Crossword as a competitive sport
Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
36Trip End Feb 2007
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Changzhou, a city that doesn't make the Lonely Planet map of China but boasts a population of 6 million, is really a bit of a hole. So far we've found our way to some cheap eats, town (consisting of shops full of small, frilly or odd clothes), and a pleasant garden. We've yet to check out the Dinosaur Park! Otherwise there's not a whole lot to do but catch up on reading and dvds (we've been stocking up).
Jo's not actually teaching English to Chinese at all, instead she's a Social Studies teacher for Koreans and Thai. Heather spends half her time teaching English to the same classes as Jo, and the rest of the time wondering what exactly to do with the excited Chinese kids' running round the classroom throwing chalk. Her peaceful crossword activity turned into all out war with barriers of books and kids racing everywhere.
The school is utterly disorganised and determined to drive us batty (making good progress so far). For a while everything seemed be going kaput and was in no hurry to be repaired. The school supplied us with bikes but within a week Jo's front brake gave up (resulting in a crash) and both pedals broke off. Our internet wasn't working, then the power was off at school for 3 days (just when Jo had planned a video and everyone was needing photocopying). The latest battle between foreign teachers and management has been over holidays....
Crazy little observations so far:
- snakes, frogs, turtles, eels, and all kinds of fish in the supermarket (the meat section is a very scary place)
- after first period all the kids at school line up outside and do exercises that appears to be a combination of tai chi and a britainy spears dance
- all the kids say "hello teacher" as you walk around school
Oh, and we haven't learnt much Chinese seeing as we teach in English and share a house with 3 girls from the UK and Australia. We've only picked up a couple of phrases to help with our shopping and taxi directions. The school's meant to be providing Chinese lessons but no holding breathes.