Saturday, July 12, 2008

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and...a Job

Well, it certainly looks like the Only in China series will be a popular one. For those of you who've been to the Big Red, feel free to submit your own by email. We'll give you due credit if we add it to the list.

So last week I had an interview with one of the top English training centers. During the course of the interview, my interviewee asked me to pretend that I was teaching a class of 6 year olds. She put her head down on the desk and began complaining that she was tired. The role play was a major crash and burn, with my brief lesson on tall animals being boring and underwhelming. She gave me another shot, so I awkwardly sang "How much is that doggy in the window?" to her. As I left, I was pretty confident I'd never hear from her again.

When she called earlier this week, I was shocked. Maybe I hadn't crashed and burned as badly as I'd thought. Hmm, or maybe no other foreigners can't get visas, so I'm all they've got. Either way, my interviewer informed me that I'd be meeting with her supervisor and should prepare a demo again for her and some of the teachers. I racked my brain for something to demo, finally coming up with: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Except I couldn't remember how it went. So I went to Youtube to do some research. The first video I pulled up was The Wiggles, but kept freezing. Maybe the 'Great Firewall' was too creeped out by the pychedelics.

That's when I spotted this little gem farther down the list:

Cartoon Bono did a wonderful job of reteaching me this classic tune. Duly armed, I proceeded to my interview, humming the tune so I wouldn't forget it. When the time came to sing, I ended up accidentally changing the rhythm, but they seemed to like it. Though, I was worried, since they already knew the song, so I didn't have the the surprise factor I was counting on. The rest of the interview seemed to go well, though, so I thought I might have a chance.

Yesterday, I got a call from the supervisor. She asked me to come by the center to talk about scheduling, so I went, not sure what to expect. When I arrived, she handed me a schedule with classes starting the following day (today!) and asked me if I could start right away. I was slightly taken aback because I'm used to a little more communication when accepting a job offer, that and some training, but I agreed...

So I taught my first three classes this morning! It was a little rough; the students were a bit shy. But, I'm looking forward to the experience. And I can't wait to teach these kids the U2 version of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes...these kids have no idea what they're getting into!

PS: One of the boys in my first class had chosen Harry Potter as his English name. Another had chosen Nemo. hehe.


Katrina said...

CONGRATS!!!!! sounds like so much fun!!! haha

Florence said...

wow...i woulda love to have been there during your role play demo sessions...those kids must be adorable... congrats on getting a job! How's your Mandarin coming along?

Bae0wolf said...

Good Work Jorsh! I'll have to see you give that lesson first hand when you get back =)

Jared said...

You should do a lesson on "A Day at the Beach". When I was serving in Taiwan, we had to come up with lots of English teaching ideas. A Day at the Beach was pretty memorable, if only for the way the students pronounced beach.

Some other good ones:
The Hokey Pokey
How to order McDonald's
Giving Directions

Sariah said...

Congrats Josh.

Gwynneth likes Wheels on the bus or even ABC.

Oh, Old MacDonald is a big hit. I don't have any doubt in your abilities. You're creative and wacky enough that the kids will think you're fun.

tamela said...

haha :) u2 makes that song sound so much cooler than i remember it to be. you'll make a fun teacher josh! when i was doing teaching prac, my fallback was a puppet. if you can get hold of one, it's a great way to get the kids' attention, tho i'm sure you won't have a hard time with that!

Jirat said...


The kid who named himself Nemo sounds so precious! Oh Chinese kids...