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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Clearing the confusion

Man oh man… in my place of peace (at home) I managed to brush absolutely everything to one side! I wiped my mind clean of everything the company represented IN THE MINDS OF OTHERS. What other teachers have experienced in the past, within this company, doesn’t mean I’ll experience the same. I shouldn’t judge how the company works the teachers and the classes, until I’ve experienced it myself. And on Friday night, there was no experience to speak of (on my behalf) and so I didn’t need to take on the negativity from other teachers… That would have meant: going into a situation already expecting for things to go badly. It’s looking for things to go wrong and for negativity to seep into my classes, into my lessons and into my overall teaching experience. Well… THAT WASN’T WHAT I CAME HERE FOR! I didn’t come here to moan, to complain and to offer certain teachers their own personal and apparently much-needed negative-feeder. That’s not my job! My job is to bring life and fun into the lives of the people I meet, no matter how insignificant or superficial our contact may be. I came to teach English and to learn and develop my own skills.

I created such distance from all of the deeper stuff behind the classes. And to put into perspective WHY I’d said ‘yes’ to all the classes I’d been bombarded with or ‘offered’, I figured the following: I said ‘yes’ to this schedule, because I’m here to work and I WANT to work. I said ‘yes’ NOT for NOT being assertive. But I said ‘yes’ because I can challenge myself by giving my first lessons, being ill prepared. I said ‘yes’ because suddenly going from having no classes to having… 30 academic teaching hours, along with a certain amount of preparation hours, means I can be thrown in the deep in the end, but I can find that I’ll never sink; I’ll only ever swim. And when I’m more certain that my position as a teacher in general, is strengthened, then I’ll easily float!

I knew I could do this and I wanted to see for myself, just how I’d take to the busy schedule. So I welcomed it all! I said ‘yes’… to please myself and to rise to the challenge. Also, after putting this situation into perspective, I got some advice from 2 of the more level-headed and laidback assets within the company - one of them happens to be my flatmate (Matt) and the other is the closest connection I have to home whilst being here in China, British Mike. They said: “Niamh, it’s so simple: you give the company what they want: a good teacher who the kids will feel comfortable with. And in return, they make your life here as convenient as possible”. So easy but so such wise words from M&M! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

I added my own little personal lesson to this simplicity: In the past I would have said ‘yes’ just to keep THEM happy and for THEM to approve of me. I would have said ‘yes’ for being FEARFUL of being rejected by the company. Now though, I say ‘yes’ for MYSELF – regardless of the warnings I received and the well-intended advice that I could be bombarded or swamped with classes and be seen as ‘easy’.

So, on Saturday I was on top of everything. I kept my distance from those around me who could have threatened my sanity and potentially resulting in a bad start to my teaching in China. And what happened? How did it plan out? It was brilliant! I loved that first class, I loved those kids and I felt such EASE EASE EASE!!! I couldn’t believe it had been since… June (!!!!) that I last was teaching. I instantly felt at home in front of these Chinese children and I was so eager for them to learn from me and for me to learn from them.

After 4 classes and 2 days of keeping myself happy in my bubble, regardless of what those around me were saying, doing or feeling… and I was on top of this teaching, like never before! I knew I’d do the best I can, when aiming for these kids to excel in my classes and I too would do the best to aim at excelling as a teacher. Bring it on!

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