But, first: Ian and I are now happy members at the "Black Steed Fitness Club" across the street from our school. And, as our friend Justin pointed out on Facebook, the name has slightly racial undertones and thus is awkward. The anthropomorphic horse mascot doesn't help.
Lisa (our coworker) set us up with this gym, but we went in to pay for our memberships on our own. Only one staff member really speaks any English, but everyone was patient and nice (as usual) so it was no problem. Upon sign up, they do a body composition assessment.
We were the first ones to show up at the front gate (yay us!). Our foreigness immediately caught the attention of one of the police officers on guard. He had a giant bo staff and wore a lot of protective gear, but was very friendly. I told him "Wo men laoshr." (We are teachers.), which prompted him to speak a lot of Chinese to me. I tried to explain that I really only knew how to say just that, but we inevitably handed our phone to him so that he could speak to Lisa. But, even after Billy (our principle) arrived and spoke to him, the officer was convinced he could speak to me in Chinese. I told Billy that I had told the officer that we are teachers in Chinese, but that that's all I could say. He explained is and both he and the officer had a hearty laugh. A school administrator met us outside and she hustled us through the doors.
I taught three forty-five minute classes (with the vocab on the slides you saw) with a thirty minute break between the second and third lessons for "morning exercise" which included pressing on the pressure points around the eyes and stretching. The kids were great. Focused and easily engaged, even though there were forty-fifty of them in each class. The classrooms had old school chalk boards and super fancy touch screen TV's (used pretty much like a projector). Each class greeted us with smiles and applause. My PowerPoint file failed to load properly (I had saved as .pptx, and hadn't noticed), so I had to alter the beginning of my first lesson on the fly. But, Billy fixed my file and the other classes went as I had planned: I introduced myself to the class, had the students (not all, for time reasons) throw a ball around and introduce themselves ("tell me your name and two things about your family"), target language study (vocab), then a modified game of "Taboo" on the blackboard, and finally "Two Truths and a Lie: Family Edition." The kids did very well. I was especially impressed with how quickly they got the hang of "in-laws." I did have one student accidentally say her mother was a panda as her "truth," however. That was a pretty great moment.
At the end of the first lesson, the students completely mobbed me and nearly trampled me. They were desperate for my phone number, so I wrote my email address on the board instead. We'll see if anyone emails me.
The fantastic classes, and just the experience of teaching in a public school and feeling a bit more like a legitimate teacher, made Ian and I long for full time work in one. We'll settle for being outsourced to other schools. Hopefully, it happens somewhat often.