In an effort to get more business, EF sets up different demos in which we go out to different places to show kids and parents what our school does and what our teaching methods are. This past Wednesday EF set up a demo at a public middle school. We had to prepare 20 minute lessons for four classes.
The first class I walked into was packed. There were so many students. There must have been 45 kids in that first class. They were packed in so tightly like a can of sardines. It was the same way in the next three classes too. There was really no room for kids to move around or interact with one another. It would be so easy to lose a student in that kind of class. If they were quiet and sat in the back, I understand how you could just forget about them.
I was told by the other EF teachers that the way schools work here in China is that the teacher gets up and lectures to the kids. There really is no room (physically) for class activities. When you have 45-50 students, it’s the the only way to teach.
While I was teaching and walking around the classroom, making sure that kids were participating in the activity, I saw the condition of the some of the desks. It was a disgrace. Students were sitting at desks with gaping holes on the top and sides of their desks. One student had to lean to the side of his desk so that he could write on a flat surface.
As I was walking from one classroom to another, I saw kids, the students, cleaning the school. Some of the kids had mops and were cleaning the floors while others were on their hands and knees scrubbing the walls. I was taken aback. I thought that it was actually a good idea. Not only does it save a ton of money on a cleaning services but it teaches kids to appreciate and have respect for their school.
At the end of my last demo a student asked me to write my name on a piece of paper. At first I thought that he just wanted to see how I formed the letters but in fact he wanted my autograph. Then another student came running up and asked for my autograph. Before I knew it I was surrounded by the whole class asking me to give them my autograph. I felt like a famous athlete or movie star being bombarded with requests for my signature. Who knows what those kids will do with my autograph, hopefully they will frame it and put it above their beds, but that is just wishful thinking.
All in all I think that the demo went pretty well. I’m not really concerned with whether EF hit their mark on how many kids they got to sign up. It just felt good going to a school and teaching English and offering my services to a bunch of kids who probably could not financially afford to go to EF otherwise.