Monday, October 1, 2007


We've been in China two months already! Thanks to everyone who has commented on this blog or sent an email. We've heard from several family, friends and e-friends from the Xiamen Adventure blog. Please continue to let us hear from you. For those who are just beginning to read this blog, the comments are set to accept anonymous comments, which means you do not have to have a blogger or google ID. In the comment section, click on "anonymous", type in your comment, include your name so we know who's writing, and submit. The comment will appear as "Anonymous said...".

As many of you know, I'm here teaching English Majors in the College of Applied Arts at Kunming University Science and Technology (KMUST) in southwest China. It's a wonderful university and an AMAZING campus. I will need to dedicate several posts with pictures to try to capture this incredible place. As many of you know, I've been on a LOT of college campuses, and there is no U.S. campus that I know of that resembles this one.

So far, I love teaching here. The students are wonderful, the department is helpful, and the classload and schedule is a dream. There are twelve other English teachers in this college. Another College handles the English classes for non-majors. The Chinese English teachers exclusively handle the reading, grammar, test prep and non-majors classes. They also do teach some of the speaking, writing and culture classes. KMUST prefers to have their "foreign experts" also teach these classes to expose the students to native speakers and different teaching methods and styles. I'm pretty much left alone to do my thing. The textbooks were already preordered, which was nice for me. There are language and computer labs. There are also classrooms equipped with all the latest technology. My classroom has just desks and a chalkboard, which suits me just fine. That's how I learned to teach - with students, a chalkboard and creativity! It's amazing that this is another example on how I've come full circle in the last couple of years.

The classes are held in a 90 minute block with two 45 minute sessions.The class size is 25-30 students and about 85% female. I have two sections of Speaking with first years, two sections of Writing with second years and three sections of A Survey of English Speaking Countries (basically a reading/lecture history and culture class) with third year students. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings the class starts at 7:50 and the afternoon class begins at 2:00. On Monday, I only have a morning class and am free on Tuesday. Each section/block meets weekly, which means we only meet 16 times a semester. It also means that I only have three preps - yay!

So that means most days Gustavo alone gets the kids to the Kindergarten by 8:30. We have lunch in the cafeteria around 11:00, pick up the kids at 12:00 and Gustavo returns the kids to school by 2:30. Then both of us do the pick up at 5:30. If it's not raining, they always like to play on the playground until 6:00. Then we either head to the cafeteria or home for dinner.

That is basically our Monday through Friday schedule. It's great living on campus because I only have a 10-15 minute walking commute and can return home between classes. It's also nice because it's not taxing at all and I have variety throughout the week. So far, so good!

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