Tuesday, December 27, 2011


On Christmas Eve, the Shenzhen school district hosted a dinner banquet for all the foreign teachers and our local Chinese counterparts. Of course the food was great, but the entertainment was even better. We were graced with performances from various teachers, students, and the school district head himself gave a - riveting  karaoke performance. Now with the cultural power distances and protocol for respect, we were obligated to cheer him on (perhaps in spite of him?)

Every good Chinese banquet always has a large collection of wine and liquor. So, give that to a group of 130 Americans - oh and offer them all hotel rooms for the night...It was quite the crazy after party.

This certainly wasn't a "traditional" holiday, but I was able to practice my Chinese, perform a little Shakespeare, and eat some delicious Chinese food (the latter of which is actually a tradition for me). So, all in all a great Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone!

-- Byron Yee TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China

English Festival

Last week, our school hosted our annual English Festival, which is a week long competition designed to encourage students to get excited about learning and practicing English. Being the only native English speaker at the school, of course I was asked to be one of several judges.

The competition highlights included movie lip dub, where students dub their own voices over an original English movie. I helped students by transcribing various movie scenes - I can now quote the end of the Titanic scene rather well (the one where Jack freezes to death while Rose is floating on the door and pathetically cries). The funny thing was, when read by two male Chinese students, that scene has a lot more emotional insight (and humor) than the original.

My other favorite was the English singing competition. Speaking of Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On" is apparently still a really big hit over here. Except when a Chinese girl sings it, she seems to be lacking in a certain Canadian accent. There's also less bagpipes in the cover versions over here.

Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teacher Q&A

There are times when my students' English levels after 10 years of English education is really frustrating, and other times when it's quite funny and charming.

Last week I was working with a newer class and we did a "Q&A with Mr. Yee" The notes were equal parts wonderful, hilarious, and grammatically incorrect. But they speak much better by themselves...

1. How did you visited so many places?
2. Can you make friend with you?
3. Do you love China girl?

Or my personal favorite that made me laugh out loud:
"Why are you so handsome?!"

Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My first shopping experience

Believe it or not, Southern China can actually get a little chilly. So that news and the fact that I packed very light coming here meant I needed some more clothes. This was my first time truly shopping in a couple years, so there was a lot of culture shock and other factors triggering some panic and anxiety. Such as:

- Rows of official and unofficial shops, all shapes and sizes
- Most of the goods were knock offs, or some feeble and failed attempt at writing something cool in English
- People shouting to attract customers
- people with microphones to out shout the shouters
- Loud speakers playing Chinese music to drown out the mics
- Louder speakers blasting techno music to drown out the pop music
- Employees clapping to the techno music to attract more customers
- Employees beating sticks and noise makers to beat out the clappers
- More employees ready to pounce once you do decide to enter a store
- Employees on ladders in the doorways making sure you don't LEAVE the store w/o paying

In the end, I've never had so many employees involved in my shopping experience. Yet even with the interaction of 15+ store reps, it was still ultimately and completely lacking in "customer service." I did get a nice shirt and pull over out of the ordeal though. So I guess I would do it all again...

Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China

More on Signs

So you know how awhile back I ate dog for the first time in a local restaurant? Well I was walking down that same street the other day. When I first moved into town, I always wondered why this particular restaurant had a giant poster of some Chinese words with a goat, donkey, dog, and smiling Chinese waitress. Now that I know more Chinese characters and have confirmed both by reading the sign and eating in the restaurant, this giant sign is no longer a mystery, its just very clear and blatant advertising.

Don't worry, the smiling Chinese waitress serves the animals - she is not one of the "dishes to be served." Just thought I should clarify...

Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China