Basically, my duty was to come up with activities and lesson plans for kids. That's all the instruction I got when I arrived. Originally they were going to do an english class focusing on furniture, but then bagged that for something more fun and made by a "native English speaker", aka moi. Really, no direction, but no worries, I was prepared for something like that. I knew things in China tended to be a bit less directed, with lots of phrases coming from my Chinese counterparts that sounded like, "yeah, sure, sounds good, whatever you think, that'll be fine...what do you think should happen?" and so on. Nothing negative.
Great and not great.
Great because the pressure of doing things perfect for their standards is eliminated, even though I don't know their standards. I want to stand out from other interns, but at the same time be me.
Not great because I'm completely indecisive, not to mention I have no idea if they're really impressed like they say, or if it's just nice words to not hurt me.
Either way, things got going. Not until about 2 days before (after 1.5 weeks of planning an event I had no specs on, like duration, attendance, ages, English level...), June, my go-to lady, asked, "so how should we do the class? how many hours? what ages? what days?" Of which I had no clue. Eventually I got them to give me a list of their clients and kids they thought would come, and divided it all up. 2 parties for kids 8-13yrs old, then 1 party for 14-20, all 2 hours each. I had several topics and activities lined up, of which I whittled down to 3 activities and 3 topics. Things worked out to be Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, 2-4pm.
Our topics were "Snowmen and wintery words", "winter clothes", and "winter foods". The 1st activity with the little kids was cutting snowflakes out of paper after we discussed snowmen. I'm sure you've all done this; fold a piece of paper a few times, cut designs, then unfold and voila, a personalized snowflake. They loved it... twas like a magic show when we first introduced it, since none of them had experienced this before.
The 2nd activity was taking pics of animals doing winter activities (cartoony, not clothed), and adding color and clothing. This was just great fun. I made my own example, using yarn and different colored paper to make something everyone oohed and aahhed over. That was just a great time. They enjoyed being creative and talking about the clothing they were making, what they liked to do in the winter, why choose their colors, etc. This we did with the older group too, and they thought it was a great way to study English...
The 3rd activity, the coup de gras, was marshmallow snowmen. Going along with the food theme, and the 1st theme, we took very chinese versions of snacks and made edible snowmen. We handed out the marshmallows (filled with orange goo), vegi flavored breadsticks, strawberry jam, and fruit rolls, and said "don't eat a thing. just wait and watch". There of course was curiosity in the air, what did this stuff mean? Then I take the 1st three marshmallows and stack them ontop of each other... then everyone erupts in unison into a "ooohhhh....i see!" Then it was off to the races. This was my favorite activity, since it was very unique, and they hadn't done this before either. They loved it to. Go to my facebook and check out the photos. Fun times.
In addition to that, I prepared and taught the weekly Staff English class, last hour of work on Friday. This I had no idea. Twas alright, but the staff turned out to have no english skills. Could read a little, but I had to translate the entire lesson on the spot...
1st topic was "Fighting the Cold", and was pretty simple vocab to be applied. What I figured out was they had a small vocabulary, so words to describe were alright to use, but then they also had no grammar training, so the vocab, though appropriate, was not easily carried to everyday talking.
2nd topic was better, I think, and was appropriately titled, "Whadayathink?", or "what do you think?" This one we explored some adjectives and short phrases that you could link to a feeling or situation, but needed no grammatical skills nor restructuring. Things like "fantastic", or "who knows" or my favorite, "for some reason".
Overall, I felt it was a learning experience. Nothing that I really ever wanted to do, but I'm glad I did it. I don't like being a teacher of English. It's not terrible, just I either need more preparation time, guidelines.... don't know. I'm not very talkative, so it's hard to be entertaining. Luckily, this was a Winter Party, so we did activities along with lecture, so it all worked out.
Alright. Bedtime. Oh, and it snowed today, quite a bit. I'm happy.