Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

As we mentioned in our "Owen Language College" blog entry, the school didn't really have enough students to support our original teaching agreement. We ended up starting our teaching later than we originally expected, although this was nice since it meant we had an extra week of free board and time to explore Yangshuo (and socialise with the students and other teachers). We also started at only 10 lessons per week instead of full-time, which was an easy way to begin but also frustrating since this part of our trip was intended to earn lots of money to spend in other places.

At the end of our first teaching week, we were approached by the owner of the college and given an offer that took us by surprise. Two teachers in a town called Shaowu in Fujian province were wanting to go home a month before the end of their contracts. If we wanted, we could fill their positions and work full-time for the month. Other advantages included a higher rate of pay and a fully independant apartment. We could then return to Yangshuo at the end of the month and by then the busy summer period would be starting and we would be guaranteed full-time teaching work.

This presented us with a difficult decision. There is a lot to like about Yangshuo and we were very comfortable there, but in the end we decided to go with trying out the new positions. The cost of transport there and back was included in the deal, and we were interested to see a part of China that we wouldn't get a chance to visit otherwise. Also, one of the teaching positions was at a primary school and Georgia is interested in teaching primary students when we return to Australia, so this was a great opportunity for her to try it out.

So, we left Yangshuo on Monday morning around 11. The taxi ride to Guilin Airport was hairier than a Bulgarian Greco-Roman wrestler. You seriously could not believe the way people behave on the roads here until you have experienced it. After two flights with an annoying six hour wait at Xiamen Airport and a ninety minute drive out of Wuyishan Airport, we arrived in Shaowu just after midnight, keen for sleep.

The next day we were briefly shown around the town and shouted to some nice meals. We met up with the young couple whose jobs we would be filling and had a very brief handover before they darted off to the airport. Georgia would teach the grade 1, 2 and 3 classes in the Primary School where we were living while I got the grade 7, 8 and 9 classes at a nearby Middle School. We started teaching the next day, facing classes of 65 students not really knowing what to expect.

No comments: