can get a connection. A productive day and I’m happy with the results.