A Travellerspoint blog

October 2012

Life At Dexing School So Far

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Teacher: I thought I told you to stand at the back of the line! Pupil: I tried but someone was already there. Mother: What did you learn in school today? Student: Not enough, I have to go back tomorrow.

How is my teaching life here in Dexing? I was waiting for you to ask that. How does AWESOME sound!

Unlike all other schools I’ve taught in prior, here my largest class size is a whopping thirty students and others have around twenty. Prior I taught anywhere from sixty (average) to one hundred (Tianyang Town). When I agreed to come here it was to teach Primary School only as for the past several years there has been two foreign teachers, one taught Primary and the other Middle School but when the school found out it was me, they cancelled the second teacher.

I now teach all levels from pre-school through to Grade 8, Middle School.

I am absolutely loving it except for Grade 8 that is as the males are rude, disrespectful and dirty little creatures and not only that, they are so damn boring! Along with freaking me out, pre-school threw me for six at first as they range from three to five and all are sons and daughters of teachers at the school, so it’s more of a 'gift’ from the school to some of the teachers and their children.

But as it is only one forty five minute class a week, it’s not so bad. Their personalities range from:

Sleepy Smurf: ‘Yo big eyed foreign dude at the front of the classroom, I know you’re funny and all but we just had lunch so you carry on doing what you do and I’m just going to sl…sl..sleep! BANG, head hits the desk!

Funny Smurf: Wow, my Foreign Monkey is just so funny that I am going to praise, honor and show him how much I adore him by laughing at every single damn thing he says and does all class and continue to do so every class for the rest of the term because I know that this will make me his best student.

Whacky Smurf: Aliens, Aliens, how cool are Aliens! That ‘thing’ at the front of my class is so strange that he can’t be from here. He sings dances and does all sorts of crazy stuff to communicate with us. Oh, I know what I will do, I will do the same and every time I have any kind of thought, no matter how small it is I am going to jump out of my seat and race around screaming to help strengthen our communication as this will surely help with the future of both our races.

Crying No Smurf: Come to the front and sing and dance its fun…NO. Come to the board and draw a flower and the letter F…NO. We are going to play race to the board and punch whatever you think is the lion, do you want to play?…NO. Class continues and we play, sing and punch, then…WAH WAH WAH…Whats wrong sweetie. Everyone else is having so much fun but the Foreign Monkey never chooses me to play.

I’m Here & Part of It Smurf: Oh My God, I love my Foreign Monkey’s class so much that I feel a need to show him how much I love being here. So I will participate in absolutely EVERYTHING and I know that when he tells me other students need to have a turn that he is only trying his best to make them feel included because I am the best student. Yes, yes, this I will do for him every lesson!

I Am an Excellent Smurf: Do you want a turn…Yes! Do you want to play…Yes! Do you want to draw a flower and the letter F…Yes! Do you want to punch the lion…Yes! Is it ok if she has a turn now…Yes! My Monkey can teach me so much that I will continue to show him how much I love to learn every lesson and be a wonderful Smurf.

Classroom Assistants & My Timetable

My classroom assistants are not only totally awesome but they are all so damn beautiful and more than eager to take part in everything we do in class. I do eighteen normal lessons each week and also have the fun of doing two English Corners which are on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I can hear many ‘oh my god evening class’ comments but they are twenty three of my favourite students from Grade 2 to Grade 5.

What more could a teacher ask for? Now For The JACKPOT!

My classes are scheduled from Monday through to Thursday which means only one thing and yes, you are correct. I HAVE A THREE DAY WEEKEND EVERY WEEKEND!

<u>The Downside To The Above & a BIG Wake Up For Students Back Home!</u>

As all students come from villages near and far from Dexing Town ALL students and most teachers live here at the school and sadly they have an eleven day timetable which means that every second Friday the school closes and everyone goes home for three days, they leave Friday morning and return Sunday evening. For eleven days straight all students and teachers must rise at 6:20am, participate in a morning run and exercises (yes even Grades 1 & 2), begin classes after breakfast through to 11:30, eat and sleep until 14:00, have classes until 17:00, eat and rest until 18:30 and then return to class until 20:30, then shower and sleep until 6:20am the following morning (all levels except Grade 1 & 2 who sleep after dinner).

High School students continue through until 21:30.

<u>Where Is The School, My Apartment & The Food</u>

My school is located a forty five minute walk from Dexing Town and there really is nothing out here except several small stores and eateries. All students and staff eat both lunch and dinner at the school canteen but the food is the same day in and day out so I eat lunch at school and always walk or ride into the town for dinner which is fine for now but during winter, evenings are going to suck. In town there is a nice selection to choose from. I usually eat on Small Eat Street which is a short street that runs from the main shopping street down to the river that offers a diverse range of eateries.

As usual I mostly choose to slurp my noodles at the Muslim Xinjiang Eatery that has an entire wall full of rice and noodle dishes to choose from.

Unlike my last school in Shangrao where I lived in a modified classroom in the main teaching building (NOISE!) without a kitchen etc, here I have a real apartment just like everyone else and I even have a balcony upon which I can sit with a coldie or a &#8216;jar’ of tea and watch the sun go down after another fabulous day. Sadly for me though, the school felt the need to put all of my beautiful classroom assistants in a dormitory just two meters away from my third floor front door!

If only I was a wizard! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Live The album was &#8216;Secret Samadhi’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Happy Birthday & Life In Dexing City So Far

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

I can’t believe I have been here in Dexing Town for one and a half months as it honestly feels as though summer break just ended and today I got off the bus from Jingdezhen city.

Besides today being my 21st birthday AGAIN, since arriving a whole lot of 'not much’ has been happening along with a whole of &#8216;sweet bugger all’ (for all Australian’s reading). Over a year ago I was invited here to do a &#8216;performance’ lesson and I remember the city being small but after my first week here I realised how small it actually really is. I for one have no idea how this place can be called a city as it is but a simple small mountain town and I love it!

Sadly though I don’t really have much to tell as no one I ask seems to know anything about the city/town nor its history. In the towns old quarter I found two gate ways which to me after visiting many walled cities look exactly like entrances to an ancient walled town/village but while out walking or riding with friends I dragged several of them to the gates and asked &#8216;what it is this’ and after I gave my opinion, all I got was a blank stare.

So I’m like; dude that entrance looks more than fortified as it’s around ten meters thick and that strange looking house looks like it’s been built upon the remains of an ancient fortified wall….the answer was a simple…oh!

The city snakes its way east to west along the local river upon a thin plane keeping mostly to the north side of the river as the southern side was once primarily used for agriculture. Now, as the government relocates and erects its new huge super buildings the farm land grows smaller year by year. This process is now being sped along by the relocation of the common family whose growing wealth demands newer and more westernized apartment blocks to raise their family.

The town’s heart has grown around a labyrinth of small alleyways and ancient homes.

Here we have most of what everyone else has but either only one or a combination of several in one. There is one small &#8216;main street’ where all the brand names and people are found and running off this are smaller streets and alleyways where each evening I can be found slurping noodles at one of the many delicious small eateries.

Things to do here?

I’d say most people wile away their time on the internet after walking off their dinner or watch TV as there really isn’t much to do. Strangely though, even after telling many of the teachers at school how much I love going to the cinema, it wasn’t until the end of my third week that I found out there was a cinema in town. There I was one evening on the back of my friend’s scooter as we were checking out the local short shorted talent and I told him I going to head to Shangrao for the weekend to catch a movie or three;

Huh? Why go to Shangrao, we have a cinema here in Dexing.

I had to refrain from replying as I see this guy every day and on more than one occasion my love for the big screen has come up and not once had he told me there was a cinema in Dexing. For those who have never been to China, this is a very simple example of &#8216;Chinese Communication’. You will never be told when you don’t have a class nor will you be told when you don’t have almost a week of no classes. After almost eight years I honestly haven’t found a trigger to open communication. Several weeks ago the school had exams, yes at the beginning of term and even though I asked and I asked many times and people, I was left to turn up at the beginning of each class to find that I didn’t have a class because;

The students had exams, just as those prior and those post! Hello, I know they have exams, I just want to know how many days they last?

Anyhow, finding out there was a cinema was a waste of time as in the end I’ve been to three western movies and they have all been in Chinese with Chinese subtitles yet only one hundred kilometers away in Shangrao city the same movie was being played in English with Chinese subtitles…damn! Apart from that, as usual I spend most of my free time with my foot to peddle out in the fields finding new rides that take me through villages in search of temples and other hidden treasures.

I have found a few but this is no Shaowu yet I am extremely happy all the same!

Due to the lack of &#8216;excitement’ to report to family, friends and blog readers I have once again decided to break this terms blogs into rides, ride them several times, find new ones and report any of life’s actual excitement and happenings at the beginning of each. I will of course blog any travelling I get a chance to do in between.

I came here to teach Primary School as prior to my arrival there were two Foreign Teachers, one taught primary and the other middle school but of course just like my arrival in Shangrao last year all changes were kept from both Buckland’s and myself and when the school found out I was the new teacher they cancelled the middle school teacher and gave me a timetable that includes every level from pre-school through to middle school.

More about that in my next &#8216;school’ blog.

Strangely in almost eight years I’ve been in China, this is the first school where there wasn’t a single word exchanged between students and teachers in celebration of Teachers Day. For me this was totally weird as in all other schools there is usually a half day holiday followed by a Huge Dinner where the school invites all of its teachers to celebrate.

National Day for me was another ten days off but not having any money along with an absolute dislike of travelling on National Holidays here in China due to millions upon millions of people fighting for tickets and hotels, I (as usual) chose to kick back, place foot upon peddle and continue to explore my new town. Time flies and as each week passes the sun sets earlier and soon it will be too cold and dark to head out and explore my new surroundings.

<u>Now For a Bit On Dexing Town & History</u>

Dexing City/Town is located in the northeast of Jiangxi Province close to the borders of Zhejiang Province in the east and Anhui Province to the north, while Fujian Province lies to the south. The city's immediate neighbors within Jiangxi are Shangrao city, Jingdezhen city, Boyang city and Nanchang city. Dexing town which changed from a county to a city in 1990, is known as China’s &#8216;Copper Capital’ as the world’s largest copper mine is found here that has reserves of around eight million tones which represent almost thirteen percent of the nation’s reserve.

The earliest pottery artifacts discovered in China were at the Xianrendong Site, and the area was found to be one of the birthplaces of paddy horticulture in the world. Dexing belonged to Wu and Yue states during the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). Poyang Shire was founded in this area over 1,700 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).

Low to medium high mountains are the main features of Dexing which is separated by Wuyishan Mountain in Fujian Province along with SanQing Mountain and Shangrao city in the south. In addition, it has the Huaiyushan Mountains in the central region and offshoots of Huangshan Mountain in the northern boundary area with Anhui Province. There are rivers crisscrossing to the west along with a scattering of many lakes and some of the most fertile soil in China can be found very close by upon the famous Poyang Lake Plain found to the west of the city.

<u>Main Attractions in the area and Many There Are!</u>

The hyperlinks below are not advertising by Travelpod. They are all from my prior visits to the areas and they are spectacular!

SanQing Mountain is a famous Taoist mountain which consists of ten scenic spots embracing natural wonders such as steep cliffs, cloud seas, conifers and waterfalls. Sanqingshan Mountain combines the beauty of Huangshan Mountain, the spectacular of Ermei Mountain, the nimbus of Lushan Mountain and the steepness of Huashan Mountain all in one.

Huangshan Mountain is one mountain brings together all the strong points other mountains have to offer: grand, strange, baffling, arduous, steep, flourishing, quiet and spacious and is popular with tourists because its peaks are frequently shrouded in mist, so the mountains appear to float on clouds.

WuYuan County is famous for having some of the most splendid countryside in China and is home to at least fifty beautiful ancient riverside villages. Walking through these old villages offers refreshing views of hills covered in yellow rape, green farmland and luxuriant camphor trees along with creeks with small rapids. The villages lie along small rivers and ancient trees stand on riverbanks where old farmer’s leisurely drive ducks towards a pond all coming together to form a typical Chinese countryside scene.

Porcelain was first made in Jingdezhen City during the Han Dynasty (306 BC to 330 AD) and since the Tang Dynasty the white glazed china produced in Jingdezhen had earned the name &#8216;artificial jade ware.’ In the Northern Song Dynasty, officials were assigned by the emperor to the town to supervise the manufacturing of porcelain for the royal families within the Forbidden City and &#8216;Jingde China’ began to make its fame abroad. In the following centuries &#8216;Jingde China’ was sold and exported to many countries around the world.

LuShan Mountain is not only famous for its beautiful scenery with sheer peaks, clouds and fogs along with deep valleys, but it is also famous for its culture history. As described by World Heritage Committee, Mount Lushan, is one of the spiritual centers of Chinese civilization. Buddhist and Taoist temples, along with landmarks of Confucianism, where the most eminent masters taught, blend effortlessly into a strikingly beautiful landscape which has inspired countless artists who developed the aesthetic approach to nature found in Chinese culture."

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

<u>A Plug For Devils Pawn</u>

Before I go I want to give a HUGE plug for a band of several friends.

It’s a great feeling when a bunch of guys you know get together and after hearing the spawn of their creation you sit back and say &#8216;that’s some damn fine Rock N Roll Man! This is some truly fine music that comes from the heart of Melbourne’s gutters as they have captured the sound I grew up with and was found slam dancing to throughout the 90’s. Add some of the 90’s legendary Asteroid B612 to some Dern Rutledge and you have Devils Pawn who shake my rusty cage and truly roar, Roar, ROAROCK!’

Those with Face book access (click on PLAY) Those without Face book access.

<u>Biography</u>

Devil's Pawn are a guttural and rockin three piece band from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and feature former members of the punk legends Rootbeer & Richie Ramone's Detonators. Their MetalliRockPunk sound is rounded off with lyrics inspired primately by the Planet of the Apes movies, SO bear witness to three grown men who should know better, dressing up and behaving like their ape forefathers, Devil's Pawn will rock the Apeshit out of all you Damn Dirty Humans! ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Devils Pawn The album was &#8216;a Face Book Page Mix’ ____________________________________________________________

Dexing Town &#38;amp; Life So Far

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)