A Typical Day At Mudu International School

Trip Start Aug 01, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our school is actually made up of two schools - the Chinese Public School, and the BC International School. Both schools share the same campus and facilities. When I look out my classroom window I look over at the Chinese students in the next building working hard at their studies. The Chinese Public School is made up of about 1700 students, grades 7 - 12. Our BC school is made up of about 220 students from grades 10 - 12. We have 5 non-Asian students in the BC school. Probably 85% are from China and the rest are from Korea and Taiwan. This is the second year of operation for the BC school. 95% of the students (Chinese school and BC school) live on campus during the week and then go home on weekends. Tuition for the Chinese students is 2000RMB for the year (about $300CAN). Tuition for the BC students is 80000RMB for the year (about $12000CAN). The goal of all of the BC students, and the reason they come to this school is to go to university in Canada or the States.

The facilities are pretty good. The campus is absolutely beautiful. The school has an observatory (never used), a 1000 seat auditorium (hardly used), a great gym (never used), a fantastic outdoor field with stadium and track (definately used), outdoor tennis court, volleyball courts, and about 15 outdoor basketball courts (definately used). Our school is currently renting facilities from the Chinese school, so to use the gym and observatory and auditorium the owner of the school has to pay for it, which he's not willing to do. The owner is building a new state of the art school which is supposed to be ready in about 18 months.

The students day begins at 7am when they meet in their classrooms for some English instruction with their Chinese Teacher Assistants. Each classroom has a Chinese Teacher Assistant. These Assistants are all University graduates, many of them with Masters degrees. A couple of Assistants that have worked in my classes so far have a Masters degree in Chemistry, and the other in English studies.

Our day begins at 7:30am. We are on a semester system. Each day has 3 blocks. Two in the morning and one in the afternoon. This semester I am teaching 2 blocks of Info Tech 11 and one block of Leadership that Lois and I team teach. And, I have my prep this semester. Lois teaches English classes and an ESL class. Our biggest class has about 25 students.

Lunch is at 11:30am. Here's the big difference between teaching in BC and teaching in China. The lunch break here is 2 hours long. When I first heard about this I thought it was crazy!!! But all of the BC teachers, including me, love having the long lunch break. After the first 30 minutes of lunch the campus becomes a ghost town because all of the students go back to their rooms to sleep(you can see a lot of clothing hanging outside the dorm room windows in the pictures below. That's because there are only washing machines in China, no dryers. So even Lois and I have to hang up all of our clothes after we wash them. Should be interesting this winter). Chinese people love to sleep, and their super good at it. They sleep anywhere and everywhere they can. Whenever we ride the bus at least every third person will be fast asleep, some even while they stand - amazing. The Chinese staff will put their heads down on their desks and sleep. Any available couch will have a body on it sleeping. Lois and I will eat our lunches and then sometimes do school work, go for a long walk, ride our bikes to Starbucks for a treat, watch a movie on the computer (Yup, I know weird that we can actually watch a movie at lunch), or I'll listen to a Canucks game on the internet. It's a pretty relaxed time. I now wonder how we manage to wolf down our lunches in Canada. When I come back to Canada having two hour lunches is going to one of the things I'm really going to miss.

At 1:30, it's back to class. School ends at 3:25pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do clubs with the students. Right now I'm doing a card playing club and Lois has a drama club.

The students here are pretty awesome to teach. There are zero discipline issues. All of the students are super polite and happy, and very very very respectful. We have no classroom management issues at all. It's pretty different teaching here. Every student greets you with a smile and hello when you pass them in the hall. They politely and happily say goodbye at the end of every class. It's pretty cool. It's like they all take happy pills everyday. Very very nice kids.

Lois, Beth and I ride our bikes to school everyday. It's about a 10 minute bike ride. When we get home, on non-clubs nights, we usually hop on the bus and head to the gym (about 20 minutes away). After working out we'll go to one of the many restaurants close to the gym, and then go to Starbucks for coffee and cake (Starbucks is right across the street from the gym). We then usually take a taxi home (about $2.50CAN). Going out to eat is so cheap here that we rarely cook at home, maybe once a week.


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