of living and working at Xingmeng School
Cathy, Caroline and I have been teaching in Xingmeng
School since Spetember 2002 and will stay until August
2003. We have been here for eight months now.
Group has been very good to us since our arrival and
have helped us with any enquiries we have made. They
have been very honest and trustworthy.
Pingyi is a small city in Shandong, not too far from
Qufu. The town is surrounded by mountains and is a really
nice place to go for cycles in the countryside. We are
the second group of foreigners to have taught here and
because it is not a tourist town the locals are still
very much intrigued by
our presence! The local people are generally very nice
and very friendly. Pingyi is a good place to go to in
order to see how the majority of people in China live.
Many of the students are from the countryside and have
never heard of places like McDonalds etc and it is a
place that has experienced little western influence.
It is a fairly quiet town, during the day it is filled
with the hustle and bustle of workers while at night
most are tucked up in bed by 10pm! Pingyi is in quite
a convenient location for travelling while on breaks
from work - it is on a major train line and has nightly
trains to Beijing and Zhengzhou(Henan Province).
The school is five years old and increased in size enormously
last year. There are approximately 4,000 students between
the primary and middle schools. It is a public boarding
school. The students of Xingmeng are not too different
from students at home! They are generally very friendly
and very courteous. Classes are big, ranging from an
average of 45 in the primary school and 60 in the junior
school. We teach for ten days straight followed by four
days off and teach 24 classes each over ten days. Prior
to the Winter holiday we taught 40 classes over ten
are often invited to give open classes in neighbouring
schools. This is often done on our days off. During
the morning we give open classes and in the afternoon
we are taken to see local places of interest. It is
a good way to see the surrounding area and meet many
headmaster, Mr Hu, and Vice-Headmaster, Mr Han, have
been extremely good to us, have always treated us with
respect and have become quite good friends. There are
22 english teachers here with varying levels of english,
depending on the level they teach. Prior to the Winter
Holiday we saw much of the english teachers and they
were generally helpful and friendly. Now we are coming
towards the student's exams so they are very busy and
we do not see much of them anymore.
school has very good facilities, with a tv in most classrooms,
a newly renovated playground, library, meeting hall,
computer room etc. Our apartment is in a building which
houses many other teachers. We have received everything
we were promised - internet, microwave, decent shower,
giant tv and dvd player, air conditioner, washing machine
etc and the appartment has been newly furnished. However,
we never received any Mandarin lessons, and as everyone
is keen to practice their spoken English with us we
have found it very difficult to learn to speak the language.
As a result, we are forced to rely on translations by
the English teachers when we want to speak to the leaders.
general, Pingyi is a good place to come if you are interested
in seeing how people live in rural China. The four of
us came here as friends and that really has helped.
Most people here have no english and it can get very
lonely at times. Many of the students are very friendly
and we receive much of our information on the school
and the town from them! I know that there are some that
I will keep in contact with when I leave.
you are interested in coming to Pingyi or just want
to make general enquiries about teaching in China please
feel free to email me. I would be very happy to answer
any questions you may have.