My first few days in China have been pretty scheduled with meetings with my work agency, observations in my new school, settling into my new apartment, and getting to know some of my fellow (English speaking) teachers. Everything is crazy new and I keep flipflopping between being terrified and beyond excited.
I live in Changsha, which is the capital city of the Hunan province and contains about 8-10 million people (according to my work agency). I live in a three person apartment, but I was the first to arrive, so I got the first choice of bedrooms–which was definitely nice. It also meant that I had to clean it a bit, as well as get it set up with heat and wifi. My roommates are also foreigners, and should be arriving within a week or two. More updates on that to come!
My apartment building is in a very safe neighborhood, with about three levels of security. It’s gated off and there are several guards that let you in and out. Then I have a card chip that lets me into my personal apartment building and, of course, my house key. My apartment also has a security system installed–if I were to feel that necessary. I live on the 7th floor and I have a balcony in my room. The view outside isn’t great, but it’s nice anyway. There are fireworks throughout the day, and usually each evening as well.
I work at an international preschool called Wan(g)Ying / King International Preschool. It is also in a very “posh neighborhood” as my British friend put it. There isn’t really any heat in the school though, because it’s not fully enclosed–so everyone wears winter coats all day long. Though during the afternoon, they turn it on occasionally in the classrooms and in the nap room.
I haven’t been given my classroom assignment yet, but I have gone through a sample day schedule during my observation day. My day begins at 8:20 and ends at 5:40 (though we’re often there until 6, since the dinner for teachers is served after all the students are gone). I teach one English-explicit class for 30 minutes of the day and the rest of my day is just playing and managing preschoolers all day while I encourage use of English. There are 3-4 teachers in each classroom, with one of them being a ‘foreign’ (English) teacher.
I get a two hour break while kids nap (IN ACTUAL BEDS!!!). During Chinese instruction time, I get some prep time to work on lesson plans for following week or put up decorations.