Stories from China: The Re-teach

The weather has been slightly warmer this winter, but unfortunately the pollution has been much worse. It’s been on the news in the States, the Foreign Office emailed out a warning and one of my classes have bought an air purifier for the classroom. Unfortunately nothing’s made a blind bit of difference, and it has been hideous to go outside, to the point where I’ve cancelled plans because I can’t shake a cold because I haven’t breathed fresh air in months. I have however, figured out how to wear a pollution mask and glasses!

As well as ruining my social life, the pollution has had a great impact on travel. The buses have been free, which since I’m the only one of the Squad without a bike makes me much happier. It did however, impact Gabz’ trip to Shanghai quite a lot, which in turn doubled my workload for a day.

This paragraph is all written before actually chatting to Gabz so this is what I’ve got from WeChat. See the pollution was terrible as usual on Saturday, which meant the motorway to the airport was closed and his flight out was delayed for at least 6 hours. But he eventually got there so we didn’t have an irate Gabz joining us on New Years Eve. Coming home was the main issue. The first time we hear of an issue is the middle of the day on Monday, which was a day off for everyone. Turns out all flights to Shijiazhuang had been cancelled for the previous 2 days, and Gabz was getting a little anxious that his might also be cancelled. Fast forward a few hours and it turns out that yes, they did cancel his flight and there was no way he was going to be home before class the next day. After messaging back and forth for a while we settle on a plan. Gabz would get the train up (and as I type is currently on said train), and me, Izzie and Umar would cover his 5 classes.

That was all background information, the main part of this post is the story of how I taught some of my old classes. Gabz is the senior 2 teacher, so his classes are my old ones. Originally the plan was to whack a movie on, but in the morning the school messaged us saying we couldn’t do that! Desert Island is always my backup plan so I went in with a rather fun lesson planned, but also strangely nervous to see the students again. So much so that I was actually shaking for part of the first lesson!

After pushing my nerves aside I soon fell into the old routine, and so did the students. It was so strange to see the old faces again though, some had clearly gone through puberty a bit more and has shot up! Others were not so happy to see me, one class were completely silent when I walked in until I explained why I was there – I’m pretty sure that they thought I was lost or they were going insane. It was also remarkable how much some of the students had progressed since I’d last taught them. Class 10 I’d nicknamed my ‘Zen Class’ because they always did exactly what I asked, talked at a normal level and were just chill. They were also my last class of the week so probably reflected my own tiredness. Desert Island is a discussion heavy lesson, which they would have probably struggled with last year, but they handled with ease and seemed to enjoy it. It was fun teaching my old students again, but when I finished and went to my regular lessons I realised that I don’t regret asking to teach grade 10 again. I was able to get a fresh start with new students, learn from my mistakes and have a backlog of lesson plans in case I need help!

To sum up, I still love teaching grade 10 specifically, but it’s always nice to see the old faces again, especially when they’re so happy to see you.

Have a video of the weird tigers that took over the city one time!


Also for the first time ever I’m actually ahead in blog posts! I still haven’t written the narration of my trip to Mongolia in October but hey-ho I’m actually scheduling posts! I’m writing this on Tuesday but it won’t be posted until Thursday! Maybe this makes up for not writing anything for 2 months….


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