Deqing is a small picturesque town located just over an hour’s drive north of Hangzhou. Its current population sits around 87,000 but with the number of new apartments being built it seems this number is slowly growing.
Preferring the hustle and bustle of a city, I did get a little worried when we kept driving further and further away from the more densely populated city of Hangzhou to what I thought was the middle of nowhere. But after an hour and a half on the bus, Deqing appeared and tall apartment buildings sprang into view and I could see people everywhere; on mopeds, in trucks, cars, rickshaws and on foot weaving in and out and going about their daily business. That’s when I knew I was going to be fine.
Experiencing "The Real China"
I teach all the classes in Grade 8 and these students range in age from 13-15 years old. Each class has approximately 45 students, and even though this is a lot, it's still a little less than the 50+ I was getting at my previous school. Lessons run for 45 minutes, but the advantage of having this many students is that time flies and before you know it bell rings signalling the end of the class. The basic aim is to totally immerse the students in the English so they can become familiar with the intonation, rhythm and pronunciation with the language. It gets them use to listening to a native speaker and gives them a break from the recordings they must listen to as part of their regular English classes with their Chinese teacher.