20.12.2011 6 °C
I feel I can now say that me and Simon Cowell have something in common. Unfortunately I have not started wearing my trousers up near my chest (although it is pretty cold, this would probably warm me up a bit) but I have now been a talent show judge. On Friday evening, Kat and I were asked to go to another school to judge an English speaking contest. After meeting the other English judge outside, a man named Mark who promptly spent five minutes exclaiming at me about how I couldn’t possibly be a teacher as I only looked fifteen, my ego was soon picked up again as we walked into the hall and about 200 students burst into a huge applause and roar of excitement. We took our seats at the front on the panel. Yes. With my name on a sign and everything, and after being told what we had to do we were each introduced and we took it in turns to face our audience and give a little celebrity wave as more applauding ensued. Then it was time for the competition. There were eighteen students who had to give a speech, many of which seemed to come from Britney Spears song lyrics, and then each student had to pick a random topic and speak about it for three minutes. My favourite contestants were by far the obvious cool kid of the school whose speech began in a shouting on a podium kind of way, “Why do we need to learn English? To get a good job?! To get a better education?! To learn new things?!.... No!.....To get a hot foreign girlfriend!” and a really cute girl in a ladybird print jacket who said, picking the topic ‘Healthy Lifestyles’, “Some people like to exercise to become healthy and to keep fit, but I prefer to stay in bed and eat food”. I scored her very wise opinions the highest.
In between the speaking we were treated to some musical interludes of students singing songs such as Living on a Prayer and My Heart Will Go On. It was one of those life moments where you really feel like you are in a dream or at any moment, a hidden camera will suddenly appear with Jeremy Beadle shortly following.
After the contest was over, the results were counted and we were suddenly told to get on stage and a microphone was forced into my hand. If this happened back home I would have probably weed myself with nerves but it is amazing how many things I just embrace here, although probably mostly due to the fact that there is never a chance or the option to say no. I gave a spontaneous speech about how honoured I was to be there and how talented everyone was which again received more clapping. The most celebrity like moment came at the end however as, as we were getting ready to leave, we were suddenly mobbed by students forcing pieces of paper in our faces and asking for autographs. One girl even asked “Can I hug with you?” and when I obliged she turned around squealing hysterically to her friends who were all jumping around excitedly in a circle. Crazy. It will be such a disappointment to return to the streets of England as such a nobody.
Following this excitable, dream like evening the rest of the weekend was quite relaxing, involving finding carrot cake again and strolling the streets of Beilun. We did have a rather wild night on Saturday though where we drank free shots and I volunteered myself to partake in a worm dancing competition which was more like me just laying on the floor for a few seconds…
Unfortunately for us it would seem that the week leading up to Christmas will actually be one of the busiest with us only just having been informed of a huge assessment that will be taking place which unless there is a Christmas miracle, the boys will never be at a high enough level to pass although apparently they “have to”, and all the parents from my other class (of 25 students making at least this many parents and probably more) will be coming in on Friday to watch my lesson. There is a strange notion here that if you are a foreign teacher you enjoy being made to perform and so after this Friday performance number one, there will be a Christmas ‘party’ in which Kat and I will be performing a song and dance. Usually for me this kind of performance at a party only takes place when it is at least 2am and so it will be interesting to see what happens. Still, when in China, embrace….
In other news, I received a parcel of Christmas cards from my lovely family yesterday which made me feel very happy and loved and are now making the desk in my room look very festive. Big up homies. xx