The English Class
In China, Guangzhou, as an Australian English teacher, I had two English classes in World International English today to teach.
The first English classes commenced from 7 pm. I walked into the small classroom, feeling blessed to see three female Chinese students in my first English class today.
In a flat voice, I said, “How is everyone? I am your English teacher today. My name is Tony. I am from Australia.”
I wrote my name down on the whiteboard.
Student / Teacher Introductions
I sat down on the same table as the three Chinese students.
The Chinese student seated across from me appeared extremely tired. She had nice, large breasts barely covered by a white, low-hanging top. I could see her bra through the thin material. Despite this, her dress was very conservative.
Her hair was also done in a cosplay theme. I could see she came to English class with the intention to be sexy, but she was not your typical sexy Chinese girl.
The 23-year-old female Chinese student seated on my right wore a red top, and skinny jeans. The table was round, so I was able to freely appreciate her sexy legs as we introduced ourselves in class.
I did not find her attractive, but occasionally when my attention wandered south, I found myself looking at the shape of her pussy in those jeans.
Her spoken English was much better than the other Chinese students in class.
The female Chinese student on my left is the only student that looked somewhat seductive. She wore nondescript jeans and a loose, plain, black T-shirt. It was nothing special.
When she bent over, you could see some way down her top. When I stood over her in a class activity later, sometimes I could see down there.
What I noticed about my Chinese students compared to female students in other English classes is that my Chinese students dress very conservative.
On one occasion, as I looked under the whiteboard into classrooms conducted by other English teachers, I oddly noticed their female students wore short skirts, little short shorts, all happily showing off their legs.
I am thinking, “Why don’t these students join my English class? Why do I get the traditional Chinese students that dress so conservatively?”
None of the female students in my class had short shorts. I was not titillated by them at all.
It was just the usual English class.
One-On-One Spoken English Dialogue
I directed a question to the tired Chinese student opposite me.
I asked, “How is your day? You look really tired. When did you sleep?”
She said, “I had four hours of sleep. I went to bed at 4 am and woke up at 7:30 am, and went to work.”
I smugly competed, “Really? I went to sleep at 5:30 am.”
All the Chinese students exclaimed, “Why?”
I said, “I am a writer.”
I wrote down “writer” on the board and discussed the English definition of a writer.
One of the best IELTS teaching strategies is to allow students to talk freely. I want to give my students in China an opportunity to learn English. Therefore, I did not talk too much in this class activity.
In this English class however, the Chinese students were very average in terms of being proactive and speaking up. So, I had to engage them more in the English class.
I soon complimented the female Chinese student opposite me, saying,
“You know cosplay? You kind of look like a cosplay character.”
She exclaimed, “Really?”
I did not know where to take that conversation, so I continued on with our normal chat.
I said, “Because you are tired, I will talk more slowly in the class, and give you more opportunity to listen, and respond.”
English Class Activity: Conversational Dialogue
Once the one-on-one introductions were finished, we turned to conversational dialogue. I asked the students to all read one sentence of dialogue each.
I wrote down English words on the board that they did not say correctly. It is always the same English words that Chinese students in China have pronunciation problems with.
“Rusty” is one of the English words.
Once I wrote the English words down on the whiteboard, I asked the students to repeat the words with me. This was a good way to learn English.
Some students said the English word correctly with the right pronunciation. Sometimes the Chinese students pronounced the English words incorrectly, so I would teach the whole class how to say it correctly.
Once I was satisfied that the Chinese students had enough practice pronouncing the English words written on the board, then I asked the Chinese students to return to the same conversational dialogue activity for a second round.
Reasons To Study English
In the time before the second class activity, I paused to ask the female Chinese students an ad-lib question regarding their education.
I asked, “What is your reason to study English?”
The Chinese student opposite me said, “I have been studying for two years in World International English. It is my hobby.”
The dorky female student was the most proactive. When I would ask the class a question, she was the one who would speak up and answer.
She said, “English is also my hobby. I have been studying English for seven months.”
The Chinese student on my right said she is learning English because she wants to receive a better education.
She said, “I am going to university in China.”
I asked, “How long have you been learning English?”
She said, “I have been learning English for two months.”
I asked, “Where did you learn English before this, because your English is pretty good?”
She said, “I learnt English in high school.”
I was surprised that no student was motivated to learn English for IELTS or TOEFL purposes to further their education by studying abroad.
New English Words
Then we came to a familiar subject, new English words.
I spent time with new words. I wrote the new words down on the whiteboard and then asked the Chinese students to first say the words, and then I would correctly pronounce the English word for them.
The students would pronounce the English word once.
I said, “Again!”
I had the students pronounce the English words three or four times until their pronunciation improved.
Their mouths were all in the wrong position in terms of English pronunciation, so I demonstrated the best position to keep your mouth in.
English Activity: Verbs “Do” “Go” “Play”
Then, we moved onto the third class activity, leaning the correct use of the verbs “do”, “go” and “play”.
The students had to use the correct English word “do, go, play” in terms of different sports. They were quite bored at this point, but I had to go through the class activity with them.
I wrote down three separate columns on the whiteboard. Then I asked them to put the correct English word in the right column. The IELTS （雅思） activity was fairly easy, and allowed the Chinese students to apply correct verb usage
Engaging With Uninterested Students In China
Thirty-minutes into teaching English I began to lose the students’ interest, so I asked a few supplementary questions.
I asked, “What sport do you like to play?”
…“What is a popular sport in China?”
…“What sport do your friend’s play?”
The Chinese students were all uninterested in the questions. I switched from listening to the students to extend the activity with personal experiences.
I said, “I like rugby league in Australia.”
I then explained how athletes in Australia play rugby league.
The Chinese students had switched off from English education by now.
Free-Flowing English Conversation
From there I ad-libbed and asked the students questions about themselves. They seem more switched on when we practiced free-flowing spoken English.
The students in China prefer these mock IELTS speaking activities over reading prepared material from class handouts. Some students however prefer the handouts because they have studied the English material before class, and come prepared to discuss the themes and subjects during English class.
English Grammar Discussion: “Was” “Were”
In the final ten minutes, I educated the students on the grammatical difference between “was” and “were” in English study.
I explained, “Was is to explain a situation with one person, and were explains a situation with two people or more.”
…“For example, ‘I was in class today. We were in class today. A dog was playing with the cat.'”
English Grammatical Discussion: “Had”
The students were making a lot of mistakes with “had”.
One Chinese student said, “I was had a dog.”
I corrected, “No, you can’t say ‘I was had’ because ‘had’ is already the past.”
…“’I was with my friend in the past’.”
…“’I had lunch with my friend in the past’.”
…“Or you could say, ‘I was in the office and had lunch.'”
The girl asked, “Why do you have to say ‘office’?”
I educated, “Because ‘was’ comes before a location or a verb.”
…”’I was here’ or ‘I was verb’, but you can’t say ‘I was had’.”
…”Because ‘was’ and ‘had’ are both verbs. But one is past perfect tense, and one is past progressive tense.”
…”For example, ‘I was doing.’ ‘I had done.’ The thing I had done was completed in the past. The thing I was doing – even up until the time I spoke the sentence – shows it continued for a while, and it is in a progressive state.”
…“You can’t put a progressive tense ‘was’ and past tense ‘had’ next to each other.”
English Class Homework
Then I had to mark their homework. Time was already up.
But they did well.
The female Chinese student with the skinny jeans on was the one that made a few errors in terms of ‘was’ and ‘were’, so I corrected those.
The other students used their English grammar correctly.
English Class Concludes
The English class in China, Guangzhou finished at 7:55 pm.
I asked, “Good. Who is in my next class?”
One of the Chinese students was meant to be in my next class, but she bailed on that class. I think maybe she was tired.
The Second English Class
My second class had five Chinese students, four male Chinese students, and one female Chinese student.
I already knew one male Chinese student. He has a large oval head, with thick hair.
Also in class was a shorter, male Chinese student who is always switched-on.
There was also the male Chinese student who is always proactive, often talking and trying to answer all the questions.
The tall and sexy female Chinese student with bucked teeth seated at the back of the class was super-conservative. She looked very attractive in her white gown. I did teach English to her once before. However, it was hard for me to coax her to talk. She was very quiet. She almost does not talk in the English class.
Another male Chinese student was also seated on the back table with her.
Today’s second English class subject was “climate change”. But, that is a tale for another day.
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.