One Saturday back in May most of the teachers at my school dragged their bleary bodies down to a bus at 6:30AM to groggily head off to a town called Changzhou. The vice-president called in favours for this unwanted day trip because Changzhou Foreign Languages School happens to be the biggest feeder school we have, so keeping them appeased ranks high on the VP’s list of things to do as the boss.
The preparations and meetings leading up to the trip managed to cause a litany of dissent amongst the teachers and a handbook on how not to handle employees could be written from the misguided and haphazard emails and demands placed upon the staff.
Changzhou spared no expense as two girls delivered a fan dance in full hanbok regalia, followed up by a taekwando demonstration. At this point I realized this day could be truly memorable, as the two girls displayed how to break boards, the lower coloured belt wound up to deliver a classic, and simple, side kick but nerves or the height of her partner caused her to aim low and pretty much kick her partner in the uterus without breaking the wood. The tension grew palpable as she prepared to re-strike the board; she couldn’t miss again and she had to hold a board for the taller, more skillful girl. Luckily the board broke clean. Then the other girl did an impressive kick whipping her leg up and over the head of the girl before stomping down through the board. I don’t know what sort of kick it was, but now I know what had the first girl on edge. This one could murderize her! Some music finished things off, but it was on a saxophone, so I’m not sure if it was a Korean melody. Oh, and as an aside, Chinese kids love their K-Pop!
Lunch. Full Western and Chinese display buffet.
For some of the students it would be their first time trying Western food, they were both anxious and excited. It had a bit of everything, clearly the school put on a spread to impress the foreigners. What didn’t impress me, some of the foreigners heading back up for seconds before all of the students had been permitted to go through for their first course.
After milling about with my fellow teachers, a select few of us were pulled aside and instructed on the workings of the English Speaking Contest that we be judging during the Talent Portion of the visit. With a mingled amount of suspicion and anticipation we entered into the rather decent auditorium to find out what a Chinese Talent Show actually comprised of…
But that deserves its own dedicated post.