Tag Archives: sports days

Water sports

Or, The Duck Olympics.

The word on the street yesterday afternoon was that we’d be teaching today. It started raining last night and while it was not so bad first thing, the rain has increased since then. Thus I came into school expecting to be facing classes, but about morning exercise time, there was a hubbub of voices outside and students from the main school came streaming out of the big lecture theatre.

We were then told that the sports days were back on although this announcement was greeted with some scepticism, and the rain, which did ease briefly, has since got heavier. Nonetheless, the little darlings are out sitting in the school stadium, sheltering under their umbrellas; but as far as I can tell from the silence, nothing would appear to be happening, and I’m reluctant to go because someone might just see sense and cancel the entire business.

Also, on a more practical level, I’d be sparing myself at least one outing if I stayed here until lunch­time.

In other news, I read an article online about the rating of Chinese students’ proficiency in English, which placed them quite far down the international rankings. If I had to estimate the average proficiency of Chinese students once they reach the 高考, I’d guess it’d be IELTS 3 to 4, perhaps buoyed up by their writing. As I’ve mentioned before, for most students here, English is a book language which is soon forgotten once students have left school.

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Contrary climate

Or, the sequel to ‘To Sport or not to Sport’.

How cruel the weather gods continue to be. We were all being weather watchers in the office today. The forecast via Baidu remains bad, but via a site which Chaminda uses, the outlook is a great deal more optimistic. It was meant to be a mixture of rain and sunny spells today, but it ended up just being sunny spells.

There’s no guarantee that tomorrow will be more of the same. Last year, Masi reminded me today, it did rain, but that cleared up by midday. I won’t be at all surprised if it’s grey and wet tomorrow, although the weather has been so full of threats which have never come, I don’t know what to make of it.

29.09.11 For some inexplicable reason, this entry was posted without a title. WP has been being a little glitchy recently.

To sport or not to sport

That is the question.

As long-time readers will know, I cannot abide having my weekends stolen from me after holidays. It’s about time the imperial government said that the National Day is a week for schools, or merely the standard three days, and that’s it.

I’ve been hoping that we might get our missing days back because on Thursday and Friday the school is meant to be having its sports days. Unfortunately, the weather has been very, very grey over the past few days, and the forecast is not promising. So far, it’s only been accurate in that it’s been cloudy, but the rain we keep being promised hasn’t arrived so far. Tomorrow, we’re being threatened with a thunderstorm, and Friday with rain.

So far I’ve been very lucky with sports days. The closest shave was in Chengdu when the events started later in the morning, but I think this year the weather god is against us; or may just glare at us a lot.

However, keep your fingers crossed because it would be nice to have an extra couple of days off.

It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s grey

It must be sports day.

Yes, it’s sports day time again, and the weather gods, true to the traditions of the past eight years, have decreed that the days should be grey with a perpetual threat of rain. Actually, we’ve got the drizzle-cum-rain, but the events are continuing nonetheless.

When I saw that it was raining last night, I had my doubts about today. When I got up this morning and saw that it didn’t seem to have changed at all overnight, I trudged into school to find that the opening ceremony (the only part of such days for which students have done any practice) was under way in spite of the weather louring menacingly. Finding another of my colleagues here, who had expected to be teaching because of the state of the weather, I had a long chat before two more strays wandered in, and I decided to head home.

My progress was arrested by the recollection that I needed to go to China Mobile and put more money on my phone, and by the increasing precipitation, which sent me back to school in case we were summoned when it might be pouring with rain.

In spite of the weather, the events have continued, and it’s probably safe for me to head home to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Actually, the other thing I want to do is to post an entry here using Live Writer, which I set up last night, but too late for me to try an experimental post. Because WP seems a little more browser friendly than Spaces was, I may find that Live Writer confers no advantages. Last question: is Live Writer going to go the way of Spaces? [20.09.14. The answer is mostly “yes”. I still have Windows Live Writer, but never use it. It seems not to have been updated since 2011, and attempts to get it to work have always foundered at some point during the set-up.]

Rain stopped for play

The sports day.

By the time I headed off to school for class third period, the rain had stopped and the grounds staff were sweeping the surface water off the track. Preparations for the opening ceremony began when the period was due to start, with each class (in part) lining up around the running track to march past the podium and put on some brief performance. Here are Classes 6 and 16, the two which I teach half of. The boys holding the banner and the flag in the Class 6 picture are all in my class.

Class 6 marching at the opening ceremony of the sports day Class 16 perform at the opening ceremony ofthe sports day

See the girl in the school uniform behind the girl carrying the placard with the class number on it? She’s the class teacher. Really. And she wasn’t the only teacher wearing school uniform. As you can see from the left-hand picture, Glen and Quincy got in on the act as well. Linda (yes, that Linda ^_^ right-hand side at the front of the second picture below) and the admin department were made to dress up in those white tracksuits (the traditional garb of a Chinese administrator, I believe).

Glen and Quincy carrying the banner for Class 6, Senior 3The Admin Department march forth

I went upstairs in the International School building at the other end of the track to get a decent shot of the proceedings.

A view of the sports field

Class 4, Senior 2 managed to provide a moment of curiosity with their tops. As you might just be able to see in the picture, some of the pupils wore shirts saying “Super Lovers” and others “Love Trax”.

Class 4, Senior 2. Are we hot or what?

Actually, they may not be able to claim the prize for most curious attire. One of the later classes marched up to the podium with their textbooks, and the class behind seemed to be carrying the kind of boxes which are a combination of books and software or DVDs. Looked more like an advertising stunt.

After lunch, and totally unrelated to any of this, I hit the DVD place on the 1st Ring Road. Among today’s acquisitions was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I haven’t seen the film in ages. I’d like to get The Life of Brian, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that in China.

Sports days

A ‘been there, seen that’ event.

We went and watched the first half day of the school’s sports days at the Teacher Training University yesterday morning. If you’ve been here as long as I have, you’ve seen it all before. The classes opted for heavily Olympic-themed ideas. Class 13 did some weird thing that looked like one of the folk dances that we used to do when I was at primary school, but they managed to mess it up because one half of one line ended up facing the other half. It appears that the chain was meant to hop forwards and backwards, but it could do nothing of the sort.

After the opening ceremony there were running races, and we wandered around watching the long jumping and shot putting. The latter was a horror because no one appears to have taught the kids how to put the shot. We watched several competitors basically attempting to throw the shot. But then again, they won’t have done a scrap of practice for any of these events in PE class. Much time was spent practising the marching for the opening. [Easy on the -ings. –ed.]

Of course, we didn’t just watch. We found that we had to go through paragraphs about the sports days written by the pupils and pick the ones which were worth reading out over the PA system. We all took turns doing the latter. A lot of them were repetitive, and a couple were downright gibberish, including one which seemed to be a translation of a Chinese pop song. Or it could’ve been a retranslation of a Western song. That is, the song was translated into Chinese and then out again. It was basically Chinglish and rather meaningless.

As a consequence of the sports days, we have the rest of the week off, but have to teach Thursday on Saturday. Why we just don’t teach on Friday, I don’t know. Frankly, this is a blasted nuisance.

Anyway, I’m set to go to Hong Kong next week. Normally, I stay put during the National Day holiday because it’s one of those times of the year when travelling can be a nightmare in this country. What rather annoyed me was that when I bought the ticket yesterday, the price was ¥600 higher than the last time. Perché? Because the airlines are a bunch of greedy, money-grubbing bastards. It’s holiday time, so the prices go up. Bah! There’s another reason for me to be away from the Mainland. It’s a consequence of the assumption that foreigners have no lives or better things to do.

If I could get a job in Hong Kong, it’d spare me all this commuting. In fact, this will probably be the last time I go to the Territory for a while since I may not go there next year at all.

[05.09.14. Very little of the preparation for Sports Days at Chinese schools has anything to do with sport. Pupils do a lot of marching practice for the opening ceremony and… that’s it! Such days also seem to be scheduled for around mid autumn (NB. Actual mid autumn, and not the so-called Mid Autumn Festival which is in early autumn when the weather can still be summer-like) when the weather is typically unsettled and we gaze anxiously at the skies hoping that it won’t rain.]