Spoiler alert: It was more saying see you later since I came back for another year.
Term starts here in China in less than 2 days, so I reckon this is a perfect time to reminisce about my final week in the classroom and saying goodbye to my first year of teaching. To start off my week was very confusing because I had to work the weekend beforehand. After the typical last minute cancellations on the Friday, this meant that I couldn’t get a goodbye photo of classes 6 and 10. Class 6 I wasn’t bothered about – they gave me a headache 9/10 times, but I referred to class 10 as my zen class. They were probably the most stereotypically ‘Chinese’ class I taught and I loved them for it. Because I always taught them after class 6, it was so nice to come to a classroom full of quiet students who spoke great English and were genuinely interested in what I was teaching them. All the rest of my students however got a ‘Goodbye Lesson’ of their choosing. This meant that the majority of them watched a movie… but who am I to argue with my students in the last week of school.
In case anyone was wondering – the signs have the class number on so that when I look at the pictures I know which class they were!
So in-between watching movies, taking photos and playing epic tournaments of Taboo, our time as the 42 crew was coming to an end. Although we knew that some of us would be returning, we had to say goodbye to Julian, Chris and Thandie (Not Jonathan though, he unexpectedly returned even though he sold me his bike before he left)! As a result the last week of teaching was interspersed with packing, organising and meals with the gang. As I mentioned previously, the final lessons of the year were cancelled last minute so we could have a goodbye assembly. Unlike the opening ceremony, this one didn’t involve the whole school. As the school was saying goodbye to the foreign students as well, they were there with their host families. Also there were my senior 1 special class and the top students from each class. This meant that when we had to give a short thank you speech my cheering section was the loudest and even though I knew that I was going to be returning, I was still getting quite emotional. Lily had made a montage of pictures of us all together as well as a video where some students said how much they had enjoyed our classes and other nice things about us. When it came to the end of the assembly (and the awkward attempt to sing Auld Lang Syne), the students swarmed the stage after giving us a bouquet of flowers and it all got very emotional. God only knows how i’ll react actually saying goodbye to my students! We went straight from the assembly to a restaurant with some of the foreign office staff and the foreign students and it felt almost like we were rockstars. Because the school day had finished for the junior students, there was gridlock traffic and e-bikes all over the place. Meanwhile the students were frantically waving at us on the coach and we were waving back as parents just stared in a confused manner.
I’m in some but not all of the class photos. Not that I didn’t like all my classes, but for some of them I couldn’t be bothered getting someone else to hop on the chair to take the picture. It does however, mean that people can play the really fun game of SPOT THE FOREIGNER!
Soon enough, it was time for the first goodbyes. We were having our last meal together at our local barbeque place, smoking the Cuban cigar Sam had busted out for the occasion when it was time for Sam to wave awkwardly goodbye because she had to be up early in the morning. While the first goodbye was more hilarious than sad, when it came time for everyone to say goodbye to Julian the next morning, we were all gutted and as much as Izzie yelled “I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU THAT MUCH” there were tears and hugs as he drove away. Izzie and I, having nothing to do other than wait until our trip to Korea in a few days, decided to spent the boiling hot day in the courtyard, reading the books on China that Julian had left behind and people watching the students outside. We ended up being like Willy Wonka and stood on the street outside the school giving left over sweets to the students who came and said hello. In quick succession everyone abandoned Izzie and I to the apartments as they either travelled around a bit or travelled home. Thankfully we weren’t left in Shijiazhuang too long, and soon we adventured to South Korea on the hunt of beer, K-Pop bands and fashion. But that post is for another time.
Looking back on saying goodbye to the students and teachers who made my first year in China so special and incredible is making miss them all over again, but I am so looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring me. ❤
42 Crew 2015-2016 ❤