We didn't just do in-house classes we also went out to primary schools and kindergartens. These external schools were often places that teachers felt some measure of dread over. For internal classes we had a class size limit of 18 students which is mostly manageable but for external schools we had classes of up to 50 students which make life a lot harder.
I will never forget my first primary school class in China. We had classes in a primary school inside the nearby university. Aside from a trip of half an hour each way and a long break between some of the classes the classes themselves often ended up being something of a challenge.
For about 18 months I was in charge of teaching the 3 grade 5 classes at this school. Now before I go on to talk about some of the things that happened in these classes I need to explain just how bad they were. The grade 5 class had amongst the foreign teachers gained the nickname the "zoo class". I know it seems harsh to draw similarities between a class full of kids and a zoo but it is a good example of how bad these kids could really be.
Aside from the fact that all of the foreign teachers and T.A.s dreaded these 3 classes there is is the fact that even the headmaster of the school knew that these kids bullied not only other students but teachers too.
Before I took over the class they had been given to one of my predecessors. They had been given to him specifically because it was believed he could "scare them into behaving well". Now no foreign teacher I know ever used any form of physical or verbal abuse but obviously some teachers are stricter and more intimidating than others.
When I first started I was definitely not a strict or intimidating teacher. In fact I was accused many times in my first few months of being too soft, so this class was going to be a major challenge for me.
Needless to say I have some pretty bad stories from these classes. At the time they seemed to be some kind of nightmare but now I come to think back on it some of them seem pretty funny.
Tomorrow I'll share some of the weird stuff that went on at this particular primary school.
Rory McDonald is an online marketer and digital entrepreneur, co-founder of the Online Business Expert and passionate blogger.