Sunday, October 21, 2012

Looooots of blog entries lol 

Oct 13/12

We got our jobs! Except it's not a kindergarten, and its two different training centers. I got the information from Pail mixed up. The jobs were 1 spot at Tienhe and 1 spot at Leida. The kindergarten in Foshan (its at the other end of Guangzhou) only had one spot open so that won’t work. Paul said he’d keep us posted on if 2 kindergarten spots open up but he figures nothing will until the end of the semester in January and he thinks the training centers will want us to stay till then anyway; so that's okay. 
            Brodie really didn’t want to work at Leida so I took that one and we start tomorrow . Brodie starts at 8:30am and I start at 9:30am (its funny because my training center is faster to get to, but alas the night is still young, I’ve only been there once so there’s a chance I’ll get lost. Hopefully not.)

            I’m nervous about the first class. We apparently just have a day to get to know the kids before starting any hard work, so that's nice, but still nerve racking. 

OOOHH!! Brodie and I have been wandering around the metros recently (mostly trying to get taxis) but we ended up finding a huge strip-mall inside the metro area that was full of what looked like Animethon venders!!  It’s like where the stuff from the Animethon goes after August is over! It’s so cool!
            Also there’s a place that's like six blocks of fabric stores and a few huge but crowded mall like places full of sewing stuff!! Super awesome!! 

That's all for now.

Oct 15/12
Okay I love my job! 
I was so nervous about my first day and I was worried I would get there late. Because of this I had like three nightmares about me getting off at the wrong train exit and not being able to find Liede. So the next day I ended up getting there at 8am (an hour and a half early) and there was only a few Chinese staff running around the office. The whole school was covered in balloons and streamers and looked like they were getting ready for a five year olds birthday party. What was actually going on was a meet and greet with the school to try to bring in more students. So the first and only class I had to teach on my first day of work was how to play hockey. Needless to say I was very excited. My class was at 10 so I had hours to kill. So I wandered around the inside of the building and looked around the street at all the little food shops and massage places and a health clinic surprisingly.  Jody was at the school in the morning because he was doing a speech to introduce the program to the parents then they would split off and go to different rooms to do different activities, like hockey (yay!) and cooking. 
             I was expecting my whole day to suck because it was at a training center but I had a lot of fun and instead of sending me in to teach ten classes a week Dog (Adam) just wants me to shadow classes (which is basically watch them start a game and then I’ll continue it. for multiple games), so that I have more games and activities to use for my classes. I’m soooo happy for that because I had nothing! I watched a months worth of classes and have no actual skill with play, introducing, or tying it into the topic with games. So I get to practice!! The other part of this arrangement is if a different school needs one of the teachers from Liede to come and substitute a class its my job to do so and I think I might be on call for that. Apparently that used to be Chris’s job but now he’s to busy to be able to do that. Dog also told me that if the class I sub at crashes and burns that he doesn’t care because it’s not his school (lol helpful). 
Another thing Dog wants to teach me how to do is a demo class, which is basically a promotional thing that we do to show the parents that this school knows what it’s doing and it’d be a good place for your kids to learn English at. The way you teach a demo class is going in to a classroom with kids you don’t know, having the parents watching you teach and having no idea what the Enlish level of the kids is, then teaching them something for 45 minutes or so and getting them to be able to say stuff in English. I’ve seem Mark and Chino do Demo classes before but I’ve never done one.
            Brodie’s first day at Tianhe was apparently confusing and boring. The only one who knew what she was supposed to be doing was Paul, who inconveniently no one could get a hold of on the phone. The principle, her name is Sunny, was thinking Brodie didn’t even have a place at Tianhe because they only needed two teachers not three. So that was nerve racking. Chino told her not to worry about it and to just watch classes for the day (the way I worded it makes it sound like Chino had a plan with what she should be doing for the day, but I think it was more like Chino asking “do you know what your supposed to be doing today?” Brodie “No.” C “Do you want to watch my class?” B “sure.”) 
            She ended up getting Sunday off of work because they had nothing for her to do. A vacation sounds fun but she’s sort of taking it like she’s unemployed and it’s bumming her out. She tried to enjoy her vacation day but it was boring. She also tried to make it to the Football game (Soccer) but she ended up only seeing like 5 minutes of the game and leaving to come pick me up at work and show me how to get there. By the time I was off work, however, the game would have ended so instead of going to McCawleys with the Football team and friends we just went to a different bar with Dog and Chris for supper. Oliver, Chino, Grooie and a bunch of other people play on a team together every Sunday. That's where they met Oliver and how he knew about the school. 
            I was supposed to come in at nine the next day but I wanted to time how long it took me to get from my front door to the elevator at the school it took me 1 whole hour to get to a bus stop, wait and get on the bus, get to a bus stop near the metro, take two trains on the metro and walk around the block to get to the school. There’s two ways to get to get there on the metro. There’s one where I walked ten minutes to the gate entrance of the garden, walk across the street and through an underpass, walk eight little blocks and get on the Luoxi (low-shi) metro entrance and take a train eight stops, switch to line 1 and wait four stops, then swtch to line 5 and go one stop getting to Liede. Or instead, go to through the underpass and, instead of walking the eight blocks, just wait at the bus stop for a bus that then drives for ten minutes and get off the bus at the Xiajao (…. I think it sounds like Shy-jow. The jow doesn’t sound like jaw, its like j-oww) metro entrance, wait five stops and then switch trains and take one stop. Much less walking and standing because its hard to get a seat on the metro at 7:30 am and at 5-7pm.
            So the weekends are very busy at the training centers, some people have to teach two-hour classes, so I had a busy schedule of shadowing on Sunday. So I shadowed two of Chris’s classes in the morning and then there was a three-hour break before his next class. The foreign teachers office in most schools is big enough to fit a couch, a bunch of chairs, a desk with computers on it and then fit tons of people. My office can fit one desk, three chairs and like four or five people max. I like it but it's the only office without a couch. Luckily there are two couches with comfortable pillows in the parent’s waiting room. I was really tired and decided to take a nap until the next class. I put my headphones on and fell asleep. Tem minutes later the Chinese manager, Christine (lol so many Chris’s) came and woke me up because she had a demo class she wanted me to teach at a different school. The first thing I asked her was “how do I teach a demo class?” she kind of gave me a blank stair for a minute and then just continued with what she was saying (she was in a hurry). I was too tired to be nervous about the class and what I was thinking was “I only slept for ten minutes… dang it.” 
            So I had a demo class to teach at 3oclock (ahhh!). I had no clue what to teach the kids so I called Dog, because he hadn’t come into work yet. He was surprised that I had a demo class because he didn’t want me doing one until I actually knew how to do it. So after he tried and failed to get me off the hook he just gave me advice on what to teach (time because its basically just counting, and then play broken telephone) and said Grooie works at the school I was leaving for (totally have no idea what that place was called but it's the newest one, I think).
            A girl around my age picked me up from the metro and walked me to the school. Her English name was Eleven, hahahhaha, and she was my Teaching Assistant (TA) for the class. I chatted with Grooie for a bit and got advice from both him and Eleven for teaching material. They told me to sing a “what’s your name song”. 

            I had a one-hour block to teach and everyone was saying if I taught for 30-45 minutes it’d be fine, but I got on a roll and taught the whole hour!! I had a hard time rewarding the kids because they had trading cards to give away and I also wrote stars on the board for the teams. I also kept forgetting to correct the kids when they weren’t doing something so Eleven was reeeaaally helpful and caught the kids who where being bad and giving the good kids cards (I felt like I was being lazy with that one so I’m going to work on that). 
            After that I went back to the school, watched the end of a class, walked around and played on my phone for an hour, and got my schedule. I get to teach my own class on Wednesday!! And I get make-up classes the rest of the time. I hear make-up classes are annoying to teach because the way the school works is the parents pay for individual classes and when a kid misses a day then they join some random class to make up for it. So they can be way ahead of the class or, and it usually happens, way behind, because they are at a completely different part of the book. Liede has a lot of rich kids who like ditching class so there are a lot of classes just for making up those days. It’s hard to mess up on the make-up classes so this should be fine. 
            After finally talking to Paul and Eve it sounds like Brodie is going to be working at Agile (yeah-juh-la) kindergarten. Which is the kindergarten we had been going to all last month and the one everyone loves. We asked about jobs there before and they told us that they had no spaces open, but now they do (because one of my favorite teachers, Reese, wanted to do something new so he ‘retired’). Now Brodie get a job she actually wants and Eve is going to try to arrange the schedule so she only has short workdays on my days off so we can hang out

That's it for now.

PS: (Dog and most of the Chinese staff keep calling me Mak because its easier to say then Makenzie. I don’t mind it but I don’t like saying it myself, no clue why. Also the Chinese staff all know that Mak is a guys name so its even funnier now :P. oh well,  at least they can remember my name now . Oh and I am determined to make the kids in my class say at least Kenzie, if not Makenzie. I’m only giving the Make-up kids a break and the classes I substitute for. I’m only gonna see them for a day so I don’t care if they say Makenzie or just Mak (most don’t say either lol))

Oct 17/12

I think I hate bugs >:[

I thought for the past two weeks that I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and for some reason our bug bites are HUGE!!! Like the size of a quarter minimum! It stopped for a while and then stared up again. So I was determined to avoid mosquito bites so I turned up the AC in my room and hid under my blankets so that no skin was showing. Then the bites showed up on my hands (they hurt they were so itchy; like blinding pain kind of hurt). I must have had my hands out of the blankets and the evil bugs went to town on them (I had like six bites in one night). So I wrapped myself in blankets so my face was only showing and I couldn’t roll out very easily. The bites were worse. And last night I woke myself up twice because I was scratching my hands in my sleep and the painful itching came back. I discovered that these bites are not from mosquitoes but they are in fact bed bugs (NOOOOOOOOOO  Aunty Stacey you were right!!) I did some research and those things are attracted to the smell of people and they cling hide in fabrics (like a mattress or blankets) and wood… that is my whole room (Hard wood floor, wooden shelves, wooden bed frame, fabric bed, fabric clothes, fabric curtains…. This sucks.)
            This one website said to heat the bugs or freeze them to kill the larva, the bugs and eggs, but it said to heat them or put them in the sun for two weeks because I have no dryer to put my laundry…so I put my bedding in plastic bags and their hanging on my deck. So by the time I was back home (I have to go to the bakery next to my garden for internet right now) I was literally shaking and stressed out (lack of sleep and the fear of never being able to sleep in my bed again). 
            The cherry on top of my day was after work I was in the metro, talking about my day to Brodie, when a fly (I thought it was a mosquito at first) came out of no where and I almost swallowed it… but not quite…. ….. I nearly choked on it, so I coughed or did something to move the fly, from the direction of down my throat, to a more upward direction (and I could feel it moving around >.<). I ended up blowing my nose a lot and it finally came out (o.O) and the worst part was that it was still alive. Bleeehhh he he!!! Nasty!!! 
            The fact that this happened on the exact same day as the bed bug freak out/discovery is just… awesome…
I don’t think I can look at a fly the same way again :S. 
The rest of my day was okay. I shadowed Chris’s class and then taught a make-up class. When I first walked in one of the kids called me teacher cookie and then two others said teacher {insert Chinese here}, no idea what that meant but it was funny. It was crazy. One kid named Jason would wander around the classroom, no matter what anybody said to him. It was obvious he just didn't know what I was saying and just gave up, because I brought him to the front of the class and had the other kids mimic his posture (his hands were on his hips, so I got the class to do that. He looked surprised and dropped his hands down, so I had the class slap their hands to their legs). After a few times mimicking him I started making the gestures and he got more interested and did them too (that lasted a good three minutes and then I lost him again, but those three minutes were so much fun ). 
Another kid named Andy would just not shut up the whole time I was teaching. He would say the vocabulary or sentence I wanted him to say, and then continued on to random stuff (it was all in English, which was cool, but still!!).
There were two Jasons’ in the class, the little Jason (5-6 year old bratty one that I had stand up at the front of class) and big Jason (6-8 year old who’s mom was there and who looked like he might burst into tears at any moment). Turns out that this Jason was sick and was not about to cry because of that. He actually puked in a garbage can halfway through class, all the kids were horrified but it happened when I was looking at the white board so the T.A. and his mom handled it (they would have handled it anyway, I just would have known about it sooner is all). Because of his sickness he was really shy and quiet during most of the class. Then like 20 minutes before the end of class he was the loudest kid shouting answers out and saying the sentence properly (I was so proud!).
My favorite kid was a little 3 year old girl named EE, who I don’t think said one word that entire class, but she was soooo cute!! One of the games I played I had two teams and one kid from each team had to stand up and run to the back of the room and touch the wall, then run back and give me a high five. I would call a number, two kids got up and ran to the back of the room and EE jumped up too, all excited, and trotted along trying to find what everyone was apparently doing. I kept stopping randomly throughout my lesson when I saw EE doing some thing and going “Awww!” She apparently learned how to blow kisses to Chris (he’s her real teacher) and he just loved it. 
The way that kids seem to work (at least here, probably back home as well) is that the boys are rowdy and the girls are studious. So we don't like to split up the teams, girls Vs guys, because the girl team with wipe the floor with the boy’s team, because the boys goof off and the girls just don’t as much. Both groups get bored and there’s usually a smart kid in each group but as a whole you have to usually cheat in order for the boys team to win. 
So the rest of the kids in the class were either really smart and knew the answers (because they were in Chris or Dog’s class that just went over this) or they were really shy and didn’t know any of the answers. That was okay though, it's a make-up class. Crazy is in it’s nature. 

My favorite part about teaching is whenever I leave a classroom I always feel like I just came back from playing a game or something. I am in such a great mood and I have lots of fun

I get my class on Friday!! I only teach one class for the first month or so and they’ll work on giving me more classes to teach. So stoked!! 

So yeah over all it was a crappy/great day. Kids are good, bugs + Makenzie = BAD!

Brodie taught her first kindy class today (Pauls way of saying kindergarten). Her class had a substitute today so they told her she didn't have to teach today and that she was just watching, but she told the sub that she was the classes new teacher. His response was “well I don’t have to be here then.” and buggered off, leaving Brodie to figure out what to suddenly teach her class. Real nice, but the class did go well. She loves the kids and they played lots of games today because it was the first day. 
Apparently A.J. (the CIEO guy. Basically everyone’s boss) is coming to evaluate Agile kindergarten on Monday. The teachers were telling Brodie that he likes to watch classes and make sure things are going well and everyone is doing their job. So he’ll pick a teacher and watch their class; specifically the newest teacher so he can see if they are doing a good job. Guess who the new teacher is! So A.J. will probably be following Brodie on Monday, so she has to whip her class into shape before then. GOOD LUCK SIS!!

Love chatting with everyone. And moms going to put our new email (we have one so its easier) on the blog so email us if you want to chat  
(no I'm not - I'm still a paranoid mother who doesn't believe that's a good idea. I have sent out a mass email though and if I missed you let me know and I will pass it on. Thanks-> the Mom)

OH on the eight-block walk home from the metro to our garden there’s a few places that sell buns and cakes. We got two really delicious vanilla buns for 1-kuah! I have about half a billion 1-kuah bills in my wallet and I was very excited to find a place where I could get rid of the 1s.


Brodie’s why I was late my first day. 
Woke up, got dressed and ready to go and got on my first bus. At the bus stop I found bus number 57 and couldn’t remember if it was 57 or 56 that I was supposed to take for the second bus, but I didn’t have time to wait so I hopped on. After about half an hour it was clear that I was on the wrong bus. And I made double sure by texting Kenzie and asking what bus I should have taken. I texted Nick that I’d be late and he texted back “run forest run” lol. So after about an hour I made it back to the bus stop and got on the right bus and made it to agile half an hour late (luckily there was a sub for the first half hour). And it turns out that I would have been late even if I had caught my bus because Gavin (Irish teacher who teaches mini class, who takes the same second bus as me) was also late because there was an 8 car pile up on the road in front of the bus and delayed it a lot.
            The second day I was almost late because I decided to test out a new bus (#5) because I saw it at the bus stop and I had always wondered where it led to. For most of the trip I panicked because I thought It must have been a different 5 bus that I saw at the bus station and this one was taking me on another random detour….but it turns out it just takes an extra long time to get there and I made it to the bus stop and to work with plenty of time to spare.


I like to squat and hug my knees. I like to put my head down and lean forward. 

Because that's how I roll

At Liede the girl who’s in charge of schedules is named Christine. She’s my favorite Chinese staff member because (1) she’s the one I know the best and (2) she’s just plain awesome . She’s never met Brodie before and I don’t think I’ve even told her I have siblings but today she saw her. It was Brodie, Chris, Adam and I talking in the foreign teacher’s office after work and Christine came in to ask Adam something. She saw me and said hi, saw Brodie and looked shocked. This was the best reaction, by far, that I’ve ever seen of someone noticing we’re twins. She did a double take and just stared, a look of confusion on her face. Adam tried answering her question but she didn’t hear him and was sort of lost in thought (it was hilarious!). She snapped out of it after a second and then laughed and left, but yeah, I love my job .

I checked out the fancy restaurant underneath the school (which was a shock) I was told by Chris that this was a cheap place to eat at, but he was talking about somewhere completely different. This was expensive fancy food and they had a chef that was famous apparently. Also no one there speaks any English. I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu; it was some kind of beef buns (really tasty; sweet on the outside, beef stew-like stuff on the inside. It sounds gross but it was good). I got it to-go and usually restaurants give you Styrofoam containers but this place gave me a plastic one (now I don’t have to buy one :D I’m so cheep). This restaurant had like eleven fish tanks and was super duper fancy. For some reason they gave me a glass of hot water (I though maybe it was for tea but they didn't bring tea, and it was in a glass not a mug. Weird). 

            So that was the highlight of my day. 

Oh I forgot to mention. We went to Fabric Island (Brodie’s and my nickname for it) and tried to buy buttons from a small booth. I think the lady freaked me out so I had Brodie do the talking. The lady did not speak any English. The buttons were cheap so we figured we’d buy a bunch and so we took out a metal bowl we had just bought and put a button in it. Then the lady shook her hand and said something. We blankly stared at her, she stared back, we put another button in and she did the same thing. I though she was worried we didn’t know that each button was a certain price or something. At some point she had enough of our crazy button grabbing or something and put the buttons back and glared at us. We were like “Ok? We’re missing something important here and its time for us to leave.” So we high tailed it out of there. 
We came across another button place and I asked shyly if they would be mad if we bought buttons. The guy laughed and the girl behind the counter showed us how much everything was. We slowly picked up a few buttons and put them carefully on the counter. The lady put the buttons in a bag and said something in Chinese. We asked the price and she shook her hand and gave us the bag. We looked baffled at the guy and he smiled and waved while saying “Bye bye.” to us. We were completely shocked and confused at why they were free (I figured it was because we bought like 4 kuah worth of buttons and looked like we thought the buttons may explode if we bump them wrong. I love that booth!! 
So yeah, very drastic turn of events with buttons. And the button drama is crazy for some reason.

That's all for now. 

Thanks for reading 

Today I had my first parent teacher meeting. This is something strictly for the kindergartens, training centers get open classes where the parents watch the class but kindergartens have that AND have to talk to the parents individually… sort of. Most of the parents don't speak English so the Chinese teacher and T.A. talk to them. The foreign teacher comes…says about five minutes of “your child is very good at English. They participate and do very good in class,” (in this meeting I said almost nothing. I would have and then the Chinese teacher and T.A. take over for the next hour and a half…. Ya. A very long meeting with you in a room with three Chinese ladies and all u hear is wha wha wha wha blab la wha blablabla wha wha… said nothing but one of the moms could speak a bit of English and she translated some of the conversation. Then she drove me home because it was late :D go nice mom!). I almost fell asleep a few times. Don’t get me wrong, they are all very sweet and polite and apologetic about keeping me at the school till 8:00pm when I barely said a word, but in all honesty the only reason, it seems, to even have the English teacher there was so the parents could see that there are actually foreigners in the school actually teaching their children (they made a new rule recently where we have to stay an extra 2 hours three days a week. That is also so the parents see foreign faces, and so they can talk to their kids teachers if need be (need doesn’t usually be) I don’t mind because I practically live there anyway, because I have a lot of paper work and stuff to catch up on. But most teachers nap, watch movies or shows on a tablet, or go on the Internet because they nothing to do XP)
            It turns out that since I’m so young and this is first class that I’ve ever had, the Chinese teacher and I had to feed the parents a bit of bull shit so they wouldn’t pull their kids out of the school. The reason is that if they realized that I’m only 19 they wont think I know what I’m doing, and if they learn that this is my first class that will make them think that I REALLY don’t know what I’m doing and won't want their kids being taught by someone who doesn’t know what they're doing. So the “story” that the parents get is that I’m a former teacher at the Liede training center and when the kindergarten needed a teacher they asked Liede for one, and they sent me there. And when the parents ask how old I am the Chinese teacher say that where I come from, asking someone their age is very rude. So the parents have no clue how old I am. I had to add some of my own bull shit when one of the parents asked how long I’ve been in China (there’s no way I could say 1 month or else bye-bye fool proof story. So I told her that I lost track of how long I’ve been here, but I like it very much in China. 
            This morning I was going to wake up at 5:30am so I could get to work extra early because I had been either slightly late or right on time, so I wanted to be early. So I got home around 6pm and was exhausted so I went to sleep. Kenzie got home really late last night because she was hanging out with dog and Chris. And she had insomnia for most of the night and when she finally fell asleap, her phone decided to be evil and an alarm went off at 1am…. *sigh* so Kenzie was really REALLY tired and I was wide awake because I went to sleep early. So we were both awake at a ridiculous hour with completely different problems lol. Luckily we both got back to sleep (we were sleeping in the living room because we have bed bugs in our beds, and the couches are comfier anyway, after the alarm went off Kenzie went to my room to sleep), and then in the morning I woke up and it was daytime… and I had a heart attack. There’s no sun at 5:30am. Looking at my clock I saw it was about 6:40am. (my phone is rubbish and likes to randomly turn off. So it did that and my alarm didn’t go off because It was on the phone) I rushed and got ready in like 5 minutes and woke Kenzie up on the way out the door (she was going to come to work with me to help decorate my theme board, but there was no way that was happening now- she came later though). And the past few days where I was almost late, those days I was experimenting with different busses to find which ones get to the school fastest, and I figured it out and I took that rout today and made it….early. Waking up an hour after I planned I managed to get there early. Go figure. 
            I love my class. They’re sooooo cute. I have the oldest class in the school so they’re the easiest to have because they already know the drill. They’re names are Tony -he’s awesome. He knows where all the class rooms are (I have asked the 6 year old where to go & he handled it like a pro lol), and he’s always the first one to go to the bathroom, drink water, and sit down), Tammy (very silly and easily distracted), Justin (love him. he love, love LOVES games. And I swear he’d play the same game all day if we let him lol. He always has a smile and is adorable and kind of looks like Jayden too), Jack (it was his birthday today, I haven’t gotten to know him very well because he’s very quiet),  Simon, Angel, Daniel, Qian Qian (ch-ian ch-ian she has an English name but keeps forgetting it) Kevin, Cherry, Eric, Season, Sunny, Crystal, Nicol, ………………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………. it’s late. I was at school till 8pm. I’m tired. I’ll finish telling you about the class next blog entry.

Goodnight everyone

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