Flippin' penguins at the Teach and Travel China graduation meal

Congratulations to the Winter 2011 intake of Teach and Travel China participants, who have recently graduated from the teacher training programme. Kirsty, who works for our in-country partner, tells us all about the (slightly unusual) celebrations that followed! 

It doesn’t seem five minutes ago that we here at Teach and Travel China were stood waving signs around in high spirits at the airport, waiting eagerly to collect our interns for their month training period in Beijing, and all of a sudden the end seems to be drawing to a close! But put your handkerchiefs away, for our Winter 2011 intake has given us one marvelous month that we won’t be forgetting for a while! 

Looking back, what an epic month it has been!  Friendships were forged, lessons were learnt, Tai Chi was tried, mandarin was ‘mastered’, delicacies were dished out, rickshaws were ridden, tour days were taken, calligraphy was created and KTV was, well…..er, a bloomin’ crazy night of singing!

As all of the interns piled into Tai Shu Xi, a traditional Chinese restaurant nearby the University (looking extremely dapper I must add), it was hard to believe that it was a month since our first gathering together at the welcome meal…but as the old saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”! Though as fun as the last month has most certainly been, it has also been a lot of hard work for our interns. And now, finally, the time has come to take the step from training how to teach to actually putting what they have learnt into action in a Chinese classroom. And, my, these guys are more than ready for it! 

Interns were welcomed to the restaurant by a video and photography slide show being played, which gave an overview of their month in Beijing. It was then obvious why my media team and I have been stalking them for the last 4 weeks - we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to catch all of the best bits now did we!? Unfortunately I did break my promise of not filming them screeching away at KTV and managed to sneak in some embarrassing clips but, hey, it’s all in good humour right?

An electric atmosphere filled the room as interns excitedly spoke of where in China they were placed, what age groups they are teaching and who they will be visiting on the weekends (We hope it’s us!). 

Peter Davis, Teach and Travel China’s Senior Program Coordinator, freshly shaven (wow! Must be a special occasion!), opened the evening with a short speech, praising the interns for their achievements in the last month, then finally introduced Head ELC trainer Amy Lynch to the stage, who spoke  about what fantastic teachers interns everyone will make! 

Next, each trainer went onto present his or her classes of students with the theory certificate for the four weeks training program. There were cheesy smiles all around as interns collected their certificates and posed for class photographs! 

Then was what we’d all been waiting for…one final fantabulous feast and a chance for us to all to all dine together for one last time in Beijing! In true Chinese style the food came out in droves and by the end I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wondered how I’d resist the urge to pop back to campus for a power nap before going on to the after party! 

After dinner and a toast from Operations Manager, Solaro Chan it was time to give some well deserved thanks to all of the people behind the Teach and Travel China Programme. 

Firstly a chorus of applause went out as all of the ELC Trainers came up to the stage and were thanked for the skills they gave the interns, which will enable them to be successful English Foreign Language Teacher Interns! All of our staff here at IES Global were invited up next. We were touched by the applause and happy to have been able to support all of our interns over the last month, and of course we will carry on doing the same right through the semester.

Possibly the biggest applause I have EVER heard at one of our graduation ceremonies came next, and wow did these guys deserved it! Our program advisors were welcomed to the stage by thunderous claps and whoops! These are our assistants, second semester interns and local Chinese students who gave up their month break to come and share their experiences and help interns get by in their first month of being in China. Always smiling and willing to help, these guys have been amazing additions to our team over the last month and are surely going to be missed to all! 

Now having just mentioned program advisors it would seem wrong at this point not to recap what came next as of one of our Chinese advisors, the ever-popular Journey Sun, renowned for his musical outbursts over the last month, decided to break into song with a marvellous rendition of “You are my Sunshine” as one last parting gift to the interns! He got a standing ovation for his efforts and it inspired the interns - and this is my personal highlight of the evening and makes my blog title finally make sense! - to flood the stage to make the whole restaurant burst into fits of laughter as they sang the penguin song they had made up for teaching practice. Singing “attention, penguins left flipper, right flipper, left flipper, right flipper, have you ever had a penguin round for tea?” and flapping their arms and legs around really was a sight to see! The evening turned out to be a flippin’ brilliant one and I have no doubt that these guys will make a fantastic bunch of teacher interns this semester! 

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Kirsty