#1 Teaching at Taizhou Teachers College-Adventure in China Begins......

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February 18th 2006
Published: July 15th 2006
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Giant ButterfliesGiant ButterfliesGiant Butterflies

I could almost imagine I was back in Costa Rica! Department store in Downtown Taizhou.
My first week (almost) in China has passed so quickly and has been filled with a kaleidoscope of new sights, smells, tastes and experiences.

The flight from Australia with a change in Singapore went smoothly and was made more interesting with animated discussions with two of my fellow passengers. In particular, Mr John Norman, an Aussie gent from Melbourne, who, like me, was travelling to China to teach English. We chatted freely about his experiences (he’s a China “veteran” of several years) and he gave me some valuable tips on what to expect. He is located in Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province) at the Zhejiang University of Sciences, about 5 hrs from where I will be teaching and we exchanged cards in order to keep in touch.

Formalities of customs and immigration dispensed with, I am eagerly met by my supervisor Mr Arthur Lee (Director of International Cooperation at Taizhou Normal College) and our very capable driver Mr Xu. They have been waiting for hours, so are keen to “hit the road” as soon as possible.

The journey to Taizhou, through the chaos that is Shanghai traffic, took a long 4.5 hours. This part of China is designated a SEZ
My New AbodeMy New AbodeMy New Abode

I am provided with a comfortable room, with plenty of storage space, an ensuite bathroom and all mod cons including reverse cycle air conditioner, TV, DVD player, computer with free ADSL internet connection and colour printer.
(Special Economic Zone) and is one of the fastest growing and dynamic regions in China. As far as the eye can see, there are cranes, new buildings, roads and bridges in various stages of construction. Arthur jokes “The whole of China is a construction site!” There is absolutely no doubt that this is a country on the move, and at a pace that is quite mind boggling, especially for the first time observer.

On arrival in Taizhou, I was quickly shown to my room and left to settle in. I was pleasantly surprised by my room. It is light and airy and relatively quiet as it faces the campus grounds and not the main road. (Thanks for the tip Lana) It is equipped with all mod-cons including a reverse cycle air-conditioning system that I imagine will be a god send in both the scorching summer and bone-chilling winter. I unpacked quickly, established my “home away from home” before falling into grateful sleep. My adventure in China had begun……..

The next day or two was spent in orientating myself and being introduced to many new people. Everyone is so friendly and helpful, and so excited and honoured that I
Aussie CornerAussie CornerAussie Corner

Photos and Aussie paraphenalia to help me feel at home
have chosen to teach at their college. We have been wined and dined and treated like near royalty, by anyone of importance to do with the college. (More on that in another blog!)

I am one of only two Foreign English teachers here this term, the other being a young Chinese American girl known as Victoria. Her boyfriend Bobby is also staying with her from Los Angeles. They are a lovely couple, and have helped me find the local supermarket and generally navigate my way around town. Victoria is also a bonus as she speaks near perfect Chinese. As for Bobby and I (he is also Chinese American) we have very little Chinese, but we will start lessons next week!

My teaching schedule is very generous. I teach a total of 14 lessons a week, with 7 different classes. Each class has 2 lessons of 45minutes back to back (with a 10 minute break between). I teach 4 mornings a week from 7.50am to 11.30am and have every afternoon off and the weekend, as well. A long weekend- every weekend! The college is very keen to give us as much opportunity as possible to explore and see the
Dining RoomDining RoomDining Room

This light and airy room is a great place to share a meal with my new friends.
sights while we are here.

My students are so lovely, so eager and willing to learn. I have 3 freshman (1st yr) English Education major classes, 3 sophomore (2nd yr) English Education major classes and 1 freshman Business English major class. Class sizes vary from 36-46, a little smaller than I had expected, which is good. Their English proficiency varies quite a lot within and between each class, as you would imagine, so my main task will be to first help them gain the confidence to speak in English and not to worry so much about making mistakes. This is a big issue for Chinese students, as they are encouraged to be perfect in every way. Making a mistake involves “loss of face”, something to be avoided at all costs, so I will need to treat this with some sensitivity.

So ends my first week in China. I have settled in well and am enjoying my new life enormously, even though it’s early days. Everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Particular thanks must go to Arthur, my supervisor and the ever patient Vivian my Chinese co teacher. Also to Ms Fan
Eastern ViewEastern ViewEastern View

Extensive views East from the dining room illustrate the rapidly changing way of life for Taizhou inhabitants
the Dean of Foreign languages and members of her English teaching staff who have also been so supportive and encouraging in my first days in Taizhou Normal College.

A final word of acknowledgement and a big "Thank You" must go to Dianne and Graham Goulding and Lana Malakunas, previous Foreign Teachers at Taizhou Normal College who patiently answered my many questions prior to my departure via email and telephone. Dianne and Graham also acted as "go betweens" to assist in the speedy and safe delivery of my Chinese paperwork. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Room With A ViewRoom With A View
Room With A View

My room is on the 8th floor of the college hotel and affords great views of the campus grounds and beyond.
College HotelCollege Hotel
College Hotel

My room is eight floors up and two from the right. One of the few with the window open! I do like my fresh air.
Taizhou Normal College  AuditoriumTaizhou Normal College  Auditorium
Taizhou Normal College Auditorium

An important venue for a myriad of special occasions
Performing Arts BuildingPerforming Arts Building
Performing Arts Building

Amazing voices and music add an air of culture to a walk around the campus
The HubThe Hub
The Hub

Known as "The Teaching Building", this is where the Foreign Language and other teachers have their offices. One floor is also dedicated to some aspects of administration.
New DormNew Dorm
New Dorm

Looking a little forlorn without the usual displays of laundry! From 9-12 students share each room in bunk style basic accommodation.
Who says there's no blue skies in China?Who says there's no blue skies in China?
Who says there's no blue skies in China?

View of Dongcheng River from Binhe Guangchang (a riverside pedestrian promenade)
River SculptureRiver Sculpture
River Sculpture

Exploring the pleasures of the river away from the traffic with Gulou Qiao (Bridge) in the background

The bustling downtown of Taizhou City. An easy 10 minute bus ride or 20-30 minute stroll away.

15th July 2006

Wow great to hear you are doing so well i thought u went up their ages ago but hey Keep up the good work and keep us posted
15th July 2006

Congratulations!Sue, you have done a really wondful job by writing this beautiful travelblog. You deserve all the respects and admiration from your students and teaching staff here in Taizhou Teachers College (formerly Taizhou Normal College) and we are looking forward to reading and sharing with you all the coming travelblogs you are writing in the near future about your adventures and experiences you are to get from your travels to some remote but beautiful parts of China. It's getting increasingly hot, take care while travelling around.
15th July 2006

Hi Sue, I'm now settled back in Hong Kong. Hopefully you'll visit us here too. Hope you enjoy Tiger Leaping Gorge...I thought it was a great place.
16th July 2006

Hi Tread well mate good news to hear your getting a lot out of this overseas teaching and culture .The photos are a great asset. I havnt been in touch with your mum yet a bit slack..Danyal is in MacKay living wow I miss her, theres a hole in my life I cant seem to fill???? Sorry back to China keep up the great new and will talk soon..Diana..
21st July 2006

great! i love this

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