Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Class has begun

I apologize to everyone who has been looking for posts (maybe all three of you?). Things have been very busy lately, with planning classes, organizing syllabi, and learning how the education system in China works.

Let me begin with our first day of school.  The semester began on September 6th.  I had two classes, both were sophomore-level Extensive Reading classes.  To be honest, I'm not sure what "Extensive Reading" is supposed to be.  The book (Contemporary College English Companion Reader, ISBN 7-5600-3635-x) contains about 40 articles, each one between 3 and 15 pages, and one random play which is 60 pages long.  Needless to say, we aren't reading that.  I planned about two stories per class session, with each session lasting two hours long.  I think that is fair enough, and we can get through about 75% of the book with that plan.  Things seemed to be going well.

I also let the class sign up for group presentations, which will begin on the second week of classes.  Since there are about 30 students in each class, I had them sign up for groups of two or three.  This way, two groups will be presenting during each class, and each group will end up presenting twice.  This plan seemed to fit well, and the sign-ups seem to go without any problems.

A lot more fun came after the classes.  I'm sure some of you have seen the news lately about the weather here, such as "China floods strand thousands" in CBC News, "China's Worst Floods in a Decade Trap 30,000" in CBS news, and the Henan Province section of Wikipedia's article on the 2010 China floods.  To be honest, it has been raining a bit, with a few parts of campus covered in water.  Because of this, myself and a few other foreign teachers went out to buy rain boots.  The boots were rather reasonable in price (¥46, about $7.12) and they go halfway up our ankles.

Some Henan University students wading through the water

After buying the boots, we decided to test them out around campus.  Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun.  I was able to wade through the water with no troubles at all, the water actually went up to the edge of our boots, and none of the water got in.  We made a good purchase :)

I'm siiiiiiinging in the rain!

That's basically my story from the first day of teaching.  Hopefully I will update more often and with much better stories.  I finally got the VPN working now so I should be able to access my blog more regularly.  Feel free to ask any questions!

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