This being my first full week here, I've been observing the various classes that I'll be teaching, before I start my own classes next week. The lady who made my schedule for this week, didn't tell any of the teachers ahead of time that I'll be going to their classes, so some of the teachers were understandably shocked when I was waiting outside their class. One poor lady was quite frightened that I would be listening to her class.
The obvious thing that I've noticed is how well behaved the students are, and how much the students study. Each of the classes is 40 minutes long, with the first one starting at 7:30. They have 5 classes before lunch, a 2-hour lunch break, then another 4 classes. After dinner, they start back at 6:30 with another 2 classes, followed by 80 minutes of time to do homework before they go back to their dorms at 10:00. Apparently there are schools where the students study even more.
The English classes vary in size, from 35-50, but the average class for other subjects is 50 pupils. The classes involve a fair amount of repetition, reading and repeating words, although I'm impressed with the amount of English that some of the teachers use in their classes.
Being that I'm at a foreign language highschool, the students take English classes everyday. That being said, there's a great disparity between the students even in the same grade. Some can't form basic questions, others can have good conversations and express themselves well. In some ways that makes sense, since there are over 5000 pupils in this one school alone. Most of the students know how to say "Bonjour" or "Salut", which surprises me. Apparently after English, which is required study for all students in China, French and Japanese are the most popular 3rd languages.
*The picture is of one wing of the school, between Sunday evening study sessions.