It was suggested it would be good for me to help out in the schools with english lessons to fill in some of my spare time and give back to the community. I was keen to give it a go but after phone calls to some schools the company Leo works for were told that it is against school policy to have white people helping in the Government schools. This was my first encounter with discrimination and it wasn't a nice feeling but put it to the back of my mind and went back to working out what I could do to fill in my days here. After a couple of days I was told I was going to the school with a Government Official to meet the Principal and see whether I was welcome to help in the school. The meeting must of went well as I was asked back.
Yesterday I went to school and met with the english teachers, all 24 of them. All the teachers sat behind the little desks and I was told to stand at the front and teach the class. I nearly died!!!! I said, "Oh no, I'm not a teacher, I just want to help you teach the students english". They said, "We want to learn from you about english, some of us have never spoken to an english person before, you help us with our english and we will help you with your chinese". It looked like there was no time for me to make a run for it and I immediately thought of Eloise and the advice she gave me as I went off to my last job interview, "Don't be shy Mum, just act and they will never know". I got that job so I thought it works, I will give it a go again.
We started by going around the class introducing ourselves. During these introductions some invited me to their home to have a cup of tea with them, some invited me to meet their family, some said they wanted to improve their spoken english, others wanted to learn about Australia and some said they hoped we became very good friends so after that I was feeling very welcome.
Then it was question time and I was hit with a pearler first up, "My students are having trouble reading english, how do you suggest we fix this problem". All eyes were on me...... somehow I came up with a solution that they thought was brilliant and I got the confidence to click in to teacher mode and ask for the next question. A male teacher stood and said, "I just have to get this off my chest, you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, so blue, so bright and so clever". I thanked him and he went on to ask, "Is it true that Australia is covered in dessert?". Another teacher then yelled out, "It's desert, you eat dessert".
The questions were fired at me for the next hour ranging from "what books should the students be reading?" to "is it true that there are sometimes snakes in the toilet in Australia?". Even though I was way out of my comfort zone I had the most fun I have had in the past month and look forward to going back to help the teachers with the students next time.