A few days ago, I went shopping for some DVDs. About once a month, the police raid illegal DVD stores and wipe out their entire stock. So when I walked into the shop to see nothing but empty shelves and a few workers cleaning the place up, I was shocked but at the same time, not shocked at all. The employees quickly told me about the “secret” DVD room upstairs where they keep more DVDs that the police don’t know about.
I walked up a few flights of stairs, went down a darkened corridor, knocked on a heavy, padlocked iron door, and was let into a smaller, more compact DVD room. The whole process was very hush-hush. I felt like I was in a movie where I was involved in underground, black market transactions like drugs or illegal fighting (Bloodsport, anyone?).
I teach each of my classes one more time and then on Tuesday, May 24th, I am done teaching at Beihuan Middle School. I can’t believe I already taught for (almost) an entire school year! My contract was originally supposed to end on June 15th, but because of visa requirements (and I think because of the impending Universiade), we are done next week. The best part is that I still get paid for next month because our contract stipulates that we get paid for June.
In each of my classes, I have a few discussion questions, we take pictures, then I give them options: they can listen to music I have on my flash drive, watch Horton Hears a Who, or watch Glee. Since it’s the last day, I figure I can make it fun for them and easy for me.
This morning, I taught my favorite and most well-behaved class. Remember that in China, students are divided by test scores/behavior, so class 10 is the smartest and class 1 is well… not. My favorite class is class 2, which intuitively, you would think would be relatively bottom of the barrel. This class is such a joy to go to every morning, even though I teach them at 8:20am every Friday.
As I walked into class, their head teacher told me that they had a special present for me. They presented me with a gigantic card and a red hanging thing that brings good luck. You are supposed to hang it in your home.
I have also received some other adorable cards and gifts from students in other classes. One girl gave me her favorite book, The Bridges of Madison County, I received a card that said, “My favourite teacher, I am sorry about you can’t atten class to us feel. But I hope you can happy every day. Didn’t Forget Me.” Then at the bottom it says, “Teacher, you’re so beautiful”. OK, so maybe the English wasn’t so great, but she called me beautiful, so I can’t really fault her for that.
Here are some more pictures I took in my final classes. Some classes were more receptive to pictures than others.