China’s Newest Holiday Brings Unwanted Troubles

        The Chinese government made an announcement last week: A new 2-day holiday would be added to the national “days off” list.
         Welcome in Summer Holiday! To be combined with Dragon Boat Festival next week, giving everyone a whole week off.

Testing Schedules Turned Upside Down

           Usually, teachers and students get quite excited about such announcements but this one was made in a split second, without warning, and has not elicited the kind of excitement one would want. Here we are at the end of the year, with testing to be done during the new holiday week as scheduled in the school calendar, only to be told it’s all to be a rush job.
                 Yes, last week had everyone scrambling, mostly the teachers, to figure out when and where to test everyone this entire week.
             We had to re-arrange classes, find rooms to test students in, check class schedules to make sure not to overlap with other teachers’ testing, and rush to get tests copied and in order for students.
             It has been a horrible mess and left both students and teachers in high stress mode, not to mention exhausted

Working Harder than Usual

                As for myself, I take 3 weeks to do oral tests with my students (one-on-one). With this new holiday thrown in, I was having monitors (class leaders) over to my home all evening last week to pick times that would fit and not interfere with my colleagues. Because the poor things had little time to prepare, I changed the oral content to make it easier.
           Wise move on my part and certainly less dread for the students.
             Last week, I crammed 4 classes into an 8-hour testing time from Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with 1 hour break for lunch. The weekend was blocked off by the country’s national English exam, the CET-2 and CET-3, meaning all classrooms were sealed tight and not available for use. Also, some of my students were taking this exam so it was impossible for them to take my exam at the same time.
          I’ve managed to shove in 2 more testing blocks in the evening this week while still holding to the regular testing schedule during usual class times for others.
             In other words, it’s been quite a wild ride and one I hope will never, ever, EVER have to be repeated.

Looking Forward to A Week Off, but Not Done Yet

           With 3 more full days of testing to go, I can only say I am definitely looking forward to that 1-week off.
            Unfortunately, finishing these tests does not yet end the school year for me.
            Our branch school students from Qing Hai University don’t finish their term until July 4. I have 2 classes of these students and will be testing them after Dragon Boat Festival.
            After marking their exams and turning in their scores, I am officially finished.
            So there’s still a long way to go.

           Looking at the time, seems it’s off to testing again so I’ll close this off for now.
            From Luzhou, China, here’s wishing you Ping Ahn (Peace) for your day!

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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